Mondaying

Right now, I am mostly…

Watching : Still Lost, but as I’m being rationed on that by Jen, I’m also watching The West Wing. It’s probably about the 7th big rewatch, and I never get bored of it. Ever.

Listening : Now that Spotify has removed the five-play limit (hurrah!), I am using it a lot more. For some reason I’m on a bit of a Brit-Pop kick at the moment, so lots of nineties bands like Ocean Colour Scene, Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Oasis, The Las, and The Bluetones.

Reading : I’m flitting between books again, which does nothing for my total until I end up finishing them all at the same time. But I’m currently very much enjoying The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler.

Writing : In my diary. I started it in January and on Saturday I wrote in it for the second time this year. Must try harder.

Celebrating : Birthdays! Not mine, sadly, but I love birthdays however they present themselves, as mine or other people’s.

Fictional Bucket List

How fun is this? Make a list of things you would do with your favourite fictional character or in your favourite fictional world.

Spend the day in Stars Hollow

Travel with a madman in a box

Go for dinner at Downton Abbey

Go to a ball at Netherfield

Work at the Navy Yard

Go to the library with Matilda

Be one of Bailey’s interns

Spend the afternoon at Central Perk

Take archery lessons from Katniss Everdean

Sit in Sheldon’s spot

Play poker in the Chief of Staff’s office

Read in the Beast’s library with Belle

Make Hotch smile

Find a golden ticket

Sit on the Winfield’s porch

Solemnly swear that I am up to no good

Stick them with the pointy end

Spend a summer on a boat with Pacey J. Witter

Make dresses out of curtains

Think, wink, do a double blink, close my eyes and jump into a chalk drawing

Eat at the Bayside Diner and use the hamburger phone to make a call

Be rescued by the Nazgûl by Strider

Sit on Arthur’s Bench

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~ I’ve already sat on Arthur’s Bench! He loved it here ~

I decided to keep them simple and not necessarily allude outright to the shows/films/books that inspired them. There are far too many there (the original lists I saw kept it to ten), but it was hard enough narrowing it down this far.

What would be on your fictional bucket list?

What Would Sorkin Do?

Hello all

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of all things White House/American President related. It mainly manifests itself in being obsessive about television shows and films that focus on the staff and residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, though I do have a healthy interest in the real life happenings of Obama and the fucktards that are challenging him for the presidency at the end of the year.

It’s also no secret that I am a bit of an Aaron Sorkin fan. Whilst it’s true that most of this love stems from a love of a rather well known television series (The West Wing falls in the middle of the Venn diagram entitled “Things Jane Loves and Is Discussing in this blog post), I am also a fan of Sports Night and The American President. I very much enjoyed A Few Good Men and Charlie Wilson’s War. For some unknown reason, I have not yet watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, or The Social Network. Despite this, I think it’s fair to call myself a Sorkinite. (I think I just sort of made that up. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen.)

So, when it comes to television, if your show is a) about the White House/presidency/staff etc., and set in Washington D.C., or b) made by Aaron Sorkin, there’s a good chance I’ll be interested. This year sees the advent of four shows, all of them falling into one or the other of these two categories (some more tenuously than others).

First up, we have Veep, which is premiering on HBO on April 22nd (and on Sky Atlantic in June).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soJggb_jDL8&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
Veep Trailer

 

Veep doesn’t quite satisfy the White House/Presidency category, because it is about the Vice President of the US. But I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty darn close, and my love for this kind of thing really encompasses the whole of the federal government of the US, so I know I’ll love this. It’s been created by Armando Iannuci, who is best known for The Thick of It. (which I hear nothing but good things about, but haven’t watched. Yet.) An American version of The Thick of It was actually played around with back in 2007; it was due to be based on a member of Congress and employ the same style as the original show. It was an ABC pilot, and didn’t work, so was never picked up. Now HBO are involved, which is obviously a much better fit, and the action has moved to the VP’s office, and, judging by the trailer, it’s going to be really funny. Julia Louis Dreyfus stars as VP Selina Meyer, with Tony Hale (Buster Bluth), Matt Walsh and Anna Chlumsky as members of her staff. Check out the end of the trailer, when Meyer tries and fails to keep a massive smile off her face when she is informed that the president is experiencing chest pains. It’s amazing. I’m super excited for Veep.

