Trailer Trash: Heroes

It’s that time of year when TV stations are promoting all of their new shows for the autumn. Will the new programmes find an audience, will returning series remain well-liked and why are we always so far behind the Americans here in the UK? One favourite here at Scoop towers is Heroes, the sci-fi phenomenon which is proving popular on BBC2 after initially airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. Those lucky folk in the US are already gearing up for the show’s return to TV later in the month and here at the Scoop we bring you the trailer for this new season.

For those of you savouring your first few bites of Heroes – be warned the trailer might spoil upcoming plot details for you. But for those of you who have already feasted on the whole buffet of season one – enjoy the trailer and let us know what you think. Cryptic gibberish or exciting preview? Leave a comment and let the debate begin.

Future of Doctor Who assured, but not until 2010

With earlier reports that Doctor Who guru and all-round top bloke Russell T Davies was feeling the pressure and getting ready to step down from the helm of BBC One’s most successful Saturday night revival ever, speculation has been rife about what would be happening with the flagship show.

Finally the Beeb revealed today that another series is in the pipeline after 2008, but that the crew will effectively be taking a gap year. So what happens in between? All is not lost, apparently…

While a full-length Doctor Who series will not return until spring 2010, there are plans to follow up next year’s fourth series with a 2008 Christmas special, and it’s been confirmed that David Tennant will stay on in the role for at least three further programmes – each one a “special” to be written by Davies.

These three special episodes will be shown during 2009, filling the gap between the fourth and fifth series.

Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: “Doctor Who is one of the BBC’s best loved and most successful dramas. Its journey over the past three series has been one of the most ambitious and exciting that we have had, and I’m delighted to be able to confirm not only three exciting specials for 2009, but a fifth series in 2010.”

Tantalisingly there is no word about whether that fifth series will continue to feature Tennant in the role of the travelling Time Lord and his TARDIS. Well be honest, to reveal this too early would put an end to all those endless column inches of speculation about who is to be the next Who. It would spoil the fun, wouldn’t it? No?

ABC website quizzes Grey’s Anatomy fans: Which female character are you?

For us ladies interested in all things Grey’s Anatomy, American network ABC have just the thing: a ‘which character are you most like?’ quiz. I know that the show has some male fans, but sadly the quiz only includes the six central female characters: Meredith, Cristina, Izzie, Miranda, Callie and Addison. Maybe if you boys fancy yourselves with long pretty hair you could have a go, or perhaps invent your own with the male leads. Bigoted and bullying? Aha – you must be Isaiah Washington!

The questions tax you on your attitude to work, children and family and pictures of the lovely ladies pop up to entice you. Are you ambitious and work-obsessed like Cristina or a ‘people person’ (*puke*) like Izzie? Always prepared to sacrifice myself for the greater good at the Scoop, I had a quick stab at the quiz myself. And who am I? Thankfully not Meredith. She might have McDreamy but that doesn’t stop her being McFeeble. Bored at work – why not try it yourself by clicking here.

Set the video: Men In Trees, Living TV, Thursday 6 September, 9pm

One of the key search words on IMDb chosen to describe new US import Men In Trees is ‘quirky’. You don’t say – what with renowned loonie Anne Heche starring as the central role, Marin Frist. Hell, even the name Marin is super quirky. This new drama on Living TV follows Marin as a relationship coach who visits Alaska as part of her book tour and ends up staying longer than she expected.

I haven’t watched any of this series yet, but from the promotional campaign predict a will-they-won’t-they romance and lots of fish out of water hijinks. After all, Alaska isn’t a location often given the primetime TV treatment and so is rich with raccoon jokes. In the UK, Heche is probably best known as the ex-girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres and having a bit of a breakdown and wandering around in someone’s garden. She has managed to fit some acting around her personal life, though has skillfully learned to combine the two since ditching her cameraman hubbie for Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. Will their chemistry be evident onscreen? I guess it’s one reason to tune in. I, meanwhile am holding out for some raccon action.

Set The Video: Outnumbered, BBC One, Mon, Tues and Wed, 10.35pm

Looking at all the comments to my review of the first episode of this six part mini-series, it seems Outnumbered has certainly found a decent audience despite it being aired rather late – and yet it still feels like our little secret. Which is a good thing. Since that first episode, the show has become a little more traditional (new-age Aunt Angela is much more of a recognisable sit-com character), and a whole lot darker.

Ever since the end of the first episode when we realised that Pete is in some sort of trouble, there has been the niggling feeling that something tragic is going to happen. It seems that Pete has not yet weathered the storm after making an inappropriate (but, as he said, pretty funny) remark at school – but there are other ominous signs, too. Angela doesn’t seem up to looking after her father, despite his assertions that he’d rather be with her than Sue, and the eldest child Jake is hiding bruises on his arms, just at the moment that his dad has been persuaded that he’s making friends. Do make the effort to watch the last three episodes – the children are all too wonderful for words, and you get the feeling that, in this quiet, low-key sit-com, something big is about to happen.

