January 20, 2017

When's that show you mentioned starting again, TMINE? Including Vikings

Posted 2 days ago at 15:12 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Every Friday, I let you know the latest announcements about when new, imported TV shows will finally be arriving on your screens - assuming anyone's bought any, of course.

No one's bought anything new recently, except for Walter Presents, which hasn't announced when it's going to be airing Flight HS13 yet. Sorry.

The best I can do is let you know that Vikings, which has obviously been on both History and Amazon in the UK already, is coming to Blaze, which is apparently a channel that everyone can get on Freeview now, so y'all can watch it for free at last. Well I never.

First episode airs Sunday, February 26th, at 10pm.

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Review: Six 1x1 (US: History)

Posted 2 days ago at 15:09 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Six (History)

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, History
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Why is it that dramas about Special Forces aren't that special? On the face of it, making an exciting show about the Special Forces shouldn't be that difficult. As A Bit of Fry and Laurie once pointed out, the SAS (and presumably other Special Forces) exist purely to be masturbatory fantasies for backbench MPs, so putting together a TV show involving Special Forces should inevitably result in something very exciting and, erm, climactic.

Yet, whether it's Ultimate Force, The Unit, Strike Back or now Six, somehow the resulting shows never quite hit the spot - they're close, but they're never really as satisfying as you think they'll be.

Six is interesting in this regard. Ten years ago, if you'd made a show called Six, the most anyone would guess you were doing was remaking The Prisoner. But thanks to their sterling work in dealing with Osama Bin Laden, the US Navy's SEAL Team 6 is the latest pin-up of the Special Forces world. That means you can call a TV show Six and it'll induce as much Pavlovian tumescence as if you'd called it Scarlett.

Trouble is, despite this launchpad, Six is all tease, no pay-off. The first episode follows a SEAL Team 6 team to a mission in Afghanistan where there's plenty of shooting and leader Walton Goggins (Justified, Vice Principals, The Hateful Eight) starts to blur a few boundaries by shooting prisoners. Two years later, Goggins is out of the SEALs and in Africa, working for a private contractor, while the rest of the team are thinking about doing something similar and/or having problems with their wives and/or the bottle and/or money.

Then Boko Haram come along and kidnap a group of school girls, as well as Goggins, and the team are pulling themselves back together to rescue him. 

Six takes all the worst bits of The Unit and few of the best bits. It tries to mix up the personal and the military, but without having any idea how to create distinguishable characters, particularly not women, who are a never-ending parade of "why aren't you here for me and your children?"

Which might almost be excusable if it could do action, except it can't. Shoot-outs and action scenes are surprisingly few and far between, and when they turn up, they're nothing special. Name an action TV show, any action TV show - you'll have seen better and something probably more realistic. 

But even little details let the show down. Maybe it's me, but giving your SEAL team the radio sign of "Delta 1" is only going to lead to confusion in the audience. And sure, kudos for managing to go with Boko Haram as your main bad guys, rather than ISIS (although a reveal at the end of the first episode shows Six is trying to have its cake and eat it), but having to have an officer explain to one of the world's premier anti-terrorist units who Boko Haram are is not a way to create verisimilitude.

More importantly, Goggins is just wrong as the leader of the team. Not for a second can you picture him as either a morally ambivalent hero or a SEAL. Now to a certain extent, that's not his fault - he was brought in not merely at the last moment but two episodes of filming after the last moment, which is when Joe Manganiello walked off the show with health problems. You can imagine Manganiello as "Rip Taggart":

Joe Manganiello

Goggins?

Walton Goggins

Not so much.

It's like casting Vinny Jones as a wedding cake designer - it's simply not believable. So even though the rest of the cast of SEALs are (indistinguishable) butch manly types who look the part, little seems plausible as a result of Goggins' presence.

If you have to watch a Special Forces show, there were at least a few good episodes of The Unit (Dark of the Moon is excellent) and Strike Back, so stick with them rather than Six, since Six won't have yours. Six that is.

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News: Good Omens TV show; Sneaky Pete, Inside No.9 renewed; Black Adam Shazam! spin-off; + more

Posted 2 days ago at 06:51 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Film

  • Shazam! splits to become Shazam! and Black Adam

Film trailers

Global Internet TV

International TV

UK TV

New UK TV shows

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • NBC green lights: pilot of military drama For God and Country
  • ABC developing: spin-off from Black-ish with Yara Shahidi…
  • green lights: pilots of FBI/magacian drama Deception and sci-fi refugees drama The Crossing

New US TV show casting

  • Barry Watson to star, Raquel Welch to recur on UP's Date My Dad
  • Jane Lynch to play Janet Reno in Discovery's Manifesto
  • Stephen Rea, Richard Schiff and Sarah Bolger to recur on Starz's Counterpart
  • Dean Norris replaces Peter Firth in TNT's Claws
  • Andrew Lees, Omar Maskati and Natalie Dreyfuss join Freeform's Brown Girls

January 19, 2017

Third-episode verdict: Emerald City 1x1-1x2 (US: NBC; UK: 5*)

Posted 3 days ago at 18:53 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerEmeraldCity.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by 5*. Will air early 2017

Grimdark is one of those words that can stop you taking an entire genre seriously. In this case, it's a mocking moniker for the prevalent idea that by making something dark and humourless, it's not only more adult, it's also better. 

