Once Upon A Time…

I always thought that Charlie’s Angels was one of those TV concepts, much like Doctor Who, that was very hard to get wrong. Three, beautiful, incredible, talented women fighting crime and flirting with a speakerphone. That, and lots of lots of HAIR. But how wrong I was. If you’re truly a glutton for punishment, can I recommend the rebooted Charlie’s Angels, starting tonight on E4.

Get it while it’s lukewarm, kids, this dud was canned after only four episodes in the US, although the remaining three episodes were allowed to run, taking the full season to a miserable seven episodes.

The concept was the same as ever, but with some important changes. There are three beautiful women (this time Annie Illonzeh, Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor), once more at the beck-and-call of an anonymous millionaire (voiced by Alias’ Victor Garber). They do solve crimes. But that’s where the similarity to the 1976 original series ends. This time, the girls are hugely unconvincing reformed criminals – albeit ones who do ‘nice’ crimes for the ‘greater good’. It’s all a big ‘fallen angels’ spin. Additional efforts have also been made to add angst and backstory to each Angel – perhaps taking a tip from ‘Nikita’ or ‘Buffy’.

So how come it doesn’t work? This is where it becomes clear. THE WRITING IS AWFUL. I’m writing full-time these days, so I think I’m allowed to say that. The flim-flam, ‘feisty’ dialogue is toe-curling and the exposition comes thick and fast. The actors themselves are so miscast, one US TV critic commented ‘I am unconvinced of their ability to change a tyre, let alone bring down a human-traficker’. He has a point. The chemistry is all wrong too, not helped by the decision to bring in a ‘sexy’ Bosley in the comely form of Ramon Rodriguez. He’s meant to be the lovable comic relief, you idiots!

Such a shame. The original Angels, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the late, stunning Farah Fawcett had such easy, laid-back banter. All were gorgeous, but relatable. The new, over-preened, Roland Mouret wearing gloss-gang aren’t believable as human beings. I knew things were off to a bad start when former Smallville show-runners, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar expressed a desire to move away from the ‘camp’ of the 2000 revival movie starring Drew Barrymore (who also added her name to this turd as an exec producer). Don’t they get it? ‘Camp’ is definded as ‘something that is appealing because of it’s style, taste and irony’. Man, they succeeded in making something without style, taste or irony.

Could it have worked? Absolutely, yes. First…make Charlie a woman. Having three women work at the whim of an anonymous old perv is ridiculous in 2011. She would have been voiced by Jaclyn Smith OBV. Second. It either had to retain the fun factor of the movies, or go ‘Nikita’ dark. Trying to do both was never going to work. I personally, would have gone a little darker, more in line with the 70s series. I would have had the girls solving a mystery each week, but have them slowly realise a much bigger, more sinister crime was taking place. Having them bring down drug lords EVERY WEEK is silly. Bosley would have been in the Bernie Mac/Bill Murray mould. The fallen angels line was a load of old pap, kill it. What was wrong with girls who thought being in the police was boring?

Finally, and most importantly, my Angels would have been mates – something the movies got spot on. I am so sick of catty verbal sparing between female characters. In real life, women don’t fire sassy one-liners around like a nightmare dimension in which Desperate Housewives was real. It is a depressing universal truth that in American TV, two beautiful female characters must compete and fight, until they inevitably realise they are on the same side and should join forces. Funny, in real life, people just seem to get on most of the time.

Actually, now that I’ve ranted about it, you should absolutely watch it. It’s so bad, it’s awful. Needed much more HAIR.

Blogger Christmas Competition!

WIN AN ULTRA-RARE PROOF COPY OF HOLLOW PIKE FOR YOUR BFF!!!

Hollow Pike is the ‘hotly anticipated’ brand-new teen thriller about a small town with some dark secrets. Be the FIRST reader to own a super-rare uncorrected proof edition. With added dodgy mistakes!

