Rabu, 18 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Perfect pairs


In their final column – relax, that's just for this year – the Spudniks realise that duos come in all shapes and sizes.

WHERE do I begin? There are too many dynamic duos on television that I love – you know, two characters who seem to have very little in common but when they team up, they (to steal a phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire) complete each other. We're not talking about romantic duos but buddies, siblings, partners in crime, and soul sisters.

Some of my all-time favourite duos who aren't on TV anymore include Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) from The X-Files – they couldn't be more different but they are so good for each; Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) from Friends – no two friends have ever been so in sync (I actually cried when Chandler moved out); or JD (Zach Braff) and Tuck (Donald Faison) from Scrubs – they have each other's back, always.

A recent duo that has become a favourite is Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) of Elementary. This is, in more ways than one, a sacred age-old friendship that was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle back in 1887. The show takes liberties with the characters, most obviously by making Watson a woman (Asian, I might add), and transporting them to present-day America.

Still the sanctity of this relationship is retained. Watson is the yin to Holmes' yang. He is charismatic, eccentric, condescending and socially inept but also vulnerable, naive and broken (a recovering addict who has a strained relationship with his family). Watson is the sober, grounded one. She used to be a surgeon but was fired after a grave mistake caused her patient to die on her operating table. She became a professional "sober companion" (like, really?) to recovering addicts which is how she met Sherlock.

Though he resists her at first, the two soon warm up to each other (no romantic angle here, thankfully) and she eventually becomes his anchor, his friend. They have an unspoken bond and she understands his quirks like nobody else.

Another duo I'm starting to like are Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) of Sleepy Hollow (have you started watching this series? It's good fun). Though they're not giving each other buddy hugs or anything like that, they're a tight pair even though they literally come from different worlds.

And of course, I can't write a piece about dynamic duos without mentioning Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) from Community. Who would have thought a jock and a nerd could be best buds? I mean these two oddballs have a secret handshake, for goodness' sake. And, they built a blanket fort together. And they co-host a fake TV show. They're crazy as hell but they're buddies.

Until Troy met Abed, he was a broken ex-athlete who lost his football scholarship because of an injury he obtained at a keg party. When he and Abed got together, he became whole again. I know that's a horrible cliche, but aren't all good friendships are based on cliches? Together forever, through thick and thin, till death do us part … er… yeah, something like that. Abed taught him self-acceptance and introduced him to a world of possibilities.

Friendship is a two-way street of course. Before Troy, Abed had no real friends. Sure, he was comfortable with himself but he was always alone. No one would have thought he'd let Troy into his mad, mad world but the two found that they are great together. Everyone needs a Troy or Abed in their lives. — SI

I LOVE Troy and Abed too, and I think they add something special to Community, because they are so quirky and I love how they end each show with The Troy And Abed Show. Dynamic duos are a dime a dozen, come to think of it – from the Hardy Boys (Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson in that 1970s TV programme) to BJ And The Bear (Greg Evigan and Sam the Chimp, who sadly passed away from kidney failure about a decade ago) to Laverne And Shirley (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams).

Then there were all those police/PI duos – Hardcastle And McCormick, Starsky And Hutch, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, CHiPs – so manylah ... good things came in twos it would seem. Entertainment? There was Donny And Marie. Space? Battlestar Galactica had Apollo and Starbuck. Cartoons? Tom had his Jerry, Fred Flintstone had Barney Rubble, Mickey had Minnie, Sylvester had Tweety, the Road Runner had Wile E. Coyote.

There was definitely something about having a partner, whether she or he was a friend or foe. Okay enough rambling on about the good ol' days. Entertainment editor Gordon "Youngling" Kho loves to take me to task for going on about TV shows from the 15th century.

So fast-forward to the present.

This year I had quite a number of favourites – initially there was Castle and Beckett from Castle, of course (Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic). Actually Castle also featured another very interesting duo – Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan. While they were only the second line in terms of star power on the show, or maybe even third if you count Alexis Castle (Molly Quinn) and mum Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan),

Esposito and Ryan are also very lovable characters and their personalities have been nicely fleshed out, making them worthy supporting cast members.

