This week: Canine Oscar for Doctor Who ; crap expert in Ghost Whisperer ; Botox in Fringe ; a Chuck / FlashForward crossover; and more…
FIBBER OF THE WEEK
First off, congratulations to Ghost Whisperer for having the sense to bring back Margaret Cho as dotty professor Avery Grant. She’s one of the show’s few guest characters who actually had a bit of spunk and made an impression earlier in the season. However, she seems to have been brought back under false pretences. In the episode “On Thin Ice” she becomes involved in the case of a haunted graphic novelist because she’s a comics geek. Allegedly. But at one point she picks up some original artwork that she claims is by Frank Miller (above). Yeah right. We’re telling you, Melinda, treat this woman’s “expert” advice with extreme caution…
DODGIEST SECURITY OF THE WEEK
To be honest, V could have won a whole bunch of awards this week, from MOST POINTLESS USE OF SLOW MOTION to MOST UNCONVINCING MERCENARY to MOST INEXPLICABLE ABILITY TO MAKE MORENA BACCARIN LOOK UNSEXY . But by far the most astonishing thing about this week’s doze – sorry, dose – of V was the huge lapses in aliens’ security. Anna’s ship is equipped with hi-tech equipment that can check incomers’ fingerprints and body temperature, but seems to lack the basics like, say, a metal detector or CCTV. They’ve only got themselves to blame, then, when a resistance bloke strolls onto the ship with a knife. Earlier in the story, the Vs let two terrorists wander into a press conference with Anna’s second-in-command. Considering the whole episode was about the resistance wanting to make a global statement, heaven knows why they didn’t just shoot the guy there and then. Instead, they interrupt a worldwide broadcast by Anna, flashing up a message saying, “John May lives”. To which most of the world is probably going, “John who?” Couldn’t they just use the internet?
BEST BOTOX OF THE WEEK
We could have given Fringe a Spurry (hey, will that ever catch on like Emmy?) for its brilliant ’80s-inspired makeover of the opening credits (it was a flashback episode to the ’80s, y’see), but we have other plans to celebrate that particular piece of genius (keep your eyes on the site). Instead, let’s give the show a thumbs-up for the brilliant de-ageing make-up on John Noble, who has to play a 25-years-younger version of Dr Walter Bishop for much of the episode. Thank God TV shows can’t afford extensive CGI, otherwise we might have ended up with the ghastly, waxwork-like effigies that Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart reverted into for X-Men: The Last Stand . Instead, good old latex and wigs were employed and the result is so extraordinarily effective, we expect half the middle-aged actresses in Hollywood were phoning the production office wanting the name of his surgeon.
MOST UNEXPECTED (POSSIBLE) CROSSOVER OF THE WEEK
Thanks to eagle-eyed SFX freelancer Jayne Nelson for spotting this one (and suggesting a Spurry that didn’t involved Supernatural for a change). There is a very brief shot in the latest Chuck of the Ring HQ, which she’s convinced us (after careful study) is the same building used as the FBI HQ in FlashForward . So, does that mean the two shows are in a shared universe? If The Ring is really hiding inside the FBI, our guess is that it’s behind that whole blackout business. And since it’s already been established that FlashForward and Lost exist in the same universe (there was a poster for Oceanic Airlines in the pilot of FlashForward ) can we expect to see Hurley shopping in Buy More in the near future?
MOST WASTED CAST OF THE WEEK
It was a toss-up between this and FLATTEST 3D OF THE WEEK , but Clash Of The Titans must have the single most underused cast of top tier actors in recent memory. We’re not even talking about Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Mads Mikkelsen who just about escape with dignity intact. Just look at the supporting cast: Jason Flemyng ( Kick-Ass ), Liam Cunningham ( Dog Soldiers ), Nicholas Hoult ( Skins ), Vincent Regan ( 300 ), Alexa Davalos ( The Chronicles Of Riddick ), Danny Huston ( Children Of Men ), Alexander Siddig ( DS9 ), Polly Walker ( Caprica ), Kaya Scodelario ( Skins ), Tamer Hassan ( Kick-Ass ) – all given no more than half a page of dialogue and in some cases barely seconds of screen time. Danny Huston and Alexander Siddig in particular: why cast such talented actors if you’re going to use them for one line? We’d demand deleted scenes if the film wasn’t such a bore.
UNLUCKIEST GANGSTER OF THE WEEK
Poor old Keamy. He’s now died three times in Lost . That kind of mortality rate is usually reserved for characters in the Marvel universe.
BEST CANINE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
It takes some going to stamp your mark on an episode of Doctor Who that’s showcasing the considerable talents of a new Doctor and a new companion, but how cool was that dog? Talk about timing. He hit his marks like a true professional, barking and moving his head in sync with his master. You might suspect some CGI jiggery-pokery was involved, but no. According to director Adam Smith, “We had a biscuit on a fishing rod that we moved from side-to-side so that he looked from side to side, and [the actor] Marcello just did the same. I think we got away with it.”
COCK-UP OR CLUE OF THE WEEK?
And while we’re on the subject of Doctor Who , the date on Amy’s-sort-of-boyfriend Rory’s hospital pass says it was issued in 1990. Significant? Or did no-one realise it was going to be photographed in such close-up?
POLL OF THE WEEK
What’s in a name? An indication of parents’ viewing habits if this research into most popular baby names in America is anything to go by. The fastest rising most popular girls’ name is Sookie – presumably inspired by True Blood – but there’s no presumably about which show inspired the fastest rising most popular boys’ name: Castiel. Oddly, the number three name on the boys’ list is Atreyu – has The NeverEnding Story suddenly become popular again?
MOST UNIMPRESSIVE COVER QUOTE OF THE WEEK
We haven’t actually watched this yet, but already this oddity that arrived on the SFX reviews desk this week presents no end of Spurry nominations. WORST FACIAL EXPRESSION OF THE WEEK for Gareth David-Lloyd's smug look as Dr Watson. Or COPYRIGHT DODGING STRATEGY OF THE WEEK for featuring Cyber-Men, rather than Cybermen (dear Lord, let’s hope there’s no Cyber-Woman, or David-Lloyd may start grizzling). But no, we’ll give the award for the rather desperate cover quote – “In an extraordinary league of its own” – from Blockbuster.co.uk. That’s Blockbuster – a website devoted to renting and selling DVDs. You think there may be a vested interest there. Or maybe the league they’re referring to is the Beazer Homes League. The quote’s suitably vague on the quality front.