July 26, 2014

Holiday! Celebrate! Again!

Posted on July 26, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


Yes, it’s August again, more or less, so it’s time for my annual pilgrimage to Greece. That means no blogging for give or take the next three weeks.

Beyond that, the Daily News won’t be returning until September, for three awesome, well considered reasons:

  1. Most people are on their holidays in August, too, so I’m not getting up early to write something no one’s going to read.
  2. Most TV people are on their holidays in August, too, so they’re not actually going to be making much news I can get up early to report on.
  3. I need a break and after three weeks of holiday, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get up early to report on anything anyway.

But despite having pruned my viewing to a minimum, there are going to be shows over August, both regular ones I’m already watching and new ones. In particular, Ali Larter will be back on TV for TNT's Legends on August 13th. Can you imagine me missing that?

Ali Larter at ComicCon for Legends

Ali thinks that’s ridiculous, too.

TTFN and If you're going on holiday, too, have a nice time – let us know if you had fun!


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July 25, 2014

Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #33, Batman and Robin #29-33

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Wonder Woman #33

I’m going to be off on holiday for the next three weeks or so, so before I go, I thought I’d sneek in a 'Weekly Woman Wonder' on the most important title of the month - apart from Superman/Wonder Woman that is - namely Wonder Woman. Strange that that should be the order, hey?

I’ll also be playing a little bit of time travel to cast my eye back over the past few issues of Batman and Robin which have featured a reasonably well written but spectacularly poorly drawn Diana, simply because it’s an interesting look at how she’s now viewed in the DC Universe. And because it’s quite interesting.

Continue reading "Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #33, Batman and Robin #29-33"

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It's a Scots off!

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

So who is Scotland’s greatest son? John Barrowman?

John Barrowman at the Commonwealth Games

Or Peter Capaldi?

Peter Capaldi blowing the bagpipes

Only you can decide.

What have you been watching? Including You're The Worst, Tyrant, The Strain, Suits and Halt and Catch Fire

Posted on July 25, 2014 | comments | 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. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

With August and the summer holidays approaching, it’s going to be the last ‘What have you been watching?' for a few weeks, so I’ll leave you with this one as a happy memory. And because the holidays are upon us, I’m going to be ruthless with a few shows that might have got as far as a third-episode verdict any other time of the year. So I’m not bothering with last night’s Rush, Satisfaction or Marriage, because the shows aren’t good enough for me to go to any effort in catching up with when I’m back from my holidays. They're probably going to be cancelled anyway.

This week, I’ve managed to review the following new shows:

But after the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of The Bridge (US), Halt and Catch Fire, The Last Ship, The Strain, Suits, Tyrant and You’re The Worst.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including You're The Worst, Tyrant, The Strain, Suits and Halt and Catch Fire"

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Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (DVD)

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hinterland DVD main screen

Y GwyllStarring: Richard Harrington, Mali Harries
Price: £15.15 (Amazon price)
Released: 30 June

One of the most bizarre things about this year's airing on BBC4 of the S4C show Y Gwyll (aka Hinterland) is that it was largely in English. Every scene of each of its four episodes had been shot in both Welsh and English and a completely Welsh version of the show had aired on S4C in October/November 2013. Yet BBC4, which has been prepared to air on Saturday nights during primetime shows entirely in French, Flemish, Swedish, Danish and Italian, decided instead to air the last-minute hybrid English-Welsh version that BBC1 Wales had chosen to air in January.

Viewers who were aware of this wanted to know why and probably would have liked to have seen the fully Welsh version, at least to compare and contrast, but perhaps also because it was actually very slightly better. Now they can. Because while Arrow Films, the home of Nordic Noir DVD releases in the UK, released that hybrid version on DVD last month as Hinterland/Y Gwyll, a few weeks later, they very quietly also released the Welsh version as Y Gwyll/Hinterland, too.

Continue reading "Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (DVD)"

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Third-episode verdict: Welcome To Sweden (TV4/NBC)

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerWelcomeToSweden.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In Sweden: Aired starting in March on TV4 in Sweden
In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

Three episodes into the TV4-NBC English language co-production, Welcome To Sweden, and the big problem I had with the first episode is still true: it’s just not as funny as it should be.

