January 16, 2017

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

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New UK TV shows


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 2 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 2 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).

News: American Horror Story renewed; Hat Trick's Time Machine; new Prison Break trailer; + more

Posted 3 days ago at 07:52 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Marvel's The Defenders on the front cover of EW

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January 12, 2017

Review: Pure 1x1 (Canada: CBC)

Posted 3 days ago at 20:55 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


In Canada: Mondays, 9pm, CBC

Everyone knows about the Amish, right? They're the German-speaking, pacifist Christian fundamentalists who shun all things modern in an effort to be as godly as possible. You may remember them from a little known 80s film called Witness.

Less well known unless you watch a lot of reality TV are their neighbours, the Mennonites, an equally German-speaking, God-fearing group although they aren't quite as strict as the Amish - they can own cars, go to High School on the school bus and mix with the Ausländer and everything.

But even less well known than them are the Canadian Mennonites, a bunch who fled to Ontario from the US when the War of Independence broke out. And oddly enough, they're the stars of CBC's new drama - a sort of Breaking Bad for Mennonites. It stars the ubiquitous Ryan Robbins (Continuum, Arrow) as the delightfully named Noah Funk, the newly appointed pastor of the (fictious) Mennonite town of Antioch who has to work out how to deal in a Christian manner with what seems extremely unlikely to the casual viewer but turns out to be based on a true story - the Mennonite mob, a group of dangerous drug runners ferrying cocaine from Mexico to Canada and the US.

The mob have killed one family escaping from a Mexican Mennonite 'colony' and when Funk takes in the surviving young son, he ends up having to deal with both the mob and slobby cop AJ Buckley (CSI: New York), who's after this previously unsuspected snake in the community. Also involved is Texan DEA Agent Rosie Perez (Do The Right Thing, White Men Can't Jump), who's well aware of what's going on with the Mennonites, both in El Paso and on the other side of the border.

Watching Pure, it's hard to know exactly how realistic the Mennonite side of things is. Show creator Michael Amo is the grandson of a Mennonite, for sure, but every bad accent and poor piece of German sets off warning claxons, and the whole idea boggles the mind to begin with, let alone when the Mennonite kids are wandering around school, working out the intricacies of 'Auslander' (non-Mennonite) life and whether it's okay to say 'My God' as an expletive.

The criminal side of things is a bit pedestrian, too. Buckley's cop, intent on recruiting Funk to help him penetrate the close-knit mob, lacks any of the skills to do it yet still manages to accomplish it somehow. Surprisingly, for a godly man, Funk sure finds lying easy. And in general dramatic terms there are problem, too, with pretty much every Mennonite indistinguishable and undifferentiated from all the others, bar the nicely-hatted mob boss Peter Outerbridge (the original Murdoch in The Murdoch Mysteries, Blood and Water), who forces Funk to work for him to save his family. 

But all those issues to one side, as with Blood and Water and Shoot The Messenger, Canada is at least showing that it can offer crime shows that aren't just the same old formula and that involve different communities from those we're used to. I probably won't stick with it, but it's nice to know that the show's out there.

News: CHIPS trailer; Empire renewed; The Mick expanded; Sheridan Smith's Clean Break; + more

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January 11, 2017

Review: Emerald City 1x1-1x2 (US: NBC; UK: 5*)

Posted 4 days ago at 18:44 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Emerald City

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

Certain classics are sacrosanct. Everyone's agreed that whatever happens, you shouldn't remake them, reimagine them or whatever, since they will never be as good and might insult the memory of the original.

The Wizard of Oz isn't one of those things, it seems. Long is the list of reimaginings, it being a reimagining anyway of Frank Baum's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, several silent movies and a Broadway musical. At the theatre, it spawned the reimagined Wicked, one of the most popular musicals of all time. At the movies, we've had cartoons (Journey Back to Oz, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return), a sequel (Return to Oz) and remakes (The WizOz The Great and Powerful, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz).

