October 21, 2016

Review: Eyewitness 1x1 (US: USA)

Posted yesterday at 22:07 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, USA

Up until now, Norwegian TV hasn't seemed to me to be a good birthing ground for new TV shows. Unlike Sweden and Denmark, which have done well in terms of adaptations with the likes of The Killing, Bron/Broen (The Bridge) and Den Som Dræber (Those Who Kill), Norwegian TV has stayed resolutely Norwegian. In part, maybe that's because it's not usually very good - at least, the likes of Okkupert (Occupied) and Mammon haven't done anything to make me think there's untapped potential there.

Yet here we are, staring down the barrel of the gun that is Eyewitness, an adaptation of NRK Norway's Øyevitne (Eyewitness) by Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak. Turns out there's mileage in those fjords after all.

As with the original Norwegian series, Eyewitness is an anthology show and this first season sees two teenage boys (James Paxton and Tyler Young) out in the woods ostensibly racing motorbikes but both nursing a secret desire for the other. Just as they're consumating their feelings for one another, a gang of criminals turns up with a captive in the boot of their car. However, an undercover FBI agent is in their ranks and before you know it, everyone but the boys is dead. 

The boys try to pretend nothing has happened, including their gayness, but the situation is complicated by the fact that Young is being fostered by local sheriff Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: CI, Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex, Ally McBeal) and that FBI agent Tattiawna Jones might have bent a few rules as the handler of the deceased agent. Oh yes, and that not everyone died in the shoot out after all and the survivor has a fair idea of where the boys might be…

Anyone expecting either a new Fargo or a new Insomnia is going to be disappointed, as this is a pretty straight down the middle crime thriller bar the boys and the difficulties of being gay in a US High School, which make a welcome change from the usual plotting. However, disgraced city-detective Nicholson is the real focus of the piece, as she finds herself coming to life in her tedious upstate New York job now that real crime is occuring. This gives us the usual marital ructions, with Nicholson keeping numerous secrets from and failing to attend all sorts of important events with doctor hubbie Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal). There's also the usual FBI mocking of 'lesser' agencies, usual 'realistic' look at drug addicts and usual gritty crime. 

In the hands of Twilight director Catherine Harwicke, it all looks great and it does have a slightly harder edge than might have been expected. Warren Christie (Alphas) makes a suitably silent but scary Terminator-like pursuer for the boys. But it you were looking for something new, some Norwegian-inspired Nordic Noir twist on the crime formula, as of yet, it hasn't appeared. Or maybe it has and as I suspected, Norwegian TV doesn't yet have much to offer the rest of the world.

Review: Shoot The Messenger 1x1-1x2 (Canada: CBC)

Posted yesterday at 20:59 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Shoot The Messenger

In Canada: Mondays, 9pm (9.30pm NT), CBC

For ages, I was pining for a sequel to State of Play. I really was. It was just so bloody marvellous.

It didn't help that the movie adaptation was just so average, I'm still only halfway through it.

State of Play 2 isn't happening and never will. Sniff, boo hoo. So bless you Canada for trying to do your own (unofficial) State of Play. It's not the same, it's really not, but it touches me that you'd give it a go.

Shoot The Messenger has pretty much all the same plot threads as State of Play. It has street shootings. It has an intrepid reporter (Elyse Levesque from Stargate Universe) investigating a murder. It has an equally intreprid police department doing their own parallel investigation, with both sides feeding each other information to advance their own causes. The murder has political connections that might affect a certain big shot to whom Levesque has connections. It even has a plucky British newspaper editor (Alex "River Song" Kingston).

The big difference here is Levesque, who as well as being a cub reporter rather than a seasoned hack is also a bit of a shagger. She's shagging the head of the police investigation (Lyriq Brent); she's shagging her more experienced co-worker (Lucas Bryant). She also comes from a family of shaggers, since her sister is shagging said bigwig. And when Levesque isn't shagging, she's getting hit on the head or hiding under things. 

State of Play this is not. Sorry, Canada.

The show also lacks the journalistic verisimilitude of State of Play. While there are attempts to give both the police and newspaper sides of the plot a sheen of accuracy and Kingston's frequent words of advice to Levesque are frequently useful, The Guardian-logo nicking, serious newspaper 'The Gazette' appears to be equipped with neither copy editors nor fact checkers, there don't appear to be department heads, Levesque actually gets invited to the editor's daily content meetings, there appears to be almost no appreciation of the existence of a little thing called the Internet or social media, Levesque thinks it's okay to use a faux Google Images to check the spelling of names, and Kingston herself thinks it's more grammatically correct to say 'who is whom'.