The show does pretty much everything right in terms of production in this romcom based on American Greg Poehler’s real-life attempts to adapt to life in Sweden when he emigrates there to be with his girlfriend. It’s shot in Sweden, has Swedish writers and has Swedish actors. It’s got a decent array of characters. It has a bevy of guest stars, from both sides of the Atlantic, including Will Ferrell and most of the cast of Parks and Recreation. It plays with stereotypes but knows enough to transcend them. It’s not afraid to have half the show in Swedish, half in English. There aren’t even any male-female stereotypes to deal with, despite its being a romcom.

But the joke count in both Swedish and English is remarkably low, and most of the situations on the show can be found in any romcom, whether it’s “having sex in the room next to the parents” to “passing the immigration department’s tests”, without really doing anything innovative with one. Each episode gives perhaps one or two laughs at most, usually from the Swedish side rather than the American side, although episode two saw Poehler having to pretend to be Canadian when some American-hating Iraq war refugees turn up at his language class. And when the laughs aren't coming from the Swedes joking about Poehler’s height, it's from the guest stars playing versions of themselves, whether it’s Will Ferrell’s hopelessly well adjusted, Swedophile who learnt Swedish by listening to husky-toned language tapes, or Parks and Recreation’s Amy “Greg’s sister” Poehler and Audrey Plaza playing themselves as self-centred, vapid druggies.

In other words, the central set-up isn’t that great; it’s the few things in each episode other than that that actually provide the very gentle comedy.

If you like Parks and Recreation’s first season, you’ll probably love Welcome To Sweden. If you speak Swedish, you’ll probably love Welcome To Sweden. Otherwise, you’ll almost certainly want to love Welcome To Sweden, but you just won’t find it that funny.

Rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Unlikely to get a second season, but funnier things have happened

Watch the Hannibal season 2 gag reel

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Because nothing says funny like Hannibal does it?

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News: Amazon's Man In The High Castle, Sky Arts marks Kiefer Sutherland, 50 Shades of trailer + more

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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Ben Affleck as Batman

The Daily News will return in September


Film casting

  • Trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey [NSFW?]
  • Trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine 2 [NSFW]
Australian TV

Internet TV


New UK TV shows


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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July 24, 2014

Mini-review: The Divide 1x1-1x2 (WEtv)

Posted on July 24, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Divide

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, WEtv

I’d like to write a really long review of The Divide. After all, it’s the first scripted drama on a channel hitherto known best for reality TV – WEtv. It’s a thoughtful look at the grey areas of morality, the US legal system, the death penalty, how forensic science affects process, and how politics, race and the politics of race can warp everything. It’s got two members of the cast of The Wire in it – Chris Bauer and Clarke Peters – as well as Homeland’s ‘evil blonde female muslim terrorist’ Malin Ireland. It’s from AMC Studios, was originally developed for AMC by long-time producer David Manson (House of Cards) and is show-run by the Emmy-winning John Tinker (Judging Amy).

It all sounds good and important, right? Except my mind’s a total blank. The show’s good but utterly uninspiring. It was hard to bring myself to watch the double-length first episode; the third episode was on last night and I really couldn't be arsed to watch it.

Trying to put my finger on why I can’t be arsed isn’t easy. It’s all very good quality, just generic good quality. The characters have standard issues – Ireland is studying to join the bar but works in her spare time to reprieve the wrongly convicted because her dad is on death row. She has a slightly self-destructive relationship with a cop, but whenever there’s an issue, the cop wants to talk it through, quickly dispelling any real drama.

Equally, the show is at extreme pains not to have heroes or villains. It doesn’t want to take sides on capital punishment, essentially giving members of the audience justification for their beliefs, whatever they might be: it even claims at one point that ‘no one in the US has ever been executed for a crime that they were proven not to have committed’. Everyone’s dedicated to doing the right thing, just interpreting that differently for different reasons. The twist – (spoiler alert) Bauer was present for the crime but didn’t commit the crime and there’s been a cover-up to protect the person who was actually there – is just astonishingly obvious that you’ll spend the whole of the second half waiting for everyone on-screen to catch up with you, even though they have all the same facts you do.