That's certainly been the approach of the producers of Emerald City, a beautifully directed but ultimately empty grimdark reimagining of The Wizard of Oz. It sees Dorothy a modern day Kansas nurse who gets whisked off by a tornado to the land of Oz, where she meets grimdark versions of familiar characters, ranging from the Munchkins (Icelandic speaking barbarians who paint themselves like they're in Braveheart) through the Scarecrow (murderous former soldier who's had his memories removed) to the Wizard of Oz (prostitute-visiting genocidal bully). The witches are there in varying degrees of drug-using, murderous, torturing depravity, too.

Oh so serious and important.

But grimdark. Tee hee. 

Tell you what grimdark never manages to do: it never makes you care about a character, just their situation. And that's been consistent across all three episodes so far, with all manner of bad things happening, yet nothing ever making you care about the victims, beyond the fact they've been pushed to their doom by their gender-swapping childhood best friend or whatever miserable incident they've had to endure.

Other than the semi-decent cast assembled for the piece, what elevates the show from simple disgruntled teen's fan fiction to the point where it's almost watchable is the direction by Tarsem Singh, who makes the whole show genuinely beautiful to watch, something he's helped in considerably by the Spanish location shooting. Even while someone's emoting about some ancient prophecy concerning The Beast Beyond or dancing a ritual for dead witches, the viewer can simply drink in the mise-en-scène, admire a beautiful piece of Islamic architecture or Antoni Gaudí's Park Güell, and ignore the tedious dialogue.

Emerald City is imaginative and good to look at, but despite its best efforts, unlike The Wizard of Oz, it fails to make you care about the protagonists, antagonists or anyone else.

Barrometer rating: 3
TMINE's prediction: One season and one season only

News: Will and Grace returns; Major Crimes, This is Us renewed; Inspector George Gently cancelled; + more

Posted 3 days ago at 06:24 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

International TV

  • Tandem developing: Miami-based grown-up soap opera Deeper City with Juan Carlos Coto

UK TV

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV show casting

  • Holland Taylor to replace Ann-Margret on Audience's Mr Mercedes
  • James Frain to play Sarek on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery

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January 18, 2017

News: Andy Weir NASA TV show; Doc Martin to end; Drew Barrymore: zombie; + more

Posted 4 days ago at 07:40 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Film casting

Global Internet TV

  • Trailer for Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet

UK TV

US TV

New US TV shows

  • CBS developing: Andy Weir astronaut drama Mission Control and Mark Feuerstein neighbouring family comedy 9J, 9K, and 9L
  • USA green lights: series of anthology crime psychology drama The Sinner, with Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman
  • ABC developing: Muslim model comedy…
  • green lights: new-lawyer drama

January 17, 2017

Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #14, Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #4, Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4

Posted 5 days ago at 18:55 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

It was a relatively quiet week last week for our Diana… if you discount the massively big spoilers for Wonder Woman that a French magazine has revealed (I'll spoiler cloak them for you if you don't want to read them):

Why did Zeus create the Amazons? Because shaping man in his image made his son Ares, incidentally a god of war, mad with jealousy, he convinces the guys to confront each other. To restore harmony between them, Zeus created the Amazons that Ares reduced to slavery. The Amazons revolt with the help of Zeus, who will die of the hand of his son having had time to find Themyscira, their haven of peace where they will grow Diana. (…) Diana Prince becomes Wonder Woman by helping Steve Trevor and a squad of proud arm-in-law in search of one who wants to wipe humanity off the map with deadly gas.

That's not my translation, BTW (sacre bleu!).

Anyway, if true, that's an interesting amalgam of all the Wonder Woman origin stories, including Greg Rucka's current one and even Joss Whedon's failed movie script, that's probably going to annoy every fan with a minimum of one detail - you pick which one annoys you most - not least because it's now about a couple of gods rather than at least one goddess. Let's see how it all pans out on-screen, though.

In comics, there's not a been much new. The first issue of Justice League/Power Rangers turned up but beyond the alternative cover, no Diana.

She calls on gods, he calls on the power of a T-rex. Meet Jason, the Red Ranger, in JUSTICE LEAGUE/POWER RANGERS! http://bit.ly/2jc8SEt

Posted by Wonder Woman on Thursday, 12 January 2017

That means that after the jump, we'll be looking at Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #14, Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #4 and Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4, but not necessarily in that order. See you in a click.

Continue reading "Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #14, Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #4, Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4"

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's West Wing rap

Posted 5 days ago at 06:49 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The West Wing is increasingly looking not just like wishful thinking but science-fiction - certainly, it was very much a product of its time and that time has now passed. But it inspired love among many of its viewers, including Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. A self-professed superfan, he's created a rap tribute to the show for 'The West Wing Weekly' podcast. Why not give it a listen? Maybe on Thursday.

