Hello!

Below is my list of TV Shows (Drama) that deserve your attention this fall season.

The Playboy Club 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set in 1963, ‘The Playboy Club’ will go through a lot of comparisons as soon as it hits the airwaves. When you watch the pilot, you will see that it has many similarities with ‘Mad Men’. Excessive drinking, smoking, womanizing and a lot of hair gel. But if you get past that, you will realize that this is a very different show. It centers around the lives of the employees aka ‘Bunnies’ at The Playboy Club in Chicago. It has skimpy clothes, the local mafia and murder thrown in for good measure.

Many have already criticized the pilot for being extremely offensive and not being fit for family viewing. But I highly recommend it. It does have its downsides, yes. For example, Eddie Cibrian – the male lead is trying too much to be like Don Draper. Too much time was spent on insignificant characters too at one point.

But, if I were you, I would watch it. It is easily one of the best shows this year. The only downside to this is that it is going to be on NBC in the USA. This might be the reason for its early demise. This show would have been a perfect cable show. Having said that, the show’s female-driven cast is reason enough to give it a try.

Homeland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on an Israeli TV Show called ‘Hatufim’, ‘Homeland’ is probably my favourite TV Show premiering this fall. It is a fantastic psychological thriller created by Howard Gordon (Executive Producer for ’24’) with a plot that is super interesting — A CIA agent suspects that a recently released prisoner of war might actually be a terrorist sleeper agent. It stars Damien Lewis and Claire Danes in roles that they are made for.

I highly recommend this show. The end of the pilot was like a sucker-punch in the face. Must be watched by all means.

PS – If you like storylines of this sort, check out the old Showtime series called ‘Sleeper Cell’.

PPS – Psst! The pilot of ‘Homeland’ is available on the interwebs.

Hell on Wheels

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first reason to watch ‘Hell on Wheels’ is that it is going to be on AMC and they rarely disappoint. FUCK YOU AMC, FOR CANCELLING ‘RUBICON’. Hmm. Moving on.

Set in the 1860s in a boom town near the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, ‘Hell on Wheels’ is a Western that follows a former Confederate soldier who’s looking for revenge on the men who killed his wife. The trailer looked brilliant. When I watched the pilot, I was floored. I haven’t seen attention to detail in a TV Show like this since ‘Mad Men’. The storyline is very gripping too. Highly recommended!

Person of Interest 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Person of Interest delivers the elements of a crime procedural in an unpredictable manner. Michael Emerson is brilliant in his role as Finch. There are undercurrents of Benjamin Linus in his behavior. But I am sure that will pass once he finds his own feet as Finch. Jim Cavaziel is very good in his mysterious character Reese – A special agent whose past is unknown. The writing on the pilot was tight for most parts barring the painful and over-dramatic dialogues at times. But it comes from writer Jonathan Nolan and producer JJ Abrams, so I have faith in this show.  If you liked the concept of ‘Minority Report’, you will love this show as the premise is similar. If the writers flesh out the characters well on the show in the coming episodes, the series should work.

I have only one concern. This show is on CBS. CBS rarely lets shows go in the direction the producers want. Hence, this show runs the risk of getting mediocre very soon. But you should definitely give it a shot.

Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelsey Grammer,  like you have never seen him before.

The mayor of Chicago, Tom Kane (Grammer) has always used any means necessary to get the job done, and has been very successful at it. But when he’s suddenly afflicted by a degenerative brain disorder. I haven’t watched the pilot of this show but from whatever I have heard and what I saw in the trailer, I cannot wait to watch it.

Terra Nova

 

 

 

 

 

Probably the most awaited show of the year. The most expensive show of the year with a budget of an average of $4 Million per episode.

The year is 2149 and Earth is running out of resources to sustain mankind. Scientists of devised a way for humans to travel 85 Million years back in time to the prehistoric era where dinosaurs exist. The hype and the buzz around this show is only because of dinosaurs but take my word for it — This show is much more than that. The two-hour TV premiere of this show will be the biggest TV event in my opinion. And even if the story doesn’t excite you, I suggest you watch it for the sheer scale at which this project is being executed. Also, there’s this dude called Steven Spielberg producing this show. Just thought I’d let you know.

My concern is that this show is a huge production commitment that FOX has made. An average episode takes 8-9 days to shoot and then 6 weeks for post-production. Plus it doesn’t shoot in the USA. It is shot in Australia. They will be able to take this forward only if enough people watch it and they can make profits on the money that they are pumping into this project. Let’s hope they do.

PS – The show premieres on Star World in India on the 8th of October at 9 PM. Just a little over a week after it premieres in the USA.

Tomorrow, I shall do a similar post for comedies.

