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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.


May 29, 2012

Mini-review: Sebastian Bergman (BBC4) 1x1

Posted on May 29, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Rolf Lassgård in Sebastian Bergman

In the UK: Saturdays, 9pm, BBC4. Available on the iPlayer

Well, The Bridge has come and gone, so BBC4 has had to try to fill the hole in its schedule and our lives with a new Nordic crime drama. Since the whole craze in the UK started with Wallander - albeit the Kenneth Branagh and Krister Henriksson versions - it only seems appropriate to turn to another Wallander: Rolf Lassgård. Lassgård was the original Kurt Wallander in the Swedish series movie based on the Henning Mankell novels, and it's the creators of those movies who have clubbed together to give him a new role: the eponymous Sebastian Bergman, a bitter, misogynistic, misanthropic psychological profiler who lost his family in the 2004 tsunami, something from which he hasn't recovered.

Anyway, this two-part trial run for the character sees him returning to work after a long absence. To avoid spoilers, let's talk after the jump. The best embedded video I can give you is this and it's in Swedish (sorry) and is the authors discussing the book the series is based on, not the actual TV series. But there's a much better English language trailer over here that actually features Rolf Lassgård.

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May 29, 2012

Review: Men at Work (TBS) 1x1-1x2

Posted on May 29, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Men At Work

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

Oh no. Just as you thought it was all over, a cable also-ran has decided to fan the embers of a dying trend. You may recall that the big trend of the Fall 2011 was "sitcoms that deal with the (alleged) difficulty of being a man in the 21st century". We started with the rapidly cancelled How To Be A Gentleman (which CBS is currently burning off), before slowly moving down through the various circles of Hell that were Last Man Standing and the rapidly cancelled Man Up!. Eventually, we hit rock bottom with ABC's rapidly cancelled Work It, with unemployed men dressing as women to get jobs (rather than getting additional qualifications at evening classes, etc).

Now we have Men At Work, which follows the misadventures of four "hip young professionals" who work together - "the four serve as each other's wingmen as they help each other navigate work, friendship and women."

"Give me strength," you might think. You might think you need a wingman, too, to help you navigate through lame sitcom ideas.

But, as we run through Men at Work's qualifications, our hearts can only sink more. For starters, it's on TBS, the only channel the tagline of which needs to be said in a sarcastic tone of voice: "Very funny." In case you don't believe me on that, you clearly watched neither Glory Daze nor 10 Items or Less (although I understand some of you might have liked My Boys for some reason).

Then there's the writer/creator. It's Breckin Meyer, who was of course the stoner in Clueless and is one of the stars of TNT's misogynistic Franklin and Bash. And certainly, Men At Work has shares that show's poor attitude towards women. It even has a new vocabulary to abuse women with. How innovative.

But despite all this, the first two episodes of the show weren't actually that bad. In fact, in a couple of places it was quite clever and made me laugh.

I'm still not watching any more of it because it's a misogynist buddy comedy, but colour me surprised all the same.

Here's a trailer. Incidentally, it's all set at a magazine and is mainly about journalist. I wonder if I'll have anything to say about that as well after the jump.

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May 25, 2012

Review: Hit and Miss (Sky Atlantic) 1x1

Posted on May 25, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hit and Miss

In the UK: Tuesdays, 10pm, Sky Atlantic
In the US: Acquired by DirecTV. Starts July 11

For many years, BSkyB has been seen by many in the UK as something of a scubby parasite. It earns a fortune from sports subscriptions and then what does it do with them? Uses them to price every other broadcaster out the sports market to make even more money, which is uses to acquire all the good US TV shows to make even more money (£6.6 billion in 2011). But does it make any programming itself? No, just tacky reality shows.

But the times, they are a changing. Sky may have poached all the good US TV shows, even signing an exclusive deal to acquire everything HBO makes and air it on a new channel Sky Atlantic, but now it's started to get into the business of making halfway decent, scripted TV shows. It's putting a real effort into comedy on Sky 1, it's got two more-than-halfway decent arts channels in the form of Sky Arts 1 and 2, and despite the confusing name on the tin, Sky Atlantic now has its first home-grown UK drama.

Created by Paul Abbott of Shameless fame and written by writer-film director Sean Conway (brilliantlove, Alex and Her Arse Truck (no really), Rabbit Stories and Kings of London), it's about a trans hitwoman who suddenly discovers she has a son by a former girlfriend. Chloë Sevigny - a Golden Globe-winning US actress who's best known for Showtime's Big Love but also for movies such as American Psycho, Lars von Trier's Dogville and Boys Don't Cry, in which she played a woman who falls in love with a trans man - is Mia, the hitwoman in question, who has to trundle off to meet her new family and to become both father and mother to them.

And unlike a lot of previous attempts by Sky at original programming, it's not half bad. Even though it also stars Jonas Armstrong from Robin Hood, it's about a trans hitwoman trying to raise a family in the Yorkshire Dales and it's called Hit and Miss. Clever, huh?

Here's a trailer.

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