Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Love or to Hate? The IFTAs and Irish TV series

As I have noticed in the past, the Irish are a completely sportsmad nation. Not only have they invented sports that are solely played by themselves (Gaelic games), with almost every second Irish man wearing tracksuit bottoms for almost every occassion, this sporty fashion choice has taken pole position over the famous racing hat.

With all of this in mind, it is no wonder that although not particularly interested in sports, I spent last Saturday socializing with a few friends over a rugby match between France and Ireland.

Thankfully though the match had been called off and pretending to be slightly disappointed, I was more than delighted to see that the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) were on. With the IFTAs being yet another guilty pleasure of mine, I was surprised to see that they actually weren't as bad as last year. Saying that, it was still pretty hard to watch and dragged on forever.

The IFTA is a young Irish rip-off version of the British BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Televison Arts), which awards anyone who is Irish or has Irish roots and works in the film and television industry with an IFTA at least at one point in their career.
Don't get me wrong though! There are fabulous Irish actresses and actors out there and usually one of them would even show up at the event. This year it was the turn of Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender who got an award for his portrayal of an urban sex addict in Shame. It was certainly one of the show's highlights when his c*** was being referred to as the Irish half and the way Fassbender threw a towel over his seat to reserve it as the German one.
Another great Irish talent that had been awarded an IFTA for her role as Shirley Bassey is Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga who seemed genuinely touched by this gesture. (Just shows you how difficult it must be for women in the film industry).

The big winner of the 2012 IFTAs however is RTÉs gangland drama series Love/Hate, which got seven awards in total! Having a look at it's cast I am not entirely surprised.
With charismatic The Wire actor Aiden Gillen playing merciless drug boss John Boy and handsome rising star Robert Sheehan in the role of the angelic good-baddy-type-of-drug dealer Darren, the series was expected to be a success.
I do not quite understand why they had to expand Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's part as Nidge in season two and upgrade him from pathetic doormat-type-of-gangster to a decent one. He simply wasn't believable enough in series two and certainly doesn't deserve an IFTA for best supporting actor over Robert Sheehan in Misfits. A great addition to Love/Hate however was the introduction of Peter Coonan as John Boy's antagonist and new baddy of the show and I'm almost certain he'll be considered for the rising star award in 2013.

Another watchable Irish series, unmentioned by this year's IFTAs, yet very popular with it's audience, is the RTÉ drama Raw focussing on the staff at a Dublin restaurant and I'd definitely recommend to watch it over rugby for example ;-).

Pictures: Irish men: Now...and then