In case you can’t access the video, here’s a rundown of the Hollow Pike Blogger Competition:

  • The competition is open to all book bloggers (a person who either owns or contributes to a blog about books and book reviews).
  • Our Christmas competition is about GIVING not receiving. To enter, use the Twitter hashtag #HollowPike and tell us one OTHER blogger who you feel deserves a rare-as-snow-in-Hades proof edition of Hollow Pike! Tell us why you think they deserve it in less that 140 characters! Be sure to include their twitter username (@whoever) in the tweet.
  • One nomination per blogger please, although a blogger can be nominated more than once.
  • If you are not a Twitter user, you can use the comments box below to submit your entry (still include your nomination’s twitter name or website in the entry).
  • A winner will be randomly selected from all of the ‘nominations’ on Monday 5th December.
  • The winner will recieve the ONLY proof copy of Hollow Pike this side of Christmas!

Remember – Nina Douglas from Orion has started a waiting list for proof copies in the new year! If you would like to go on her list, contact her in the the usual way.

Lastly a big thank you to the book blogging community…if the internet had been around when I was a teenager, I know, without question, I would have been blogging about books too. I love your enthusiasm for Hollow Pike, and can’t wait to finally share it with you! Good luck with the competition.

X Factor Live Shows – Week 8

Slightly shorter than normal update as I’m feeling a tiny bit delicate. It’s all in the name of research however – I spent the night partying with Craig Colton and JLS in some sort of X Factor celebration. Craig sang live, JLS did not.

I really enjoyed Week 8 – although don’t get me started on the concept of ‘Guilty Pleasures’…to me they are simply pleasures and I feel no guilt whatsoever. Let’s break it down…

Little Mix – Your enjoyment of the first song depended entirely on your feeling towards one Justin Bieber, as the mash-up with The Supremes didn’t really work. Which was meant to be the guilty pleasure? In some continents, being found guilty of performing with Justin Bieber is still illegal. Their performance of ‘Beautiful’ was much better – although the tiny tears at the end was all a bit much. I have a bad feeling this week…NOT SAFE.

Janet Devlin – Oh dear God. Simply awful. Whoever is voting needs to stop. Two of my fellow party chums last night are Irish and they can’t bear her, which begs the question….who is voting? Dial 0-800-STOPJANET for support. Her rendition of ‘MMMBop’ was hideous, and her ‘Under The Bridge’ was dull. That said, Janet clearly tapped into the song’s angst about scouring LA for heroin. She’s been there. NOT SAFE.

Misha B – Back in the game! This was her first A+ performance since ‘Rolling In The Deep’. Her ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ was excellent fun, not to be obvious. Her ‘Killing Me Softly’ was less impressive, but is still a great song that she dusted off with panache. In recent weeks, Misha hasn’t been safe, but this week she was so good I think she’s secure. The Tulisa comments may finally be forgotten as well. SAFE.

Marcus Collins – Marcus doesn’t offend me, but that’s about the best thing I can say about him. He’s very robotic, like a made-for-talent-TV cyborg. His smile, his comments to the judges, his polished appearence and performances…all very rehearsed. He has almost american X Factor slickness. This should be a good thing, I know, but I can’t warm to him. Performance wise, his Wham was passable, but the ‘ballid’ was awful…I have no idea what the judges were listening to because he was as flat as week old Tizer. Still, SAFE.

Amelia Lily – Worth every penny this week simply for the Twitter fury that broke out between Gary Barlow and Carol Decker following Amelia’s performance of ‘China In Your Hand’. PRICELESS. Betty Boo got involved! Actually her T”Pau was gorgeous. Her version of ‘Since You Been Gone’ was shaky, but I LOVE that song so bonus points. Gary has a point in that Amelia only really works when belting it out Katy Perry style, but she’s still more appealing that Janet or Marcus. Despite her pushy dad. Sadly for Amelia…NOT SAFE.

I hope Little Mix aren’t in the bottom two…although think they’d sail through a sing-off. I’ll predict Janet and Amelia in the danger zone…and of those two I wouldn’t like to say who they’d save.

Ooh – bloggers, don’t forget the Hollow Pike giveaway tomorrow at 5pm!

X Factor Live Shows – Week 7

No breakdowns; no bitching; no hilarious twenty-minute delays; no Cokeupthenozza. What am I supposed to blog about? I might actually have to write about the acts! How old fashioned!

