Monday, October 30, 2006

Spooks Season One: Show Me the Funny

Having finished off the final seasonn of The West Wing on DVD, it was time to choose our next viewing pleasure. The Street has been sat atop the TV for weeks, along with Season One of The Wire, recently joined by Season Two of Lost and a fistful of films. In the end we opted for Spooks Series 1 [known by the more politically correct title of MI5 in the US, where the term 'spooks' can mean something other than spies]. Ripped through the first series in no time at all, although the incredibly annoying DVD menu did its best to slow us down [shame on you, Contender bods], and have now started the second series.

The idea I'm developing for the mentoring project has some spy-fi elements, so I wanted to make sure there weren't too many points of similarity with Spooks. One thing stuck out of the first series - how lacking in humour it was. By comparison series two seems to be making a conscious effort to bring the funny. I did watch the show when it was first broadcast back near the start of this decade, but gave up towards the end of series 2. That was probably more to do with a scheduling clash than any rampant dislike of how the series was developing. Inertia is a big impediment in my life. If I don't watch something within a day or two of recording it, chances are I'll never watch it. The recent return of Cracker is a case in point - that's been on the DVD recorder hard drive for weeks and I haven't gotten close to watching it yet.

Still, my watching of Spooks has convinced me I need to include some humour in Alter Ego. I know most of my own writing is filled with staring into the abyss nihilism and downbeat endings, but I can bring the funny in the right circumstances. Not intentionally, sometimes, but given the first alignment of the planets a little humour can be found amidst the bone-crushing horrors. Alas, I don't think my next novel offers much opportunity for japery. Death, destruction and doom in abundance are more likely to be the order of the day. In the meantime, must get back to reworking my Megazine feature, so I can empty that section of my brain for fresh facts.


Anonymous said...

You're not missing much by not watching Cracker, I was very disappointed in it.

I felt I was battered over the head with the "politics of war" and that Robbie Coltrane's Cracker character never really rose to his previously seen heights of psychological brilliance, nor did he sink to his usual depth of being a shit.

Dull with a capital D.

Good Dog said...

Cracker really isn't worth wasting precious time on.

Watched season one of Spooks earlier in the month and the menu bugged the hell out of me. Know what you mean about lacking humour. There wasn't even any black humour which it could have done with. The only remotely funny was the final episode where, the meeting between MI5 and IRA has them stripping down in a field to prove neither is wirred.

And speaking of which... toss everthing aside and watch The Wire next. You won't be disappointed.

Pete Kempshall said...

Agreed about the Spooks menu.

Funnily enough, season one of The Wire's on my To Watch list, too, but I think Carnivale's going to get the nod first.

Lee said...

Carnivale had a great first season, practically run by Ronald D. Moore, but he went off to do that camp spaceship thing, so the show will only end up breaking your heart when it gets cancelled after season two.

The Wire will also break your heart, but in a much better way. There's no point only having season one on your watchlist either. Once you've seen it you will be in David Simon's thrall. You will watch seasons two and three in a week, and then spend a year anxiously waiting for season four to come out on DVD.

Cybez said...

I don't think I'll be watching the latest Spooks thats on BBC1 in about 10 minutes. Every week it seesm that the story includes Muslim terrorists which, to me for a storyline, gets a bit boring.

I'll probably instead watch Lost (on RTE)I try not to watch it, but can't help it.

Lucy said...

I agree totally about CRACKER'S last episode. To be honest, I felt betrayed. I'm sure he didn't, but to me it felt like he'd written it in a weekend - devoid of the passion and heart that those in the 90's possessed with Penhaligon, Bilborough, etc. I dunno. Maybe it wasn't as good as I remember - maybe it was a "zeitgeist" thing.

Actually last night's episode of SPOOKS was about CHRISTIAN extremists, which I liked alot as a turnaround. They've also been up against MI6 - 'cos everyone knows they're really Big Brother taking people away and MI5 will stop that. Ahem.

Not sure about SPOOKS needing humour tho. Think it's fine just the way it is, personally. Maybe that's 'cos I'm a girl...

Cybez said...

Lucy, you said 'last night's episode of SPOOKS was about CHRISTIAN extremists, which I liked alot as a turnaround'

Maybe the extremists I've encountered here in N.I. have left me feeling bored when I see any that are portrayed on film or on the TV now.No doubt by next year the 'religous fundalmentalist extremists' won't be the latest craze to write about - here's hoping :-)