Thursday, 7 July 2011

Don't gimme any of that Doctor Doom jive

Thoughts on XIII: The Series based on the pilot:
Stuart Townsend, of whom I always say that he has never - even by accident - starred in anything that was good, and who was fired from playing the part of Aragorn so he starred in Queen of Darkness instead? Safe to say he does not make good career choices, does Stu, but I'm inclined to give the man the benefit of the doubt as he might be a common factor in many terrible shows, but he's never stood out as being the worst thing about any of them. He could have raped nuns onscreen for two solid hours and still wouldn't have been LXG's biggest problem.

There is some clumsy exposition in this show:
"My sister - the former President of the United States--"
"You're the head of national security and--"
"You're the head of the CIA, George--"

So a 20 something man at the peak of physical health has "a heart attack" while in an empty room and nobody performs an autopsy, yet they can still diagnose death by cardiac arrest?
Interesting approach to logic, XIII: the Series.
I mean, even if they just called it a heart attack on paper, why did they go through the ruse of dosing him with magic heart attack medicine (like what Hannibal Smith got in that A-team film) just to fake a heart attack that no-one is ever going to physically examine him to diagnose?

A telephone media file just infodumps what the writers can't be bothered telling you in organic ways: "and nine months later he was elected president, and this guy has a terminal illness" stuff like that.

Wasn't this guy just shot in the chest with a high-powered rifle? Only he's pretty spritely.

That is not a bullet wound, that is clearly a smear of jam.

"they recruited you to stop a conspiracy that would have taken down the entire government--" Words spoken in this show by an actual human being. No lie.

"This is an Irish Cladh ring" and immediately pipe music starts playing. Classy - reminds me of that episode of Murder She Wrote where a Native American actor appears onscreen so the background music changes to this "om pom-pom-pom, om pom-pom-pom" war drums-type thing, even though the character he was playing wasn't a Native American or anything.

God this actress is one unconvincing martial artist. She's literally just waving her hands in front of the camera at one point.

Well, at least her stunt double is making an effort.

Townsend drawing on his Irish genetic heritage of drunken wife beating to make this scene look convincing, I think - if you look closely at his lips during the fight you can see he's mouthing stuff like "yer a huuuure!" and "Ah gave yeh everythin!"

Always wondered why casting directors don't just cast stunt people instead of using actors with no onscreen presence or charisma. I mean, what have you got to lose by casting a stunt double in place of an actor you already know to be bad? Chuck Norris got his stuntmen buddies parts on Walker: Texas Ranger and it made not a jot of difference to the quality of the show.

Wow but that is some really bad No Sale what would happen if a man hit a woman in the face with a length of metal pipe. (SPOILER ALERT: nothing at all)

I think the lesson here is that you direct for television by turning the camera on and then leaving the set.

I have to admit, if I was sneaking into the Whitehouse, I'd do it by punching a guard right in the guts while he was right in the middle of a conversation with another guard on the radio. I mean, that's just common sense.

"He is the link to an operation so dark no-one in Washington knows its purpose" and that would be why they were questioning him when he was in jail. Sarcasm, of course. They were not questioning him at all, even though we saw the guy jailed for several months (or at least several months in tv montage time).

The episode ends with an angsty voice-over that hasn't appeared until the final moments of the show - nice storytelling consistency, Bruh.

And night vision is represented by Photoshop's Neon Glow filter. Hilarious.

All in all, Stuart seems to have picked another winner, but once again, he's not the show's main problem - that would be how dumb, unengaging and arbitrarily derivative it is. He's actually good in it. Not got huge presence, but he's solid, though he needs to work on keeping his accent in check.

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