Really interesting one last night. With everybody saying that the current haul of contestants are the WORST EVER (oh come on – how quickly we forget the Leon Jackson/Rhydian/Same Difference final), all the gang upped their game last night. No-one was awful. Except Craig. With so few left, we can go through them all, I think.

Craig¬† Colton– wore black, sang a ‘ballid’ centre stage. And of all the Bond songs, they chose a crap one. How DARE Barlow ever criticise any other act for being predictable. As mentioned in previous weeks, I think that in some ways Craig is the obvious winner in that he’s an unoffensive balladeer, but that’s exactly why he shouldn’t win. Cher Lloyd and JLS and One Direction are proving that the squeaky clean solo male singer isn’t what sells. I think The X Factor will give Craig a springboard into theatre, but lets leave him there. But even after that performance I’m saying SAFE.

Janet McPixie-Goulding – I actually can’t remember her surname and can’t be bothered to google her. As dreary as she is, her rendition of Sixpence None The Richer’s ‘Kiss Me’ suited her well. If everyone else had been awful, this would have been a standout, but the others out shone her. Even at her best, she looks like a rabbit in the headlights. Stop voting people of Ireland. NOT SAFE.

Amelia Lily – So good last week, so average this week. Kelly obviously has her down as a rock chick, but her performance of ‘Think’ was more on a par with her fatal rendition of ‘Billie Jean’ than it was ‘The Show Must Go On’. A shame, but I think she’s definite bottom two potential after that. NOT SAFE.

Misha B – Singing a Bodyguard song is sure way of banking a few Mum votes, so as Gary said, it was a little safe – but who can blame her? I think the problem is Tulisa made her look like a massive bitch, so all the teenage girl votes swung to Little Mix, leaving Misha on very shaky ground. Annoying, as she is the contestant with most potential. That said, she needs to get back her urban groove at once, otherwise she risks being a slightly squashed down version of Alexandra Burke. Despite the soaring vocal, NOT SAFE.

Little Mix – Really, really excellent last night. Total extra points for dusting off ‘Don’t Let Go’ by En Vogue, which is one of my karaoke favourites. In terms of vocals, the Mix may be the best group The X Factor has ever had, never mind the best girl group. Last year One Direction mimed the choruses and JLS always let Aston do the singing. This was outstanding, although not as slick as ‘ET’ in week 4. I’m behind Little Mix for the win. SAFE.

Marcus Collins – Not as good as Gary said (sorry, poppet, only Simon Cowell can deem a performance the ‘best of the night’ with conviction), but still good. What I find interesting is the peaks and troughs in quality between Marcus and Craig, like only one of them can be good in the same show. I wonder if they have fan loyalty of if votes swing between the boys – who both fall under ‘squeaky clean male soloist’. Bored me, but still SAFE.

Tulisa – didn’t know an Aretha Franklin song. UNFIT JUDGE. I don’t care how much Cheryl Cole is asking – give it to her.

I will stick my neck on the line and predict an Amelia and Misha B bottom two with Misha B running out of life-lines. I HOPE it’s Janet though. Who do you think was good or, indeed, crap?

X Factor Live Shows – Week 6

The show must go on! The show must go on! The stage paint may be flaking, the intro was delaying but the smiles stayed on…

I wonder who was shot for the painful delay at the start of X Factor last night? Are you seriously trying to tell me that a powercut at BT Tower meant the biggest live show in the country couldn’t go ahead? Strictly managed. If it was a werid delaying tactic to get everybody watching, the Overlords really have reached a new low. Also, on the topic of conspiracy theories, was it really Frankie’s decision to quit? I thought he’d broken a ‘golden rule’?

I suppose I should talk about the actual performances…although I am more than convinced they aren’t meant to be the focus this year. The ‘backstage drama’ is so trying, I can see why the simple pleasures of Strictly are winning viewers over. Only one standout performance this week, and that goes to Amelia Lily – who did make out with Frankie, but we should forgive her misguided ways. Her triumphant rendition of ‘The Show Must Go On’ served to remind us all of that perplexing moment when Kelly chose Sophie Habibis over her in the first place. Baffling.