It’s worthy and dull. It’s so dull that even AMC rejected it, but not so mesmerisingly dull that it could find a home on Sundance TV. It’s too smart for network TV, too stupid for basic cable. If you like a generic thriller that’s a cut above TNT’s Murder In the First but nowhere near as entertaining, here’s your boy. Otherwise, steer clear.

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Save your fingers some wear and tear – use tmine.tv!

Posted on July 24, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

In an effort to make all your lives easier – at least, those of you who haven’t bookmarked the site – you can now get to this ‘ere blog using any of the following excitingly short domain names:

Let me know if you encounter any difficulties using any of them.

Third-episode verdict: Extant (CBS/Amazon Prime)

Posted on July 24, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerExtant.jpgA Barrometer rating of 4

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS
In the UK: Available on Amazon Prime

Three episodes into Extant - essentially Solaris meets Rosemary's Baby mixed with just a hint of AI, Gravity and Moon, in which astronaut Halle Berry comes back to Earth after a year alone in space hallucinating her dead boyfriend and discovers she's pregnant - and it's clear that this is less science fiction, more an exercise in coming up with this year's Under The Dome. It's certainly got as much plot as Under The Dome, because after filling the first episode with every card it had it in its derivative pack, it's slowly been eeking out those few puzzles and mysteries over a somewhat dull and unexciting chase-around storyline for the following two episodes.

Every episode has been pretty much the same: Berry runs around a bit in an effort to verify everything that the audience already knows and/or suspects, while artificially holding off from jumping to any logical conclusion or entrusting anyone with any new secrets. After experiencing minimum peril, she then discovers… not much.

Meanwhile, she and scientist husband Goran Visnjic watch while their creepy robot son acts creepily and yet fail to spot anything is awry. Of course, Visnjic and robot son have secrets, too, and none of them are in a sharing mood either. If anyone talked to anyone else, this would all be over a lot quicker.

As I pointed out in my review of the first episode, the show misses out on doing anything truly interesting with its quasi-futuristic setting, too. Following the pilot, which did at least make a stab at futurology, ever since we've had a future where we can send people up into space regularly, create an artificial intelligence that can be placed into a human-looking body, yet doesn't have self-drive cars and has everyone carrying around mobile phones that do little more than what last year's iPhone could. There's definite intelligence behind the scenes in the writing staff, but it's clear that because of either the budget or a belief that the audience isn't that smart, the show would rather not push anyone too far intellectually and would rather wave its hands distractingly when 'the science bits' come up. Hell, in this episode we've just had someone talking about 'sending postcards' - does anyone even do that now, let alone in a world that should have 7G-enabled contact lenses and invisible tooth and ear implants for instant communication and information access?

So despite a pilot that did at least have a little promise, it's time for me to leave Extant. So far, it's all promise with no pay-off. Hell, I'm not even sure what it's promising, it's so frustratingly coy about letting us know what the aliens, corporate entities, et al are really interested in doing: communication, invasion, control? So many secrets and I'm not sure I really care what the answers are. So given what happened with Under The Dome, I think I'm going to bow out early rather than get strung along again. And if I ever change my mind, the whole thing will be on Amazon Prime forever so I can play catch-up.

Barrometer rating: 4
Rob's predication: Is supposed to be only one season and hopefully it'll stay that way

News: A Warren Ellis TV show, Backpackers cancelled, Rhea Perlman joins New Girl + more

Posted on July 24, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

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Anthony Head and Sarah Michelle Gellar reunited


  • BBC developing: adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ On Green Dolphin Street [subscription required]
  • Trailer for series 3 of A Touch of Cloth, with Karen Gillan


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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July 23, 2014

News: Antony Hopkins enters Westworld, Will Ferrell's Manimal remake, Ken Jeong to play Ken Jeong + more

