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January 20, 2012

Review: Alcatraz (Fox) 1x1-1x2

Posted on January 20, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Alcatraz

In the US: Mondays, 9pm ET/PT, Fox
In the UK: Acquired by Watch

A year ago, JJ Abrams had two shows on the air: Lost and Fringe. Lost, of course, was a story about a mysterious island that could cause people to travel through time; Fringe, which is still running on Fox, sees a group of federal agents (and a civilian weirdo), investigating strange crimes and criminals operating at the fringes of science.

If you were going to predict JJ Abram's next show, only in wildest cynical pastiche would you have come up with Alcatraz, a show about a mysterious island that causes people to travel in time while a group of federal agents investigate strange crimes and criminals.

Yet here it is on Fox. It's even got Hurley (Jorge Garcia) from Lost as one of the leads, as well as that nice Sam Neill from Jurassic Park. The basic plot: the Alcatraz prison wasn't actually shut down because of lack of money, but because every single person in the prison, warden and prisoner alike, disappeared one night back in the 60s. Now, one by one, they're popping up again, not having aged a day, and the government wants to find out why and stop them from committing any more crimes now they're free.

And to nobody's surprise, it's not even half as good as Lost or Fringe. Here's a trailer.

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January 12, 2012

Review: Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC) 1x1

Posted on January 12, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Are You There Vodka?

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30pm EST, NBC

The big four American TV networks have something of an alcohol problem. Or at least a problem with alcohol. In any given TV show, anyone shown to be drinking a lot or generally having alcohol-related fun must have a problem and they need to give up alcohol ASAP if they're to get their life into gear.

Who knows what would happen if they ever remade Inspector Morse.

The last time the networks had a go at a show about people who quite liked drinking, it was Showtime's Shameless remake, in which Frank's drinking is the root of all evil (although he's not much better off the sauce, addmitedly). And before that, it was the "anything but" Happy Hour on Fox.

Now NBC is trying to make a comedy based on talk show host Chelsea Handler's autobiography, Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. And that's what the TV show was called until very recently, until it was nonsensically renamed Are You There, Chelsea? (because having vodka in the title would put off viewers, apparently.) In it, a thinly veiled version of Chelsea Handler (who actually plays Chelsea's born-again Christian sister in the show) works in a bar and tries to navigate through the complexities of work, boyfriends, friends and family while repeatedly getting rat-arsed - and everyone telling her she has a drink problem.

Here's a trailer. It's from the now almost-completely reshot pilot. If you're in the US, you can view a proper trailer after that, too. Neither will make you laugh.

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January 12, 2012

Lost Gems: Young Sherlock - The Mystery of the Manor House (1982)

Posted on January 12, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Guy Henry in Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House

Sherlock Holmes is all the rage these days. Of course, he's always been popular but currently we have the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes franchise in cinemas; we have the modernised BBC Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman; and CBS in the US is planning a similarly modernised series of its own.

Taking their leads from Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, various people have tried to imagine what Sherlock's childhood would have been like, primarily with the intention of entertaining children. The most famous attempt is Steven Spielberg and Barry Levinson's 1985 blockbuster Young Sherlock Holmes and The Pyramid of Fear, which imagines Homes meeting Watson (and Moriarty) at school.

There's also been a recent series of books by former Doctor Who New Adventures writer Andy Lane called - appropriately enough - Young Sherlock Holmes.

But beating them all was Granada TV, which back in 1982 gave us the Sunday afternoon serial Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House. Here's about the only set of clips that I can show you.

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