As I've mentioned before, the second Totally Serialized is about to take place in London. Featuring international cinema and TV, as well as UK shows such as Doctor Who and Peep Show, it'll offer you the exclusive chance to see:
The first episode of the mini-series Labyrinth, based on the multi-million selling novel by Kate Mosse, followed by a panel Q&A with cast and key creatives
The UK premieres of innovative French shows Rebound, Spin and The Church Men
A panel on TV screenwriting with Jack Thorne (The Fades, This is England), Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) and French screenwriters
The world premiere of Flight of the Storks directed by Jan Kounen
The world premiere of Jo attended by Jean Reno
A comedy medley of French and British sitcoms (The Thick of It, Peep Show, Kaboul Kitchen, Workingirls)
A Skins revival to say goodbye to the cult show ending this year, with a screening of the very first episode and a Q&A with the creator Bryan Elsley
A night of Doctor Who fun with fancy dress, music, quizzes and a writing masterclass with Toby Whithouse.
Full details of what's on are here and here's a trailer:
And I have a pass to give away to one lucky person for all of Friday 18th's events, which will include:
The UK premiere of the first episode of Spiral series 4
The UK premiere of new Scandinavian sci-fi show Real Humans
Episode two of the French political series Spin
A Q&A with actor Grégory Fitoussi
Here are some trailers - yes there will be English subtitles:
To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is leave a comment below before midnight on Tuesday 14th January, after which the results will be announced. Good luck and spread the word!
These days, superheroes are all the rage in movies. TV series? Not so much, beyond Arrow and a few series stillin the works. But back in the 70s, TV was the natural home of the superhero, it seemed, with Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel/Shazam all getting simultaneous adaptations, and made-for-TV superheroes and heroines like Electra Woman, Dyna Girl, Isis, The Man From Atlantis and the Bionic Woman also getting a look-in.
One of the biggest comic book adaptations was The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran on CBS between 1977 and 1979. Starring Nicholas Hammond (a former von Trapp child from The Sound of Music), it sees mild mannered university student Peter Parker get bitten by a radioactive spider and as a result, become incredibly strong and gymnastic, as well as acquire the ability to stick to walls and ceilings and anticipate danger. With a little bit of scientific and engineering ingenuity, he even manages to create "web shooters" that enable him to shoot sticky and extremely strong webbing from cartridges on his wrists, so that he can swing from building to building, tie up criminals and so on.
After initially ignoring the responsibility of his new powers, Peter eventually decides to fight crime and gets a job as photographer on the Daily Bugle so that he can pay for his night-time endeavours - usually by taking exclusive pictures of himself as 'Spider-Man'.
The show started as a back door pilot TV movie back in 1977
and was picked up for five episodes as a mid-season replacement in 1978. These initially did well, earning 16.6m viewers which made it CBS's highest rated show. However, CBS, wary of being known as the 'superhero network' (since it already carried four other superhero shows), cancelled it. It then changed its mind and picked up the series for another eight episodes which aired sporadically: six in the autumn and winter of 1978 and a final two-hour episode in the summer. After that, the show was officially cancelled.
It's fair to say no one was particularly happy with this Amazing Spider-Man. Fans objected to the changes made to the Parker storyline and the lack of any of Spider-Man's super-villains from the comics. Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, despite being a consultant on the show, thought it was too juvenile. Production values weren't great either, with the show being filmed in Los Angeles despite being set in New York, and Spider-Man noticeably always played by a stunt double rather than Hammond. With such sporadic air dates and lack of commitment from CBS, it's no surprise that not only did J Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle, get played by a different actor in the series than in the pilot, Peter's Aunt May was never played by the same actress twice.
Nevertheless, both the TV movie and the final two-part episode were released in cinemas around the world, the second movie benefitting greatly from having extensive footage shot in Hong Kong.
Since then, though, The Amazing Spider-Man has faded in many people's memories. Unlike The Incredible Hulk, which has seen frequent repeats, DVD releases and a series of comeback movies in the 80s and 90s, The Amazing Spider-Man has instead languished in edited forms on VHS and laser-disc, the planned comeback TV series and movies never happened, and repeats have been few and far between.
But good old YouTube to the rescue. Here's the title sequence and a playlist of all the episodes, you lucky people!
In Canada: Fridays, 9pm ET/MT, HBO Canada/Super Ecran 1 In the US: Acquired to air on HBO Cinemax, possibly in June In Germany: Already aired on RTL In France: Already aired on M6
Co-productions are the future. Allegedly. Ask the BBC, which regularly works with BBC America and also HBO on productions. Sky also does plenty of international shows in collaboration with US, Spanish, French and South African broadcasters.
The idea is that you unlock more money that can result in either better shows or shows that couldn't otherwise have been made at all, or you can have overseas filming and exotic locations courtesy of the people who know the areas best and can give you firm advice on the cultures that can be incorporated into the scripts.
Sometimes this works: the Swedish/Danish The Bridge was excellent; Sky's Falcón and Strike Back are good; Canada's Flashpoint, originally produced in association with CBS, wasn't half bad, despite its desperate attempts to appear as un-Canadian as possible.
Sometimes it doesn't: BBC/Cinemax's Hunted was dreadful.
Quite often, the problem is in making a programme that will appeal to audiences in all the countries involved. Anyone can import another country's television, quite cheaply, but once big production money is involved, you often want actors from both countries, filming in both countries, writers from both countries and so on. And of course each country's producers and network executives will want input into the show. As a result, more or less anything interesting gets filed off by the process.
It's basically 'death by committee'.
In particular, there is one unholy alliance of producing countries, familiar to anyone who watched TV in the 90s, that can be pretty much be guaranteed to co-produce rubbish: Canada, France and Germany. Forget how good each individual country's television can be - united in co-production they are only a force for evil.
Remember Highlander? Remember its arbitrary location changes from Canada to Paris and back each season? Remember the contractually obligated French and German actors struggling to speak English each episode? Remember the guest Englishperson in any episode shot in Paris, since they needed someone who could act in English, who was cheap and who could be there quickly?
If not, let's pretend 20-odd years haven't happened and tune into Transporter: The Series. It's based on the 2002 Luc Besson French-US movie that starred Jason Statham as Frank Martin, an ex-special forces, samurai-like car driver who would drive anything you wanted, anywhere you wanted for a price and would kick the crap out of anyone who tried to stop him - provided you stuck with his supposedly rigid rules. The series sees Chris Vance (ex of Prison Break and Mental but no action background whatsoever) take over the role of Martin, who's still working in the South of France - and Germany - but now has the help of a comedic German car engineer and an East European female boss, and is being chased by both the French and Belgian police.
Creative compromises? I don't know what you mean. Here's a trailer for the movie, followed by a trailer for the series itself.
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.