Archive | Featured articles

Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


July 11, 2014

Review: Welcome To Sweden 1x1 (TV4/NBC)

Posted on July 11, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Welcome To Sweden

In Sweden: Aired starting in March on TV4 in Sweden
In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

International co-productions are the future. Television is just getting so pricey and risky to make and the margins are getting so thin for most shows that pretty much anything you care to think of of any import is going to have foreign money in it somewhere.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do a co-production, though. Taxi Brooklyn is the wrong way. The wrong way. If you try to make a TV show like Taxi Brooklyn or in the same way as Taxi Brooklyn, you are doing it the wrong way.

You might ask if there is a right way, though. Certainly, taking the foreign money and making the show you always intended to is a right way. But another right way is for both parties to be properly involved, equally skilled and have equal input.

Welcome To Sweden isn’t quite the right way, but it’s close. It sees an American celebrity accountant move from New York to Sweden to be with his girlfriend, where he has to learn about and adapt to Swedish ways. Cue the stereotypes?

Not quite. The show was created by Greg Poehler and Swedish writer/actress Josephine Bornebusch, who also star in it and produce it. It’s based on Poehler’s experiences of being an American living in Sweden for the past seven years. It has both Swedish and American writers, and is half in Swedish, half in English. It’s filmed in Sweden and first aired on Sweden’s TV4. It features a host of cameos from famous Americans, usually but not always playing themselves, including Patrick Duffy, Gene Simmons, Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation, and Will Ferrell (who’s married to a Swede and can speak Swedish). It also includes cameos from famous Swedes, including Malin Åkerman, Lena Olin, author Björn Ranelid and Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus.

So there's a lot more nuance to the show and it's even quite funny, which is a bonus. It's international co-production done right. Almost.

Continue reading "Review: Welcome To Sweden 1x1 (TV4/NBC)"

July 11, 2014

Review: Extant 1x1 (CBS/Amazon Prime)

Posted on July 11, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Extant

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS
In the UK: Available on Amazon Prime

Of all the many, may influences that are obvious in Extant, CBS’s new ‘limited series’ in which Halle Berry plays an astronaut who may have been impregnated by an alien pretending to be her dead former lover, Doctor Who and Sherlock are probably the hardest to spot. Solaris, yes. Gravity, yes. Moon, yes. Rosemary’s Baby, yes. AI, yes.

But Doctor Who and Sherlock? Nope. Can’t see ‘em.

Yet writer/showrunner Mickey Fisher actually had “What Would Steven Moffat Do?” stuck to his computer while writing the scripts, which is odd, because if you were going to characterise Steven Moffat’s writing, it would largely be multiple layered, complex plots, with different arcs that interact and come together at the end, filled with characters with nifty lines in dialogue.

And that’s not Extant. Clever? Ish. Complex? Not really. Good dialogue? Not even slightly. It’s more an exercise in futurology than anything that Steven Moffat would put together. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad.

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Extant 1x1 (CBS/Amazon Prime)"

Read other posts about:

July 7, 2014

Review: Taxi Brooklyn 1x1-1x2 (NBC/TF1)

Posted on July 7, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Taxi Brooklyn

In France: Aired in May on TF1
In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC

Take a look at that title. Go on. Take a look: Taxi Brooklyn. What does that even mean? It’s two words just stuck together, isn’t it?

Indeed, never has an international co-production so obviously signalled both its complete inability to understand an international market, or that it’s really hoping that people will want to watch it if it just sticks random things together. The latter, so far, has been French TV channel’s TF1’s implicit aim with first Jo and then Crossing Lines and now, pretty much explicitly, with Taxi Brooklyn.

So here are the random things stuck together:

  • Luc Besson’s Taxi series, France’s most successful movie franchise ever, the first of which got remade with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon in 2004.
  • Olivier Megaton, director of Taken 2 and Transporter 3
  • French actor Jacky Ido, who you may remember from Inglorious Basterds or even from the first series of Spiral/Engrenages where he played ‘Personne’.
  • Brooklyn
  • A necessity to do everything in English

These aren’t just the pieces of some long-lost jigsaw puzzle sitting at the back of your cupboard - these are the pieces from someone else’s jigsaw that have mysteriously got mixed in with three others you have no recollection of ever even asking for.

Putting it all together was clearly an impossible challenge and the writers therefore obviously decided not to even bother trying to make it look like a show that’s supposed to hang together coherently. The plot - if it can be described as such - is thus utterly ridiculous.

Caitlin “Cat” Sullivan (Chyler Leigh) is a tough cop, so no one wants to partner with her. She’s also a terrible driver, so she gets her driving privileges revoked. How’s she going to solve crimes and do her job on public transport? What a dilemma!

But when she arrests a French taxi driver speed demon, Leo Romba (Ido), who’s been forced at gunpoint to act as a getaway driver in a bank robbery, serendipity has clearly struck. Ido agrees to help her solve the crime - and to drive her around - if she’ll clear his name. And since he was arrested and put in jail back in France so had to enter the US illegally, Sullivan agrees to help him with the US immigration authorities if he’ll continue to drive her around on future cases.

Forced, much? Absolutely. Excitement? Laughs? Not at all.

Because despite Megaton’s presence on the pilot, as well as supporting cast that includes Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?, Blue Bloods), Ally Walker (Universal Soldier, Profiler) and José Zúñiga (Law & Order, CSI), the show is unredeemed by excitement comedy, good characters or logic. Zut alors!

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Taxi Brooklyn 1x1-1x2 (NBC/TF1)"

Read other posts about: ,

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398  

Featured Articles

Marvel's Iron Fist

Season two of Daredevil but done right