On TV, dark, gritty, sci-fi reimaginings have been the order of business - once they've actually got off the ground. Tim Burton gave a pilot of one a go, back in 1999, but that never even got filmed. Lost in Oz, an action show sequel in the vein of Buffy and Smallville that starred Melissa George (Dorothy replacement) and Mia Sara (new Wicked Witch), managed to get as far as a pilot in 2002, but proved too expensive for a series:

Sara would still return as a witch in the later mini-series, The Witches of Oz, in which noted author Dorothy Gale discovers that her books are actually based on repressed memories of her time in the land of Oz:

But before that Zooey Deschanel, Neal McDonough, Alan Cumming and Raoul Trujillo - aka DG, Cain The Tin Man, Glitch and Raw - entered the Outer Zone (OZ) to find the Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfuss) in inept Syfy Channel mini-series Tin Man

Now we have possibly the most interesting and successful attempt to 'reimagine' The Wizard of Oz in the shape of NBC's 10-episode limited series Emerald City. As with previous TV shows, it had false starts: originally given the green light back in 2014, it got shut down when NBC and showrunner Josh Friedman had a bit of a spat. A year later, NBC changed its mind again, gave David Schulner the showrunner post and now, three years after that first go-ahead, here it is at last.

It sees young adopted Kansas nurse Adria Arjona (Person of Interest, True Detective) caught up in a tornado and conveyed to a strange new land, filled with witches both good (Joely Richardson) and bad (Florence Kasumba), as well as a mighty Wizard (Vincent D'Onofrio) who protects the land from the Great Beast Beyond. Will the wizard help her to return to Kansas or does he have a very different agenda on his mind, given all the power struggles going on in Oz?

It's The Wizard of Oz meets Game of Thrones, but most importantly of all, all 10 episodes are directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell) and he's been to Barcelona. No, that's not a euphemism, oh friend of Dorothy.

Continue reading "Review: Emerald City 1x1-1x2 (US: NBC; UK: 5*)"

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News: Beyond, The Fosters renewed; The Coen Brothers' TV Western; + more

Posted 5 days ago at 06:33 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


US TV show casting

  • Raymond J Barry to recur on Gotham, Tembi Locke to recur on Animal Kingdom

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January 10, 2017

Weekly Wonder Woman: the Christmas and New Year releases

Posted 5 days ago at 19:24 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to the month Earth #2 Wonder Woman celebrates in honour of the two-headed god Janus. 

How's that for a niche nerd intro?

Anyway, as usual, I go away for a couple of weeks and suddenly, all the comics are released - yes, all of them - and all the news is revealed - yes, all of it - so I'm going to have to be brief with my reviews this week.

In news, as well as confirmation that both Lex Luthor and Hippolyta are going to be in Justice League, we've had a few new images released from both that movie and Wonder Woman:

The Justice League

Diana's Wonder Woman dress

Diana running in the trenches

Diana on horseback

Director Patty Jenkins has been chatting a bit about Diana's motivation, as well as the reason for the WWI setting of Wonder Woman - something that contains a very important word that I will highlight a lot:

“My approach was to focus on telling the story of mechanised war and how that would look to a god visiting our world for the first time. I wanted the audience to understand the horrors that a war on this scale makes possible and how shocking that would be to someone who comes with a strong sense of honor and justice. She doesn’t realise yet just how senselessly dark the world can be.”

And another image has Diana getting her sword for the first time:

Diana gets her sword

What's notable about that is Entertainment Weekly's description of the sword:

In the image, Wonder Woman has broken into the Amazonian armory and is stealing their fabled weapon known as “the god killer.”

That's new. Of course, 'the god killer' sword did feature in the recent Tony Daniel Deathstroke run, and Diana does have a sword capable of splitting atoms, but Diana's never owned one officially described as 'the god killer' before. And why would she need a 'god killer' during World War I, I wonder? 

Also, IIRC, the only time Diana's ever stolen her armour and/or weapons was in… the old Justice League cartoon series. Hmm - <Rowan and Martin's Laugh In voice>very interesting</Rowan and Martin's Laugh In voice>.

