Posted: 07 May 2013 04:00 PM PDT
The Spudniks discuss shows that shaped their lives.
SO we've decided to write about TV shows that have defined us as human beings. And while at first it seemed a simple topic, I've been mulling over it for quite some time now and I am still unsure.
Am I a product of what I have watched on television? I definitely remember a lot of programmes, and I remember that my life used to revolve around watching these shows – so I must have, at some level, been transformed or at least influenced by the plots, themes and characters.
Until today, we (my sisters, cousins and I) still giggle and wish each other good night the way everyone did on The Waltons (ending in a good and proper "Good night, John Boy"). How the life and trials of a 1930s American mountain family could have made me what I am today, I don't really know. But I do know I loved the show during my growing up years of six, seven and eight. Ditto Little House On The Prairie.
In fact, there were a string of family-themed programmes which gave me relief that I was not the only person in the world who had it tough dealing with my parents and siblings, like Family, Eight Is Enough, Family Ties, Growing Pains, The Cosby Show, Diff'rent Strokes and Charles In Charge. I worry about my kids sometimes because their equivalent for what was my Jetsons is The Simpsons and Family Guy. But who am I trying to kid? Next up on my list of shows to devour is Modern Family! Yes, I'm dysfunctional.
Then there were the space years – Space 1999, as I've mentioned before in this column, really blew me away.
I was about nine years old then. The British sci-fi series featuring Martin Landau heralded my entrance into the world of science fiction, and was my humble introduction to aliens and UFOs.
Then, during my early 20s, The X-Files kind of took over my television experience completely; and week after week it became an obsession to know more about paranormal phenomena, cryptids and mutants, with Mulder and Scully as my guides. Monsters and ghosts became part of my life – the likes of Eugene Tooms (a mutant capable of stretching and contorting his body) and the Jersey Devil (a feral cannibal type) became wildly fascinating.
I can fully appreciate now why my own children find Supernatural interesting (they carefully placed a trail of salt at the doorstep of their bedrooms at one stage ... you know, to keep the bad guys out). In fact, above my desktop computer at home, I still have a poster that says "I want to believe" – just like the one Mulder had in his office.
More recently, I was good and completely hooked to the Fringe series, which I guess, was in a way a worthy progression to my "paranormal progress". Yes, I'm also loony.
When it came to school life and growing up, I remember loving Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs way back in the 1980s, and Fred Savage in The Wonder Years. And these days, it has become just such a joyous experience watching Community. My favourite on the show is Abed Nadir (portrayed by Danny Pudi), a coloured kid (of Palestinian Polish American parentage) who may – or may not – have Asperger's syndrome. Now, why didn't I ever have a collegemate like that? No worries, though. I'm only on Season Two, and with three more to go, Abed's surely on my list of potential new best buds. Anyone who can do a great impersonation of the Caped Crusader has to be!
Yes, I want to go back to school. – A.M.C.
* TELEVISION shows that defined moments in my life? Well, the earliest one I can think of was a children's show in the late 1970s and early 1980s called The Big Blue Marble.
It was a 30-minute programme which featured children from around the world each week, highlighting not only the way they live but also their culture and country.
It was interesting to see how a kid somewhere far, far away lived and what they wore, ate, how they spoke, what their houses looked like, etc.
Heck, I've lived in Klang and Petaling Jaya in Selangor, and even in Penang until I was 20. The most foreign place I've lived in was Singapore!
The best part of the show was the "pen pal" segment where viewers were encouraged to write in (the postal address was somewhere in California, United States). The show's producers would then pair you up with another child from another country with whom you could correspond.
I gained two friends through The Big Blue Marble's pen pal programme: Janne from Finland and Kerstin from the United States. These were the days before the Internet so correspondence was slow – I'd receive a letter every two months (or more) but it was always very exciting. The idea of being friends with someone from across the globe was just so cool.
I learnt a lot about Janne and Kerstin (who were both around my age) and I think it gave me a bigger perspective on life and it also made me realise that my English was pretty good (their tenses were all wrong!) and could spell a lot better than my American friend (he, he).