Posted on July 23, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Follow TMINE on Twitter for breaking news updates


Film casting


  • Trailer for Hector and the Search for Happiness, with Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer et al
Canadian TV
  • Aaron Ashmore, Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane to star in Space/Syfy’s Killjoys

New UK TV shows


US TV show casting

New US TV show

  • HBO greenlights: pilot adaptation of Westworld, with Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood
New US TV show casting

July 22, 2014

Review: The Lottery 1x1 (Lifetime)

Posted on July 22, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Lifetime's Lottery

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

Did you know the world’s fertility is slowly decreasing? No one’s exactly sure why, although chemicals, particularly those with oestrogen-like properties, that have been flushed into the ecosystem is among the more likely suggestions. Of course, with the world’s population heading for 7 billion and likely to hit 9.6 billion by 2050, it’s not exactly an immediate global issue, even if it does affect some people quite deeply.

But imagine what would happen if by 2020, suddenly everyone, everywhere stopped being able to have children and no more kids were born at all. What would that be like?

Well, lots of people have already had a go at answering this question. Margaret Attwood projected a similar future in The Handmaid’s Tale, which effectively imagined what would happen if Islamic law were implemented by a Christian US.

PD James's The Children of Men, adapted by Alfonso Cuarón and Timothy J. Sexton as a movie starring Clive Owen, imagines a similar dystopian future for the UK in such circumstance, albeit one that's more fascist than theocratic. 

All of which is bleak - way, way too bleak for basic cable, let alone Lifetime, home of very fluffy female-friendly fare such as Army Wives, Devious Maids, Drop Dead Diva, The Client List and Witches of East End. So I can’t imagine that when Sexton re-pitched Children of Men as a TV series, he did it without thinking it might need to be toned down a bit and made a bit more hopeful.

Certainly, given his co-producer partner is ‘practising friend of popular science’ Danny Cannon (CSI, Eleventh Hour), edginess was out of the question for Sexton's The Lottery. Within the first 10 minutes of the future extinction of humanity being announced, scientist Marley Shelton (also Eleventh Hour) has already come up with a viable treatment that fertilises 100 embryos.

Now science being largely a collaborative subject and this being a highly urgent issue that the whole world needs solving within the next 70-100 years, you’d have thought the most obvious coda to all this is that Shelton would then have been working with other scientists around the US and the world to perfect her technique and get a new baby boom underway. Meanwhile, those embryos would be being implanted in the most genetically and physically hospitable environments: their egg donors.

Except that wouldn’t be very dramatically interesting, so instead, brace yourselves. First, US President Yul Vazquez (The Good Wife, Magic City) wants to keep the discovery secret and impregnate 100 female soldiers with the embryos. Just like that. Because women join the army to have babies.

But then chief of staff Athena Karkanis (The Border) is hatching a cunning plan to 'give the nation hope’ - a lottery, with 100 lucky winners being given the chance to have a child. And then we add on a conspiracy theory to make it all just a little bit sillier.

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: The Lottery 1x1 (Lifetime)"

Review: Satisfaction 1x1 (USA)

Posted on July 22, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Glades

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

There is something of a pyramid of US TV networks, which has premium cable at the top, basic cable in the middle and network at the bottom. If it’s on premium cable, it’s liable to be top quality and have as much swearing, nudity and violence (aka ‘adult themes’) as your little heart desires; if it’s on basic cable, it’s probably not going to be as good as premium cable, but it’s still likely to be a cut above the usual; and then there’s the potluck of network TV at the bottom - could be good, could be bad, unlikely to be great.

As a result, there’s something of a ‘trickle down’ effect with this pyramid. Since premium cable has the biggest budgets and the most creative freedom, it gets the best pitches and makes the most innovative shows. Every other channel just has to play catch-up.

Case in point is USA’s Satisfaction, which sees Matt Passmore (The Glades) growing increasingly dissatisfied with his job and life before erupting in rage and giving it all up, hoping to seek enlightenment, before reclaiming his life. Sounds a lot like HBO’s Enlightened with Laura Dern, doesn’t it?

