Thursday, May 21, 2009

Television Shows You All Should Give A Watch Pt. 2

Continuing where i left off with my suggestions of tv shows that people should give a look too....

ready, set, lets go....

Name: Outrageous Fortune
Country: New Zealand
Genre: Dramatic Comedy
Airing Status: Sixth Series Airing Soon
You can find the Downloads: here (sorry for the size, was the only torrent i could find)

I have to state this at the start here, I was introduced to this series by a friend of mine who's taste in television and movies I find so good it probably is better then my own. Anyway with that said, lets get into this, Outrageous Fortune does something that people have been trying to do sense the birth of television, make a perfect modern take on a Shakespearian dramatic comedy, and though I've seen many who came close, the creators of this somewhat obscure New Zealand series have hit the mark, even paying homage to the concept by taking not only the show's name, but the episode titles, all from the work of the immortal bard, sure its a risk and abit brash, to reach that high with your series, but it pays off so many times over. The show itself is the story of The West family, a family who's business is crime. Well it was until their matriarch Wolfgang "wolf" West is sent to jail for 4 years, in the wake of this, his wife Cheryl decides the entire family needs to go straight, that they can't continue to live as they do, the show follows as the family blurs that line between right, wrong, legal and illegal, with each character tending to slant one way or the other depending on their beliefs and characteristics. Its a brilliantly written, darkly funny and at times outright sexy modern take on the classic concept of redemption and repentance meets real world ethics and ideals. if you've not had a chance to have a look at this brilliant series then you need to give it a look. Its also been remade in the UK under the title "Honest" and is going to be made in the US as "Good Behavior".

Name: Demons
Country: UK
Genre: Sci Fi Action Fantasy
Airing Status: Ended
You can find the Downloads: here

Demons is a pretty neat little concept of a show, take the idea brought forth by various other shows about hunting down supernatural things, but instead of something tired and kind of trite like "a vampire killed my parent/brother/sister/second cousin/girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever now i must hunt down all creatures of the night!" or some other concept thats as played out as pacman on the atari 2600, this show takes that concept and mixes with with a classic story that doesn't really get much love these days, the story of Bram Stroker's Dracula. Demons follows the story of Luke Rutherford, a teenager who happens to be the last of the Van Helsing family's bloodline, when he's attacked by a "half life" (their word for demon), he is eventually saved by Rupert Galvin, a man his mother recognizes as the best friend of her dead husband. Rupert explains to Luke that he is the last of the Van Helsing bloodline, and that its his duty to take up the family business, which happens to be fighting demons. He takes Luke to a place called The Stacks, where all the knowledge and weapons they will need for this task is, he also meets Willamina Harker, a blind woman, who you later find out is the very same Mina Harker from the book Dracula, she has gone blind by using a machine to filter her blood to keep the vampire urges at bay. Eventually they are also aided by Luke's best friend Ruby, who demands they let her help, and after proving herself, she's welcomed in. The Four of them go about, as Rupert puts it "Grading and Smiting" the demons of the world. Sure its maybe not the best show out there, but its fun, and a pretty fun way to waist an hour of your time, not to scary, not too camp, somewhere right in the middle. plus, the show stars Philip Glenister, better known as Gene Hunt in the original version of Life On Mars and its follow up series Ashes to Ashes, and Zoe Tapper of Survivors, all of which are shows I greatly enjoy, so can't really go wrong.

Name: Shameless
Country: UK
Genre: Drama Comedy
Airing Status:Airing 7th Series
You can find the Downloads: here (pick which ever way you wanna download'um)

Believe it or not, the concept of white trash is not relegated completely to the southern part of united states, I know, its a concept that had me baffled at first too, but then I saw the awesome that is Shameless, and I never wondered again. The series follows the Gallagher family, consisting of Frank Gallagher and his nine children, as they slum about a housing estate in Manchester England (england, across the atlantic sea..) and interact with those around their estate and area around it. The closest I could reference it too would be the old american series Rosanne, where you have a true to life low income family and their friends and enemies all trying to just get by, and just like that series, when they need to be serious they are, but more times then not, they're just funny as hell. It helps that the show is fronted by the amazing David Threlfall as Frank Gallagher, if you've never seen David's work, you are missing out, the best showings of his range is as Frank, or when he appeared in the tv show Afterlife on an episode called "The Rat Man" which just sends shivers up my spine. You should seriously give this one a look, before HBO screws it up like they screwed up Little Britain. Also, if you can, find subtitles the accents get abit hard to follow sometimes... lol

Name: The Venture Brothers
Country: USA
Genre: Action Comedy
Airing Status: Season Five In Production
You can find the Downloads: here

I would be untrue to myself if my list of shows everyone should give a try didn't have atleast one cartoon on it, and sense i can't find downloads of the incredible Delta State, I will go with my second favorite animated series, The Venture Brothers. Designed as a spoof on classic action adventure television shows and books aimed at 1950s, 60s and 70s young teens, in particular The Hardy Boys and (very heavily) classic cartoon Johnny Quest. The show follows the adventures of Dean and Hank Venture, two fraternal twins born 6 minutes apart, their father Doctor Thadeus S. Venture and his Bodyguard Brock Sampson, as well as their rather large extended cast of both other adventures and supervillains. its large rich cast really is where the show shines the brightest. From the hilarious villain known as The Monarch, a man who hates Dr. Venture with all he has in him and has a flair for long winded speeches about said hate, all while dressed as a giant monarch butterfly with his sidekick, Doctor Girlfriend, who looks like a shapely version of Jackie Kennedy but has a voice like a man thats been smoking cigars his whole life, to the completely over the top Doctor Byran Orphious, a necromancer who rents an old wing of the Venture compound and is always more then willing to help the ventures out, and so many others. Its really a hilariously brilliant program, sure its goofy and kind of formula, but its brilliantly done, its camp enough to make you wanna come back for more, and its spoof enough that you'll find yourself having a stroll down memory lane remembering alot of the stuff thats referenced or spoofed. Seriously recommend it if you haven't had a look yet.

