God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

This is why I love THE MAN Lee Mead

Posted by Martin on July 4, 2007

And Andrew Lloyd Webber… and Jesus Christ Superstar. But not really the Scottish fella who sings first. Not so much.

Posted in Music, Spiritual is everything, Television | Leave a Comment »

The big Doctor Jesus Finale

Posted by Martin on July 2, 2007

Alright, now I’ve come out of the closet as a Whovian (ouch – up that boy’s Nerd Test score now!), I might as well blog about my first love. The final episode of Doctor Who Series 3 seems to have split fans down the middle. Some think it was a messy piece of trash TV filled with cop outs; others, like me, think it was wonderful, and a reminder of how lucky we are to have Russell T Davies writing for television.

I’ll try not to spoil it for those who’ve yet to enjoy – but if you really don’t want to know anything before you get around to watching it, you should probably read no more of this post.

As had been widely publicised long before the big onscreen reveal in episode 11, the finale saw the return of The Master – the thinking man’s supervillain. Played rather theatrically by current golden boy of British TV John Simm, his plan was to destroy the earth, and then the universe, and this wasn’t played out in comic book style – quite the opposite – as Davies’ made several visual nods to the Third Reich. In fact, the episode began in a kind of ‘what if the nazi’s had won the war?’ scenario, with a people enslaved, armed police patrolling the streets and giant weapons under construction everywhere.

However, the biggest cultural reference seemed to be 30BC. A people desperate for a saviour whose name had become legend. Check. Said saviour turning up and saying – ‘don’t look at me, there’s someone else coming along whose sandals I’m not worthy of untying…’ Check. And the conclusion – which I’ll not spell out here – is so very Christ-like that you’d be forgiven for thinking that well-known humanist Mr Davies has violently switched his religious allegiances. With a little explanation, this episode has perhaps unintentionally become the best evangelistic tract since Journey into Life. And that never had any monsters in it.

What’s that all about then? Could it be that Jesus’ story is so important, and so true, that it’s woven into the fabric of creativity itself? Did Russell T Davies have any idea Who’s story he was really telling? I’d love to know the answer to that.

Anyway – great television, and another successful season for the show they claimed was dead. Bring on the Christmas Special – allegedly starring Kylie Minogue!

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Television | 2 Comments »

Jack’s back

Posted by Martin on January 22, 2007

Yes I know it’s an obvious title, sorry. But HOW AWESOME was the season premiere (impressed, my American friends? We say, Episode one) of 24, series six? I felt the new, more vulnerable Jack was a much overdue piece of character development, and without wanting to put any spoilers out there, I’m really interested to see where they take his relationship with the Alexander Siddig character. And over the course of the two hours, they still managed to hit the quota on explosions, humour and eye-watering torture (although never in the same scene, yet).

Appearently we get two episodes a week for the next two Sundays here in the UK. Oh Mr Murdoch – with these Rocher you are spoiling us!

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John Barrowman and Jesus

Posted by Martin on January 9, 2007

Over New Year I happened to catch the BBC’s appalling excuse for a ‘spiritual’ Sunday morning show, Heaven and Earth. I say it’s appalling because according to them, anything appears to qualify as a major religion these days – Jedi, cross-stitch, pigeon-fancying – and they’ve probably run features on all of them. But in the midst of the usual dross, there was a very interesting article on this particular show with the actor John Barrowman, who plays ‘the other Captain Jack’ in Doctor Who and Torchwood.

John was talking about his rarely-mentioned Christian faith – he was brought up in a strong Christian family, says he tries to live like Jesus, reads the Bible and prays. He was open and honest about his faith, and the struggles he has with the church, which has not accepted him. John is gay, and recently ‘married’ his long-term partner in a civil partnership ceremony. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from being a Christian, but it has meant that he’s struggled to engage with a church which is repeatedly telling him that he’s going to hell in a handcart.

The interviewer asked him if he was just twisting the faith to meet his own ends, and he replied that he didn’t see what was wrong with that. I don’t actually believe that he would have given that answer if he’d thought about it – so it wasn’t likely to endear him to many traditional Christian viewers.

I find it interesting though how many prominent gay men I’ve heard openly talking about their interest in Jesus and their rejection by the church. The singer Boy George and the comedian Julian Clary both wrote about this in recent memoirs, and they’re by no means the only gay men to address this subject. I don’t believe it’s because they’re doing it to draw attention to the negativity of the church; I think they’re drawn to Jesus and they feel they’ve been barred from getting close to him.