Not so fast, though, sonny Jim. Because along the way he discovers his unsatisfied wife, Stephanie Szostak (Iron Man 3), is paying an escort for sex. And when he finds himself in possession of said escort’s phone, he soon discovers the surprising number of rich single and married women prepared to pay him quite a lot of money for sex, too. Hmm. Sounds a lot like HBO’s Hung, too, doesn’t it?

So - two HBO shows rolled into one. Should be twice as good as one HBO show, shouldn’t it? Well…

It’s called trickle down for a reason.

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Satisfaction 1x1 (USA)"

News: Xena: Agent of SHIELD, The Rock to play Shazam, Joseph Fiennes' Nostradamus, more Fargo et al

Posted on July 22, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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Film casting

  • Trailer for Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch

International TV


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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July 21, 2014

Review: Matador 1x1 (El Rey)

Posted on July 21, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

El Rey's Matador

In the US: Tuesdays, 9pm ET/PT, El Rey

There is something of a stereotype in the US that there’s only three groups of people who play what the rest of the world calls football/le football/Fußball/ποδόσφαιρο/etc but which America calls soccer:

  1. Children, particularly girls
  2. Immigrants
  3. Latinos

'Real men', on the other hand, play what the US calls football, but the rest of the world calls American football.

Now, the World Cup this year, at which the US did surprisingly well, might have helped to start the slow process of neutralising this stereotype. But film director Robert Rodriguez made his career playing with Latin stereotypes in films such as El Mariarchi and From Dusk Till Dawn and with grindhouse homages such as Sin City, Machete and, erm, Grindhouse. Given that Rodriguez now has his own English-language, Latin-interest, pro-grindhouse TV network, El Rey, it’s no big surprise therefore that his second scripted drama, which follows hot on the heels of the TV adaptation of From Dusk Till Dawn, should capitalise on that stereotype.

Matador is a partial grindhouse homage about an undercover DEA agent (Gabriel Luna) who gets recruited by the CIA when they spot he’s not only quite good at undercover work, he can also run very quickly. Luna’s task? To somehow infiltrate LA’s professional football team, run by Alfred Molina, to uncover a global conspiracy.

Plausible, no?

By turns Chuck-like then Escape From Athena ridiculous, Matador is unfortunately only moderately exciting and, it has to be said, is full of immigrants. Brits and Australians. There’s just loads of them.

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Matador 1x1 (El Rey)"

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Weekly Wonder Woman: Injustice Gods Among Us: Year Two #15

Posted on July 21, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Diana was taking a well-deserved holiday last week in most of the DC universes. However, in the “let’s get everyone hitting each other in time for the video game” universe of Injustice Gods Among Us, she did at least get a mention.

When last we left her in issue #4, she was in a coma in Man’s World, with her mother Hippolyta promising to take her back to Paradise Island to seek the help of the gods. When there’s an attack against the Earth – currently being run by an uneasy alliance between Superman and Sinestro – where’s Superman to defend it? Visiting Wonder Woman.

Superman's on Themyscira

He’s not responding. I wonder what’s stopping him…

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Why I don't watch Greek TV

Posted on July 21, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

So obviously many of this ‘ere blog’s readers – well, perhaps one or two – will be wondering exactly what shows I include on this blog and review, and which ones I don’t. Basically, I look at scripted shows (that is, comedies and dramas) from around the world that catch my attention and I can get to easily.

However, my time being limited and the world quite big, I can’t watch everything. More to the point, neither can you guys, which is probably why you’re here anyway, hoping that’ll I winnow out the rubbish and find the good stuff for y’all.

Now, there’s not much point my reviewing UK shows, beyond one or two. You – and I’m assuming most of my readers are from the UK (although, actually, it’s about a third UK, a third US and a third everyone else) – can find those for yourselves, either by looking through the EPG or looking at all the other excellent web sites out there.

I do get some offers of previews from the BBC and Channel 4. In fact, I get an email every night at 11.30pm from the BBC to let me know there’s TV on its preview site that I might want to watch:

BBC Previews

Helpful, hey? They never tell me exactly what it is that I might want to watch, only that it’s there. So I have to go hunting through their web site and then, if I actually find the new show, I have to ring the number of the PR person in charge of that show to get permission to view it.

