Thursday, 30 October 2008

Scots on the box

Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Thursdays, Virgin, 9pm

Eeeh, we like the old Terminator franchise in our house we do.

Two great movies, one so-so movie and a new iteration with Christian Bale is in production that promises to erase the memory of a slightly arthritic Arnold in T3. And, in way of keeping us interested we had, last year, the first series of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, showing on Virgin.

The Chronicles show basically picks up the storyline as it was left at the end of T2 and runs with that, via time travel from the early 1990s to the present day, with Mum Sarah looking to protect son John from the bad terminators aided and abetted by a good terminator.

OK, I'm embarrassed now. Having written the storyline down, I'm only too aware that it all sounds the way it actually is: total and utter bollocks. And to be honest, none of the acting performances in The Chronicles last year were anything to write home about, but it was done with a straight face and as long as you didn't think about it too hard, the show hung together.

So what about the second series, now showing on a Virgin near you?

Oh lordy. Two words, Shirley and Manson.

I read somewhere last year that Edinburgh-born Shirley, late of indy popsters Garbage, was jacking in the singing to pursue her acting career. I never thought any more about it to be honest and then guess who turns up as a baddie terminator in this year's Chronicles? Oor Shirley.

And the performance?

You know that clichéd expression "beyond bad"? Well, take BB as the baseline and multiple that by a factor of 10 to the power of infinity. And then double the resultant.

Shirley delivers every fuckin' line in a speak your weight machine monotone at a funereal pace that makes that other (ahem) Scots "actress", Kellee Mick Dawnaahld seem like Daffy Duck in comparison.

For there is a school of acting, mainly embraced by people who don't know how to act, which teaches that all you have to do: Is.Deliver.The.Line.Really.Slowly.And.The.Audience.Will.Think.You.Can.Really.Act.

Is that true?


All the audience will think is that you can act nane and they'll be right.

Quite apart from Shirley's thespian deficiencies there are other factors at work here to suggest that The Chronicles casting director should seek professional psychiatric help immediately.

Nae herm to her, but Shirley is a ginger. Hands up who would be scared by a carrot-topped robot? Me neither. And, Shirley's been given one of those scrunchy hair pull-up jobs resulting in what the cruel and unthinking refer to as a "cooncil hoose face-lift".

People may run away screaming but not for the reasons you'd think.

Finally, in what must've been the work of a subversive second-unit director, at the end of the first episode, Shirley reveals her talents as a shape-shifting terminator by morphing back to normal, having taken the shape of? A urinal.

Insert own "I've heard of a performance going down the toilet, I've never heard of anyone performing as a toilet before" gag here.

They say that one's subjective experience of time varies subject to context and I can confirm that when Shirley's on screen, time slides past with all the ease and grace of a wardrobe being dragged up Ben Nevis. With your Granny inside it.

Seconds seem like minutes, minutes elongate into hours and unbidden to my lips comes the anguished appeal to oor Shirley: Please.Jist.Gonnae.Stoap.Talking?

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