Oh dear.

State of Play comparisons to one side for a moment, Shoot The Messenger does at least do something different from the usual CBC drama, even the ones that are supposed to be thrilling (eg The Romeo Section, Cracked), by having some action and excitment - its plot focuses on the Somali community and local gang 'the Mogadishu dogs', with Levesque witnessing the murder of the brother of one of the gang members, which sets off a chain reaction of violence (and misreporting). But while there is the occasional insight into that community, mostly it's all a lead in to corporate and political corruption and a Rob Ford analogy. 

But as a thriller, it's not very thrilling and spends a lot of it's time being apologetic for things and feeling sad about children getting killed in gang wars. There's an unnecessary side plot about Levesque's brain-damaged dad; with the exception of Brent, all the black characters are criminals or harbourers of criminals, leaving Bryant to be the implausible Somali expert at the paper; and Bryant seems like he's on quaaludes the whole time.

Levesque and Kingston make Shoot The Messenger pass a lot more agreeably than it should. I might stick with it, since the political side of things hasn't kicked in yet and it could well get better as a result. But more likely, I might just watch State of Play again.

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Third-episode verdict: No Tomorrow (US: The CW)

Posted yesterday at 20:14 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerNoTomorrow.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW

"Who would you be with if you knew tomorrow was your last day on Earth?" is a common-enough "What if?" question. No one ever asks, "Who would you be with if you knew the next seven seasons were your last days on Earth?"

And that's basically the issue with No Tomorrow, in which uptight American girl Tori Anderson falls in love at first sight with carefree non-American Joshua Sasse, who's only as carefree as he is because he thinks the Earth is going to be hit by an asteroid in eight months' time. Now, Anderson is delightful, Sasse is surprisingly unirritating, and the first episode was a lovely bit of joy, marrying heart and mind, in the middle of a pilot season full of stupidity and misery.

But they're still here. They're not going on a round the world cruise. They're not canoeing up the Amazon. They're not even robbing banks together.

They're here. In Seattle still (I think). Anderson's still stuck in her dead-end warehouse job, with her dead-end warehouse work colleagues. Sasse is still trying to convince the world an asteroid's going to hit while romancing Anderson.

It's the morning after the night before, basically. The honeymoon is over. The in-laws are here now and everything's settling down.

Apart from Sasse's accent. Sasse, a posh Brit whose accent landed somewhere in the mid-Atlantic in the first episode, has slowly been heading to other parts of the Commonwealth. By episode two he was about 30% Australian and by episode three he was about 50% Antipodean, sometimes Australian, sometimes a New Zealander. This is despite having a house covered in Union Jacks and dartboards.

Even the other characters are noticing it: "This British guy came in… or maybe he was Australian. I don't know," one said in episode two. Neither do I, cobber. Neither do I.

It doesn't help that everyone has such atrocious bucket lists, too, with Anderson's consisting of things like 'put out a fire'. I guess if you only have a CW budget, that makes sense, but even for a character who's supposed to be a bit timid, that's poor.

Fortunately, bucket lists are only a minor part of the show and the b-plots at Anderson's company and with her family are avoidable, even if they're five steps away from shouting 'O Captain, my Captain' and standing on their desks at times. For the most part, instead, No Tomorrow remains a very, very odd couple romantic comedy, with Anderson and Sasse getting to know one another and bring the best out in each other. That still remains a little bit of joy each week in among the cynicism of the rest of 2016's regularly scheduled programming.

No Tomorrow is a little bit too lightweight, divorced from reality and almost telenovela-like at times to be truly recommendable. But once you remove all the cruft from it and do your best to blank out whatever accent Sasse is trying to do, you'll have a genuinely likable couple of leads in a genuinely lovely romantic comedy. That may not be enough to keep you watching, but it should warm you in the winter nights.

Barrometer rating: 3
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE's prediction: Will probably make it to a second season but I wouldn't like to bet on it.

Third-episode verdict: Frequency (US: The CW; UK: Netflix)

Posted yesterday at 19:34 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerFrequency.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW
In the UK: Acquired by Netflix. New episodes on Thursdays

Following the first episode of Frequency, a gender-swapped, time-shortened adaptation of the movie of the same name in which police detective Peyton List discovers the old ham radio in her garage allows her to communicate with her cop father (Riley Smith) 20 years earlier before he was murdered, it was clear the show could have gone two ways. Way one was the more interesting. By passing information to the past but in 'real time', List can change her present, preventing things from happening or enabling others to occur, but only getting one shot at it - make a mistake and that's that.