Which not only is a pain in the arse but means I have to find a computer to sit in front of for 30 minutes to an hour and not do anything else. The short, end result is that I don’t bother.

Channel 4 send me emails, too, but unfortunately, it’s almost always for shows that aren’t scripted or are complete rubbish.

Overall, then, that’s why, with a few exceptions, I don’t really bother discussing UK TV.

So instead, I usually focus on English-language TV from the rest of the world – in particular, US, Canadian and Australian/New Zealand TV. In part, that’s because I speak the language; in part, it’s because it's relatively easy for me to get this content and the previews people in the US that I’m in touch with actually have a sensible preview system, too; and in part, it's because there’s a good old chance it’ll end up on UK TV and that you readers will be able to watch it at some point in the future.

The last part is important. There’s no point to my reviewing a brilliant show that’s airing on South African TV if there’s no chance you’ll ever be able to watch it. That’s a waste of my time and will stop me from watching and reviewing something else that more than two of you might actually be able to watch some day.

If we look at the countries from which the UK does import TV, we can see that I have to restrict myself, since between BBCs 1-4, Channel 4, More4, Channel 5, and Sky Arts 1 and 2, that list is pretty short: Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Italy and Spain. You occasionally get a few stragglers from elsewhere – the Africa Channel, for example, imports from Zambia and the like, and there’s bound to be some Japanese, Indian and Chinese shows I’m missing up in the nosebleeds of the EPG, too.

But there’s no guarantee that it’ll end up on UK TV screens and, since they’re in languages other than English, subtitles are usually important. I’d love to review Swedish TV more often. But I don’t speak Swedish and there aren’t subtitles. Oh well.

Now I do speak French pretty well and German reasonably well – in fact, I used to do the occasional bit of translation work – but French and German TV are pretty dreadful normally and Mr Thierry Attard is far better equipped and placed to cover them anyway. You want to know about TF1, you mentalist – go read his blog. If it arrives on UK or US TV, I’ll do my best to cover it, but I’m not going to put myself to any great effort, particularly in advance because – and to hark back to a previous point – still not much French and German TV ends up on UK TV.

Engrenages and Braquo are basically the good shows on French TV, bar a couple of strange Agatha Christie adaptations that replace Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot with some home-made French detectives. German has plenty of wacky fun on it, but we never get to see that: we get to see stuff set during the First and Second World War and that’s it. Because it’s still the case, unfortunately, that in the UK, if we hear ‘Germany', we think 'World War’, despite the fact WW2 finished 70 years ago. The last German show of any note that wasn’t about a war that I can remember airing on British TV was Gambit, back in 1987.

Which in a round-about way leads me finally to the title of this post: why I don’t watch Greek TV. Now, although the main UK channels don’t really offer much by way of opportunity to watch Greek TV, it is surprisingly easy to watch a whole slew of Greek-language channels in the UK, not just from Greece-proper, but also from Cyprus and Crete, on iOS devices using two free apps: Vision TV Net, which also offers other foreign language channels; and Greek TV Live.

And I do speak Greek reasonably well. So although there’s the obvious issue of a lack of English subtitles, you’d think that I’d be a least mentioning it from time to time, such as with ΑΝΤ1’s forthcoming Lost-alike Εκδρομή (aka The Excursion), which doesn’t look too bad.

Εκδρομή ΑΝΤ1

The trouble is that Greek TV is largely repeats, US shows dubbed or subtitled in English, discussion and game shows, and adaptations of other countries’ TV.

To give you the best example I can think of of why I don’t cover Greek TV more/at all on this blog, I’ll leave you with this image of what was on RikSat during prime time last night.

Rik Sat

Yes, that is a repeat of a 1990s TV drama that sees a man spanking a teenage girl while an old, stereotypically dressed Greek woman cooks in the kitchen. But no, I have no idea why there is a motorbike parked in their front room.

