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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 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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May 24, 2012

Nostalgia corner: Sapphire and Steel (1979-82)

Posted on May 24, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Sapphire and Steel

All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic, heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.

Ironically, it was only a matter of time until I got round to Sapphire and Steel. Now I have the time, so let's delve into one of the coolest, scariest TV shows there's ever been on UK TV.

I say ironically, because Sapphire and Steel is a show about time - specifically, Time going wrong, usually as the result of things that live in the 'corridor of Time' but sometimes of its own volition. In the world of Sapphire and Steel - which is also our modern world or at least the modern world of the 1970s and 80s - Time is everywhere and it is the enemy. It wants to break in. It wants to trap you. It wants to steal your parents. It wants to eat your soul. And then it wants to do the same to everything and everyone you know.

And to stop the world as we know it being destroyed when this happens, mysterious entities, apparently named after the elements*, perhaps even the incarnations of the elements themselves, intercede using all kinds of weird, unexplainable powers.

However, if you think they're here to help us, you're sorely mistaken, because Sapphire and Steel, played by Joanna Lumley and David McCallum, are not like you and me. Even when they pretend to be on our side, to empathise with the predicaments of the mortal and human, they're not. And they're ever-so-willing to sacrifice every single one of us if necessary if they have to stop time. They have their own morality, their own rules and they don't care about us. But they're the only thing stopping history making us history, so do what they say.

Allow Sapphire to explain to the nature of Time to these annoying children and then follow me after the ever so scary title sequence to explain a little more about this most engrossing of shows:

Alternatively, there's this rather lovely documentary about the show.

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May 23, 2012

The Wednesday Play: Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Posted on May 23, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Alice in Wonderland

Once upon a time, the TV schedules in UK were full of plays. There were strands including The Wednesday Play, Play For Today, Theatre 625, Armchair Theatre, Espionage, Out of the Unknown, Tales of the Unexpected, Play of the Week, Twentieth Century Theatre, The Sunday Night Play and I've barely scratched the surface.

Now, we have Playhouse Presents on Sky Arts and that's about it.

So today, in an effort to boost the 'play count', I'm starting a new strand on TMINE, appropriately entitled 'The Wednesday Play', that's going to feature a different classic play each week. Now, I could start with almost anything, but since we have a taste for the unusual round here, let's start with Jonathan Miller's 1966 adaptation for The Wednesday Play of Alice in Wonderland, starring John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, Michael Redgrave, Michael Gough, Leo McKern, Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Malcolm Muggeridge and Eric Idle.

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