Sunday, September 02, 2007

X-Axis comments thread - 2 September

- This week: frankly, not a heck of a lot. It's the fifth week of the month, and there's nothing much out. But there's World War Hulk: X-Men #3 and Mice Templar #1, so there you go.

- Saw the first episode of Channel 4's Dumped, their eco-themed reality show in which a bunch of people who signed up for a vaguely-defined ecological survival thingie, and who clearly expected to be sent to the jungle somewhere, are asked to scavenge off a dump for three weeks. In theory, this is supposed to be a populist way of illustrating the wasted recycling potential in landfill waste.

It's not an awful concept, and I'll give them credit for adopting a non-competitive format. The prize fund is simply divided up among whoever's still there at the end of the three weeks. I suppose in theory that could give them an incentive to bully people to leave, but they don't seem to be approaching it that way. It's also been edited more like a documentary than a game show.

But it's preachy, which is the one thing it desperately needed to avoid. It ought to be "Look how much potential there is in here," but instead it's all a bit "Look at this and be ashamed of your satanic wastefulness, scum." I think they've missed the tone, and I think viewers will switch off because they'll decide - correctly - that they're being lectured at. The joiner who walked in the first show, and who clearly lives a ludicrously wasteful lifestyle, still came across as more likeable than the eco-expert who effectively acts as the face of the show, and that's not good.

- Meanwhile, the WWE is in all sorts of chaos this week after being forced to suspend a whole load of wrestlers for ordering drugs off the internet. They haven't publicised the names for this list, although it should be fairly easy to figure out who they are by watching TV over the next few weeks. Most people are assuming that it's the people named in the Sports Illustrated article as customers of Signature Pharmacy but apparently it's not as clear as that - some of them were only customers before the WWE's drug policy came into effect, and reportedly, one of them has already served a fine or suspension for this offence. Also, if we're taking the SI article as a starting point, two of the people on that list are at home rehabbing from surgery.

They're taping Raw, Smackdown and ECW over the weekend before departing on an international tour. At time of writing, Smackdown and ECW have already been taped, and it appears that the suspended guys are (where necessary) being brought in for one last match to write them off the shows. They've already taped one title change and Umaga - who is rumoured to be on the suspension list - will be defending his Intercontinental Title against Jeff Hardy later tonight. A bit of a giveaway. On the other hand, contrary to rumour, it's pretty clear from the weekend shows that Randy Orton and Batista are not among the suspensions.

ECW and Smackdown aren't too badly hit by this, but it sounds as though the Raw roster has been gutted - their weekend house show was decidedly light on big names. It also featured Cryme Tyme inexplicably getting counted out during a tag team match, which made somewhat more sense the next day when the WWE announced that they had been fired. Raw should be very interesting over the next few weeks, because there are a lot of slots that will just have to be filled by drawing on the mid-card guys.

It goes without saying that the industry is largely responsible for getting itself into this mess. On the other hand, it's not like anyone ever really believed that wrestling was steroid-free in the first place - it's more that they've finally been called on something that was an open secret for years. History suggests that they'll probably take a hard line on the subject until everything blows over, and then quietly go back to their old ways. That's what happened the last two times that they introduced drug testing. But you never know.