Set The Video – 10 Years Younger, Channel 4, Thursday, 8pm

Years ago, when 10 years Younger first slimed onto our TVs, the then unknown Nicky Hambleton-Jones, discovered through her style consultancy Tramp to Vamp, became known as a ‘guru of style’. Or, if you prefer, a horrendous skin peeling cackling evil machine. In Nicky’s words, “everyone has a hairdresser and maybe a beautician, but a personal stylist has always been for the rich and famous. My idea was to make personal styling available for everyone.” That may be so, but who reckons that the famous are so comprehensively demoralised during consultation?

Obviously, 10 Years Younger (Channel 4, Thursday, 8pm) is back on our screens, ready to tell you that, it doesn’t matter what you’re like as a person, if you are unfashionable, you are nothing. Wrinkles? You might as well kill yourself right now.

If you’ve got this far, it’s probably because you’re curious as to why you should watch this show. Well, in all honesty, you shouldn’t. You should be watching the fantastic The Restaurant (BBC2, Thursday, 8pm). However, I can’t keep previewing the same shows week after week, so I thought I’d give you the option of some serious bile removal. 10 Years Younger should make those of you with a brain so angry that it could ignite the air around your head.

Thursday sees a continuing of the summer specials in which Nicky Hambleton-Jones and her team of fashion gargoyles attempt to ‘help’ people look a decade younger. Of course, the participants on the show (this week we have DJ and music entrepreneur Simon Dehany) need to be convinced that they look worse than a burns victim. This is done by wheeling them out into a public place and having the nation’s most dim point at them and dribble “Vey look like vey am two hundrid yerr oweld like… well oweld.” This makes the participant cry inside, thus, adding another handful of wrinkles to their already needy brow.

Of course, by the time Hambleton-Jones has finished whispering in their ear like some treacherous Shakespearean character pouring poison in a King’s ear, the participant is almost willing to do anything she says. This essentially means allowing Nicky to point and laugh at all your clothes, allowing a man to peel your skin off with chemicals and the slow yawning decline into fashion drone. They’ll have this DJ looking like one of The Klaxons before the end of the show… and he’ll weep tears of joy… just like someone released from a hostage situation. [Mof Gimmers]

BBC HD is good to go

Good news for those who thought they might have to rely on an expensive subscription service (like Sky) to get their eyes on HD programming. A report from media regulator Ofcom concluded yesterday that “BBC HD” – Auntie’s proposed high definition TV channel – won’t have any significant negative market impact.

It’s not all good news though. BBC Trust have been conducting their own assessment and are questioning the value of BBC HD for licence fee payers, owing to the limited late-night programming that would be the only thing on offer via the digital terrestrial TV service Freeview in advance of the launch of Freesat.

In this classic chicken-and-egg situation, Ofcom report that a BBC HD channel would deliver consumer benefit through increased takeup of HD across the UK, including via the new Freesat digital satellite service being planned by the corporation and ITV.

But until Freesat is launched (current predicted date March 2008), the only delivery vehicle for BBC HD is Freeview, where the BBC says it can only launch a four-hours-a-day HD channel between 2am and 6am because of the lack of capacity on the digital terrestrial TV service.

The Freeview HD channel service could be extended to nine hours a day, but not until after digital switchover is completed in 2012.

So on the one hand the availability of an HD service is expected to drive demand for HD and yet on the other hand BBC HD can’t meet that demand, unless you want to be watching TV in the very early morning. Sales of HD PVRs will rocket!

Once the service is up and running properly, via Freesat, DTV and cable, the BBC plan to show nine hours of programming a day although initially at least, 95% of the schedule will comprise HD versions of existing corporation shows. [via MG]

This story (and other HDTV-related news and views) is also available on our sister site HDTV UK.

TV Review: MTV Video Music Awards 2007, MTV1, Monday 10 September, 9pm

An awards show might seem like an odd choice of TV fodder to review, but this year’s MTV Video Music Awards was surprisingly noteworthy. Celebrity car-crash Britney Spears has eaten up all the column inches with her opening ‘performance’, but there was more to this showbiz love-in than a ratty hair-weave, as the organisers tinkered liberally with the ceremony’s format.

Usually music awards bashes have some performances, the handing out of the prizes and some sheepish presenters fluffing their lines. These were all present and correct, but where normally there is one stage and one audience, MTV decided to be hip and experimental by introducing numerous stages. And when I say stage what I really mean is hotel suite. Confused? So was I – what was going on?

