Wednesday 17 January 2018

DVD reviews

Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

The Walking Dead

Friday, FX, 10pm

Glee

Sunday, Sky One, 8pm

Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened

Monday, BBC3, 10pm

Remember those heady, misty, long-forgotten, innocent times of, oh, about two or three years ago? Vampires were all the rage, thanks to the awful Twilight series (honestly, Bella has to be the most passive, sullen non-entity of all time who manages to make vampirism boring – some achievement, I'm sure you'll all agree) and True Blood.

From Stoker to King, Murnau to Wheedon, vampires have always had a vice-like grip on our imaginations – forever young, forever sexy (well, not in the case of Murnau's Nosferatu, but you get my drift) – ultimately doomed, they were the perfect outsider.

But stand aside blood suckers, because zombies are the new deal.

And standing head and shoulders above anything else on telly right now is undoubtedly FX's The Walking Dead.

Andrew Lincoln is the former sheriff desperately trying to drag his band of frequently unwilling companions across a country scarred and destroyed by a zombie plague.

It is truly brilliant.

Last Friday's episode saw them venture out from the prison they're currently hiding in to find provisions and there was a perfect little blink-and-you-miss-it moment – as they were driving down the deserted, barren highway, one of the few remaining survivors ran alongside their car, plaintively and pathetically begging them for rescue.

They didn't stop.

The next scene? A quick, yet harrowing, cut back to a bloody smear on the road and the remnants of the man's rucksack were all that were left of him.

Humanity will survive, this scene tells us. But at what cost to our soul?

I must admit, I took some ribbing from people over my public declaration of love for the first season of Glee.

So what in the name of Good Jiggery Pokery has happened to it?

I'd given the show a break for a few episodes (am I the only sad person who puts a programme on the naughty step for a few episodes when it annoys me?) and returned on Sunday night, hoping it had realised the error of its ways and was going to be a good little show again.

Wrong.

Instead it was a lazy, flat and flabby Christmas special that started off not knowing whether it wanted to be A Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life before deciding it would be neither.

But then it hit me, this thing that has been bugging me for the last two seasons – the producers don't care whether we actually watch the show anymore, they just want us to buy the albums and see the gigs.

And that's what last Sunday's episode was – an hour-long, cynical and shoddy video promo for their Christmas album.

We've tried detention with Glee, I'm afraid we're now looking at expulsion.

As tragic metaphors for the destructive nature of fame go, the Oscar Pistorius case is well up there with the best of them.

And Rick Edwards did a competent, if slightly bizarre exploration of the case in Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened.

It featured interviews with friends and those less enamoured with the man.

The thing is, elite athletes aren't like the rest of us and operate on a different plane, as Pistorius (left) did and while some of the interviews were undoubtedly fascinating, and some of the debunking was good (no cricket bat, no steroids despite early police reports and so on), the whole thing took a vaguely Brass Eye feel when Edwards, talking straight to the camera, would suddenly – swish! – turn on his heel and start talking to another camera from a different angle.

Are they using Chris Morris as a teaching aid in Media College these days?

Irish Independent

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