Posted: 03 Apr 2013 05:27 AM PDT
Some TV personalities think too much of themselves or their programmes.
THERE are so many bosses around these days – on television, that is – that it's easy to get confused over who's the "boss" of what show, especially since most of them seem to involve cooking.
The reality programmes Cake Boss and Kitchen Boss (both on TLC) revolve around the life of Buddy Valastro, a self-taught baker who runs the successful family-owned Carlo's Bakery in New Jersey, the United States. Valastro's programmes often show him and his siblings fighting over something trivial, or his siblings and the kitchen staff arguing over something ridiculous. Everything ends on a happy note, though, plus some of the cakes and pastries they come up with look really amazing.
The bakery is also always filled with customers, which is an indication of just how successful – and not to mention popular (Valastro has said before that the reality shows more than doubled the company's business) – Carlo's Bakery is.
This week, Valastro has another show premiering on TLC. Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker, which kicks off today at 7pm, sees 13 cake "artists" who will compete against each other for the grand prize of US$100,000 (RM300,000). Apart from that, the winner will also get to have his/her story featured in a magazine, and work side-by-side with Valastro and his crew at the bakery.
It may be a bit much for some people to see the same person appear in three different shows every week, but since Valastro is a charming guy, it's actually not too bad. Unlike the other self-proclaimed "boss" on TV, chef Bruce Lim of The Boss (Asian Food Channel), who is by far one of today's most arrogant personalities on television.
Okay, so it may be quite a stretch to describe him as such, but Lim does come off as arrogant and a know-it-all on his show. He's also not that natural when it comes to hosting; everything he says sounds scripted and it's not a good script to begin with.
One show with a really good script, however, is Boss. And it has nothing to do with cooking or food.
Instead, Boss (HBO) trails the life of Tom Kane, the mayor of Chicago, Illinois who suffers from a degenerative neurological disorder. He doesn't tell anyone about it, though, because he does not want to lose his power, and feels that there are still a lot of things for him to do while in office. Only his doctor knows about his medical problem, but slowly his family members begin to suspect something amiss.
Multiple Emmy Award-winner Kelsey Grammer plays Kane, an intimidating man who truly believes that he can change the world, even if he has to take a handful of pills daily to combat his illness. If you are used to seeing Grammer in comedic roles – in Cheers, Frasier, Back To You, Hank, Mr St Nick – it may take a while to get used to watching him play it straight.
Sure, he was quite serious as Dr Frasier Crane (his most popular role in Cheers and Frasier), too, but nowhere near as formidable as Kane in Boss.
One character that has no boss is Nikita, of ... Nikita (Ntv7 and Warner TV on HyppTV). Nikita is a rogue agent who's main goal in life is to take down the agency that trained her to become the assassin that she is today. The show is loosely based on the film Nikita, which had a previous TV edition called La Femme Nikita that starred Peta Wilson. Maggie Q plays the titular role in this new version, and while she had a rocky start – her acting was so bad that it got quite annoying – the actress has since vastly improved. So much so that Nikita is now in its third season, which is what Warner TV/HyppTV is currently showing.
(HyppTV is also showing the Oscar-winning Argo via its video-on-demand package, so if you've been dying to watch this movie, then here's your chance to catch it.)
By the way, has anyone noticed anything new on Fox? A few weeks ago, the channel ran promotional clips about how "a new Fox" was coming. Apart from the station IDs that feature Jennifer Lopez, Cote D'Pablo and some other actors expressing their love for Fox, there's really nothing much happening on the channel. At least, nothing that's obvious to a couch potato like me.
■ How cool would it be to watch Who's The Boss all over again? Tweet us (@MyStarTwo) what other retro shows you'd like to watch on TV.
Posted: 03 Apr 2013 05:25 AM PDT
Arrow hits the bullseye with a multi-layered storyline and eye-popping, jaw-stopping fast-paced action scenes.
FACT is, Green Arrow is not as famous as, say, Superman. It's not even a stretch to say that most non comic book readers don't even know much about this guy, let alone his origin.
In that sense, show creators Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim have the advantage of starting on a clean slate when coming up with the new series Arrow.
It revolves around Oliver Queen, a billionaire's son who wears a green hooded outfit to fight criminals and is adept with the bow and arrow. (Strangely, no one has yet referred to him as Green Arrow on the show. Modern-day Robin Hood is the closest moniker he's got so far.)
Our hero had been stranded on a remote island for five years only to return to civilisation with an awesome physique, a deadly skill with a bow and a mission in hand.
As the series progresses, we discover there is nothing simple about the transformation of this spoilt brat into a vigilante bent on taking down the people who are hurting his city.
What is immediately interesting about this guy – played with great intensity by Stephen Amell – is not that there is anything super about his superpower (his skills are honed the old-fashioned way) but that he has no qualms about actually killing baddies.
After years of watching Clark Kent struggle with keeping his strength in check (10 seasons' worth of Smallville), even when dealing with the vile Lex Luthor, it's shocking to see a protagonist break another man's neck with the single purpose of taking the bad guy out of the equation. Doesn't Batman usually maim his enemies to stop them or throw them into Arkham Asylum?
Well, it's safe to say that Queen is not a conventional hero so one can never guess the extent of his actions to uphold his mission.
Even when the body count is kept to a minimum, Queen shows he's not to be trifled with. He beats up a guy to a pulp on pure instinct.
In a series of flashbacks, it is shown how Queen turns into a killer to survive both the natural and unnatural elements on the island.
This grey area makes a strong foundation for the series. So, kudos to the writers for attacking it straight on.
The series gives the audience two sides of justice – Queen working outside the law on one end as well as a dedicated district attorney (Katie Cassidy) and an intelligent police detective (Paul Blackthorne) working within the system to bring down the same men Queen is.
While swift justice is understandable and necessary at times, the law exists for a reason.
The series also immediately deals with a big question mark – the hooded vigilante's appearance coincides perfectly with the return of Queen from the island.
Any person with a brain can put the two together to come up with one conclusion. (Yes, I do have a big problem with Superman and the damn spectacles as disguise). This subplot is quite conveniently handled, but the suspicion is planted in some people's minds.
Undoubtedly, there are all these earnest topics in the show, including the less interesting family and romance drama.
However, the real cool (really, really awesome) thing about Arrow is the action sequences and watching Amell workout on the show (seriously, he'd make a great poster boy for workout classes).
Amell is immediately likeable as Queen, ably selling a man who juggles being a bad boy in an expensive designer suit and then swings into full-action mode, fighting crime in the green outfit.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the women in the show – each and every one of them is annoying, especially Queen's sister. Teenage drama much?
Arrow hooks you with all the action, and in scenes flashback, it introduces Queen's mentor on the island, which promises to up the action even more.
The show also offers nail-biting cliffhangers – into its fifth episode and it still manages to provide gripping endings that makes us wish next week would come sooner.
Other subplots involve the group of criminals in Starling City, one of which was overseen by Queen's late father, and is now taken over by his mother.
Then, there is the mystery of the island itself – the island is shown as a port for some smugglers whose leader is interested in Yao Fei (Byron Mann). Unfortunately, some of these subplots work, while the others don't.
Nonetheless, Arrow does make us want to find out more about the man underneath the green hood.
Hello, Oliver Queen, it's very nice to meet you.
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