Tuesday 31 July 2012

Flavours of the Month: July 2012...


Futurama: Season 5 - or, as it is also referred to, the first half of season six. The Futurama folk consider the four movies, which were each in-turn split into four parts, to constitute a supposed 'fifth season', so when they triumphantly returned to TV via Comedy Central, they were onto 'season six'. Anyway - a couple of slightly weaker episodes in the mix (and some examples of ever-so-blunt socio-political commentary) may be present, but it's still wickedly funny a second-time-around. It's a bit bloody daft though, that 'season six' (the back-half of the 26 episodes, which were begun with these here 13 episodes) won't be out on UK DVD until March 2013! Season Seven is already underway, and the episodes have long-since been available in other territories - it's the same story with Robot Chicken's fifth season, which still hasn't struck the Region 2 market (despite being available in other territories for a long time now).

Alan Partridge - Sky Atlantic have clearly been doing very well, and have therefore set about bringing in a whole slew of brand new comedy (some of which they've produced). 10 weeks of new Alan Partridge content is one such example of Monday-based mirth - a chucklesome way to relive my old stomping grounds from my uni days.

Adam Buxton's Bug - I was (and remain) a huge fan of The Adam & Joe Show, which was on Channel 4 back in the 1990s, so I always take great interest in what the two of them have done since. This is a televised version of Buxton's live "Bug" shows, in which he shares weird and wonderful music videos, web content, and computer-based japes, and reads through some of the bizarre and hilarious comments left behind by everyday YouTube users. Now four episodes in, you can see that Buxton has relaxed into the televised setting of his show, and I look forward to the rest of the shows.

The Newsroom - Aaron Sorkin's new drama has kicked off in grand style. The second episode was a bit weak, but the first and third episodes have been stormers. His trademark machine-gun dialogue is in-place, with a wishful outlook on how television news should be, rather than how it is. Indeed, as someone who is decidedly fed up with modern television news (as well as various sectors of journalism in general), it's a good bit of wish fulfilment for me to boot.

The Angelos Epithimiou Show - it's hard to describe why this character is so funny; it has to be seen to be understood, and even then he's not going to be to everyone's liking. No wonder he first came to wide attention on the now-cancelled Shooting Stars. "What's in your bag Angelos? Tell me what's in your bag - ya bastard!"

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes and flavours - including zombies, meth, Zimmer, and Duke...

The Walking Dead Season 3 previews - it's been Comic-Con 2012 this month (I'd love to go to Comic-Con some day), and so that means the previews, news, and panels for the new season of The Walking Dead. As a gargantuan fan of AMC's adaptation of Robert Kirkman's wonderful comic, it was nerdvana for me - I even went and did a full run-down of the superb preview trailer.

The Black Dahlia - a third spin for Brian DePalma's stylish, but decidedly flawed film adaptation of James Ellroy's crime fiction based on the real-life case of Elizabeth Short - more commonly known as The Black Dahlia, who was brutally murdered in 1947 Los Angeles. The second half of the flick is where the real trouble (and confusing plot holes) gets into high gear, along with significant changes from the source novel. The first time I saw it (in 2006), I was disappointed and rather confused by it. The second time I saw it (in 2011, after playing the homicide desk portion of L.A. Noire, which was heavily influenced by the Dahlia killing, as well as The Lipstick Murders), I found more to enjoy in the film's style and tone ... and now, seeing it a third time (having now read the source novel), it makes a hell of a lot more sense. I can fill in numerous gaps, and spot numerous changes (many of them large - for instance, the entire Mexico portion of the book is nowhere to be found, resulting in vast second-half rewrites). It's still flawed - indeed it's much more noticeable now - but there are numerous things to dig about the flick. It's a damn shame it didn't touch the heights of Curtis Hanson's brilliant adaptation of L.A. Confidential.

Breaking Bad: Season 2 - no UK channel broadcasts Vince Gilligan's blackly comic drama about a chemistry teacher, suffering from lung cancer, who starts cooking meth with one of his former pupils, in order to establish a nest egg for his family once he's gone ... so, having absorbed the likes of Deadwood and Mad Men en-masse this year, I figured it was about time I caught up on this show, having only seen the first season last year on FX.


Alice Cooper "The Eyes of Alice Cooper", "Constrictor", "Brutal Planet", "Dragontown" and more - suffice to say, I've got into a right old obsession with Alice Cooper. I've no idea why it took me so long to properly get into Alice Cooper (it's exactly my kind of music), but now that I am, I'm enjoying the hell out of that voracious appetite you get when you find yourself obsessed with a great discovery.

HIM "Razorblade Romance" and "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights"

Foo Fighters "Wasting Light"

Kari Kimmel "Black" - as featured in the preview trailer for season three of The Walking Dead. They always choose great tracks to accompany their trailers, and this year was no different.

Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich "Bend It" - as featured in an episode of Futurama (see above).

Hans Zimmer "The Dark Knight Rises" Soundtrack - a thunderous accompaniment to Nolan's trilogy-closing grand epic.

Tenacious D "39" - decidedly rude, but oh-so-hilarious. It's been a long time since I listened to Tenacious D, but I think I'll have to get "Rize of the Fenix" on the strength of this track.

Ringo Deathstarr "Rip" - the first track to be revealed from the shoe-gazer's upcoming second album.


The Walking Dead Game: Episode 2 - delayed sure, but at least we can get cracking again into this spiffing little point & click zombie adventure. The ghoulish twist in this episode is predictable, but it still proves to be fascinatingly dark. Plus, it's good to see how your actions will affect the outcome (something that, obviously, wasn't all that clear in the first episode).

James Ellroy "The Black Dahlia" - I've never really read crime fiction before, and having recently replayed L.A. Noire, I fancied giving some a go. I ended up on Ellroy's rendition of the Dahlia murder tale (see above for talk of Brian DePalma's film adaptation). There's a couple of dips to proceedings where the spark tends to fizzle out a bit, but inevitably a gripping passage is soon to follow. It works a hell of a lot better than the film adaptation too - for one thing, it actually makes sense.

Duke Nukem Forever - I remember seeing trailers for this as far back as 1998 and thinking "wow, that looks amazing". In 2011, it was finally released (after at least two engine changes, constant delays, and the fetid stench of being labelled "vapourware"). I've seen numerous awful reviews for it (as well as various middling reviews), and copious chunks of footage on YouTube, so I knew what I was getting into. As a fan of Duke Nukem 3D from back in the day (when I was around 13 years old, and very much enamoured with the nature of the game), it was inevitable that I'd give this game a spin eventually, so I nabbed it for a few quid. I'm a few hours in and yes - it has numerous flaws: lack of focus, dated graphics (hardly surprising), dated references, etc, but there's also some old-school fun to be had. It's easy to see why, in a world obsessed with Call of Duty, that this outing wouldn't find any favour in some quarters, but it's certainly not a total travesty. Mind you, had I spent forty-ruddy-quid on this (rather than six), I'd have felt totally ripped off. I would like to see a properly executed Duke Nukem game for the modern era though, and I do hope that happens sometime soon.

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