Of course, in that episode, List does make a big change in her past that could have been good but resulted in possibly even worse things happening instead. Frequency could then have been a show about what happens if you keep messing around with time. Okay, it's been done in the movies with The Butterfly Effect, but I'm sure they could have had all manner of fun. 

Instead, Frequency went another direction, and in so doing became Minority Report, albeit a better Minority Report than the actual TV adaptation. As of episodes two and three, the show has become a cop show in which List knows what crimes are going to be committed and perhaps even by whom but can't do anything about them since they happened 20 years earlier; however, she can pass the information back to her cop dad who can act on her information and stop crimes taking place before they occur - or at least make sure nothing worse happens or the bad guy gets away.

This isn't as interesting but it's still not bad. It also helps that List does at least have an unpredictable future ahead of her and even if her past is broken, she can still try to put right what now's gone wrong herself with her fiancé (Daniel Bonjour), who doesn't recognise her and thinks she's stalking him.

All the same, what we now face is a weekly serial killer storyline which would be hackneyed enough if we didn't have a time travelling Jack the Ripper to look forward to in Time After Time next year. There have been red herrings so obvious, they must have been left out in the noonday sun for a week before they turned and despite relationships and intimacy being one of the best things about the pilot episode, the show's producers have put everyone at loggerheads with everyone else. 

Frequency is enjoyable enough, with a reasonably likable cast, but it's not compulsory viewing. As a police procedural, it's also a bit ropey, with List forced by the script to do all manner of cop things badly. Fortunately, the show has a flexible enough format that it can change storyline, characters or anything else at a moment's notice, so definitely has the potential to become hugely more interesting without warning. But whether it will embrace this potential of science fiction or stick resolutely to police procedural remains to be seen.

Barrometer rating: 3
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE's prediction: Could go either way, depending on how prepared it is to 'pivot'

News: Guilt cancelled; Lee Child TV series; Enemy of the State sequel; + more

Posted yesterday at 06:22 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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  • Necar Zadegan and Cameron Gellman join TNT's Let The Right One In

October 20, 2016

News: BBC3 acquires Barracuda; Christopher Lloyd to guest on 12 Monkeys; new WIlly Wonka; + more

Posted 2 days ago at 06:25 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share



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October 19, 2016

Review: Travelers (Canada: Showcase; UK: Netflix)

Posted 3 days ago at 08:09 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


In Canada: Mondays, 9pm ET, Showcase
In the UK: Acquired by Netflix

Given that Canada, Showcase and Brad Wright have been so central to science fiction television, particularly time travel shows, in the past few decades, we shouldn't be surprised that with the US lining up the likes of Timeless, Frequency, Time After Time and Making History, all three have decided to get in on the act to produce something similar but different.

Travelers flips most time travel stories on their head by having travelers coming from the future to our present in order to prevent a terrible disaster from occuring. So far, so identical to Showcase's own Continuum. The difference here is that the time travelers are (apparently) the good guys and they're from the far off future, a future so distant the human race is in danger of extinction, something they'd quite like to prevent by changing things now.

But most important of all, they can't actually physically travel through time. Instead, provided they know the exact time and place someone is going to die, they can project their minds back in time into the 'host' and take over their body à la Chocky and Quantum Leap.

Travelers' first episode, written by Wright, is mainly establishment of the lives and families of the hosts who are shortly going to die and be replaced by an 'elite unit' of time travelers. We have the learning disabled Mackenzie Porter (Hell on Wheels, Blackstone); douche high school quarterback and cage fighter Jared Paul Abrahamson (Awkward); abused single mum Nesta Marlee Cooper (Heroes: Reborn); and drug-addicted college student Reilly Dolman.

Chasing after them after he becomes aware of some 'odd traffic' on the dark web is FBI agent Eric McCormack (Trust Me, Will and GracePerception). 

Then, of course, the time travelers turn up and the show then becomes about the differences between the hosts and their new inhabitants, who can fight back, don't have an addiction, aren't learning disabled, aren't complete dicks and so on. And despite having done their research, the time travelers still have a huge culture gap to navigate, from the little things such as text message slang and not answering the front door naked through to quite big things like how people talk and discovering that people lie on social media and that maybe one of the hosts isn't who she claimed to be online.

