Archive | Featured articles

Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


April 8, 2013

Review: Doctor Who - 7x8 - The Rings of Akhaten

Posted on April 8, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Rings of Akhaten

In the UK: Saturday, 6.15pm, 6th April 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7C, 6th April 2013, BBC America

Once upon a time, Doctor Who was a different kind of show. It was a show that could wonder at being able to touch alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds wheeling in another sky. It could dedicate six episodes to a planet entirely inhabited by giant talking insects, each with their own cultures, or have a whole episode without the Doctor and companions, in which decidedly inhuman aliens discussed peace treaties and vegetation.

Then the show moved on. It became more of an action show, in which poetry and metaphor took a back seat to an action hero Doctor foiling aliens' schemes.

Thank God. And if you don't think that was a good idea, The Rings of Akhaten were an epic demonstrate of just how staggering boring just 45 minutes of little girls singing to false gods can be.

Continue reading "Review: Doctor Who - 7x8 - The Rings of Akhaten"

April 5, 2013

Review: Hannibal 1x1 (NBC/Sky Living)

Posted on April 5, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hannibal

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by Sky Living
In Canada: Thursdays, 10pm, CityTV

Serial killers, the doyennes of 90s cinema and TV largely thanks to a little known movie, Silence of the Lambs, that featured an equally little known character called Hannibal Lecter, are back with a vengeance this year. Although Criminal Minds has been chugging along for God knows how long, giving us deranged, implausible serial killer after deranged, implausible serial killer, and obviously Dexter has now been doing his thing for eight seasons, apparently this isn't enough serial killing for TV because this year we've already had the debuts of The Following, Cult, and Bates Motel, a prequel to 1960s horror classic and original serial killer movie, Psycho.

And I've been wondering why, because largely they've had very little to offer that's new, beyond more gore than was allowed 10-20 years ago. Lots of women getting raped and hacked up, with the writers having as much regard for the victims as their fictional sociopaths do - is this some kind of Faludi-esque backlash, a symptom of the resurgence of rape culture in society or simply a fashion, these things going in cycles?

So leave it to not quite the original but certainly one of the best serial killers to show us that there is room creatively for such shows and that they can still thrill and challenge without being exploitative. Because Hannibal Lecter is back, this time played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, in a prequel of sorts to one of my favourite movies, the much neglected cult favourite Manhunter based on Lecter creator Thomas Harris's original book Red Dragon.

The show, written by Pushing Daisies creator and Heroes saviour Bryan Fuller, looks at Manhunter's Will Graham (played in the movie by CSI's William Petersen) and his early career, putting front and centre the man with "the mind of a psychopath", who can empathise with and recreate the thoughts of serial killers in his mind. Importantly, it also expands on, changes and builds up how he first meets the man who would end up driving him crazy, whom he ultimately incarcerates and who in a sense defines him: Lecter himself. And they're going to end up working together, even if Hannibal has a little secret that he's keeping from Graham and the FBI.

Featuring a roster of fabulous actors as well as Thomas Harris characters familiar to any fan, it's also absolutely fantastic.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Hannibal 1x1 (NBC/Sky Living)"

Read other posts about: , ,

April 3, 2013

Review: Orphan Black 1x1 (Space/BBC America)

Posted on April 3, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Orphan Black

In Canada: Saturdays, 9e/6p, Space
In the US: Saturdays, 9/8c, BBC America

Watcha cock! What a fine how-do-you-do this is, innit, doncha know. Chim-chiminey-cheroo, I've been watching a bit of the old Nervo and Knox of late and it came into me old noggin like that you'd like a gander at me discombobulations about what I done saw, like, innit.

Right now, I'm sitting in my beefeater uniform, inside a red phone box, with a Tower of London hat on my head, trying to get out of the strange state Orphan Black has put me into. A Canadian show that BBC America has mysteriously picked up too, it stars a bunch of Canadians pretending to be Americans, Germans and, above all, English people. You'd have thought, given the somewhat dodgy quality of the accents that BBC America might have steered clear of this show. But given BBC America - which confusingly is an umbrella network for everything from BBC1 shows to those plucked off Channel 4 and ITV, as well as some original content - is about as authentically British as the average US 'pub', apparently not - even fake Brits appeal to anglophiles, it seems, and Canadians are the next best things anyway.

Besides, o be honest, it's also a show that would be right at home on BBC3.

Orphan Black is a little like the grown-up, nastier, but essentially still tame elder sister of Canada's other 'streetwise sci-fi/fantasy woman' show Lost Girl. It stars Tatiana Maslany as Sarah… and Beck… and…, well, you'll see. Sarah is one of those 'streetwise' girls who appear in very comfortable, escapist dramas, living on her wits (e.g. swallowing soap to make herself sick) in a way that anyone with an IQ higher than an amoeba's would instantly spot as mildly criminal or at the very least very odd but no one on these shows ever notices as more than her having an odd day. She's also 'English', with one of those glottal-stop laden attempts at Estuary accents that North American actors do and end up sounding like a spoof character on The Simpsons instead. She's also capable, for no good reason, of doing a slightly more convincing but wobbly 'American' accent. And she's a punk chick, because she wears a Clash 'London Calling' T-shirt. Like all we English people do. All the time. I've got one on under my Beefeater uniform right now, in fact.

Sarah's on the run, but when she gets off a train in Unidentified North American City That Could Be In The US But Is Obviously Canadian, she spots a woman who looks exactly like her… and who commits suicide right in front of her. Sarah steals her belongings and assumes Beck's identity. Somehow, despite Beck being a cop, having a live-in boyfriend, etc, Sarah gets away with it, but before she knows it, more women who look like her start turning up. And then there are the people who are shooting at her, too.

Yes, it's sci-fi conspiracy series thriller time.

Here's a trailer and the opening scene.

Continue reading "Review: Orphan Black 1x1 (Space/BBC America)"

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400  

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years