29 December 2022 1121 Views

Christmas TV. It’s all connected! From Jack Ryan to Coronation Street. But How?..

by James Murphy

..It was all a bit..SHIT.

Hate to be negative or even critical, sometimes. Would love to say all media is in rude health. It isn’t. In fact? I’d go so far as saying that the collective, derivative, soulless, uninspired mediocrity on show, is proof, that the end of the world has happened, already.

Let me start with JACK RYAN. I hate this more than life itself. 

  • If you set up Russians as the baddies (makes sense, today): WHY THEN TAG ON AN INCOMPETENT CIA / Ryan is framed subplot?

 

  • In the Tom Clancy books and films? Jack Ryan does not carry messages through embassies, jump into boats or any kind of either minor or major level espionage until he HAS to.

 

 

  • Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin or Ben Affleck in a fight with baddies was a treat at the end; a conclusion , not a premise.
  • This Amazon imposter places Jack front and centre of the action, from outset. Which makes no sense, given he is an analyst not a field man and was injured, severely, when he did do action as a Marine.
  • Harrison Ford captured the best of that dynamic in one scene below: action is ‘there’ in background and does happen. But the character functions first from the Office and still generates ta thrilling scene in the process. Great writing, acting, direction. Lost arts, alas, today? 

  • And Krasinski would not convince me as a Cub Scout leader, let alone a CIA analyst or field agent. 
  • The dialogue between Jack Ryan and Jim Greer would have Clancy reaching out from the afterlife to hunt down the writers. It’s THAT bad. Total misreading of the characters and their relationship / calibre.
  • The opening felt like a rip off from 1997’s superiorly brilliant thriller, THE PEACEMAKER (see clip, below, as indication: then rent/buy/download said movie).
  • Fine to pay tribute. IF Amazon’s latest take on the Clancy-verse had boldly given us the once mooted Clooney as President Ryan, rather than the derivative Krasinski in a beard trying to look hard. 

 

  • Oh and STOP making Russians drink ‘wodka’. Also: WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS PLAYED BY BRITS?? Very odd.

Moving on. And it’s a massive logic and tone/idiom leap but…

  • CORONATION STREET: Yes, I said lovely things about new baddie, Griff (Michael Condron). Rightly so. Because the MOMENT he leaves the screen? It gets dull. As in deathly dull.

  • They are using middle class idiom and imposing that on a working class Mancunian context. ‘I must do the prep for the Christmas dinner’. NOT a line one would hear outside the London luvvy media bubble.
  • Comedy is overused, ditto faux romance, as punctuation to the fixation with crime.
  • Corrie always had dark things happen and crime in the background. But those were the standout exceptions to the core comedy, working class values and character sketches. Today it’s the reverse.

 

  • There’s no point in riffing on Santa Clause magic, weddings and Carol singing, if beneath it all, you are just another derivative media studies video about gangsters n shit. 
  • Oh and really, REALLY? Fiz n Ty going to see IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE? They would not even know what that film is. And if they did, they, like me, would think it sucked. As would their kids.

Common thread? Across genres, platforms, budgets, UK/US et al? It’s about writers of today, trading off motifs, morality and magic of yesteryear. But unearned, undeveloped and uninvited. They cover it with references to the past; reverential doffs of cap in the credits or Easter egg teasers in the script.

Tom Clancy (RIP) is actually credited as an Executive Producer (on JACK RYAN, btw; not Coronation Street). Nice. But he died a decade ago? 

IMHO: It’s all a generation of deeply dull writers who lack life experience, real world soul or even sufficient literary/cinematic expertise to truly give us something new or carry the torch for something old.

Same goes for every franchise, series, property out there, from STAR WARS to LORD OF THE RINGS and beyond. The makers know some stuff about the lore, for sure. But that sketchy excuse for substance will not cut it as a vision. Stop conning us. 

If you really want to just give us unashamed rubbish? It is possible. Even at Christmas. Seriously. 

The following at least did not even pretend to have any substance or soul. They show outright contempt for ALL audiences? 

    • MRS BROWN’S BOYS (Once funny and warm; now it’s toilet humour; and a song as filler).

    • MOTHERLAND (Watch the bits with lovely Lucy Punch but skip the rest: rehashed, charmless shit and disrespectful to its own demographic).

  • EASTENDERS (recycled plots from 2003, just without the menace/mystery/magic. Gangsters = cool and everyone else is ineffectual = basic Christmas morality here?). Memo to Kim Medcalf: You have an LPC, right? A career in law is surely more fun than the misery of Eastenders? Get out. Now. While you can. Anyone can play Sam Mitchell. You deserve better. Duff, duff…

 

    • EMMERDALE (Bernice the sexy redhead snogs the middle class white collar patsy only for him to vomit. Because, of course, as he is not a gangster or something? He has to be inept. )..Etc..

DO YOU SEE A PATTERN IN ALL OF THIS? Good! Not Just me, then. Because I see, in much media cited, and more: Mediocrity posing as profundity. Old and recycled, presented as new and subversive. Anarchy as order.

Copious urination on old values, cloaked in cloying sentiment and mawkish manipulation via Christmas montage of Carols and lights. Bollox anyway. 

Still, THE KING’S SPEECH was good. No wonder Harry wants back in (he’s busy with his wife, Megz: making THE funniest show on Netflix: watch it for a laugh!). 

And YES! A treat in the DOCTOR WHO preview. BBC finally understand that we DO like a GOOD Christmas special. Shame it’s a year away but that’s better than nothing. Yep. 😉 

I think I have made my point. HAPPY NEW YEAR. See you at the Movies!

 



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