Radiation by Fiona Rae

Slow Burn

Slightly sad old time on the telly at the moment, with several good things gone, or about to go. Loving the slow burn of The Sopranos though, its focus on the minutiae of family relationships and the way each episode starts small and seems like an epic by the end. If you look closely, I’m sure there’s a kitchen sink in there every week.

It’s a long time between drinks for us Sopranos fans (and who isn’t?), though. The next series won’t be made until 2006.

Also loving Explorers, which is sadly (for us) only four parts, although I suspect for Peter Elliot, four was enough. They spent a lot of money on helicopters for the series and it was worth every penny: beautiful, beautiful, beautiful West Coast scenery. And Elliot is good company, too, not too funny or unfunny, kind of wry and at times just managing to keeping his spirits up. The fact that he is doing the journeys of some of the early explorers with all the right high-tech gear only emphasises how hard it was for them.

But ER’s gone, as has Angel, the brief and glorious State of Play and Insiders Guide is about to shuffle off this mortal coil, or wherever it is that Buddhists go, possibly into empty urns. Sadly, their replacements seem to be either cop shows (yawn) or reality shows (double yawn). I don’t hate cop shows as much as reality shows, but I do find them mostly offensive. Murder as entertainment. Every week the bodies of young women are offered up as sacrifices to the great god of ratings. I’m sure that in the US especially they serve to make people more fearful: everyone always thinks crime is higher than it really is. And really, why you would watch SVU, a show about rape?

To be fair, CSI etc have the fun of all that technology, although the LA Times reports that it’s influencing jurors, who expect all the same flashy forensic evidence when they get to a trial.

Do you think Sven might have been watching too many episodes of Footballers’ Wives? I’m just saying. Besides, he probably doesn’t have the time.

In other quality US television news, I’m sorry to say there are bad reviews in the US for Six Feet Under, but we’ll get to decide ourselves after the Olympics have done their dash next month (August 14-29, sports fans). I can tell you that Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn from Buffy) is appearing eventually as a pop princess called Celeste (whom Keith the bodyguard guards), who likes to frolic with boys, but swears to remain a virgin until marriage. Heh.

The Letterman list is thus: Monday 2nd: Natalie Portman, and Ambulance Ltd (they sound crap don’t they?); Tuesday 3rd: Rosie Perez and Greg Giraldo; Wednesday 4th: Pamela Anderson and Al Franken (what d’you think they’ll talk about in the green room?); Thursday 5th: director Chris Kentis (no idea); Friday 6th: Tom Cruise and Natalie Merchant; Monday 9th: Jada Pinkett and Dax Sheppard; Tuesday 10th: General Tommy Franks and Jessica Simpson; and Wednesday 11th: Will Smith and Jet.

Lastly, apologies for my blogging tardiness; I’m now a wage slave, an office drone, an (almost) nine-to-fiver on account of having crossed over to the Listener – that’s my name in the new-look issue, which I know you’ll all rush out and buy immediately. It’s not a bad life, really.