Posted on February 2, 2008 | |
In the UK: Friday 1st February, Channel 4, 9pm
In the US: Maybe SciFi since they seem to like him
Of late, Derren Brown has become less of a magician and more of a de-bunker. If you've read Tricks of the Mind, you'll know he spends a good proportion of it debunking psychics, astrologers and others, while Derren Brown: Séance did more or less the same thing on a much larger scale, as did his stage show.
Which is nice. He's becoming The Amazing Randi for a new generation of idiots viewers and probably a more effective one.
Now, he's turned his attention to homeopathy et al. How did he try to point out the flaws in people's thinking? By developing a system that he said would successfully predict the results of six horse races - then getting a poor single mum to bet all her money on the final
Continue reading "Review: Derren Brown - The System"
Posted on January 31, 2008 | |
There are pretty much two writers' names that can instil fear into the heart of a discerning Doctor Who or Torchwood fan: Chris Chibnall's and Helen Raynor's.
Chibnall has been responsible for some appalling pieces of work, with awful plots, awful characterisation and awful dialogue (cf Countrycide). But at least he's fun. The opening episode of this series of Torchwood, which was one of Chibnall's best, we all assumed would be a template for the show this series: daft, silly, but well paced and fun.
But no. At Torchwood, it seems “the script editor is out”, so consistency of tone and characterisation is something that we can't possible hope for. Because here comes another of Helen Raynor's massive worthy tomes.
The former script editor of Doctor Who, she was also responsible for last year's tedious third episode, as well as the Who stinkers Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks.
As I remarked then,
“There's something about Helen Raynor's writing. It's always nicely put together, doesn't insult your intelligence too much and has a certain sensibility about it that makes you think she's trying to write proper drama. But it's absolutely dull to watch.”
And so it was with last night's Torchwood episode, To The Last Man.
Continue reading "Review: Torchwood 2x3 - To The Last Man"
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Posted on January 30, 2008 | |
In the US: Mondays to Fridays, HBO, 9.30pm
In the UK: Not yet acquired
There are certain things actors like doing. They like good dialogue. They like building up a character. They like to display nuances. And they like showing off.
As a showcase for actors' tendencies, it would be hard to beat In Treatment. Based on an Israeli TV show, Be 'Tipul, In Treatment is innovative stuff. It's centred on a therapist played by Gabriel Byrne. Each night of the week, we see a session between Byrne and one of his patients, who include the likes of Blair Underwood and Melissa George. Then at the end of the week, we see Byrne visit his own therapist (Dianne Wiest) to discuss the patients he's been treating and his feelings about them, before we start again the following week with the next sessions in his patients' schedules.
In effect, we're getting five weekly pieces of two-handed theatre, all bundled in one series. You like Blair Underwood's story best? Just tune in to Tuesdays' sessions then.
Of course, how well such a concentrated environment is going to work - very little incidental music, no incidental characters, no explosions, just two people talking – is going to be down to the strength of the acting and the writing. And they're all great.
Continue reading "Review: In Treatment"