Luke on TV – Messiah V, Paradise or Bust, The Moment of Truth, Fairy Tales

by | Jan 30, 2008 | All, Reviews

Messiah V: The Rapture

Do you remember when you were a child and you wanted something really badly? It was all you could think about and you’d imagine what it would be like when you had it. Then the day came when your parents bought it and although all your dreams should have come true, you felt a little deflated and it’s not as perfect or as amazing as you’d hoped. In my case it was a drumkit I got for Christmas. It was black and shiny and I wanted it more than anything. I did a fair bit of pestering and just before Christmas my parents gave in and that exact black shiny kit I’d be dreaming of was delivered and placed in the corner of my bedroom. That first night it was fantastic and I was banging away like a young Ringo Starr but as time went on I realized… I wasn’t that good a drummer and actually I wasn’t that keen on practising. The kit was sold several years later and although I did enjoy some of my time on it, it wasn’t the stuff of my dreams. I still get obsessed only now its taking the form of looking forward to television series.

This week, I was really looking forward to Messiah V: The Rapture. I really enjoyed the previous Messiahs and, although the cast has since changed beyond any recognition, I’d always liked Marc Warren, so wasn’t worried about him replacing Ken Stott as the star. Right from the opening sequence, however, which saw Detective Joseph Walker (Warren) in Israel, I wasn’t sure. Walker wasn’t the most likeable of characters. Dull even. It wasn’t the Warren that leaps off the screen in Hustle, but a darker and quieter version that I found it hard to warm to. Parts of the first episode were a bit all over the place, too, and I spent most of my time trying to remember where I’d seen ‘him’ or who ‘she’ was. The story of the first episode seemed to plod along until the final 10 minutes. I clearly hadn’t learned that when I get my hopes up about these things they never turn out the way I expect. The second episode (which I watched with diminished enthusiasm) was completely the opposite, though. It was fast paced, with twists and turns around every corner. I always find the end of a Messiah disappointing, not because the payoff is a disappointment but because the whole thing has had been so intense and exciting I don’t want to know who the killer is because that’s when the fun stops.

Warren was never going to beat Stott’s intensity but his character was gradually transformed from dull and boring into someone I would gladly lend a bowl of sugar to if he came knocking. I hope we see more Messiah in the future as it can only get better.

Monday has become a slightly dull television day for me. ITV has the awful series about a fictional Royal Family, Channel 4 has the better City of Vice, but I don’t really like things set in that time period so this week I turned to BBC2 for help and its new documentary series Paradise or Bust.

The premise: two twenty something men (who are very posh and look a bit like Prince Harry) decide to set up an online “tribe”, buy an island in Fiji and make it eco-friendly. The members of the tribe pay an online membership fee and are allowed to visit the island and help build it. Then, after three years, the newly refurbished island goes back to the Fijian people. Simple! At first the idea of an online tribe voting and making crucial decisions on the development of the island does sound a little bonkers. It sounds even more crazy that people are paying to have their say. My first thought would be scam, and I wouldn’t be parting with the money I save to buy DVDs.

The premise: two twenty something men (who are very posh and look a bit like Prince Harry) decide to set up an online “tribe”, buy an island in Fiji and make it eco-friendly. The members of the tribe pay an online membership fee and are allowed to visit the island and help build it. Then, after three years, the newly refurbished island goes back to the Fijian people. Simple! At first the idea of an online tribe voting and making crucial decisions on the development of the island does sound a little bonkers. It sounds even more crazy that people are paying to have their say. My first thought would be scam, and I wouldn’t be parting with the money I save to buy DVDs.

Getting over the whole “sharing an uninhabited island with complete strangers” thing, the programme was interesting, even if nothing much happened. The Prince William look-a-like Ben did have to deal with a lot of tribal red tape which meant a hunt for a whale tooth and the sacrifice of a screaming pig, as well as trying to keep track of the unrealistic budget. He pulled it off, though, and you can’t knock them for their enthusiasm. The next episode does look more interesting and I want them to succeed so I’ll keep watching, but it would help me if they’d stop hugging each other and smiling! Plus I’m not sure how this can be stretched over the four episodes that remain.

Now I know I keep banging on like the Energizer Bunny about this writer’s strike in the States but its still crippling every network and forcing them to revert to pointless and irritating reality TV or gameshows which they hope can follow in the footsteps of the US versions of Millionaire or Deal or No Deal. (By the way, I can’t bear Deal or No Deal. It’s a game show with requires no skill, no grasp of general knowledge and is possibly the most pointless show on American TV. It should be renamed That Box or This Box)

Anyway, with the return of American Idol last week, Fox premiered what it hoped would be its next big hit on Wednesday in the form of the tension-packed Moment of Truth. The UK version can be found on Sky One if you’re curious. Now I say it’s tension packed but in the world of reality TV, it’s contrived tension. A lie detector machine, deep lighting, over-the-top pounding music and the thing it relies on most to provide the unnecessary tension…………the mother of long pauses!The whole hour is basically a few questions and a lot of silence. The selling point of the show is watching the contestants squirm as they are asked questions such as “Do your stuff your pants to look more endowed?” and “Do you really care about the starving children in Africa?” The novelty wears off quickly and all you’re left with is a lot of long pauses and waiting for the person in the chair to say yes or no. Its not in the slightest bit riveting and I got more involved in an episode of Maury I didn’t realise I’d recorded!

The BBC Fairytales adaptations have been a bit odd. Rapunzel was okay; the second with James Nesbitt and Maxine Peake never really got going but was still a good watch; the third, The Empress’s New Clothes was quite possibly (Gladiators excluded) the worst hour of television I’ve seen this year. Debbie Horsfield (who wrote drama series Cutting It) seems to have gone a bit mad. The characters played by Liz White and Denise Van Outen resembled something out of an over-the-top cartoon wearing bright colours and ridiculous fashions. I turned off after the 20 minutes!

My BLACK PUDDING has to go to The Empress’s New Clothes and the third CRUMBLETASTIC Medal to the second part of Messiah V for restoring my faith in the series and for helping me learn how to balance on the edge of my seat.

Now I’m away next week sunning myself but I’ll be back plonked in front of my television the second week of February.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

30/01/2008

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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