Luke on TV – Skins, My Big Fat Red Neck Wedding, The Last Enemy, Hotel Babylon

by | Feb 23, 2008 | All, Reviews

The Last Enemy

Ok confession time, I’m 24. I’m still down with the kids. I know all the shizzle me nizzle and Snoop Doggy Dog and all that malarkey so why can’t get I into E4’s Skins and does this make me immediately un-cool? Should I settle back with a good book and comment on how the weather is affecting my joints? I just don’t like Skins. I gave up on last year’s first series after three episodes failed to grab my attention and, although the two first episodes of this new 10-part second series have been a vast improvement, I still can’t warm to any of the cast and the annoying habit of jumping from proper drama to obscure and odd scenes like the wonderful Bill Bailey dancing with a dog. It doesn’t seem to flow well. Tony’s disability was a really interesting twist and Nicholas Hoult was completely believable but I still found myself waiting for it to finish rather than immersing myself in it. The main problem for me I think is that its trying too much to be Shameless but just comes off as a poor Shameless copy. I can see how Skins feels hip for the “kids” but. for me, the characters aren’t very likeable and the constant bad language is a real turn off. I guess I’ll settle down with a good book now! For all the young whippersnappers.

Holidays have their good and bad points. A good point is you’re away from the norm and a bad point is you’re, well, away from the norm. When I’m on holiday I somehow stumble across series I’d never bother with in the comfort in my own living room. One such show concerned was CMT’s My Big Fat Redneck Wedding which was pure car crash TV. The series follows rednecks who steer away from the traditional white dress and expensive wedding cake in favour of their unique brand of big day. The bit that stood out for me was when the redneck compared his love for his wife-to-be to his love of Hot Pockets (they’re like Pop Tarts. If nothing else, this programme proved there is hope for EVERYONE and ANYONE.

After getting the groove in the sofa back the way I like it, I settled down to watch the final two episodes of BBC1’s best new drama of the year Mistresses which convinces me I’m too old for my boots. I don’t get Skins but love this drama about five women and their complicated love lives. The last two episodes were fantastic with enough unexpected twists and turns to keep me interested. All the women were completely believable and likeable and the chemistry worked really well. I hope BBC1 recommisions it for a second series next year. Although all the loose ends were tied up, I would like to see how things develop.

I haven’t got through my mountain of TV yet but I decided on Sunday I’d watch the premiere of BBC1’s new five-part political thriller The Last Enemy. Now forgive me but there’s a fine line in my book between mysterious intrigue and not having a clue what’s going on! The BBC’s last attempt at a political thriller, The State Within in 2006, suffered with the same intrigue syndrome and I have to admit I didn’t give that very long to grow on me and I don’t know how long I’ll manage with this as the first 90-minute episode was a bit hard going.

Here’s what I did fathom, Stephen Ezzard returns to England for his brother’s funeral to a country he doesn’t recognise, full of ID cards and government enforced checks. He meets his brother’s wife (whom he didn’t know existed), has a passionate kiss with her and then she disappears into thin air. Then there’s a lot of mystery surrounding his brother’s death (we learn it wasn’t due to an exploded landmine like we first assumed) and more intrigue about a dead girl some mysterious folk are looking for.

I had several problems with this. 1) Although its nice to not be given anything about a plot on a plate its slightly annoying having to remind yourself of what’s what and who’s who and who we think they are or might be with every new scene. 2) Why cast someone like Max Beasley in the role of the dead brother when the role could’ve easily gone to an extra with a beard! And 3) I didn’t like the main character. One redeeming quality he did seem to have was he did seem just as confused as me but still I didn’t care enough about him. I would hope the plodding pace of this opener will progress once we actually get some answers.

Now finally I’d like you to picture a scene. I’m sat on a rickety chair in a community centre surrounded by people dressed in the latest designer clothes and perhaps carrying a small dog as an accessory. I slowly stand up and the whole stylish room looks me up and down. I gather my thoughts and these words slowly trickle from my mouth. “My name is Luke and I quite like Hotel Babylon”. The room applauds my confession and I sit down feeling a little stunned but relieved. I honestly don’t know why this series grows on me more and more.

The cast – especially Dexter Fletcher, Max Beasley and Emma Pierson – are fantastic and it seems to get better and more fun every series. When I watched the first episode in January 2006 I couldn’t bare all the glitz and glamour and the sheer corniness but last year’s series and the series three opener this week seem to have got the balance just right. I like how the stories interweave and how it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It knows it’s a guilty pleasure not a demanding drama and it delivers exactly what you want. OK, the guest appearances are a bit on the pointless side (Paula Abdul and Lee Sharpe only had one scene each that didn’t go anywhere) but the cast is strong enough without the occasional famous face appearing.

This week’s episode (defeated in the ratings by the footy) focused on concierge Tony’s 40th birthday, a crooked fashion designer and the introduction of new character Emily. I enjoyed every minute of it! This sort of drama is a novelty on the BBC and had far more glitz than the redneck wedding I’d seen earlier in the week. Max Beasley’s Charlie has always been the best character. he’s now the boss and I can only hope the rumours of him leaving turn out to be untrue as he’s the main attraction, giving the series a sense of believability. Even better, unlike in Sunday’s The Last Enemy, he actually had lines and no beard. I do hope the ratings don’t keep suffering because I need a bit of TV fluff in my week.

So I better give out the medals then. My CRUMBLETASTIC medal goes to the finale of Mistresses whilst my BLACK PUDDING has to go reluctantly to The Last Enemy for giving me a headache on a Sunday night. That being said I’ll continue to watch it just with some tablets nearby if my head starts to pound.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

23/02/2008

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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