The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this week.

The Couch Potato Report – March 20th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on two great TV series, a useless movie, with a great making of, and James Bond.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: One of the greatest things about DVDs is the fact that we can now sit back on our couches and watch old TV shows and series in their entirety, whether it is St. Patrick’s day or not.
Neither video cassettes or laserdiscs offered us that option as easily as DVD does, and I for one love seeing shows I love again and again!
One show that I loved when it aired in the late 1990s – on CBC no less – was the unique series TWITCH CITY, and it now available on DVD for my viewing pleasure once again!!
The very funny TWITCH CITY takes place in the Toronto neighbourhood of Kensington Market.
Don McKellar from THE RED VIOLIN and PRAIRIE GIANT stars in the show as Curtis, a couch potato who never leaves his apartment and is constantly watching television.
For some reason, I related to the character.
In the first episode Curtis’ roomate Nathan is sent to prison for killing a homeless man with a can of cat food.
In a nod to that other great television series filmed in the area, the homeless man was played by Al Waxman, who had been the star of the 1970s sitcom KING OF KENSINGTON.
Prior to his incarceration Nathan’s girlfriend Hope was about to move in with him, but now that he is in prison, Curtis rents out his room.
However, he is still interested in having Hope move in.
Throughout the series, Curtis and Hope get to know each other better, they continually try to find new roomates, and they watch The Rex Reilly Show, a Jerry Springer-esque show that always has a unique topic to hook viewers with.
TWITCH CITY didn’t have mainstream success when season one aired in 1998 or when it came back in 2000, and to thsi day it is still thought of as the second best series ever made about Kensington, but those of us who watched it, enjoyed it, and we can now own it on DVD!
And who knows, maybe some day KING OF KENSINGTON will come out on DVD as well so we can watch more TV.
Most North American viewers watch more than forty hours per week, I certainly do, and the time I spent watching TWITCH CITY was time well spent.
I would also make that claim regarding DOCTOR WHO. I have spent my whole life watching this series, and I always enjoy it!!
DOCTOR WHO is the long-running BBC science fiction show about the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as “the Doctor”, who explores time and space with his companions, solving problems and righting wrongs.
DOCTOR WHO originally ran from 1963 to 1989. Then, a television movie was made in 1996, and the programme was successfully relaunched in 2005 with the great Christopher Eccelston starring as the title character.
Like all Time Lords, the Doctor has the ability to “regenerate” his body when near death, allowing for the convenient recasting of the lead actor, so when Eccelston left the show after one season, he was replaced by David Tennant.
It is Tennant’s shows that are now available on DVD in DOCTOR WHO – THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES and they are a great addition to the legacy of DOCTOR WHO.
The series brings back classic villains, introduces interesting new ones, and if you are a long time fan of the show, there is even the return of an old friend.
Even if you are not a long time fan of the show, the episode where one of the Doctor’s former traveling companions will still pack an emotional whallop. The show is that well written and acted.
But it is also fun! Fun to watch, and in SERIES TWO the actors make it look like it was fun to film as well.
If you missed any of the DOCTOR WHO episodes when they aired Monday nights on CBC recently, you can catch them again as they air on Saturdays from 12:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.
And the incredible DOCTOR WHO – THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES is also now on DVD.
Okay, I have two more releases to discuss with you this week, and I will do that briefly.
The reason I am being brief about the film SHORTBUS starring CBC radio’s own Sook-Yin Lee is because the film is useless!
Completely and utterly useless.
In this film, people go to the exclusive club Shortbus to work out problems in their sexual relationships.
There are straight people, gay people, and some who are just lonely and alone.
All of them are trying to work out their problems.
And the actors in SHORTBUS are not pretending or acting, this is a film full of very graphic situations.
John Cameron Mitchell, the writer and director of the film, is on record saying that SHORTBUS is that it is an uncensored look at relationships.
My opinion is that he knew how uninteresting a film he was making, so he decided to put as much nudity in it as possible in order to get people talking about the movie.
But in the end, SHORTBUS is just a film full of desperate people, in desperate situations and none of it all that interesting, entertaining, or even titallating.
However…the DVD includes a making of featurette that is interesting. It seems as if the filmmakers actually took some time to plan out, cast, create and film their movie, and while I have nothing good to say about their work, I did find the process that they went through quite engaging.
So let me surmise…as a film SHORTBUS is completely and utterly useless, but the story of how it got made is actually very interesting.
Now, lets get away from the useless side of cinema and move toward something more usefull.
Yes, the latest James Bond film is very usefull, and entertaining and even if you have never seen a Bond film before, you can still enjoy CASINO ROYALE.
There are great action sequences, an interesting story, and if you have watched these films over the years, or read the books, there is even a nod or two to the series’ history.
Plus, CASINO ROYALE has another thing going for it! Someone named Daniel is now Bond…James Bond.
Daniel Craig is a superb James Bond and CASINO ROYALE is now available on DVD, alongside the utterly useless SHORTBUS, the always entertaining DOCTOR WHO – THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES and the 1990s CBC series TWITCH CITY.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
CHEECH is a Genie nominated film from Quebec about six people living through the worst day of their lives.
Also next week, Sylvester Stallone returns is the very satisfying ROCKY BALBOA; Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly star in the Oscar nominated BLOOD DIAMOND; and the great Ashley Judd is a woman searching for love in COME EARLY MORNING.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!