1600 Penn is the other presidency-based show that could be airing this year. I say could be, because at this stage it is just a pilot, and we won’t know until May if it has been picked up for a full series. The basic premise is that the comedy follows a dysfunctional family that just happens to live in the White House. Bill Pullman is playing the president, husband of Jenna Elfman and father of four (as far as I can tell). It’s being executive produced by Josh Gad and Josh Winer (who has directed quite a few episodes of Modern Family), with Gad also writing, along with Jon Lovett, a former Obama speechwriter.

I want to love this. If it gets picked up for a full series, I will watch it. At least, I will give it a chance, because I want to love it so much. But I have to say that I don’t really hold out a great deal of hope for it. I am not sure why, but I’ve got a really bad feeling.

The last of the Washington-based shows is Scandal; a new drama series from Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMtTb3BqP7w&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
Scandal Trailer

This one is airing much sooner than the others, it starts on ABC tomorrow night. It stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a former Toby Ziegler (or White House Communications Director, to use the technical term) to Tony Goldwyn’s president. Olivia is a ‘crisis management consultant’, she has a team of investigators whose job is to avert crises affecting the Washington D.C. elite. Other cast members include Joshua Malina, Henry Ian Cusick and Liza Weil, along with former Grey’s Anatomy stars Jeff Perry, and Kate Burton (playing the Vice President – yet another female VP on television).

I do kind of like the look of this, because I am a fan of Grey’s and Private Practice, and therefore Shonda Rhimes, and the promise of some presidential action is definitely enticing. I’m not a big fan of how Olivia is being portrayed in the trailer; anyone who is being shown as that amazing at their job is likely to get on my nerves somewhat. But I think that this is possibly just a trailer problem rather than a show problem. There’s no news on a UK airing for Scandal yet.

Lastly, we have The Newsroom.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC8ovJYAU3U&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
The Newsroom Trailer

Sadly there is no president or White House to be found here, but instead, we do have copious amounts of Sorkin. I talked a little about The Newsroom back in January, when I was previewing 2012’s television, but I didn’t have a trailer to get excited about then. The trailer was released a couple of days ago, and I’ve watched it about eight times since then (mostly in the name of research for this blog post, but partly for fun at hearing Jeff Daniels say “Progress is slow but I’m in it for the long haul!”).

Originally called More As This Story Develops, it takes place in, you guessed it, a newsroom. A busy cable news channel, to be exact, with Jeff Daniels playing Will McAvoy, anchor of the show-within-a-show, News Night. Emily Mortimer plays his new executive producer, and Dev Patel, Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston round out the cast as various staff members. Jane Fonda plays the recurring role of the CEO of the network.

I think, if you are a Sorkin fan, and you watch the trailer, you’ll see why I am excited. If you aren’t a Sorkin fan, you should still be excited having watched the trailer. There isn’t much more to say than that, really. I think, even if you didn’t know, that you’d guess that this is a Sorkin show from the trailer. There are plenty of identifiers in there. I know that I am kind of biased towards anything he creates because of my love for The West Wing, but despite that, I genuinely think this looks as though it is going to be very good. It premieres on June 24th in America. No news as yet as to when or where it will air in the UK, but I’d be very surprised it if doesn’t follow fairly quickly on Sky Atlantic.

These are just four shows that I felt worthy of mention (for reasons good and bad), that are coming this year. As I mentioned previously, in May, Upfronts take place, and a plethora of pilots will either live or die. It’s all terribly exciting if you are a geek about television, like me, and at some point (probably in September again), I’ll be sharing some of my favourite new shows with you. If you want to look at some of the shows that are currently waiting for their chance, take a look at TVLine’s comprehensive list.

What are you looking forward to?