Name: The Middleman
Country: USA
Genre: Comedy Action
Airing Status: Ended
You can find the Downloads: Here

When asked to tell you about me, there are five things the people who know me will tell you, 1.) I am way to far into comic books, sci fi, and other things of geek culture for my own good, 2.) that I become very annoying with my constant pop culture references, 3.) I really like my fried chicken, 4.) I sing the body electric, and 5.) I love to laugh and have a good time. Three of those things are embodied perfectly in the awesome that was The Middleman, an obscure hour long series that each episode was spoofing some facet of geek culture, every last detail would be taken from anything related to what the episode is around. Examples; in the episode with ghosts, the haunted house was at 1984 Ray Parker Jr. Avenue, and a special device they used to see the ghosts' name spelled out Ecto One and was invented by Dr. Egone Vankmen. All references to the Ghostbusters films, the first one came out in 1984, Ray Parker Jr. sang the well known theme song to the film, Ecto One was the car they drove, and two of the characters were Egone and Vankmen. See what I mean? Another example; in the episode where they went to another dimension, all the male characters had beards, there was a store called "Mirror Mirror", they used a device called a tardis locater and a young NASA operative was called Leftbridge Stewart, there was a classic episode of the original Star Trek series called "Mirror Mirror" in which evil version of the cast came from another dimension, evil Spock had a beard and Goatee, Leftbridge Stewart is a reference to the character of the same name, more commonly known as "The Brigadier" from the classic sci fi series Doctor Who, in which The Doctor and his companions would travel in a ship called The tardis. In another episode they fight a mafia like group of Lucha libre wrestlers, headed by two men who wear masks like El Santo and The Blue Demon... Ok I think you get the idea. Its just the brilliance of how the show as written and how they worked so much in, even the aliases used by The Middleman and Wendy the plucky young girl who assists him, are all references to characters from old actors, old tv shows, old comic books, ect. Its just so much fun to watch, sure its cheesy and low budget, but I don't care, and you shouldn't either, its just amazingly well written silliness at its best. Shame its over though.

Name: Underbelly
Country: Australia
Genre: drama crime
Airing Status: Series 3 Airing Soon
You can find the Downloads: here (pick from here)

I guess just like anyone, I'm a sucker for a well made crime drama, oh sure, there are tons out there, some good, some bad, some somewhere in the middle. In the upper levels of the good is the aussie crime drama Underbelly, the show that many has claimed could be the greatest aussie show ever made, and thats a tall order, there isn't alot of shows that can match the awesome that was Skippy the Brush Kangaroo. Underbelly is the fictional account of the Melbourne gangland war that lasted from 1995 until 2004. Its the story of the rival crime families and the detectives that bring them down. The story is a hard as nails gritty crime drama that rivals anything you'd find on The Wire, or Wire In the Blood or any of those other kick you in the mouth till you cry like a baby for the pain to stop style shows. Series One tells the actual story of the gang war itself, and the second series is billed as a prequel where it sets up everything and you see the gangs involved rise to power, there is a third on the way, but i'm not really sure what thats gonna be about, i'd assume its gonna deal with the aftermath or something, but either way i can't wait to see! This would be the perfect time to check this show out if you haven't yet.

Name: Harper's Island
Country: USA
Genre: Thriller
Airing Status: Ended
You can find the Downloads: here

Just as everyone, to some degree loves a good crime drama, everyone loves a good mystery. Harper's Island is kind of like the boardgame Clue, for those that don't know what Clue is, its a murder mystery where you have to solve who did the murder by deduction and guessing, there was a movie made in the 1970s, but we'll just forget that ever happened. Anyway, Harper's Island is the story of a group of family and friends that travel to an island off the coast of Seattle Washington for a wedding, little do they know that 7 years before this island was the sight of a brutal unsolved killing spree. As the show progresses you discover that each episode atleast one member of the cast will die, until there is only a very few and the killer left, its abit like Agetha Christie's "Till there were none" in that respect. What makes the show great is that you have already seen the murderer, you just don't know who they are, and the wondering and speculation just runs rampant in your mind as you watch. I tend to get a group of friends together and we all go back and forth on who it is through the whole episode, normally whoever we think it is dies at the end of the episode, so this tells me two things, 1.) CBS is being very sly and taken alot of time with this "event", and 2.) my friends suck at solving mysteries when we don't have a 1966 Chevy Corvair Van and a talking Great Dane. Both things I've made my peace with... mostly. This show is a big thing for me, because I was made at its network CBS for a very long time after canceling the amazing series Jericho and passing on the brilliant Babylon Fields before it ever made it past pilot stage. Harper's Island has really got me buzzing as to its ending, I love these sort of events, they aren't done here on american television that often anymore, which is a shame. So if you have never seen something of this nature, or you just like mysteries, give this a shot, its great.

Well thats all for this round, I might do a third set, but I gotta really think of some good stuff, and also find some downloadables for some, afew I got in mind being so rare I had to buy the dvds to get them... so, till then... enjoy!


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