With the exception of Amelia and Craig I don’t think anyone is truly safe – Tulisa had a point there. Let’s talk about Craig for a second. Number one – he’s not a popstar and allowing him to win would be cruel. His fate/career in a touring version of Hairspray playing Edna would be sealed. Number two – Craig is openly gay. He has a boyfriend. Going out of their way to change to lyrics of ‘Paparazzi’ to make them heterosexual was a HUGE mistake, The X Factor sent out a message that it is not OK for boys to sing about boys. Nice. Would it put people off their dinner, ITV? Number Three – his version of ‘Paparazzi’ was beyond awful.

The rest are on shaky ground for the following reasons. Janet – can’t sing, and even the Irish voters might get sick of that. Marcus – pulling out the same performance only less good was ill-advised. Plus his votes will swing back to Craig this week. Little Mix – Gary was absolutely right, even they looked bored doing ‘Telephone’. Misha B – the damage was done by Tulisa, it’s only a matter of time. Kitty – not villainous enough to be a good villain (although full marks for bondage-horse-men). Bottom line is, with no firm favourite, anyone can go.

If I had to make a prediction, I’d say a Kitty and Little Mix bottom two, with Kitty finally being put out of her misery.

On a final note, for a Lady Gaga week, there was precious little Gaga. No ‘Bad Romance’? No ‘Pokerface’? I would have paid actual money for someone doing a version of ‘Speechless’. Kitty doing ‘Government Hooker’ – I would have voted at least ten times.

X Factor Live Shows – Week 5

OOOOOOH GURL! Louis went there. It’s that sort of behaviour that prevents me from drinking gin – the SPITE. Louis clearly had a mean case of SPITE last night: calling Kelly out on her absence, telling Frankie exactly what the rest of us have been saying for five weeks, screaming at Gary to shut up. In Kelly’s words, ‘cute’, Louis, real cute. Walsh was one ‘WELL AT LEAST I’M NOT FAT’ away from being a particularly vindictive Year 6 girl.

That said, Louis’ SPITE saved the episode from being chronically dull, so we’ll forgive him. I think I’ve figured it out. Last year’s X Factor was REALLY GOOD. So good, in fact, that this one was doomed. One Direction are a perfect teenybopper boyband. Rebecca Fergusson was pure class. Cher Lloyd surprised every week. Early hopes for Misha B have dwindled since ‘Rolling in the Deep’ (peaked too soon), while The Risk were only good singing Plan B. All hopes now rest with Little Mix, I fear. I was reliving some of Cher’s performances from last year. I’m not seeing this sort of imagination this year.

Last night, if I had to pick a favourite, I’d go with Misha’s performance of ‘Proud Mary’, although it was all such a PR exercise in making her ‘likeable’, that I actually liked her less. Most interesting performance of the night was Marcus – I’m now beginning to see what kind of artist he could be…skinny Cee-Lo’s gay love child with Bruno Mars, anyone?

To the worst…Frankie was on the verge of tears as though he was being violated by The Black Eyed Peas song, while Janet’s spectacular fail to remember the words was prime squirm-in-your-seat TV. As the only Irish contestant, she’s probably safe, mind. It’s Eurovision block-voting all the way for that one. We should also talk about Johnny Robinson. I think it’s stopped being funny now. In fact, I might find it a little offensive…’it’s FUN, it’s FUN’ screams Louis. Is it? Is it really? Now, Gary is the undisputed queen of MOR song choices, but at least he hasn’t lumbered Marcus and Craig with ‘camp-classics’ every week.

Finally a word about Craig Colton. He seems very nice. He is NOT a popstar. The mass pop grave containing McManus, McElderry, Jackson, Brookstein and now Cardle doesn’t need another body. That is all.

Who’s Safe? Little Mix, Johnny, Craig, Marcus, Misha B.

Who’s Not Safe? Kitty, The Risk, Janet, Frankie.

As it’s a double elimination, I’ll make the following prediction. I suspect Kitty will be out on lowest votes followed by a Frankie/The Risk (or Misha B) sing-off which The Risk (or Misha B) will emerge from triumphant. Who were your favourites and who deserves to go home?