Telly Thursday Weekly Round-Up 1/7/10

Posted on July 5, 2010

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Bless Me Rev For I Have Sinned – Oh Not Now, I’ve Got A Hangover…

A few months ago I wrote a review for an RTE series called Val Falvey TD. It was rubbish but that’s not the point. The point is that this new BBC series written by Tom Hollander and James Wood reminded me so much of that disaster of a series that I felt apprehensive about this from about the fifth minute.

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Rev. tells the tales of woe of Reverend Adam Smallbone, a weary vicar trying his best to run an inner city church with a dwindling congregation (one of whom seemingly has a thing for him – must be the collar) and keeping his arch-deacon and wife happy, the latter who seems to be completely indifferent to him and everything around them.

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Tom Hollander is brilliant. He possess all the bumbling charm to make him likeable but allows his witty side to erupt from time to time, case in point, “Sorry, I was being hosed down in smarm.”

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In this really, rather good opening episode Adam is surprised to find his congregation tripling overnight, around the same time as his stain glass window was having a bottle pegged through it, as it happens. He also has the fatted calf of hangovers.

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When he discovers the rise in numbers is because the local affiliated school has topped a government poll he is faced with the difficult task of deciding who should be admitted to the school. Enter Alan Armstrong as local MP Patrick Yam promising money for the window if his son can be admitted to the school despite his remark “Why are we here? It’s not Christmas!”

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There are a few hammy, preachy moments in the first episode naturally enough – it’s difficult to get out of it with the subject matter that this series is dealing with but for the most part, the story moves quickly and humorously towards its conclusion.

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It’s fighting off comparisons with the Vicar of Dibley in the UK while here I’m fairly sure the words Father Ted will crop up but it’s really not like either of these two series. Well it might be a little like Dibley but on a whole, it’s a much more realistic sitcom, where the others had that blend of surrealism.

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But if a ‘Lovely Girls’ or ‘King of the Sheep’ contest turns up somewhere down the line, I’ll retract the previous paragraph.

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Worth a look, especially for Hollander’s excellent performance.

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Rev airs on BBC 2 Mondays at midnight.

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The Ambiguity of the ‘Coming Soon’ title

Everyone loves a good ‘Coming Soon’ title. It’s that little glimpse of hope when one series ends that another is coming and it’s going to be good. For this reviewer, I’ve had a hole in my TV schedule since Ashes to Ashes ended. Low and behold, ITV popped up almost immediately with a ‘Coming Soon’ trailer for Identity, their new crime series starring Keeley Hawes (A2A) and Aidan Gillen (Queer As Folk, The Wire) but that was bloody weeks ago.

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We’re still getting a ‘Coming Soon’ advert but it now seems that the phrase itself is taking liberties with the meaning of the word ‘soon’. As far as we can gather it could be anything from 12 minutes to 12 months.

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Nonetheless, Identity IS coming soon. How soon? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Edit: No sooner had I written this when someone plonked a TV guide down in front of me with “Identity – Monday Night” scrawled across it. There is still a lesson in this though…pay attention to the TV guide before winding up a rant…

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Law & Order Turns 19

Leaving out the numerous spin-offs and variations, Law & Order remains the best of the bunch, a statement proved by the fact that it now enters its 19th season still going strong. While it must be almost impossible at this stage to find a plot or case that hasn’t been in some way dealt with in the previous 18 series, Law & Order persists and manages to keep viewers interested all the time. 19 years-a-going can’t be wrong…

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The IT Crowd Move to Linux

Not really. Well maybe they do, I don’t know. I’m not one for complicated and diverse operating systems but I’m pretty sure Roy (Monaghan born Chris O’Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade) are, in this, another of Graham Linehan’s sitcom successes. While it feels like only yesterday that I sat down to view the first series in a block, in fact 4 years have passed and The IT Crowd has since garnered awards and whatnot for its surreal comedic brilliance.

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This week Moss finds fame on a TV quiz show, Roy, well Roy just seems to potter about a bit and Jen wonders why Douglas doesn’t let her attend meetings.

Finale Round-Up: Doctor Who

Matt Smith put a stylish end to his first series in the TARDIS last Saturday with what was admittedly a very underwhelming, far less apocalyptic Doctor Who finale in comparison to those of recent years. The universe was still going to collapse and erase us all from existence but somehow it didn’t seem so serious. With the elusive River Song scarpering off again and a few significant plot points left unresolved, the series has been set up to roll seamlessly into a Christmas episode and 6th series. Matt Smith has stepped well and truly up to the mark.

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Box-Set Wish-List

On my latest endeavour to Amazon to add titles to my never ending list of “Shit I must/should/probably shouldn’t/really don’t need to, buy” they alerted me to a couple of new box-set titles:

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The L Word Season 6: More lesbian fun and frolics in the final season of this brilliant US series.

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Warehouse 13 Season 1: X-Files meets that warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark – I wonder if they’ve had a look around for that yet… Daft but enjoyable.

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Next week sees a much more substantial list of new releases.

Posted in: Reviews