I was amazed at how – despite our differences – we had so much to talk about, without ever meeting! I complained about my life and they about theirs. It was like a scared, secret sisterhood. I kept in touch with Janne and Kerstin for five or six years and I do sometimes wonder where they are now or if I will ever bump into them.
In my youth, I'd like to say that edgy (at the time), decade-defining shows like Sex And The City or the very gritty and ultra-cool mafia series The Sopranos marked moments in my life, but nope, I wasn't ever that "cool", nor was my life that interesting. The X-Files, however, had a major impact on me, pushing boundaries of what I previously believed about paranormal activity and conspiracy theories. Seriously, I thank Chris Carter for getting me to question everything I had previously believed in.
One of my all-time favourite quotes in the show was from Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson): "Mulder if they dropped you off in the middle of the desert and told you that the truth was out there, you would ask them for a shovel." – S.I
Tweet (@MyStarTwo) us what shows defined your life, and if you know a Janne from Finland or Kerstin from the US, who used to be pen pals with a girl from Malaysia.
Posted: 08 May 2013 04:06 AM PDT
A detective who's funny and celebrities who bicker around the kitchen sink – hey, it's only TV.
LOCAL TV channels did a good job in covering the 13th General Election last Sunday. Sure, there were some mistakes made by either field reporters or show hosts/anchors, but overall, the newsrooms did well in getting viewers all the information we needed.
Now, back to regular programming.
British investigative comedy Dirk Gently (ITV Choice) is a current favourite on this reviewer's list. It is based on the character Dirk Gently, a private investigator who owns Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, created by author Douglas Adams (he of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy fame).
Played by the funny Stephen Mangan, Gently is pretty much a bumbling "holistic" detective who solves cases based on the belief that everything is connected to one another. Because of this rather unorthodox method, he sometimes ends up in the most hilarious of situations, much to the chagrin of his sidekick Richard MacDuff (played by Darren Boyd).
Although the agency does get some big cases – mostly from eccentric clients or those who have tried all other means of solving their problems – they are few and far between. Last week's episode saw Gently's agency in a dire financial situation, a constant problem he can't ever seem to get rid of.
Dirk Gently received positive reviews when it premiered as a teaser episode in Britain way back in December 2010; this prompted ITV Studios to produce three more episodes (they were shown in 2012), which in British TV terms may be considered as a "full series". Unfortunately, positive reviews from critics did not manage to keep the series alive as Dirk Gently was not commissioned for a second season.
One show that's currently in its second year is MasterChef Selebriti Malaysia (Astro Ria). The show follows the blueprint of the original British MasterChef series, from the rules and regulations right down to its kitchen plan, which is actually quite nice. There are currently more than 30 countries with their own versions of MasterChef, but Malaysia and Australia (where the show is hugely popular) are the only ones that have a "celebrity" edition.
If you have ever seen MasterChef Malaysia before, you would know that the cooking standards of some of the contestants are ... well, let's just say they could be better. Much better.
The contestants themselves are not that exciting either and always don't seem to have anything interesting to say.
However, in MasterChef Selebriti (facebook.com/masterchefselebritimalaysia), things are lot more dramatic and the dishes look more appetising. The contestants are, after all, entertainers so each one of them knows how to work the cameras and make things more entertaining for viewers. The celebrities are also, perhaps, more exposed to other cultures and have travelled the world, so their knowledge of food is better.
Last year's series was won by Datuk Fazley Yaakob; it's difficult to pick the top three competitors yet from the current batch of celebrities – among them are Datuk Aznil Nawawi, Shanie Hisham, Radhi Razali, Rozita Che Wan, Norish Karman, Celina Khor, Michael Ang and Cat Farish – since the show just debuted on April 22.
Unfortunately, the judges for MasterChef Selebriti Malaysia are as dull as before. Chefs Zubir Md Zain and Moh Johari Edrus, who have been with the franchise since it began in 2011, have improved slightly in terms of their hosting skills but are still a little stiff.
Chef Adu Amran Hassan is a lot more animated and charismatic but doesn't seem to jive with the other two chefs.
Let's hope this will improve soon, or it's burnt toast for the show's future (cue lame joke sound effect).
Tweet (@MyStarTwo) us what you've been watching on television!
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