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News: BBC Three's Coconut; AMC's Furniss; a returning Flash character; + more

Posted 5 days ago at 06:23 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

New UK TV shows

US TV 

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • AMC developing: teenage orphan small town supernatural drama Furniss

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January 16, 2017

What have you been watching? Including Workin' Moms, Sherlock and The Great Indoors

Posted 6 days ago at 16:23 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching. 

Although Amazon's finally got round to releasing the first season of Sneaky Pete, there's not been a whole lot that's new new in the past week, which means I've only had Pure (Canada: CBC) and Emerald City (US: NBC; UK: 5*) to review since the last WHYBW. Sorry about that. I'll try to watch some boxsets when I have the chance.

All the same, for sures, later this week, I'll be passing a third-episode verdict on Emerald City, which means that after the jump, I'll be looking at Lethal Weapon, Man Seeking Woman, Sherlock and Shooter, as well as the return of The Great Indoors

But there has been one another new show that I watched this week:

Workin' Moms (Canada: CBC)
Three Canadian mums who have just had babies are ready to start working again. And that's about it really for plot, although given one's a high-flying career woman and first-time mother (the show's creator, writer and director Catherine "daughter of Ivan" Reitman), one's a no-nonsense psychiatrist mother-of-two (Dani Kind), and the third is a slightly unstable lesbian realtor who carried her partner's child (Juno Rinaldi)*, you can see there's a certain variety of experiences being catered for the show. 

And indeed that's really what the show is: a comedy-drama very specifically about the experience of returning to work after having had babies. And when you think about it, while there are shows that have had single mums as heroines and there have been shows that have had mums as characters in the backgrounds, they've mostly either got families already or it's all about the babies and what it's like to have a baby. It's almost never been focused on what work is like once you have a baby.

And to be honest, it's that interestingly specific viewpoint that's the show's main and in fact only selling point. The show thinks it's quite exciting and innovative, such as when it has topless, normal-looking older women in the first five minutes of the episode, which is punningly titled Bare (which works on lots of levels - eg there's a bear later, there's a grizzly mum and, of course, they're laid bare by the experience of being a mum). But it's not quite the treasure trove of anecdotes and insight that it thinks it is, and frequently it just bubbles along, not doing much. All the same, it was insightful and offered some nuggets that I'd not seen elsewhere on TV. The characters were well drawn and avoided stereotyping, even the men. Plus it had a bear.

Not bad. Not great. Not to be confused with CBC's Newborn Moms, either. 

* There's a fourth mum (Jessalyn Wanlim) but she wasn't in the first episode, as far as I noticed.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Workin' Moms, Sherlock and The Great Indoors"

Question of the week: do you miss water cooler moments?

Posted 6 days ago at 13:59 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

As usual, since I'm a man bereft of inspiration 95% of the time, this week's question has been prompted by someone else's thoughts: in this case, JustStark's. Elsewhere, we've been discussing the demise of 'the water cooler moment':

…my point, and it's something I've been thinking about for a while, is that one of the great things about TV used to be that it was a type of shared culture, something you could talk to other people about, like we British talk about the weather.

Nowadays, though, that's no longer the case. The last programme I can remember actually having an 'I wonder where it's going' conversation about with someone in the pub was State of Play — since then, discovering someone else watches what you watch is such an unusual experience it is actually remarkable when it happens.

So yes, I understand that the [TV business] model now is different: it's about getting fewer people to pay more, rather than making a little money out of many millions. But I can't help thinking something has been lost in the process.

So this week's question is: do you miss water cooler moments? Have they gone altogether or have they evolved? And have we lost something along the way?

As always, leave your answer below or on your own blog

News: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold adaptation; StartUp, Good Behavior renewed; Snatch trailer; + more

Posted 6 days ago at 08:02 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

New UK TV shows

US TV

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Kellie Martin, Garret Dillahunt, Laura Bell Bundy et al to recur, Danny Pudi, Jenna Fischer, Mary Lynn Rajskub et al to guest on TBS's The Guest Book
  • Dakota Fanning to star in TNT's The Alienist

January 13, 2017

First footage of Marvel's The Defenders. With actual words

Posted 9 days ago at 23:20 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

You've already seen the photo today. Now there's a video with all of Netflix's Marvel's The Defenders. It's quite fun to see them all together, even Iron Fist whose show hasn't even aired yet. Also, I realised that Charlie Cox was English but I hadn't realised that Finn Jones was. Because the show hasn't aired yet.

What few things they reveal about the show sound interesting at least. Although Krysten Ritter doesn't sound interested.

When's that show you mentioned starting again, TMINE? Including Twin Peaks and Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau)

Posted 9 days ago at 19:11 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Every Friday, I let you know the latest announcements about when new, imported TV shows will finally be arriving on your screens - assuming anyone's bought any, of course.

It's another quiet week for acquisitions, so I can offer you but one new show premiere time and date:

  • Twin Peaks (US: Showtime)
    Sky Atlantic: May 22, 2am (regular time: Tuesdays, 9pm, starting May 23)
    Episode reviews: simulcast, so I ain't seen nothing yet

However, I'll just point out that in case you don't have Amazon Prime, the truly marvellous Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (France: Canal+) will be available to own on DVD from Monday (you can already get it on iTunes, if you prefer digital).

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Six

Not very special