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


December 18, 2012

Preview: 1600 Penn 1x1 (NBC)

Posted on December 18, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

1600 Penn

In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, NBC. Starts January 10

In US TV, there's the thing called 'development'. It's when someone comes to a TV network with an idea for a show, except it doesn't quite work. So the idea goes into development so that the problems can be solved, ideally before it goes into production.

Of course, even then, it's not too late for the show to change. Take The West Wing. Originally, the president wasn't going to show up at all - he would only ever be talked about, but would never appear. But come the pilot episode, the President needed to appear, the producers cast Martin Sheen and the rest is history.

But sometimes, despite all these safety valves, one big, looming, giant black hole of a problem can't be removed, usually as a result of politics, sometimes because it's one of the executive producers or it's even the person who came up with the idea for the TV show in the first place.

To preserve some air of mystery and suspense, I'll let you guess what the problem is with 1600 Penn - a sort of West Wing meets Modern Family set in the White House - that couldn't be removed before it aired. I'll give you a clue: have a look at the cast photo.

Here's a trailer if you need any more clues:

Continue reading "Preview: 1600 Penn 1x1 (NBC)"

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November 27, 2012

Review: Wonder Woman #14/Justice League #14/Batwoman #14

Posted on November 27, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Wonder Woman 14

It's another wonderful month over in DC. Kind of. Ignore the fact it's still Tony Akins doing the illustrations on Wonder Woman, since we have fights, innovation, ruses, New Gods and old gods to deal with. And I'm proved wrong - oops!

Meanwhile, over in Justice League, Aquaman does something useful for a change, we have some nifty Wonder Woman continuity references, Wonder Woman and Superman go on a date - and Batman is revealed to be a stalker, but we could have figured that out ourselves.

Justice League 14

And then in Batwoman, Wondy and Batwoman talk a lot, we go off the reservation when it comes to Greek myth, before heading back to Gotham, and we learn that absolutely, definitely for sure, DC's editors don't talk to one another.

Batwoman 14

Continue reading "Review: Wonder Woman #14/Justice League #14/Batwoman #14"

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November 22, 2012

Play for Today: Armchair Theatre - The Hothouse (1964)

Posted on November 22, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Armchair Theatre: The Hothouse

In an exciting mirror of the real world and to cover up the fact that I was too busy yesterday to do The Wednesday Play (sorry), for this week at least, The Wednesday Play has become Play For Today. 

This week's play comes from ITV's flagship play strand, Armchair Theatre. Most people interested in UK TV plays tend to focus on the BBC's Play for Today, The Wednesday Play, et al, but ITV did produce a really superb range of plays itself. Making its first appearance in 1956, Armchair Theatre was the most notable of ITV's play strands, attracting writers such as Fay Weldon, Jack Rosenthal, John Hopkins, John Mortimer and Allan Prior, and giving us A Night Out from Harold Pinter, Robert Muller's Hitler 'what if' The Night Conspirators and Alun Owen's Lena, O My Lena.

Various plays were even popular enough to launch spin-off series, including Callan (A Magnum for Schneider), Out of This World (Dumb Martian), Armchair Mystery Theatre, Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width and The Sweeney (Regan).

However, today's play is the 1964 production The Hothouse, starring Harry H Corbett from Steptoe and Son, and Diana Rigg, a year before she became Emma Peel in The Avengers. Written by and co-starring Donald Churchill, this light-hearted play pulled in an all-time audience record of 8.3m homes. In it, Churchill plays Gordon Parsley, the assistant manager of a supermarket, part of a chain owned by self-made millionaire Harry Fender (Corbett). Hoping to be promoted, Gordon's prospects look bright when, at the annual staff dance, Harry takes a shine to the ambitious employee's vivacious wife, Charlotte (Miranda Connell).

On the other hand, the boss's interest in Charlotte could spell trouble - especially when Harry's wife Anita (Rigg) decides to meddle and invites the young couple to spend a weekend at the Fenders' country cottage, where Harry tends his precious mangoes and melons in a hothouse.

Here it is, remastered in all its glory. If you like it, get buy it on DVD (it's a special feature on The Avengers series 4 DVDs). Enjoy!

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