Another favourite pair is Phineas And Ferb. These two stepbrothers with a wild imagination from the Disney Channel never fail to amuse me with their zany antics and kooky creations. And who else has a platypus for a pet anyway?

As far as siblings go, you can't really miss out the Winchester Brothers. It's been some time since I indulged in Supernatural, I think the upcoming Christmas holidays will be great to correct that.

Last but not least and you'd notice that I've been mentioning him a lot lately is Luther (Idris Elba). I'm still at Season One, so I'm going to lump Luther with Alice Morgan (a murderous genius who has somehow become Luther's friend and ally). Brit actress Ruth Wilson (of Lone Ranger fame) plays her part with such glee that you end up liking her even though you know she's a bad, bad girl. And Luther is just so tormentedly good-looking, well, I am madly in love with him.

So when it comes to dynamic duos – it doesn't really matter what the genre is or whether or not the characters are the protagonists, family members, animals or enemies ... two makes it all seem just right. — AMC

Simon Cowell of X-Factor's comeback


The reality-based talent show had been getting low ratings this year.

Although Simon Cowell's X Factor has lost half of its 12 million viewers from Season 1, the executive producer and judge sounds highly optimistic that it will be back next year.

"I think the show, more than think, the show will be coming back next year," he told reporters during a press call earlier this week. When asked again how he viewed the show's chances of returning for a fourth season, he answered, "Good, because it has a solid audience."

Cowell liked to refer to his show as being second to The Voice in ratings. That would be true if one considered that they are the only two major talent competitions airing presently. The truth is when it comes to ratings, The Voice is in a whole other world, regularly scoring about 11 million viewers presently. But at this point, Cowell is trying to change the narrative i.e. it's not about the ratings, but about the talent.

He shared the press call with his finalists, duo Alex and Sierra. The group has been blazing the iTunes charts, it's true. As of last Friday, they had eight songs in the iTunes Top 50. "What Alex and Sierra have achieved on iTunes over the last couple weeks is phenomenal," he continued, "I've never seen this happen with an artist. I'm really happy, because the show has set out to achieve what it has set out to achieve, which is to find a star. So, I'm very happy."

Cowell said that if the show is to come back, there would probably be some changes, including airing just one night a week like ABC's Dancing With The Stars, another new set of judges (here we go again!) and even a role change for Cowell.

"We have to be more different next year than we were this year," he said, considering the crowded marketplace for talent shows. "So, we're in the middle of a presentation to Fox to say this is what we think the show should look like, this is what we think the fans would like. And, yes, my role could change on that show. But, I can't say much more than that."

At any rate, Cowell said he's in it for the long term. "We have 47 X Factor productions running around the world," the 54-year-old said. "In certain countries, it dips a little bit, you make some changes and it goes back to No.1. We're kind of used to doing this." — Reuters

Baz Luhrmann developing show on hip-hop


The Australian filmmaker is set to create a television programme on early hip-hop scene.

Baz Luhrmann has teamed up with The Shield creator Shawn Ryan for his first TV project, a musical drama on the emergence of hip-hop in New York, Vulture reports.

The future series, currently awaiting a title and a home network, will follow two young friends on the New York hip-hop scene in 1977, two years before rap reached a wider audience through the Sugarhill Gang's hit Rapper's Delight.

Incidentally, film director Lee Daniels is also moving into TV with a project involving hip-hop – the director of The Butler will direct the pilot for a series on a hip-hop empire for Fox.

Meanwhile, together with Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, HBO is preparing its own music industry drama focusing on Richie Finestra, to be played by Bobby Cannavale of Boardwalk Empire. At the head of a leading New York-based record label circa 1977, the cocaine-fueled Finestra seeks to secure talents at a time when punk and hip-hop are emerging and disco is still in its heyday.

Baz Luhrmann, who directed The Great Gatsby, is already attached to direct a mini-series on the life of Napoleon, a project developed by Steven Spielberg and based on a script written by Stanley Kubrick. — AFP Relaxnews

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