Saturday, 28 March 2009

'The Soup's' kick ass clip of the week

Just wanted to write a small bit on last night’s episode of ‘The Soup’ and how at first I thought they had made up the ‘kick ass clip of the week’. Now sometimes on ‘The Soup’ they will take a clip and edit it with stuff they have filmed to make it look more ridiculous, with this clip of ‘One Tree Hill’ this is something they didn’t have to do. Seriously you have to see it to see how bizarre the whole thing is. I’ve never really seen ‘One Tree Hill’ all that much just bits and bobs here and there so I wouldn’t like to judge it unfairly, especially as it has successfully managed to run for six seasons, but really this clip just leaves me wondering how it has run for so long. Also I think ‘The Soup’s’ host, Joel McHale is brilliant and this clip allows me to show this also:


Monday, 23 March 2009

Why 'Chuck' should be saved and why you should watch it (if you don't already).

It will soon be that time of year when the line up for next season will be announced (May is not that far away), so I thought I would get in there early and suggest why ‘Chuck’ should be featured in the NBC 2009-2010 schedule. The ratings for ‘Chuck’ haven’t been great which is why there has been some concern that it may get cancelled (a show in this precarious place is often called ‘on the bubble’). This is a worry for fans of ‘Chuck’ as the amount of scripted shows for NBC will be reduced next season due to Jay Leno’s talk show airing week nights at 10pm, which traditionally is an hour block reserved for original scripted programming. What I propose here is a list of reasons why ‘Chuck’ should be saved and why you should start watching it if you don’t already. Herein will be examples of the shows brilliance but I will try to keep them as non-spoilery as possible for those who haven’t but might start watching:



  1. The character Chuck: In the pilot Chuck unwittingly downloaded all the US government’s secrets in to his brain (its sounds a little ridiculous but just go with it). He is a normal guy who works in an electronics store called Buy More and he lives with his sister Ellie and her appropriately nicknamed boyfriend ‘Captain Awesome’. Chuck is the kind of guy that would know how to combat the enemy on Call of Duty or if a virus has infiltrated your hard drive due to porn spam; but not in a real life situation which makes his entry into the world of espionage all the better. He certainly isn’t a Sydney Bristow or James Bond.
  2. Supporting characters: these include his CIA/NSA handlers Sarah and Casey, the Buy More Crew (Morgan, Jeff, Lester, Anna and Big Mike) and his sister and ‘Awesome’  who are all integral to what makes ‘Chuck’ the show it is. The relationships with these characters range from ridiculous to the vital and it is this notion that Chuck is an important member of each unit, whether it is family, work or spy related that gives the show its heart.
  3. ‘Chuck vs. the…’: each episode has our hero up against a series of potentially national security risking villains and it is in these moments that the action elements of the show kick in (no pun intended). Whether it is Sarah fighting someone in her underwear or Casey going at it against a former mentor the action sequences are always well done. Even when Chuck gets in on the action (usually with disastrous consequences), the line between action and comedy is always portrayed and keeps the show from slipping into beyond ridiculous territory. Also they do like to blow things up and trash a lot of cars.
  4. Josh Schwartz: He is the co-creator of Chuck as well as the mastermind behind teen programmes The OC, Gossip Girl and of the new web series Rockville, CA. Chuck is the grown up Seth Cohen (and not as self-involved) and has the pop culture references to match. There is Chuck’s staple high top Converse and a TRON poster on his bedroom wall, as well as other multiple current and past (mostly 80s and 90s) nods to computer games, movies and music. As with the other Schwartz creations music is another important element, however this has not been thrust into the forefront of the promotion of the show as it was done with The OC and Gossip Girl, but has even featured a ‘Flight of the Concords’ track.
  5. It’s funny: Yes there are fully fledged comedy shows out there if you want a guaranteed laugh, but each week ‘Chuck’ has me laughing throughout. It is a hard show to place in a genre as it is comedic, but also has action and dramatic elements; this could be a reason as to why it is quite a difficult programme to promote as there is not one genre that it can be pigeonholed as.  
  6. Hot cast: From a purely superficial perspective there are some pretty hot people in the cast including Yvonne Strahovski (which aforementioned underwear fight sequences easily demonstrate this) and the adorkable Zachary Levi. If you like your men on the tough side who have a habit of communicating through snarls and grunts there is always Adam Baldwin (no relation to Billy or the rest of Baldwin family) as NSA agent John Casey, or if you like your women a bit more crazy there is always Julia Ling who plays Buy More worker and sometime Morgan girlfriend Anna. Captain Awesome and Ellie are also pretty good examples of the all American classic style (if a little vanilla) of hotness, this is best represented in the season 1 episode ‘Chuck vs. the sandworm’ when their Halloween costumes are Adam and Eve, definitely showed their physique.
  7. Will they won’t they?: The romance between Chuck and Sarah is often frustrating but like any great relationship of this kind it is the anticipation of whether they will hook up that is what keeps people interested (as good as the daddy of all ‘will they won’t they relationships’ between Bruce ‘Bruno’ Willis and Cybil Shepard in the early seasons of Moonlighting). The fact that they have to pretend that they are dating is what turns this regular TV character device on its head and leads to many shenanigans so far. This cover relationship often produces scenes that are both funny and heartbreaking as it is obvious that if circumstances were different then they would be a pretty solid couple.
  8. Guest stars: These guest spots have been pretty solid and cover a cross section of talent, from fanboy (Bruce Boxleitner of TRON and ‘Babylon 5’ fame), comedy legends (Chevy Chase) to the celebrities (Nicole Richie- who was actually pretty decent as Sarah’s former high school nemesis). There are many others including NFL players, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models as well as my own personal favourite ‘Lost’ alumni Dominic Monaghan and whilst some of these could be seen as stunt casting the guest stars never overshadow the overall quality and heart of the show that is Chuck himself. 