As the shindig was located at top Las Vegas casino and hotel The Sands, MTV substituted stages for dressed up hotel rooms. They had a main stage where some lucky artists got to perform but they squeezed top name bands like The Foo Fighters and Fall Out Boy into the cramped corners of these hotel rooms and crowded them with fans. The stars in these suites were televised intermittently, with MTV tarting up their concept as exclusive, private celebrity parties. Rapper Kanye West was a bit more mobile, wandering up and down the steps in his particular room but the whole thing seemed a complete mess. The scheme meant that only snatches of songs could be heard before the action returned to the more natural home of the main stage, while camera crews struggled in the restricted confines. Who decided which stars only merited a small, sweaty nook while others got to enjoy the freedom of a more professional performance? This might have sounded like a fantastic new idea when brain-stormed at some executive meeting, but in reality the ceremony lacked the usual cohesion, structure and internal logic of an awards ceremony. But what of the stars – did they enjoy themselves and who won?

US comedienne Sarah Silverman took to the stage after the disappointing Britney and launched a stinging attack on the former pop princess. Considering the ineptitude and absolute unprofessionalism of Miss Spears the criticisms seemed justified, and though Silverman’s patter was patchy and sporadic, her jokes were hilarious. Britney wasn’t the only one to suffer a mention, with 50 Cent and Amy Winehouse (“if she’s not Jewish, someone should tell her face”) also in the firing line.

Umbrella, ella, ella singer Rihanna (pictured right) won the first ever monster single of the year award, while Beyonce (winner of most earth-shattering collaboration with Shakira) gallantly gave her golden curtains a night out in a nasty Grecian inspired frock. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson sounded out of breath as she presented with personality vacuum Robin Thicke, while other new category, quadruple threat seemed ludicrous. Stars such as Justin Timberlake were nominated for launching a clothing line while others like Bono and Kanye West got the nod for humanitarian work. You decide who makes the more telling contribution to society away from their singing antics.

Speaking of Kanye, the rapper spent the entire night with his trademark silly shades on and comically balanced on his tip-toes when onstage with his much taller rival 50 Cent. You probably would feel quite intimidated when stood next to the ‘In Da Club’ star. 50, or Fiddy to his mates, looked absolutely huge in his smart suit, but clearly a memo had been sent out warning rappers to hulk up for the proceedings. Timbaland was keen to show off his sculpted arms, while winner of the inspiration award, Dr. Dre looked as though he had been working out night and day, though dressed down in a sweaty jumper and jeans.

New US star Chris Brown pretended to be Michael Jackson and mimed atrociously for his set, though P Diddy seemed to enjoy it (though what doesn’t he enjoy? The guy is not fussy.) Justin Timberlake walked off with the best male award and used his acceptance speech to urge MTV to screen more videos: “we don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television.” Hear hear that man.

Presenter Transformers actor Shia Lebeouf revealed the name of the new Indiana Jones film while Fergie won best female. Busy performing with The Black Eyed Peas, the ‘Duchess’ was unable to accept the award in person and Shia welcomed Fergie collaborator Ludacris to the stage in her absence. Evidently, Ludacris had forgotten that he had agreed to do this, and after some ignored pleas to come collect, Shia decided to walk off with the Moon Man himself.

In their dark, forgotten corner of the world Fall Out Boy won best group and received the prize from a man in a bunny costume (?) Bassist Pete Wentz thanked their fans for voting for the band and like Justin used his moment in the spotlight to communicate his words of wisdom, this time encouraging young music fans to learn how to play instruments. Mmm, a not-so-veiled dig at the likes of Britney? Interesting considering Wentz’s girlfriend is Ashlee Simpson.

Alicia Keys (pictured left) delighted the audience with her crazy hair and skintight outfit, while Jamie Foxx playfully discarded the autocue during his hosting duties with Jennifer Garner. Pamela Anderson wanted to use her script but found herself distracted by ex Tommy Lee scrapping with other ex Kid Rock in the audience.

Gym Class Heroes were fighting for air under an excited mob when their success as the year’s best newcomer was announced. Hidden away with Fall Out Boy, they couldn’t even be reached to receive their award. Rihanna scored again by picking up the biggest award of the night: best video of the year, while Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake (who else?) and Timbaland ended the show. P Diddy invited everyone to his party on the 32nd floor and sad, to say, I had to decline.

The editing back and forth from one set of stars to another had left me exhausted and it must be unanimously agreed that the change in format was a disaster. I hope that MTV get a clue and ditch it quickly. Also – why on a night to honour music videos, did so few of them get a particular mention? Artists were seemingly nominated more for their music than their video. Oh MTV – like Britney you promise so much, but deliver so very little. Must do better.

Set the Video – Holly and Ferne go Dating, Wednesday and Thursday, ITV1, 10:00pm

Get your mind out of the gutter, fellas. They are not dating eachother. Tsk. Holly and Ferne go Dating is a new show where the two gals compete against one another to be the supreme matchmaker. Holly Willoughby and Ferne Cotton get to help a poor singleton by finding them people to go out with.

They each have to hook them up with someone and watch as they go on uncomfortable wonderful dates, one of which is at the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant – which starts this Monday, actually.

Holly and Ferne go Pimping, sorry, Dating ends with the potentially embarrassed singleton deciding which person they’d rather dump or hump. How cruel, yet romantic.