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"Lost" on Tyne - Times


Rob W
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August 13, 2005

 

More like a dafta award nominee as we await the next episode on Tyne-tease

By Giles Smith

SO, FINALLY it’s here — the raved-about disaster drama that plans to render us all agog and keep us watching in amazement deep into the autumn and beyond. Apparently, even those of us who aren’t specifically fans of the genre won’t be able to resist getting drawn into the narrative of another season with Newcastle United in the Premiership.

 

But how good, in fact, is this new series? How highly will we come to judge it? The advance word is that the show is destined to become appointment viewing and a water-cooler conversation topic across the nation. But how much of that is hype? Are Newcastle really fit to rank alongside The Sopranos, the early runs of ER or the first series of 24? Or are they just Eldorado with a bigger budget?

 

Time will tell, obviously. But certainly the pilot episode was something of a mixed bag. It included that memorable opening sequence in which the cast were left staggering about, bewildered, on a distant shore, having crashed out of the Intertoto Cup, and were trying to pick themselves up and reassemble their shattered nerves, while all the time being in danger of getting sucked into a still-spinning turbine (played with enormous commitment and possibly Bafta-winning verve by Graeme Souness).

 

Will they hold out long enough to be rescued and returned to civilisation, or will they turn all Lord of the Flies on us and end up fighting each other, like last season?

 

Either way, you can’t fault the production values. This is a show that oozes big-budget expenditure from every frame. It’s always tempting at these moments to beat up British television drama for lacking an equivalent drive and for seeming being relatively narrow in its scope and ambition. But we should remember that British television doesn’t have the kind of money to spend on creating drama that Newcastle do. After all, Newcastle are spending north of £40,000 per week per player on their production and you’d be disappointed not to see some pretty big special effects for that sort of outlay.

 

Big visual numbers apart, though, some of the character portrayals were excellent. Celestine Babayaro was hugely convincing as the man who stands around looking dazed. Alan Shearer, too, was formidable as the wise old hand who has seen it all before but still manages to be cross about it. I also enjoyed Emre Belözoglu’s depiction of someone who can’t quite believe where he has landed up. It was hard not to be haunted, as well, by the scenes in which Jermaine Jenas distractedly scanned the horizon for the first sight of a rescue party, or any kind of airlift option.

 

Meanwhile, the sight of dashing, young Scott Parker bravely ignoring his wounds to rush around applying tourniquets to other survivors was stirring to behold, even if it was a little heavy-handed in establishing what is clearly destined to be the main theme for the rest of the series, or for as long as Parker’s ankle holds up.

 

That said, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, or how good the acting is, if the writing isn’t strong. And in this area, for me, credulity was stretched when a party was dispatched into the wilderness to find and bring back Nicolas Anelka.

 

Now come on. Even in a situation in which everyone was dizzied and traumatised and hadn’t eaten for hours and was struggling to think straight, this would be almost comically unlikely. Where food is to be gathered and fires maintained, and where a society is to be built, in effect, from the ground up, Anelka is not famous for being your man. Yet we were asked to believe that a group of people trying to cleave together in terribly testing circumstances — and still, in this regard, quietly thanking their stars for the loss of Patrick Kluivert — would actively conspire to bring Anelka into the camp.

 

It would be like trying to quell a fire on an oilrig by hosing it with petrol — unless the plan was to split him up and make a raft out of him.

 

Some critics thought the business with Michael Owen was stretching it a bit, in the same way. (A large bonfire has been lit in the hope that a passing Owen will see it and come to the rescue.) Personally, I don’t have a problem with this particular plot device. Of course, it would be an outlandish coincidence if Owen just happened to be in the area with nothing better to do. But the best disaster dramas are built on outlandish coincidences and could barely exist without them. On this, I ’m with Souness, who has described Newcastle’s chances of signing Owen as “more than realistic” — or, in other words, hyper-real. You may not quite believe it in prospect, but it’s the kind of development these dramas go in for, so why not?

 

Put it another way: it’s going to take more than Owen pitching up in the next episode to make me stop watching. But then, I suppose, either you are entertained by this kind of thing, or you are not.

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Not funny being a laughing stock eh lads..................

 

better get used to it - there is a whole season ahead of this.............

11560[/snapback]

 

It's not so much that. It's just the pompous little twat thinks that's funny. Guess they don't teach humour at Oxford.

 

Editor should have taken one look at that piece and filed under 'Seemed like a good idea at the time'.

 

Did make me wonder who'd play who on Lord of the Flies though.

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Not funny being a laughing stock eh lads..................

 

better get used to it - there is a whole season ahead of this.............

11560[/snapback]

 

It's not so much that. It's just the pompous little twat thinks that's funny. Guess they don't teach humour at Oxford.

 

Editor should have taken one look at that piece and filed under 'Seemed like a good idea at the time'.

 

Did make me wonder who'd play who on Lord of the Flies though.

11562[/snapback]

 

Agree completely. Had his editor been any good at his job he would have surely asked him what on earth this pile of shite was.

 

British journalism is GREAT ;)

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Not funny being a laughing stock eh lads..................

 

better get used to it - there is a whole season ahead of this.............

11560[/snapback]

 

It's not so much that. It's just the pompous little twat thinks that's funny. Guess they don't teach humour at Oxford.

 

Editor should have taken one look at that piece and filed under 'Seemed like a good idea at the time'.

 

Did make me wonder who'd play who on Lord of the Flies though.

11562[/snapback]

 

Agree completely. Had his editor been any good at his job he would have surely asked him what on earth this pile of shite was.

 

British journalism is GREAT ;)

11574[/snapback]

 

A few are alright, but not this "quality" one. See my sig for one of those.

Edited by LeazesMag
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still a laughing stock whatever we think I'm afraid......................

 

they were having a go on 5Live last night 'n all

11630[/snapback]

 

 

This is the really stand out thing.

 

We can pull it apart all we want but really people are laughing at us, it's because of this that shit like that can be printed. Because most reading it won't disagree but chuckle along.

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It resembles something i would expect Alex to write on this forum. ;)

11639[/snapback]

 

I suppose from a distance it's difficult to judge the distance between genuine wit and pretentious knobbery.

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still a laughing stock whatever we think I'm afraid......................

 

they were having a go on 5Live last night 'n all

11630[/snapback]

I just hope Fat Freddie realizes what a f******g mess he's made of our club, and how HE'LL be blamed every bit as much as Souness when the mess begins to unfold. The only ones who DON'T deserve to be laughing stocks are the ones being laughed at. (The management and players most certainly fucking DO Jenas is displaying what kind of twat I'd always thought him to be, Dyer is being rewarded for - what ? And we've got rid of a load of players and not replaced them. Managerial genius, eh ?)

I don't think I have dreaded a season to start before. But I do this one.

 

Thanks Fred.

 

You bastard.

 

;)

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I haven't felt so queasy in a decade - this reminds me of the early '60's - a constant battle against relegation all season...................... with everyone at the club at each others throats...........

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Guest DurhamDon

A TEN ROB W.

Brilliant, funny, stylish and so true. Some of us here love your style and humour Rob W., and we hope for more sparks of your genius.

 

Some clubs are noted for their success on the points charts and others for their gossip columns. Lets face it Mr. Michael Liverpool Owen at Newcastle is just the kind of gossip mongerring that the management at Newcastle excels at.

 

;) Unfortunately thats about their major height of excellence, and I'm sure this kind of endless carrot dangling and speculation is what keeps most of us hopelessly optimistic fools interested in the club and in reading all this rubbish.

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