Luke On TV – The Brits, Ashes to Ashes, Mitchell & Webb, Your Dad’s Better Than My Dad

by | Feb 29, 2008 | All, Reviews

That Mitchell & Webb Look

Why do I watch The Brits every year? It makes no difference to me who wins. And I know the host will be annoying. But there’s always the hope that this year will be better or something amazingly awful will happen.

Mika opened the show and, as he jumped round the stage, all could think of was how much he resembled Stephen Mangan of Green Wing. (Compare Pics at the top) If they were separated at birth, Stephen got the comedic timing and ability to make you laugh just by looking into a camera and Mika got the ability to sing like a Bee Gee. The Osbournes, were enjoyable in their heyday – I even met them a few times (not that I’m one to name drop, of course) – but they were a disaster as hosts of the event. Kelly’s professionalism was impressive – she seems to have lost the American accent and took her role very seriously. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Sharon who came across as manic, unprofessional and completely over the top, reaching a low point in her clash with Vic Reeves. He wasn’t in the slightest bit amusing but Sharon’s behaviour was uncalled for and just another chance for her to steal the spotlight.

Leona Lewis still very clearly has the X Factor. Her vocal was possibly the best of the night – it’s just a shame she’s got the personality of a dish towel. Kylie’s still got it;Kanye West’s attempt at sarcasm failed miserably; Take That were very likeable and grown up; vertical stripes did nothing for critics’ choice winner Adele; Paul McCartney closing the show didn’t exactly thrill me. Since Top Of The Pops was axed, i’ts nice to see some live performances but, like every year before, The Brits didn’t live up to their hype.

I finally got to see the first episode of BBC1’s Ashes To Ashes this week. I loved Life On Mars, one of the best BBC dramas for a long time. It was innovative, engrossing and truly addictive. John Simm was fantastic and completely believable even if the idea took some swallowing. That was one of the strengths of Life on Mars – it made you believe the completely unbelievable. So when I read about a the spin-off, I was intrigued and hoping it wouldn’t tarnish the reputation of Life On Mars.

The first problem with Ashes to Ashes is that we know what to expect. Everything is in Alex Drake’s head and, because we’ve seen it all before, its not as exciting and the air of mystery that lingered through Life On Mars is not really there. The writers have been very clever, though, in giving Alex the knowledge of her situation – her knowing about Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt is a good idea but I can’t stop thinking we’re seeing Life On Mars again. Even with the inclusion of the wonderful Keeley Hawes this doesn’t feel as exiting or fresh as I’d hoped. I have no doubt they’ll be twists and turns around the corner to keep me interested and Philip Glenister’s Gene is always good viewing but I just hope this can stand on its own. I’m not sure how long I can cope with that scary running clown either, I don’t want to be prone to clown-based nightmares.

Sketch shows are common now. The success of The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain have made them cool again. Last year Peep Show’s David Mitchell and Robert Webb were the latest to be given a sketch show on BBC2’s Thursday’s-are-funny slot. As with most sketch shows, That Mitchell and Webb Look was hit and miss but hit enough for a second series. The pair have a unique surreal edge to everything they do and most was a real laugh. My favourite sketches were the “celebrity garden”, the Welsh padlock folding and the trailer for Numberwang the Movie! The scenes that fell flat included the flying vets, the reenactment scene, and the bronze age scene.

The show makes great use of its 30 minutes, packing in as much as possible and the jokes don’t get repeated or stale and the pair are so likeable and unique even the sketches that don’t quite hit the mark are perfectly watchable. I hope the rest of the series is as good as they opener and they don’t overdose on the Hellivets!

With the US TV writers finally reaching a deal, all the major dramas and comedies are slowly going back into production. Of course, big budget dramas and comedies take time to make and it will be a while before they’ll make it to the screen. So the final dregs of reality series and game shows are still trickling through to fill the empty gaps in the schedule. NBC think (following the surprise of success of American Gladiators) they have another hit on their hands with My Dad’s Better Than Your Dad in which fathers and sons compete against each other in a series of mental and physical challenges. It would be more watchable if the people involved didn’t take the game and themselves so seriously. One father raced round like he was saving the world while his eight-year-old son stood screaming from the sidelines when all they had to do was through sponges at a glass window – they weren’t on a CIA mission! The dads seem to think they’re auditioning for Gladiators and the kids seem to have been drugged with sugar before the taping. These sorts of programmes always find audiences somewhere but I think I’d rather sit through Gladiators than this and that’s saying something!

Even with the few sketches that didn’t make me laugh That Mitchell and Webb Look is deserving of this week’s CRUMBLETASTIC medal, and the annoying the folk on My Dad’s Better Than Your Dad are truly deserving of my mountain of BLACK PUDDING!

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

29/02/2008

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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