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HBO Killed the Radio Star? February 22, 2010

Posted by Paula in Televisual.
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A new animated series, inspired by The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts, will air on Channel 4 this April. ‘Inspired’ is perhaps the wrong word though. The series, which has already aired on US cable channel HBO is, quite literally, an animated version of the original podcasts.

Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington sit in a studio chatting. Only this time, we get to see them chatting. Or, a Hanna Barbara-style animated version of them chatting. There’s no doubt that the audio content itself is incredibly entertaining, but if you’ve listened to the audiobooks (and you still can via iTunes), are you getting anything extra from seeing it in cartoon format? It seems like a group of HBO execs sat down and said “God, these guys are funny. Pity we don’t have a radio station. Pity we can’t get the three of them in here to say it all again on camera. If only there was any way we could make this into a telvision sh- oh wait…”

Apparently it takes 17 animators to make each episode of the show. Is it really worth it? Decide for yourself on April 23, or watch the clips below and after the jump…

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How to Knock Off Entourage? February 15, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Televisual.
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How to Make it in America aired its first episode last night on HBO in the US. Having been touted as a New York-set Entourage-alike, the show certainly lived up to this comparison in its first half hour on the air.

America swaps L.A. for New York and instead of a group of guys trying to make it in the entertainment industry, it’s two guys trying to make it in the fashion industry. At least – that’s what the promos say. After watching the first episode though, I’m not really fascinated by its insights into the fashion industry at any level. Yes, they buy some stolen leather jackets off the back of a truck and attempt to sell them – but for the most part I felt like this was all in the name of making a quick buck, rather than trying to scale their thievery into some sort of thriving career.

Unsurprisingly, it’s from the same team who produced Entourage. I would have expected them to try out something new this time round, rather than produce something to keep Entourage fans interested. Alas, no luck.

The cast does an acceptable job with the material, although Bryan Greenberg as Ben continues to slightly annoy me. Maybe it’s because he played Peyton’s boyfriend in One Tree Hill way back when. His best friend Cam, played by Victor Rasuk is nothing special either, and once again feels like an Entourage import. The ladies don’t fare too much better either. Shannyn Sossamon pops up as the duo’s friend Gingy, and she’s fine but her character has little to do. Always-bland Lake Bell plays Ben’s ex in a storyline that we’ve seen thousands of times before. Samaire Armstrong guest stars and let’s just say she’s become exponentially more annoying since her days as Anna on The O.C. Kid Cudi also randomly stars in the show, but only briefly appears in the first episode.

Criticisms aside, the series shows a lot of potential, and I think the characters will become more likeable as we get to know them and as the show’s focus tightens a bit. Judging by the trailer alone, things look to get much more interesting in forthcoming episodes. Basically, it needs to justify its existence and step out of Entourage‘s shadow. It’s nicely shot, with some hipster photography thrown in every now and again and during the opening credits.

Check out the trailer below.

She’s with the Band February 3, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Lit, Televisual.
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Another day, another piece of Zooey Deschanel news. Alongside her successful music and film careers, Zooey’s finally sticking her finger into the television pie (unless we’re counting guest appearances on Bones and Tin Man) by signing up to star in and executive produce HBO’s new comedy pilot, I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.

The show is based on the book of the same name, a 1987 memoir by notorious groupie Pamela Des Barres. Some of her story was already told in the film Almost Famous, which incidentally was one of Zooey’s first film appearances.

It’s a half-hour comedy, so I’m not expecting anything along the lines of The Sopranos or Six Feet Under here. But HBO’s needed something in the comedy department to fill the void left by Sex and the City. I don’t see this as being the worthiest of replacements, but with Zooey on board I can’t help but be optimistic.

For a taste of what to expect, here’s the book’s blurb:

The stylish, exuberant, and remarkably sweet confession of one of the most famous groupies of the 1960s and 70s is back in print in this new edition that includes an afterword on the author’s last 15 years of adventures. As soon as she graduated from high school, Pamela Des Barres headed for the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars’ backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s. Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Noel Redding, and Jim Morrison, among others. She traveled with Led Zeppelin; lived in sin with Don Johnson; turned down a date with Elvis Presley; and was close friends with Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Ray Davies, and Frank Zappa. As a member of the GTO’s, a girl group masterminded by Frank Zappa, she was in the thick of the most revolutionary renaissance in the history of modern popular music. Warm, witty, and sexy, this kiss-and-tell–all stands out as the perfect chronicle of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most thrilling eras.

[Blurb via Good Reads]
[Image: Girls Aren’t Funny]

Get ready to be Bored June 20, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Televisual.
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Bored to Death

“Bored to Death” is a new HBO comedy about an alcoholic author who pretends to be a private detective. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson.

Starts this September. Sign me up.

It hurts so good May 18, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Televisual.
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True Blood is ONE of my favourite programmes NOT on TV (although it’s starting here on FX in July). Based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, it’s basically Twilight for anyone who hates Twilight. It also stars Anna Paquin, who you might remember from cheesefest “Fly Away Home” as well as Vinnie from “Home and Away”.

The reason I mention it now is because Season 2 is starting in just 26 days and considering the VERY annoying cliffhanger at the end of Season 1 I can’t wait for it.