 So, there it is, my list of reasons why ‘Chuck’ should get a third season, if anyone can think of any others I would love to hear them. I keep mentioning the heart of ‘Chuck’ which might be due to me watching the first season of ‘Friday Night Lights’ (there’s a lot of ‘clear eyes, full heart’s, can’t lose’) in under a week and whilst I’m on that subject NBC could you also not cancel this show. But it is the heart of the ‘Chuck’ that I think is the factor that makes this show such a joy to watch and why I look forward to the next episode, hopefully you will too.


Chuck promo for the next new episode: ‘Chuck vs. the Predator’:



Some links for Chuck related sites: The official site where you can watch previous episodes (if you live in the U.S.) the oldest unofficial site for Chuck that is updated regularly with news, photos and other Chuck related goodies my favourite snarky website that has recaps and forums for Chuck as well as a huge amount of other shows unofficial Zachary Levi site that has constant updates on the actor and the show Alan Sepinwall’s blog that includes reviews and news on Chuck as well as many other great shows



Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Hello and welcome

    So I have finally got around to what I have been saying I will do for months and actually write a blog on the immense time that I spend on both the internet and watching television. I have no idea whether any one will be interested in what I have to say on the programmes that I watch but it will be a good experiment nonetheless. The aim of this blog will mainly be to review the programmes that I watch as well as to look at broader themes and ideas that may be stimulated from these programmes. This might include elements of fashion in Gossip Girl, comedy in forensic shows such as Bones or the use of literature in Lost. I’m sure as this develops I will focus my ideas more thoroughly, or it might go in the opposite stream of consciousness direction. This is why I have gone for calling it ‘A piece of television pie’ as there is no way I could cover all things television but will stick with the piece that I am interested in. The food theme in the title is purely metaphorical and food programmes will most likely not feature, as I am neither a good cook nor do I really watch many food shows. However, as a food type pies are pretty awesome as they taste great as both as savoury main and as a sweet desert.

    Current programmes that will most likely be featured will include: ‘Lost’, ‘Chuck’, ‘Bones’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘The Daily Show’, ‘Fringe’, ‘The Colbert Report’, ‘Mad Men’, ‘30 Rock’, ‘Dexter’, ‘ER’ (in 3 episodes it will be a past programme), ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ Shows that are gone but not forgotten that may feature are: ‘Six Feet Under’, ‘Alias’, ‘The OC’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Arrested Development’, ‘My So-Called Life’, ‘The X-Files’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ (my all-time favourite HBO production). There are also several shows that I really must get around to watching which include ‘The Office’ (the US version), ‘The Wire’, ‘The Sopranos’ (seen bits and bobs, never the complete series), ‘Friday Night Lights’ (watched the movie last night and thought it was very good) and I’m looking forward to the new Amy Poehler vehicle ‘Parks and Recreations,’ as well as her husband’s (Will Arnett) new show ‘Sit Down, Shut Up’ which also features other ‘Arrested Development’ alumni Jason Bateman.

    The list is pretty long and hopefully I will find something of interest and worth about all included. I also hope that I will make some new discoveries on the way. The subject matter for my first piece though will be why I think the show ‘Chuck’ should be saved, as it has come to that time of year when the fate of the next season line up will soon be decide. So I will see you in a few days.