Talking of said series, though, the new Justice League Action is still going strong, with crazy old James Woods as crazy old Lex Luthor getting the power of Zeus and a certain nu52 power couple still canon:

Meanwhile, in case you ever wanted to know how to draw Wonder Woman in the style of Lynda Carter, here's Cat Staggs telling you how:

After the jump, let's talk (briefly I'm afraid) about all the DC comics I spotted since the previous WWW that featured the Amazon princess: Aquaman #13, Batman '66 meets Wonder Woman '77 #3, Dark Knight III #7, Justice League (Rebirth) #11, Justice League v Suicide Squad #1-3, Trinity #4 and Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #13.

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News: The Affair renewed; Sky Arts' Urban Myths; more Mrs Brown's; + more

Posted 6 days ago at 06:24 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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January 9, 2017

What have you been watching? Including Beyond, Sherlock, and Man Seeking Woman

Posted 6 days ago at 18:01 | 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. 

TV networks around the world are starting to crank into life, with a few old favourites returning to our screens and a few more new ones on their way this week (Canada - I'm looking at you here). That means that after the jump, as well as the latest episodes of Shooter and Sherlock, I'll be looking at the return of Lethal Weapon, Man Seeking Woman, and Son of Zorn.

I've not yet had a chance to watch NBC's gritty Wizard of Oz adaptation, Emerald City, from Friday, so I'll be reviewing that separately on Wednesday. But the other major newbie out last week was…

Beyond (US: Freeform; UK: Available now on Netflix)
A gender-swapped insipid amalgam of every other Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy show you've ever watched, whether it be Twilight or even Freeform's own Kyle XY, in which a young adult (Burkely Duffield in this case) discoveres he's very, very special for some arbitrary reason and both a skulking conspiracy and a band of goodies want to recruit him to their respective teams.

Here, the conceit is that Duffield was knocked out when he was 12 years old and since then has been in a coma. Except during that time, his disembodied consciousness went to another realm - unimaginatively called The Realm - something that's given him telekinetic/firestarting abilities. Waking up, he's pursued by a 'man in a yellow jacket' (Peter Kelamis), as well as a foreign-sounding 'ninja girl from The Matrix' (Dilan Gwyn), while having visions of an old man (Alex Diakun). Duffield not only has to recover his memories from that time in The Realm and try to escape those who would control him, he's also got to get used to the new world of cellphones, Wikipedia and being a 12-year-old in a 24-year-old's surprisingly unatrophied body. There's also all the changes in his family, with younger brother now effectively the elder brother and his parents having separated.

There are moments in Beyond - most of them in the pilot - where the show's almost cool, such as when Duffield uses his powers for the first time. There's also a sweet charm to Duffield's character, who tries to woo girls by talking about science and history, because that's all he knows about, having missed out on half his life. Kelamis's 'yellow jacket' is both sinister and amusing, and the introduction in episode 5 or so of a coma-girl with powers of her own was a welcome addition.

But I managed to sit through six episodes without finding anything much more than that, although maybe I should have held on a bit longer until Martin Donovan shows up as the Big Bad. There's not much danger, nothing too exciting about The Realm beyond a few dogs. Duffield's powers seem to consist of accidentally blowing things up a lot, which gets boring after a while. Gwyn is far less Trinity, far more Bella (but before she gets all cool and vampirey), constantly pining after Duffield but never actually doing much. 

The show also has a 24-year-old's memory of history. So while it's interesting we learn that US youth have in just 12 years gone from first making phone calls to talk to someone they like to texting them (something last week's Lethal Weapon touches on, oddly enough), everything else exists in an oddly timeless vacuum. While we're clearly in something like the present day, judging by the phones and the CSI:Miami-style floating displays and touchscreens behind invalids' beds, Duffield doesn't know about Apple Computers (iPod generation 2 released 2002) and his 12-year-old self had a bedroom adorned with original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back posters. Meanwhile, Kelamis wears a pair of glasses straight out of 1988.

All in all, you're probably better off watching Shadowhunters, if you're going to be watching any YA fantasy shows.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Beyond, Sherlock, and Man Seeking Woman"

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