DG

 

 

 

 

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I Hate…

Posted: April 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

There are more things in this world I hate than the things I like. Yes, I am one of those. These are the things I hate in this world, listed in no particular order.

I hate people touching me.

I hate people using incorrect grammar.

When people spell weird as wierd. Which fucking school did you go to, you idiot?

When people chew with their mouth open. Someone needs to tell them they look like fucking cows.

Mathematics.

Rains.

Sunlight.

I hate Timothy Dalton as James Bond.

I hate hotels charging for WiFi.

Smoothies with Bananas in them.

Chocolate Cake. Yes, I fucking hate it.

I hate it when my cabbie stops near the exhaust of a truck.

Facebook.

People hitting ‘Like’ for every update on Facebook.

Software updates. Which tell you to download an installer. Which will in turn download the actual update.

.docx and .xlsx

Double negatives.

People who take forever to use the ATM when I am standing in line.

Redundant terms like ATM Machine and PIN Number. Ugh.

Family functions.

Aunties at family functions going, “Oh my God! You have grown so tall!”. Did you expect me to shrink, bitch?

Farmville.

People playing Farmville in the workplace, all the time.

When I am eating M&Ms and someone asks for the green ones.

Crying children on a flight.

Parents who can’t control their bratty children.

People who cancel plans habitually.

People who use ‘your’ when they mean to use ‘you’re’.

Long meetings.

Needless meetings.

Anything apart from the Recycle Bin on the desktop of my computer.

People who ask  ‘Can I ask you a question?’.

When people use ‘Can I’ when they are supposed to use ‘May I’.

Smelly people.

Bad breath.

Diet Coke. It tastes like shit.

When a friend orders a muffin and the waiter sets it in front of me assuming I am going to eat it just because I am fat.

Hip Hop.

Bars that play Hip Hop.

People who talk during a movie.

When a server doesn’t pour beer properly.

People who don’t reply to text messages.

People who typ lyk dis.

Also, people who TyPE lIkE tHis

People who put other people on speaker-phone without warning.

People who constantly get up in movie theaters.

People who bring infants to movies.

People abbreviating words when they speak.

People who eat while talking.

People who spit.

People who litter.

Tangled earphone wires.

People biting their nails.

People wearing sunglasses when they are indoors.

People who lie.

I could go on and list at least 200 more things that I hate but I am bored right now.

Later.

Hello from Hollywood!

 

My apologies for not posting a video yesterday. The preparations for the Oscars are making me go crazy. But I am sure this video will more than make up for it. This video comes to you from right outside the Kodak Theater. I hope you enjoy it.

Dharmesh

PS – Excuse the bad light. It was a cloudy day today.

Hello from Los Angeles!

I landed in Los Angeles, California yesterday with Rajeev Masand. We were super tired after a long flight but dove straight into work. This is the first part of my Oscars video blog. Very basic stuff to start with. This was shot last night. I fell asleep while uploading it. So, posting the link now. I promise you  more exciting stuff from Rajeev and I from today till Oscar Sunday!

Dharmesh

Director: Marc Forster

Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric.

Rating: 3/5

‘Quantum of Solace’ is a direct sequel to ‘Casino Royale’, so watching that first is a must. It also brings a much needed reality check to the series, making the films run into each other instead of our previously stereotypical super-spy saving the world every single time from space-based lasers and other nonsense. Craig is a superb Bond, erasing the criticism of his initial casting and really starting to emphasise the darker nature of the character without completely destroying the humour and sex appeal of previous Bonds. And this is the film’s biggest problem – it’s still the milestone of expectation of the earlier films, knowing that legions of fans want nothing more than Moneypenny and Q, ‘Bond. James Bond.’, Vodka Martinis and some straight-up sex.

Most of the best aspects remain from Casino Royale. Daniel Craig if not the best Bond ever is certainly the best actor to have played him and his interaction with Judi Dench’s M has plenty of on screen chemistry . Mathieu Amalric’s villain Dominic Greene follows in the tradition of the Craig era Bond baddies. In that he’s not a maniac sitting in a bunker trying to destroy the world. He is just a very greedy man wanting to make lots of money and killing anyone who stands in the way of his corporation. I can’t help thinking that maybe a little more screen time could have been dedicated to character interaction.

The plot is very weak and un-involving, in my opinion. The story does have originality in it. Let’s face the fact that in the global economy, nations compete with each other for foreign investments. That aspect is pushed to the extreme in the film with Greene’s scheme and deal with Bolivia. True enough, some governments out there make deals with these kinds of “investors” even if it would mean danger. Come to think of it, the last time I saw deep intelligence politics as far as the Bond movies go was in ‘From Russia with Love.’ But honestly, being a huge Paul Haggis fan, I was expecting a plot as exciting as that of Casino Royale. I was let down. The saving grace in the plot would be sub-elements like how the teething relationship between Bond and M continues to build with the development of trust, as well as the return of limited allies whom we’re likely to see feature in future Bond films. What I also love is the fact that in his transformation phase, Bond is portrayed to be vulnerable.

