I blame the wire

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Hi, remember me? I used to blog regularly on this site until The Wire entered my life and effectively killed my TV consumption for four box sets.

Set in and around the projects and high-rises of Baltimore’s deprived South Side, HBO’s most thrilling export to date (and there’s been a few) for a time dominated my life and pushed all other TV to the margins. Thus, while Delia was getting intimate with tins of canned lamb, Neighbours was moving to channel 5, and Michael Sophocles was shitting all over Sir Alan in The Apprentice, I was more concerned about Omar’s next stick up and what was happening in Hamsterdam to give a shit. I realise this amounts to nothing less that a dereliction of duties and an affront to my flashing friend in the corner, but it’s just so good I’m afraid I couldn’t help myself.

But that’s only one half of the story. The truth is that after watching The Wire I began to get a little disillusioned with my attempts at pop cultural analysis and plaigirism so I tried to turn my hand at fiction. You can read the results at Dead bodies weigh heavier than broken hearts and Fikipedia and judge the results for yourself, but all I can say is it’s damn difficult!

Anyway, while I no longer technically own a TV, I’m still managing to cram quite a bit of viewing into my drying eye-holes through the wonders of i-player and other streaming video, so without further snivelling, allow me to embark on by overdue, over-stylised and over-compensating TV round up of the week.

Battlestar Galactica was recommended to me by several sources, none of whom were overt Sci-fi geeks, so I decided to give it a go. Armed with the 2hr + pilot and an open mind, I decided to let the DVD do the talking and wasn’t disappointed.

The show follows the fortunes of the last remaining humans from the 12 Gobol space colonies as they flee the Zylons, a deadly band of robots turned rebels, looking for the mythical 13th colony - which happens to be our dear own Earth. As the opening sequence dramatically reminds us each week, some of these robots look and feel human (not to mention are pretty hot) making the task ahead even more deadly as the Zylons hide within the humans’ midst.

This is a sexed up version of a 70s show by the same name, and with a kick-ass premise like this makes for addictive viewing (I’m half way through season one.) While it tends to drift towards the cheesy side a little to often for comfort, and the script can lag in places, Battlestar Galactica nevertheless punches with the big boys when comes to plot, drama and suspense. Plus there’s four seasons, making my unemployment quite frankly a breeze!

Also on the radar this week was Kidulthood, a gritty drama about the lives of the deprived teenagers at a West London school (available on BBC i-player.) as they deal with the aftermath of a pupil’s suicide. Written by Noel Clarke, who also plays the terrifying school bully Sam, Kidulthood doesn’t hold back when portraying the sex, violence and drugs of Britain’s modern youth, and has frankly made me terrified of anyone under 18!

Although quite similar in some respects to Larry Clarke’s 1995 directorial debut Kids, Kidulthood manages to carve out a space of its own when it comes to shocking the viewer and offering nothing but unrelenting bleakness as it eulogises the fate of Thatcher’s last, unwanted children.

It makes for compelling viewing, and with the sequel Adulthood out in cinema’s tomorrow, you could do worse than give it a shot.


 

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