I’m a self-confessed Doctor Who nut, so I’d love the chance to talk to him anyway, but I’d be really interested to find out more about John’s faith, theology and thoughts on the church. If you’re out there John – drop me a line…

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Television | 10 Comments »

If you have a problem, if no-one else can help…

Posted by Martin on December 21, 2006

My latest television addiction is The Unit – or – ‘What David Palmer did next after 24

It’s the ‘based-on-real-events’ story of an elite Delta Force team, headed up by Jonas Blane, the character played by the brilliant Dennis Haysbert (pictured). Called simply ‘Alpha Team’, they go to the places where no other soldiers can or will; they do the jobs that even Jack Bauer wouldn’t touch. Assassinations, death-defying rescues – all in a day’s work for Jonas and his men. And to give the show some depth, we also get to see the lives of their wives and families, living together back on base – nervously waiting to hear each week if their men have made it back alive from their latest mission.

All good fun, but it took me a few episodes to work out what was really going on here. This speech, from Jonas to another character, helped me to catch on:

‘No matter how blessed out lives, how charmed our existence, things still inevitably, irrevocably go wrong. Your mother swindled out of her savings. Your estranged husband runs off with your kids. Your best friend goes on vacation in a foreign land and disappears. Eventually, bad things find us all. You ever hear of the “Get of Jail Free Card”? This is a get out of hell card. At some point in your life, God forbid you have nowhere else to turn, call that number.’

Remind you of another show, anyone? Remember, Blane’s part of The Unit is called ‘Alpha Team’…

Here’s another quote, this time from that other show:

‘In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…’

They’ve re-made The A-Team! People should know about this. Tell your friends.

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Piefest / TV kills Christmas

Posted by Martin on December 15, 2006

As planned, our youth group assembled with a handful of other brave church members on the local council housing estate last night, assigned with the task of singing some carols and handing out some mince pies. Enthusiastic new girl was there, along, incredibly, with two even newer girls! There were about 20 of us in all, including two guitar-wielding church leaders, and we made a good attempt at a few of the classics.

Interestingly though, everyone on the estate gave us a wide berth. Suddenly, an area containing 500 homes resembled an abandoned Wild West town. If doorbell response was to be used as an indicator, then apparently, no-one was in at all. That’s right – not a single door that we knocked on to offer a mince pie, opened to us. It was as if we were invisible.

But not inaudible, it would seem. Because halfway – literally half way – through ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, a twenty-something woman came into our midst, waved her arms and told us that she was really sorry, but we had to stop. Everyone did as she asked, but we were puzzled – had traditional Christian Carols really become so offensive? No – but apparently television producers have. For as she – a production assistant – revealed, they were trying to film an episode of some vacuous Channel 4 reality TV show on the estate, and our singing was creating an unwelcome background noise. So would we mind awfully if we shut up and moved on?

Despite my protestations, the church leaders relented and downed their guitars. Our performance was at an end. But what on earth made this woman believe she had the right to stop us – and mid-song? I know TV is important in this country – but seriously?

We walked away, and heard a loud director cry ‘action’ in the nearby background. Part of me wanted to start a bit of impromptu megaphone street preaching to ruin his scene, but that wouldn’t have been very constructive, now would it?

Posted in Television, Youth Ministry | Leave a Comment »

Sad beautiful Big Brother girl

Posted by Martin on December 1, 2006

Very strange experience on my train today – I found myself sat opposite one of the contestants from the last series of Big Brother. I didn’t realise that at first – just knew that I recognised this pretty woman opposite me from somewhere.

I won’t reveal who she was, but she’s one of the many contestants who has subsequently adorned the pages of mens magazines in varying states of undress, after her love life was dragged backwards through the pages of Heat. Anyhow, what struck me most about her was not that I knew her, or that she was attractive, but that she was sad. Really, really sad. Of course, it was early, and I could be reading all this into a face which actually reflected a lack of sleep, but I don’t think so. Her eyes said so much… she looked broken. And when she spoke briefly to a friend on the telephone (this was how I knew it was her), her voice was laced with a definite note of melancholy.

So what am I, as a Christian, trying to reflect the kingdom in my everyday life, supposed to do in that situation? Say: ‘Hello, former celebrity lady; you don’t know me, but you look sad?’ I really wanted to – I really wanted to listen to her story and tell her about how Jesus Christ loves her, however cheesy that may have sounded.

But… She’s a) attractive and b) aware that she’s famous. And I c) probably come across slightly like a nutter before I’ve had a proper cup of coffee. So I felt paralysed. I said and did nothing. No kingdom reflection for me today.