Director Marc Forster seemed to lack the knack for directing action sequences though, with everything in quick edits and delivered in a blur that it’s hard to figure out who’s Bond, who’s not, that you just switch off and consider two stuntmen taking potshots at each other. The stunts and chase sequences along with the edits is very Bourne-esque. Well this does not come as a surprise since they hired the editors and the 2nd Unit Director from the Bourne Series

What is impossible to forgive however is some quite atrocious editing in the action scenes where everything is so blink-and-miss. What makes it even worse is that director Marc Forster has some great visual ideas, especially a shootout in a restaurant where the only sound heard on screen is the sound of the opera but all this is bloody ruined by subliminal editing where shot lengths are micro seconds! You’ll have to see the movie to find out how terrible it looks. In fact a large percentage of the film feels like it ended up on the edit table.

The film even has something approaching subtext, by virtue of Marc Forster’s superb visual sensibility. An example includes Bond cradling a badly wounded friend, juxtaposed with an earlier scene in which he calmly ‘cradles’ a wounded foe awaiting his pulse to expire. Best of all though, is a pregnant pause shared by Bond and Greene just before the mayhem begins at the Tosca that literally speaks a thousand words.

All in all, fast cut editing technique, dangerous stunts and endless action pieces all make it entertaining but this misses out on the gadgets and witty one-liners that make Bond … well Bond. Take away the references to MI6 and it’s hardly any different to your regular action blockbuster. On the technical side, the influence of films like the Bourne or Die Hard series is strong. The camera has been brought much closer to the action, a lot more use is made of hand-held or just generally shaky cameras. This is not representative of the Bond films I grew to love over the years.

Same goes for the music- it is an excellent soundtrack, some really nice tunes in there, but it just isn’t Bond. In fact the classic full orchestra Bond theme can’t even be heard once during the entire film. All of these things by themselves aren’t bad at all but the series has just gotten a little too far from its roots.

There are two ways of looking at this. One is the positive opinion in that QOS is infinitely better than some of the crap we saw under the Bond banner in the 70s and 80s, perhaps even better than some of the lesser Brosnan films. That is the correct opinion. The negative opinion is that QOS is ultimately disappointing in many ways and should have been better as it eventually turned out to be just-another-popcorn-action flick. Unfortunately that is also the correct opinion.

I watched Barry Levinson’s ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ starring the legendary Al Pacino, last night. It is an outstanding film, to say the least. Al Pacino plays Dr. Jack Kevorkian – The American pathologist and right-to-die activist. Pacino’s portrayal of  Dr. Jack Kevorkian won him Emmy Award too. The film got me thinking about euthanasia.

Imagine lying on a hospital bed with thin tubes running like snakes through every opening of your body. You want to die. Foreign machines embedded into your skin, pumping in a magical fluid that keeps your time ticking, yet robbing every measure of your humanity. You want to die. You drop in and out of consciousness as they dope you with doses of powerful drugs. You want to die. There is no event in your life except that sharp pain which raises its ugly head at regular intervals. You want to die. You can’t be relieved of your excruciating pain and granted your death because the law refuses to give you the one thing you crave – your DEATH.

Legalisation of Euthanasia is one of the flaming issues in society today. Euthanasia is more commonly referred to as ‘Mercy killing’. This is a concept which propagates the ‘Right to Die’.

There are countless elderly people and terminally ill patients who have expressed a desire to die and have literally begged for death! Their families have abandoned many of these people as they are considered a financial and an emotional burden, but there are some ‘Humanitarians’ who insist on keeping them alive against their own will.

We live in the largest democracy where people have the freedom of choice, yet in their final painful days, when they need to exercise this right and make an important decision, they are denied it. Sad, but true.

In some countries Euthanasia has been legalised, but in some it is still inhuman, condemned and illegal. To some people it is an inhumane practice, but to some it’s the only humane thing to do.

Imagine a patient in the last stages of cancer, thin and weak, can’t sleep, sit, eat or even talk without pain. He’s waiting for the plug to be pulled on him. Yet, he is forced to fight a battle he knows he has already lost. Why? Only because the law does not allow him to die? People want to die without pain; they wish to end their life with an easy death. They want to die with a smile and not with dreadful pain. Then Why? Why can’t we grant them this last wish?

It’s true that everyone has the right to live, but there are times when we need to learn to let go…