Another Sky One casualty, Dead Like Me kind of followed the path of Six Feet Under in that it dealt with death very directly, but instead of a more dramatic, literal approach, Dead Like Me was a pitch black comedy that concerned itself with the notion of the afterlife and the idea of ‘reaping’. Ellen Muth (who is amazing and should be getting all of the roles) plays the rather unfortunate Georgia, who gets hit by a toilet seat that came from a space station and is posthumously tasked to become a reaper, walking the planet as an invisible process server, except instead of subpoenas she hands out death. It died after only two seasons due to the creator dropping out and the whole thing kind of falling apart as a result but those 2 seasons make for some really funny, macabre watching.
Yep. You’re damn right. Samurai Jack famously edged out The Simpsons to walk away with the Emmy for best animation in 2004. I watched it intently when it originally aired on Cartoon Network’s slightly more hardcore offshoot ‘Toonami’ and now it’s all on Netflix and it’s actually still going. Far from being a narrow-minded anime wannabe, Samurai Jack is a meditative, beautifully made show that valued slow, poignant moments as much as all the violence (although there’s plenty of that, in a clever ploy by the animators all the foes are robotic and spray gallons of black oil around when dismembered, it’s literally one shade away from being one of the most violent US cartoons ever).
It follows Jack, a samurai hurled into a dystopic future by his mortal enemy, the shape shifter Aku in a desperate bid to postpone their final battle. It’s thoughtful, gorgeous to look at and a lot of fun, no matter your age, with episodes paying homage to the battle of Thermopylae, 90s rave culture, Alice in Wonderland and numerous other things.
Eddie Izzard is the household name of my household. My entire family are Izzard fans and some of his inflections and mannerisms have crept into our humour, being an Izzard fan is like being part of a club, I could look at someone and flail my fingers about my head or mime punching a baboon and they’d know exactly what I was doing, but the layman it’d seem like I was mad, same situation every time I laugh at the sight of a giraffe or see someone trying to peel an orange. He and Minnie Driver (both with American accents) briefly starred in The Riches, a show about a gypsy family who accidently find themselves in possession of the lives of some upper class WASPs. It was underrated and underappreciated, a great example of a show taking a ridiculous idea and using it to explore some really interesting questions, in this case the utter dishonesty and austerity of the ‘modal’ American society. Sharp writing, great acting, 20 episodes. Easiest decision since cake or death.
It might seem like this whole post-apocalyptic trend is kind of new, or that it’s only come into play more recently with The Walking Dead pulling in hoards of shuffling ratings figures and The Last of Us winning every gaming accolade you can shake a lead pipe at, but long before all that a little two season show called Jericho was approaching the idea in an interesting and engaging way. It’s a rip-roaring show focused on a Kansas town following a nuclear calamity and addresses the struggles of maintaining order, dealing with marauding PMCs and features lots of gunfire (and a tank!). It originally got axed after 1 season but a massive fan resurgence got it back for a brief second run, when you watch it it’s easy to see why.
Walking with Dinosaurs
Having a girlfriend who lives in London means that I’ve been seeing a lot of buses of late and as a direct result of this I’ve also been seeing a lot of posters for the new 3D Walking with Dinosaurs film. Unfailingly every time I do a resounding ‘ugh’ slides out of my sagging, frowning lips. Why you ask? Because this pandering, patronising monstrosity is an affront to a wonderful, original series that captured my imagination and until recently I had to ferret out a VHS player if I ever wanted to revisit it. No so anymore. Netflix have provided us with everything ever produced in relation to Walking with Dinosaurs, the original series, the later specials and even the making of. It might look a bit dated now but at the time the marriage of CGI and practical effects brought dinosaurs to life in a way only Jurassic Park had managed before and the idea of treating it like a nature program that ran to the beat of Kenneth Brannaugh’s sexy narration gave the prehistoric world a whole new, sharply authentic interpretation. Glossing over the fact that a lot the information it imparted was questionable at best, it was dramatic, entertaining and it had dinosaurs in it. That’s the dream.
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