On the box

On the box

Jessica Corcoran reviews some essential viewing, from teenage drama to provoking documentary.

Gossip Girl

Based on the books written by Cecily von Ziegesar, to which the show loosely stays true to, Gossip Girl is one of the hottest new programmes to hit Irish television. It follows the lives of seven young beautiful privileged teenagers attending one of New York’s elite private schools.

Adding a new dimension to teen drama, it employs new age technology into the narration of the story via “Gossip Girl” the blogging biographer. Closely keeping an eye on the protagonists and posting slices of juicy gossip about them on the gossip girl website ensures a new drama every day.

Throughout its first extremely successful three seasons it gave us the ultimate insider’s view of Manhattans’ elite, while addressing many socially relevant issues, like feuding, drugs, teenage pregnancy to name a few. The first season was dominated by Serena’s shock return and her turbulent “frenemy” type relationship with Blair.

The second season sees a massive shift in relationships to change things up a bit, but carries on some exhausted story lines which are brought abruptly to end by the time the season concludes. The third and most recent season to hit Irish televisions has completely lived up to my expectations, with every episode leaving me wanting more.

The season finale, in which we saw the beloved Chuck Bass in a compromising situation while young Jenny Humphrey hits rock bottom, was everything a season finale should be. It also brought the return of the psychotic Georgina who arrived bearing a gift for Dan.

This scandalous episode left the audience with a strong sense of longing to see the next season which is hitting Irish television in the approaching weeks. With guest stars such as Katie Cassidy lined up and a shock temporary exit of one of the main characters, season four is shaping up to be one of the best and most outrageous seasons yet!

The Cove (2009)

This eye-opening, Oscar-winning documentary film gives an in-depth insight into the scandalous occurrences in the Japanese town of Taiji. Japan opens season on dolphin killing from early September until June, in which period of time approximately 23,000 dolphins are brutally slaughtered for their meat.

On such a large scale it’s hard to believe that this was in a covert fashion, though shockingly when asked the Japanese population was extremely taken aback to discover what was truly happening in their country.

This painfully graphic movie watches a group of activists using state-of-the-art equipment, led by Ric O’Barry (former dolphin trainer) to expose the disreputable goings on of Taiji.

They expose an outrageous example of animal cruelty in the most horrific way possible, but also its shocking effect on human health. O’Barry previously being a dolphin trainer for Flipper, the TV series, was eager to get on board.

Feeling somewhat responsible for the problem by feeding into the commercialisation of dolphins for 10 years of his life, O’Barry got to work immediately.

He did so with his team of activists by his side, working through the corruption and unfolding the horrors and conspiracy layer by layer and finally ending with a bang.

The documentary is well worth watching and addresses the issue of a truly sick form of animal cruelty which doesn’t get half as much attention and support as it deserves. It is not to be watched by the faint hearted as it is extremely devastating, to say the least.

Yet I urge you to watch it and can only hope it encourages you to take action against this problem, if not then at least to raise awareness to the situation.

5/5 stars

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