Shot in the style of Wright's previous big offering, Stargate UniverseTravelers is an edgy and surprisingly intimate affair, trying its best to make all of this not ridiculous, something it does pretty well. To be fair, though, there's actually precious little about the time travelers' mission so it's hard to tell if something extraordinarily silly is round the corner. Instead, it's mostly about changing behaviours and what happens if someone starts acting very differently from how they used to behave - and whether other people will allow that or get suspicious.

Basically, it's a science-fiction spy show with a whole bunch of sleeper agents suddenly being activated. It's The Americans but with a different kind of time travel. Hopefully.

The characters and stories are engrossing, McCormack is as pleasing as ever and everyone, particularly Porter and Dolman, does well with what they've got. There's even an appearance by ubiquitous former Huck Finn and Continuum regular Ian Tracey.

There's a big twist at the end that will be entirely ruined if you watch the trailer below, but Travelers is definitely a very promising first start to a series that's also got a big chunk of Netflix co-production money behind it. I'm hoping for great things, but we'll see how it goes.

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News: Benidorm (US); E4 acquires Kevin Can Wait; C.R.I.S.P.R. is coming; + more

Posted 3 days ago at 06:22 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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October 18, 2016

Third-episode verdict: Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)

Posted 4 days ago at 20:36 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerWestworld.jpgA Barrometer rating of 1

In the US: Sundays, 9pm, HBO
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

I think I've shot my bolt on Westworld. It is, of course, really, really easy to be scathing about something. You can pick at the acting, direction, writing, music, and more. 

But when something's really good, it's surprisingly hard to say much except "That's good. And so's that. And yes, that is, too."

So it is with Westworld, HBO's new adaptation of Michael Crichton's movie of the same name. Pretty much all I needed to say about it I said when I reviewed the first episode. Okay, episode two was a bit of a time-waster that didn't advance the show's plot much at all and which felt like it had mysteriously dropped into the series from the movie. But episode three brought everything back on track to being just really, really good.

What I would perhaps add is that as well as looking at questions such as "What is it to be conscious?", "How different does a consciousness have to be from ours and still be a consciousness?", "How is consciousness created?" and "If something seems human but we know it isn't human, how should we treat it?", the show has now added some new, equally fascinating questions.

One of its hallmarks is now scenes in which the creators of the androids and gynoids in this futuristic theme park sit down and talk with their creations' deepest levels of consciousness. These started out as simply plot devices to explore the characters and to hint that bad things are happening at the park. But now they have become something more - conversations between creator and created that have almost religious overtones, almost as if God wanted to know what it was like to be mortal and drew some of His creations out of the universe to interview them and find out.

There is a snake in this Garden of Eden, however, and that's Arnold. Arnold has the potential to destroy Westworld, turning a fascinating musing on the nature of free will, empathy, thought and emotion into a simple clash between Good and Evil. I do hope that's not where the show is going.

But at this stage, Westworld is getting a double thumbs up from me. It's smart, poignant, well acted, beautifully made and just a top piece of television.

Barrometer rating: 1
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE's prediction: It's a limited series so a one-off, but given its ratings, it could well come back for a second season

Third-episode verdict: Timeless (US: NBC; UK: E4)

Posted 4 days ago at 19:55 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerTimeless.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by E4

The biggest problem with the first episode of NBC's new sci-fi show Timeless was that it just wasn't fun. A time travel adventure in which a historian, an engineer and a soldier gamely head off each week into the past to stop Goran Višnjić from changing history for the better (he claims) should have been a laugh, particularly with our very own Paterson Joseph being the owner of said time machine. 

But it wasn't. It was dreary. It had a dreary choice of destination - the Hindenburg disaster. Thanks to the presence of her dying mum, its heroine (Abigail Spencer) was more a tragic figure than a fangirl let loose in a comic shop when all the boys have been sent packing. Ex-Delta soldier (Matt Lanter) was more male model than special forces operative, and he was just as tragic as Spencer thanks to his pining for his dead wife.

The one potential comic piece of comic relief, engineer/time travel pilot Malcolm Barrett, basically had to endure being black in the American past, something he quite rightly pointed out before they went was never going to be fun whenever they ended up, but in actuality meant he wasn't just the token black guy - he was the token black guy representing all black people ever. That's gotta suck.

Worst of all was the fact that Team Spencer were busily trying to preserve history as recorded, right down to making sure everyone who died stays dead, even if that means burning to death horribly in a fiery balloon accident. Bit of a downer, no?

