Posted on February 12, 2007 | |
This will be popping up on the Action TV web site at some point soon, but you lucky people get to see it first.
On paper, The Sandbaggers could have been one of many lesser shows. Detailing life for the “Special Operations section” of MI6/SIS, it could have been a James Bond-esque tale of daring-do. It could have been a slightly more sedate, John Le Carré-style affair, all intrigue, politics and back-biting. Instead, it proved to be a combination of both worlds, marrying the excitement of a Fleming book with the authenticity of Le Carré.
Throughout the show’s three series, the agents of the piece – the eponymous Sandbaggers – and their boss, former Sandbagger Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden) were faced with as many murky plots from the depths of Whitehall and from the UK’s supposed allies as they were by Soviet espionage. They failed or died in their missions on any number of occasions because of office politics back home, all while being paid a civil service salary.
The success of the show was as much due to the authenticity of the scripts as it was the mesmerising central performance of Marsden. Much of that was a result of the (possible) inside knowledge of the show’s creator, former naval officer Ian Mackintosh, who wrote all the scripts for the show’s first two series. At the very least, it was because of his talent as a scriptwriter.
Tragically, Mackintosh died in an aircraft crash before the start of the third series of the show. He’d managed to write a number of scripts, including the final episode’s, but without his continued input, the show failed to hit the creative heights of the previous two series.
Continue reading "Review: The Sandbaggers - Series 3"
Posted on February 12, 2007 | |
In the UK: Saturday, 7.20pm, ITV1. Repeated on Sunday, 4.25pm.
In the US: Probably BBC America at some point, but not acquired yet.
Normally, tuning into ITV1 on a Saturday night is about as appealing as swigging back a family fun-sized bottle of sulphuric acid (aka anything you've bought from Threshers). But then, before Doctor Who turned up, the same was true of BBC1. Now, Saturday is where it's at.
ITV has noticed this. Never ones to come up with an idea of their own if someone else's will do, the powers that be have decided that if coming up with family-friendly sci-fi worked for the Beeb, that same idea can be 'borrowed' and made to work on ITV1 as well — after everything's received approval from 17 focus groups, five sub-comittees, two consultants and a man specially hired just so he can be fired if it all goes wrong, of course.
But just as The Tomorrow People, ITV's 'answer' to Doctor Who in the 70s, turned out to be something completely different and acceptable in its own right (until the puppets turned up), so Primeval isn't simply Doctor Who with the TARDIS serial number filed off.
Continue reading "Review: Primeval 1x1"
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Posted on January 22, 2007 | |
In the US: Sundays, 9/8c, SciFi
In the UK: Starts on Sky One, February 14th, 9pm
Sigh. I'm old, tired and jaded. I just can't ignore this singular problem any more. I've been around, I've watched a lot of tele. It takes a lot to impress me. Either that or The Dresden Files is just dull and derivative. I'm hoping it's the second option.
Continue reading "Review: The Dresden Files 1x01"