Just for once I'm going to mention another TV show, maybe two. Stargate Atlantis started in the UK last week and the conclusion of the two part pilot episode was on last night. I really like SG-1 but I don't know if I'd call myself a fan of it - it's just something I watch and enjoy. So I decided to give Atlantis a look, see if it was any good.
It is and it isn't. The male and female leads may need time to grow into their roles, or they may need better writing and direction, whatever it is - they felt stilted. Maybe we were supposed to be so blown away with the scenery and the special effects that we weren't supposed to notice the stilted dialogue, the lack of character depth. Maybe they'll improve. I hope so.
The bad guys? The Wraith? Puh-lease. These guys are every horror cliche you can think of rolled into one package. Not impressed.
It all feels a little rushed to me - at the end of the last season of SG-1 they find an Atlantean outpost on Earth and now suddenly they're all off on a potentially one-way trip to another galaxy? Yeah, makes for good sci-fi but the other thing about good sci-fi? It has to be grounded in reality, or at least believable. So far Atlantis isn't all that believable.
That said, there are good things about it - it's quirky, it's funny in places, it's got that good ole SG-1 philosophy of "blow something up every 8 seconds". It's got Dr Beckett. I think that's his name anyway. Bit part, geeky, funny, never going to be a main character and yet I love him! He's Scottish, with my accent, which meant I zeroed in on him almost immediately - it's actually very rare to hear my accent on TV, not all Scots speak alike - and on his uniform he has a Saltire as his country of origin flag, which just makes me want to hug the costume department! Although Scotland does have two flags (the Saltire - white cross on a blue background - and the Lion Rampant - red lion on a yellow background), I don't think either of them would be used on a military uniform - it would surely be the Union Jack since Scotland doesn't have it's own miltary, we are part of the British Armed Forces.
Anyway, enough patriotism. The other reason I love this character is because he constantly screws up and somehow manages not to be annoying all the time! He's fantastic! Whether I'll think that after a couple of weeks I don't know, but for now - Dr Beckett rules!
Other show, Spooks. I didn't really watch Spooks until about half way through the first season and then I somehow managed to miss a whole load of the second season. Season three started, also last week, on BBC1. It's quite possibly the single best piece of UK drama I've seen in a very long while. The season starter last week left a lot to be desired, Danny was really badden written in the episode and the actor (I've no idea of his name - I'm sure the BBC have a Spooks subsite though) seemed to be background in all his scenes. The main plot of last weeks episode focused around trying to prove Tom Quinn was being set up - even after he'd shot his boss.
The actor playing Tom did a bang-up job, he had him believably on the run but trying to keep in touch, the scene where he went to Zoe's flat and started talking about the hierarchy amongst the 'underworld' of London was just chilling - had Tom really lost his mind? The face-down with the guy who set him up pulled no punches. The doubt, the betrayal and the ultimate knowledge that there was no way to win was perfectly played.
All in all, last week's episode was a fantastic start to the new season.
This week? Not so much. Danny was much improved, Zoe was weird and Tom? Sorry, but the guy who last week I really believed was on the verge of losing it completely this week just looked tired. The new guy, Adam, I'm not sure what I make of him yet - he's a little 'convenient' for my liking, plus he works for a rival agency - would he really be heading up a team in MI5 so soon after being sequestered?
The other thing that's bugging me is the girl from Touching Evil (the original UK version) is now in Spooks. I guess she arrived in an episode of s2 which I missed but I really have no clue what she's doing there.
Maybe they just need someone else whose head they can put in a working deep fat fryer....