As always, though, there's a reason why TMINE always waits for at least three episodes before passing final verdict: shows can evolve and get better as producers work out what's wrong and fix it. And while Timeless still isn't the new Doctor Who or even the new Quantum Leap, it's certainly becoming a lot more entertaining. Episode two took us to see the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, episode three took us to Las Vegas in the 60s to watch atomic bomb tests and I can see from the schedule that episode four is going to involve the plucky Americans teaming up with Ian Fleming to fight the Nazis during World War Two. Now that's a bit more fun than the Hindenburg Disaster, now isn't it?

The producers - Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Unit, The Shield), in case you were wondering - are also making the central team themselves a bit more fun, although they've haven't bothered giving Barrett and Lanter any real character traits or background other than "comic black history spokesperson" and "inept soldier widower". Time changes, Spencer's life changes, but theirs seem to stay resolutely the same and butterfly effect-proof.

Barrett may continually get the short end of the stick for being black wherever he ends up, albeit in different ways each time, but he now sometimes manages to use his second class status for the better. Lanter seems to have trouble even holding a gun, but he's now getting some occasionally amusing lines.

Perhaps the show's main selling point is that just like Doctor Who when that started, Timeless is trying its level best to make history come alive - through history's own supporting cast. You already know Lincoln, you've seen Daniel Day Lewis do a good performance as Lincoln, so yet another Lincoln wouldn't have much impact. But what must it have been like to have been Lincoln's son? Or JFK's mistress? Or a black soldier from the North during the Civil War? While the fact Timeless actually allows its time travellers to change history, even quite significantly, means that the narrative can never be trusted to tell historical fact, it's still fun to have Spencer sit down and essentially interview this supporting cast like a GCSE History empathy essay come to life.

After three episodes Timeless has crafted a formula for itself that's popcorn-tastic but enjoyable nonsense. Its action scenes are weak, its historical detail weak, its story arc weak and its humour - you guessed it - weak. But it's now getting a certain confidence up that makes it a reasonably entertaining view. It might even make the kiddies who watch it start to enjoy history. 

If you need to waste an hour a week on amiable, people-centred, historical sci-fi nonsense, Timeless is worth a try. 

Barrometer rating: 3
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE's prediction: Will probably last about as long as Revolution

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News: Cold Feet, Bosch renewed; Timeless, Channel Zero acquired; BrainDead, American Gothic cancelled; + more

Posted 4 days ago at 06:24 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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October 17, 2016

What have you been watching? Including Supergirl, Halt and Catch Fire and DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Posted 5 days ago at 17:23 | 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 that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. 

We're now nearing mid-Fall season/mid-Spring season (delete according to the hemisphere of your choice), which means there's few new shows heading our way, except in the topsy space-time continuum that is the Internet, where blink and you'll miss another new show arriving of a Friday. That means I've nearly caught up with the backlog.

This week, I should have reviews of Graves (US: Epix), Eyewitness (US: USA), Divorce (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic), Shoot The Messenger (Canada: CBC), and maybe Deep Water (Australia: SBS; UK: BBC Four), too.

I'll also be passing third-episode verdicts on Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic), Frequency (US: The CW; UK: Netflix), No Tomorrow (US: The CW), Timeless (US: NBC) and maybe Hyde & Seek (Australia: Nine).

Outside gambles: reviews of Crisis in Six Scenes (Amazon), Goliath (Amazon), Easy (Netflix), Haters Back Off (Netflix), Offseason (Amazon) and El Marginal (Marginal) (Netflix).

Elsewhere, I've already reviewed a whole bunch of Australian showsHyde & Seek (Nine), Rosehaven (ABC), The Wrong Girl (Ten) and The Secret Daughter (Seven) - as well as Kim's Convenience (Canada: CBC) and American Housewife (US: ABC); I've also passed a third-episode verdict on This Is Us (US: NBC; UK: Channel 4). 

That means that after the jump, I'll be looking at the latest episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead, Designated Survivor, Doctor Doctor, The Exorcist, The Flash, Frequency, High Maintenance, Impastor, Insecure, Lethal Weapon, Lucifer, No Tomorrow, Son of Zorn, Speechless, Timeless and You're The Worst. I'll also be looking at the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire, as well as the return of DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

One of those shows will be getting promoted to recommended. Cool, hey?

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Supergirl, Halt and Catch Fire and DC's Legends of Tomorrow"

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Globally, who invests the most in TV production?

Posted 5 days ago at 16:23 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Turns out Netflix and Amazon Outspend CBS, HBO and Turner, according to analysts IHS Markit. Equally, the US is the top investor in TV, but China's coming up fast.

