Luke on TV – Rock the Cradle, Louis Theroux, The Apprentice, Love Soup

by | Apr 10, 2008 | All, Reviews

Amazingly the US is still quite low on new shows following the virtually crippling writers’ strike. Don’t worry, though, because MTV has come to the rescue. It’s a completely new concept that I reckon could change the face of television as we know it. Basically it’s a singing competition. Each week a competitor is eliminated by – get this – a public vote until one is crowned winner. Now I know what you’re thinking. Do they have anyone to comment on the singer’s performances? Yes they have four judges that critique each performance! It’s a truly unique premise that I reckon could take off!

Actually, the new series to which I refer, Rock the Cradle, is slightly different from its X Factor or American Idol predecessors in as much as the contestants are the offspring of musicians and singers including Olivia Newton John and Joe Walsh. As we’ve come to expect, they are judged on their slightly shouted and out of tune performances by, among others, a Simon Cowell-esque record producer and 1980s pop star Belinda Carlisle.

The fact the contestants are related to some talented folk does add a nice little twist to proceedings as the camera pans to show the “showbiz” parents grinning with pride then seething with annoyance when their little darlings are given low scores by the judges. I was surprised that some did show real promise especially Dee Snider’s son who rocked out to a Led Zeplin classic. Others didn’t quite hit the mark notably the daughter of Grease star Olivia Newton John whose odd, operatic voice didn’t fit the soft rock ballad she had chosen.

Rock the Cradleisn’t something I’d watch week after week, but it was good enough to stop me flicking for a bit. The winner wins a recording contract (which I’d’ve imagined their celebrity parents could’ve got them if they pulled the right strings) but I’m not this will translate into record sales for the eventual victor. To give credit where it’s due, some of the acts would give poor little Leon Jackson (remember him?) a run for his money.

Sunday saw the return of Louis Theroux to BBC2 which, for me, is always a reason for celebration. I don’t know how he manages it but Louis always delivers interesting and enjoyable TV. The subject of his latest doc Louis’s South African Hunting Holiday wasn’t the easiest to watch. Too many dead impala and zebra for my liking but I love the way Louis tackles every subject with his own unique brand of curiosity and sensitivity. His non-threatening interview style seems to force people to open up. I wasn’t even aware hunting holidays existed and it was interesting and absorbing TV.

It was nice to see that even the hunters seemed to be fighting their consciences but Louis seemed far more uncomfortable in the South African sunshine than he did strutting around the confines of San Quentin prison in his last film. His confrontation with Pete the Park ranger near the end was classic Theroux with the camera pushed to one side and Louis staying sheepishly quiet and letting his subject have the last word. I was convinced he’d be thrown to the waiting lions at one point (not that I’d want that). I’ve no idea where Louis travels will take him and his camera to next but roll on the next documentary!

I’m still loving BBC1’s Love Soup, but I do have a little worry. We’re six episodes into the 12-episode run and although the series is still entertaining and feels like something different I’m a little worried that Alice, played by the ever wonderful Tamsin Greig will never find her Mr Right, hence making the series slightly pointless. I can only hope the endless string of disastrous dates will at some point pave the way for a story where Alice finds her knight in shining amour. I worry I may lose a little interest if we’ve subjected to disastrous date after disastrous date for a further six weeks. That being said, it’s still the best thing on a Saturday night.

I’d like to pretend that my hectic social life of parties and general naughtiness is what prevented me from watching the first in the new series of BBC1’s The Apprentice two weeks to late but in actual fact, and because I’m a good boy and can’t bare to lie to my loyal readers it was because I had wanted to save it for a rainy day. I was a ate arrival to the series in general as I so despised the American Trump version I wrongly dismissed the British version before seeing it and hence decided to give it a go for the first time last year for the third series. I was hooked and wanted to see the previous two series ever since. Sir Alan Sugar is a god in my eyes. This opener didn’t disappoint even though a lot of the contestants resembled some in series three.

The teams were given a van full of fish which they were told to sell at market and bring the profit back to the boardroom. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear the sheer cockiness of the competitors; I’m still left mouth open wishing them a big fall. I love the pacing of The Apprentice and I also love how, unlike its American counterpart, it doesn’t rely on the dramatic carefully placed music, choosing instead to just show the action and allow the wannabes to make their own messes. £4.99 for a lobster! What a pillock! In a way, I do admire the contestants for their belief in themselves but that’s balanced nicely with my sheer will to see them fail so that’s what makes it edge of the seat TV for me. This may be the fourth series but I’m not tired by the premise by any means. Nicholas deserved the boot and Sir Alan can do no wrong!

My CRUMBLETASTIC medal has to go The Apprentice for living up to my expectations. It would’ve gone to Louis if it wasn’t for the poor zebras. Rock the Cradle isn’t completely deserving of my BLACK PUDDING as some of the contestants did show some promise but I’m still amazed with American Idol now in its seventh series season we’re still expected to watch singing competitions!

Feel free to leave your comments below.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

10/04/2008

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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