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Project 366 – Week 4

Hello all

I can’t believe it’s Week 4  of Project 366 already! The year is going to fly by again, isn’t it? I am hoping to be back this week with some other blog posts; sorry for the radio silence but I have had various different things that were determined to stop me in my pursuit of blogging this week! As for this week’s photos, I have to say, that I lacked inspiration on most of the days this week! So most of the photos are quite uninteresting, but I intend to head a bit further afield than my house to take some this coming week!

~ Day 16 ~

Anyone that follows me on Twitter will be aware that I’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks watching Dawson’s Creek. The great rewatch is very much underway, and I’ve reached halfway! Season three is just about my favourite, and I’ve just finished it. I’m also still getting through ER (up to season ten of fifteen), and I’ve just started another great rewatch: The West Wing.

~ Day 17 ~

I told you I’ve been uninspired this week, didn’t I? This was one of those “Oh crap, it’s almost bedtime and I haven’t taken a photo” moments, so I snapped my cup of tea. I don’t want my Project 366 to become a chore like that, so I’ve got to up my game!

~ Day 18 ~

I had fully intended to take a photo at the cinema, of either my friends or the cinema itself, or of something that indicated that I had been to see a film. But I forgot, so I had to settle for a photograph of the ticket! Warhorse was very good, by the way, I’d definitely recommend it.

~Day 19 ~

I got this notebook for my birthday, and I love it, but I have a real problem with notebooks. It’s not just that I have an addiction, it’s that once I have all these new notebooks, I don’t want to start writing in them until I know exactly what I want to use them for. And when it’s a really nice notebook, like this one (it’s a Moleskin), I am so reluctant to start it! But I know that I want to use this to start trying to write my novel. I have a good basic idea, I just need to sit and start writing!

~ Day 20 ~

I spent Friday night sorting out my bedroom, because it’s been such a mess lately. I got to going through some of the books on one of my bookshelves (not a priority, but more fun than hoovering), and I counted up all the novels that I have on there that I haven’t read. It came to 58; possibly not that many compared to others, but still quite a lot. Anyway, so I thought I would take a photo of some of the books that are on there.

~ Day 21 ~

This is how un-vain I am. This is a horrible photograph of me, and  I’m putting it on here regardless. To be fair to me, I don’t usually look this awful. It was taken at 3.45am, after Anna and I had been babysitting for my nieces. We got home at about midnight, and proceeded to spend the next four and a half hours chatting. Quite ridiculous. Anyway, that’s that. A horrible photo of me!

~ Day 22 ~

This is one of the nieces that I babysat for last night (and the only one who actually required any attention, as the other two were asleep before I got there and remained that way). My brother and sister-in-law brought their children for lunch today, and we had a lovely day in which I tried to teach my eight-year-old nephew to knit, and got to play with my nieces. I also got lots of cuddles with this little lady. What a delight.

I hope you’re enjoying my Project 366, if you’re joining in too, don’t forget to let me know! Until next time

Reasons to be Cheerful in 2012 – Television

Hello all

So, it’s the start of a brand new year, and I thought I would share with you some of the things that I am excited about in 2012. Not personally, you understand; although I am sure that there is going to be a lot for me to be excited about on a personal level (my big 3-0 birthday, for a start, but that’s months away!). I’m talking about in the world of television, film and books. These are three of my favourite things, as I think I’ve mentioned before.

I’m starting with television, there are lots of exciting things to come on the small screen over the next twelve months – here are a few of them!

Love Life

~ source ~

Due on BBC1 in the spring, Love Life stars, amongst others, David Tennant, Billie Piper, Vicky McClure and Lacey Turner. As far as I can tell, each of the five episodes is a standalone story, focusing on different characters’ relationships. It is also semi improvised, which should make it interesting. 

Eternal Law

~ source ~

This one actually starts on ITV1 tonight, and if I get a chance, I’ll definitely be watching it. Starring Orla Brady and Sam West, it’s a six-part series about angels who are sent to earth to pose as lawyers, in order to guide and influence people. They are forbidden from forging emotional attachments to the people they help, so you know, of course, that there will be lots of forbidden love. It’s from the same people who brought us Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. 