Online platforms Netflix and Amazon have ramped up their investment in programming, spending $7.5 billion last year—more than CBS, HBO, Turner and most countries, including South Korea and Australia.

Between 2013 and 2015, Netflix and Amazon more than doubled their annual expenditure on programming. In 2013, Amazon spent $1.22 billion; that jumped to $2.67 billion in 2015. In the same timeframe, Netflix spending rose from $2.38 billion to $4.91 billion.

“The levels of investment we are seeing from Netflix and Amazon are only topped by Disney ($11.84 billion) and NBC ($10.27 billion),” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst at IHS Technology.

Other online platforms like Hulu in the US and China’s Youku Toudu, iQifyi and Tencent have also increased their investment in original programming and acquisitions.

“In what Netflix calls the era of internet TV, more and more consumers are watching content online, shaking the foundations of the traditional TV industry,” Westcott said. “However, it’s premature to declare that the era of linear TV is already over, and Netflix and Amazon have come hard on the heels of a boom in production of original drama and comedy by the likes of AMC and FX in the US."

There were 148 new scripted shows aired by basic cable networks in the US, up from 138 the year before and 96 in 2013, according to the IHS Technology report. In 2016 so far, there have been 113 scripted basic cable shows, compared to 78 on the networks, 31 on premium cable, and 57 online. To set these numbers in context: in 2012, there were three online scripted US TV shows, that number rose to 20 in 2014, 41 in 2015.

Regional breakdown: US is clear leader, but China rises to number two in APAC

“The primacy of the US in the worldwide programming market is clear,” Westcott said. “We estimate that in 2015, the US represented 33 percent of worldwide expenditure on TV programming, with $43 billion invested across free-to-air, pay TV and online.”

“Amazon and Netflix, though they are US companies, are now commissioning for multiple territories, so we have treated them as global platforms.”

After the US, the mature Western European region is the next most important, investing $38.6 billion, or just under one third of the total. The biggest markets in Western Europe were the UK with $10.7 billion, Germany ($7.3 billion), France ($6.6 billion) and Italy ($4.6 billion).

“Notably, China is now the second largest market in the Asia Pacific region, with $8.4 billion invested last year,” Westcott said.

Japan is the largest in the region with $9.8 billion, followed by South Korea ($2.6 billion), Australia and India—both on $2.4 billion. Leading Latin American markets are Mexico ($1.5 billion) and Brazil ($1.4 million). Canada invested $3.4 billion last year. Russia and Turkey were both around the $900 million mark.

Annual expenditure on programming by group

Worldwide TV programming

Sorry, Australia. Including Hyde & Seek, Rosehaven, The Secret Daughter and The Wrong Girl

Posted 5 days ago at 14:00 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Sorry, Australia. And indeed fans of Australian TV. For ages, I've been promising to review all manner of new and exciting - and, it turns out, not so exciting - Australian TV shows. However, thanks to a deluge of US and Internet TV, I've being failing hopelessly.

This weekend, however, I made a massive effort to play catch up with all of them. I've not been 100% successful, since I've not yet started SBS's Deep Water, but since that's a four-part mini-series that's already finished, I might as well watch all the episodes before letting you know what I think of it prior to its eventual BBC Four airing.

After the jump and to save myself a whole lot of time, mini-reviews of the first few episodes of all the other shows. Just to give you a tantalising preview of what I'm going to say, though:

  • Definitely watch: Hyde & Seek (Nine)
  • Probably watch: The Secret Daughter (Seven)
  • Maybe watch: The Wrong Girl (Ten)
  • Don't watch: Rosehaven (ABC)

Continue reading "Sorry, Australia. Including Hyde & Seek, Rosehaven, The Secret Daughter and The Wrong Girl"

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Play Adam Curtis bingo with HyperNormalisation!

Posted 5 days ago at 10:44 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The marvellous Adam Curtis has a new film out on the iPlayer called HyperNormalisation. It premiered yesterday and here's a trailer for it:

However, before you watch it (assuming you haven't already), allow me to present Chris Applegate's Adam Curtis bingo card. For it must be admitted that Curtis has a somewhat distinctive style

Adam Curtis Bingo

How long will it take before you shout, "House"?

News: Scream, The Walking Dead, Van Helsing, Love Child renewed; Chuck Lorre's Bonfire of the Vanities; + more

Posted 5 days ago at 07:28 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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Norwegian, but no different