She walked away, and I too felt sad. I can’t make too many more assumptions, but I’d suggest that post-reality TV fame may not be all it’s cracked up to be, if her face is to be believed. If I see her on the train again, I promise I’ll say something. But what on earth do I say? Help please…

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Television | Leave a Comment »

Monkey confusion

Posted by Martin on November 27, 2006

MonkeyMonkeesThere seems to have been some minor confusion over the ‘monkey’ reference in my tirade against pointless DVD box sets (see below). To clear it up: I was suggesting that there would be no reason to buy the Monkey or Monkey Magic box set (see pic, left). I was in no way implying that a box set of the complete Monkees (see pic, right), would make anything but an essential purchase for any discerning DVD collector. Honest.

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Knight Rider box sets and a seriously ill culture

Posted by Martin on November 24, 2006

Seriously!I always dive into HMV on a Friday morning on my way into work, just to check out the latest releases. Something caught my eye today though – a DVD box set of ‘The Complete Knight Rider – on 18 discs’!!!

 The first question – who on earth would buy that? Just as when they released The Brittas Empire, series by series, you’re left scratching your head wondering who’s bright idea it was to spend the money actually pressing these discs. Is there really a market?

And if so – and presumably there is – the second question is why? Why is there a market for DVDs of forgettable television programmes which you remember nostalgically but were average at best?

The flipside of our throwaway culture is the simultaneously true ‘collector’ culture – as we pick and mix our way through modern life, we rarely commit to anything; yet at the same time the marketing men are successfully convincing us to buy and hoard. DVDs seem particularly addictive – their sales are now equally important to the success of a movie as it’s theatrical release – and there are whole web communities devoted to people who like to talk about their gigantic collections. On sites like Avforums, users regularly talk about how they’re desperately spending their last pennies on the latest DVD releases – yet often confess that many of them lay shrinkwrapped on the shelf for months.

This cannot be more true than in the case of nostalgic tv shows, which are being boxed up and released more and more regularly. Some recent examples: The Complete Dangermouse; The Complete Transformers; The Complete Monkey!!!

Why are people buying boxes of shows like this? When you buy the complete Dangermouse, you must know on some level that you’re never going to watch more than one episode? And during that one, you’re going to be crushed at the realisation that the reality was nowhere near as great as your rose-tinted memory.

Join me – say no to rubbish old TV box sets on DVD. Otherwise it won’t be long before they’re releasing – News At Ten – The complete 1986 season on  DVD.

Posted in Television | 1 Comment »

CSI: Huddersfield

Posted by Martin on November 1, 2006

Am deeply entrenched of late in the first series of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation for the uninitiated), the star of which, William Petersen, is a great actor (see Manhunter) and fully deserved the big break he got through this. I appreciate I’m way behind, as always, but now I’m concerned that I’ll be sucked in to the branching nature of the series, feeling compelled to watch the two spin-offs, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York too.

Heard a great comment from the show’s producers on how they justify churning out what’s basically the same plot (murderer leaves clues, boffins follow them) over not just seven series and counting in Las Vegas, but also several more in the spin off cities. He said: ‘we knew that someone was going to do a CSI rip-off, so we figured it might as well be us.’ Which is pretty smart thinking.

So if you’re going to be original, do it in triplicate, and avoid letting anyone else get hold of your coat tails. There must be a range of applications for this in everyday life.

Am currently trying to decide on my best suggestion for the fourth instalment – CSI: Newport Isle of Wight anyone?

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Atheism is the new cookery pt II

Posted by Martin on October 31, 2006

Don’t know if anyone spotted the very unsubtle atheistic worldview displayed in episode one of the BBC’s new sci-fi show Torchwood – it wasn’t easy to miss. The show is a spin off from Doctor Who (it’s an anagram, geddit?), and it’s central characters possess a metal glove which can briefly resurrect the dead. In the pilot, written by Doctor Who saviour Russell T Davies, they used it on a murder victim, and asked him, as he was breathing his last for a second time, what he saw when he died. He suddenly got very upset and declared ‘nothing. I saw nothing. There’s nothing!’

Very subtly done, Russell T. We barely noticed.

Look out by the way for another new spin-off from Doctor Who’s producers, launching next year. It’s about a farm animal who races sports cars, and it’s called Hot Rod Cow. The cow doesn’t believe in God either.

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Television | Leave a Comment »

Dammit Chloe we’re running out of time…!

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

If that phrase means anything to you, time to get very excited. Just about the most gripping and adrenaline-pumping show in the history of television ever, ever, is back in January (if you’re a lucky American) or a few months later if you’re a Brit like me.

Until that wonderful day, here’s the new trailer for Series 6 of the peerless (and now Emmy award winning) 24.

http://www.24trailer.com/

Posted in Television | 4 Comments »