Another year trundles on. So what have I learned from 2005? Well, natural disasters were the "in" thing for the Earth, which hopefully means that the globe will choose something different for this year's fashion. And of course, the usual nonsense of people killing other people in the name of "religion". Give it a hundred years or two, and the human race might actually start to see sense and abolish the whole notion of religion.
The first thing I've taken from 2006 though is this: Super Size Me is one of the most important documents produced in the 21st Century thus far. It should be made required viewing for ALL prospective parents, and any children over the age of 12. The eye-opening portions of the film aren't so much the effect that fast food has on Morgan Spurlock, but the way that companies like McDonald's and GMA operate in order to a) keep people coming back and b) make as much profit as possible. The imprinting at a young age has more psychological significance than one would think possible.
New shows I've been watching recently:
Arrested Development - Recently cancelled by Fox to the outcry of millions (TV networks tend to do that, I've noticed), I watched the first couple of episodes of this quirky comedy. I'm not sure what to think; it's quite amusing but is missing the sharpness of Scrubs or the good nature of My Name Is Earl. I might give it another go sometime soon.
Prison Break - One of the best "action" dramas I've seen since 24, this one had me hooked through every one of the 13 episodes broadcast so far. An architect whose brother is on Death Row and who is due to be executed in a month gets himself locked away into the same prison in order to break him out. The twist? He designed the prison, so knows it in detail. Helpfully though, he also has the blueprints tattooed on his body (in a gothic-type design, that won't attract attention), and he also has enough information about some of the prisoners to get them to help him do what he needs. Once you've bought into that plot device - which Prison Break subtly convinces you to do - the show rattles along and breakneck pace. To counterbalance prison life, you also have the girlfriend of the Death Row inmate fighting to get him freed (which is handy as she's a lawyer), and who tracks the "framing" of the accused to a rather surprising place. This returns in March for the back 9 episodes, and I'll be glued to the screen. How they can come up with a second series, I have no clue, but I'm sure if the show's a hit and enough money changes hands, it may be around for a while.
House - I caught 5 minutes of this on Channel 5 a few months back and the only thing that registered was Hugh Laurie's astonishing American accent. Aside from that, I thought it the usual run-of-the-mill medical drama. I came back to it this weekend, and two episodes later I'm impressed. The writing for Laurie's character is excellent, and he is totally convincing. The other characters are OK and will surely develop as the series progresses, but it's Laurie that makes the show watchable. It's certainly a far cry from his days as George in Blackadder.
Absolute Power - Hugh Laurie's old comedy partner Stephen Fry starred with Rory Bremner's pal John Bird in this painfully near the knuckle satire about the machinations of a PR company with a finger in every public pie. It goes more for sly chuckles than outright laughs, but it's one of those shows that makes you feel smart if you understand the jokes. So that's good enough for me.
Boston Legal - Watched the pilot for this show purely to see the great William Shatner in action. I came across this purely accidentally after seeing it on a billboard; I've never been a fan of legal dramas, I never watched Perry Mason and I've never seen the show that spawned this spin-off: The Practice. However, after watching this episode...I still don't like legal dramas. Shatner's managed to tone down the ham, and James Woods is excellent. But the whole "law firm" premise just doesn't do anything for me.
Going back to superb shows, 24 season 5 starts tonight in the States with 2 episodes, followed by another 2 tomorrow. So I'll have plenty to digest this week.
I have my orange belt Bushido grading in March to look forward to. That, of course, was sarcasm. I'll be finding out in tomorrow's lesson whether I actually have a hip problem that prevents me from kicking at a certain angle, or whether it's just muscle tightness.
Also this week, I need to get an MOT booked before Feb 1st. The car will be in a Fiat garage on Wednesday in order to get its brake pipes replaced for free (since it's been recalled), and after that I'll just be hoping that it gets through the test without too much wallet impact. Otherwise I may just have to eBay it and get another. Not ideal.