That's not a bar in Coupling

Posted on July 21, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

I do a lot of work in Islington and such is my location and my hatred of the morning rush hour tube and Northern Line, the best way for me to get there is by train to Farringdon and then walking. It’s much more civilised, I always get a seat and I get to have a walk in the sunshine and this time of year. Usually.

So imagine my surprise when my wife decides she wants to watch all of Coupling again from the beginning – surprisingly, not because she’s seen Crossbones – and it turns out that the opening of episode one is filmed right along the route I walk every day I go to work.

Coupling Farringdon

That’d be here in Sekforde Street:

However, as with all things TV, things go a bit awry in the quest for the bar on Clerkenwell Greeen where they hang out in every episode and where Jeff and Steve are going in the picture above:


The bar in Coupling

The Coupling Bar

Not bar


So don’t bother looking. Or trying to buy a drink from them…

Quite literally the stupidest bit of product placement ever

Posted on July 21, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

So product placement is a big thing in US TV. In an age when ratings are dropping, Internet viewing is increasing, people skim through shows on PVR, foreign sales are a big source of revenue and boxsets are binged aplenty, the chances that anyone will even get the chance to see an ad you’ve bought during an ad break, let alone watch it, are getting smaller and smaller every day. On the other hand, stick one of your products in the show and no matter which medium the viewer uses to watch the show, wherever they are in the world, they will see that product in action at 1x speed.

Obviously, you have to spend more to get that product into the show, and such is the cash required, it’s often been able to keep afloat shows such as Chuck and Heroes that would have died sooner if they’d relied purely on ad break funding. There’s competition with other advertisers, too, since there’s only so many cars that can be driven or Subway sandwiches eaten per episode.

So spare a thought for TNT’s The Last Ship, which appears to have had the novel idea of piggybacking two product placements on top of each other. Unfortunately, I don’t think Apple are going to be very happy with them for doing that.

Here, we have a perfectly humble webcam being shown off to punters. It’s the end of the world, the captain of The Last Ship is recording possibly the most vital messages possible for his family – he’s going to want good HD quality recordings. And the webcam glows all blue, which is cool!

Last Ship's webcam

I must buy this webcam!

Except… it turns out that he’s using a MacBook Air to make his recording.

MacBook Air in The Last Ship

Cool laptop that. Problem is that the MacBook Air has a built-in HD webcam. In fact, it’s right underneath that other webcam the captain’s using.

MacBook Air webcam

So either the captain’s a technological idiot or his lovely MacBook has broken at a vital moment in world history. Not the message Apple wants to be sending out with The Last Ship.

I will not buy this MacBook Air.

Particularly since it’s very, very expensive.

Disclaimer: this post was in no way sponsored by anyone, particularly Apple or any webcam manufacturers. Of course, if they want to, I’m not going to say no…

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Possibly the worst merchandising idea ever: Penny Dreadful action figures

Posted on July 21, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

I’m not one for an action figure myself. I’m an adult for one thing.

Okay, cheap shot. I do appreciate that some grown-ups enjoy playing with an action figure. I’m not sure why, but I’m not sure why people watch Mrs Brown’s Boys, either. It takes all sorts to make a world, I guess.

But surely, surely, there is no point whatsoever to these figures, which are going to be unveiled at Comic-Con: Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful.

Josh Hartnett/Ethan Chandler

Penny Dreadful action figure of Eva Green

I’m sure that there will be some uptake, despite the fact they’re pretty poor. But what’s the point? In a show populated by Dracula, Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Monster, Van Helsing, Mina Harker and Dorian Gray, they’re going with “the guy who can shoot things and has a secret (that you can’t exploit with this action figure)” and “the woman who gets possessed a lot while hamming it up”? How odd.

Still, it takes all sorts to make a world, I guess.


News: The Last Ship renewed, Wentworth Miller is Captain Cold, Rufus Hound joins Cucumber + more

Posted on July 21, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

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New UK TV show casting

  • Rufus Hound, Ardal O’Hanlon and Adjoh Andoh join Channel 4’s Cucumber, Luke Newberry joins E4’s Banana


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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