Titanic

~ source ~

This April marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, and ITV are commemorating it with a four-part drama from the pen of Julian Fellowes (he of Downton Abbey fame). The trailer aired during the Christmas Downton episode (which I still haven’t watched!), and everybody seems very excited about it. It stars Celia Imrie, Toby Jones, and Geraldine Somerville, along with many, many others, and is said to weave together the stories of both real and fictional characters.

Shakespeare Season

~ source ~

As part of their Olympic programming, BBC2 are to air adaptations of four of Shakespeare’s history plays: Richard II, Henry IV (Parts I and II) and Henry V. Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddlestone will play each king respectively. There’s not a great deal to say here, except that the BBC are notoriously good at this kind of thing, so expect it to be very good, if Shakespeare’s histories are your sort of thing.

Parade’s End

~ source ~

This is something to be excited about, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has a rather tasty cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Anne-Marie Duff, Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett. Secondly, it is based on (I believe) a rather good set of novels (which I now want to read) by Ford Madox Ford, and has been adapted by Sir Tom Stoppard. Exciting stuff. It is set shortly and continuing into the First World War and centres around a love triangle between an aristocrat (played by Cumberbatch), his wife (Hall), and a young suffragette.

Bad Education

~ source ~

I’m not sure about this one; for one thing it is a BBC3 comedy, which don’t often turn out to be very good, and for another, it stars and is written by Jack Whitehall, and I’m just not sure how I feel about him. Still, it’s worth giving a go, as he received rave reviews for his acting in Fresh Meat, and he is quite funny, I suppose. Also, there’s a severe lack of comedy on this here list I am making, so I thought I’d include it. It is set in a school, and Whitehall stars as a really bad teacher, apparently.

White Heat

~ source ~

Another BBC2 drama here, this one follows a group of friends from 1965 through to the present day. It’s a six-part drama set against the backdrop of various different important world events, such as the death of Churchill and the Falklands War. It stars Claire Foy and Lee Ingleby, but I can’t find out just now when it will air.

We’ll Take Manhattan

~ source ~

This is a biopic, telling the story of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey. I am excited to see this, not only because I love a biopic, and I love the sixties, but mainly because I love Karen Gillan. Seriously, completely love her. And I can’t wait to see her playing someone other than Amy Pond. We’ll Take Manhattan is airing this month on BBC4, though I can’t find an exact date for it just now.

The Newsroom

~ source ~

Up to this point, I have only featured British shows, because I usually preview US series at other points throughout the year. However, this is a special exception, because The Newsroom is the new series from Aaron Sorkin. And I think we all know how I feel about Aaron Sorkin and his body of work. Originally titled More As This Story Develops, it has since been changed (thank goodness) to The Newsroom. And let’s face it, naming a series after a working environment didn’t hurt Sorkin before. Anyway, this one stars Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Jane Fonda, and is set in a busy cable news channel. If it is as good as The West Wing and Sports Night, then The Newsroom will be really, really good. HBO ordered ten episodes in September of last year, so let’s hope it fares a little better than Sorkin’s last foray into television, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. There is absolutely no news of an airdate yet, and who knows when it will make it to UK screens, but I am still getting excited about it.

So that’s that; my top picks for the new year. There are various other shows that are on their way, including Birdsong, StellaLine of Duty, Dallas, Hacks and Luck. There are also lots of returning shows that I haven’t talked about, simply because they aren’t new. Upstairs Downstairs may have suffered a little in comparison to the juggernaut that is Downton, but I loved it and can’t wait to see it back in February. Sherlock has already begun (although I haven’t watched it yet), and there are two more episodes to enjoy. Doctor Who makes its return, though not until the autumn, and there will be a new companion to get used to once Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill take their leave. And Downton itself will be back in the autumn with a new series, potentially its last, so maybe we’ll finally see Cousin Matthew and Lady Mary overcoming the obstacles and getting together (remember I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen the Christmas special!).

All in all, there is much to be excited about! Until next time,