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October 10, 2013

Review: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Posted on October 10, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Superman/Wonder Woman #1

So after a dormant period of a few months - long enough to dodge the crappy and pointless Trinity War, anyway, if not to quite miss the end of Forever Evil - I think it's time to revive the Wonder Woman reviews. Rather than save them up and do them all in one go, though, I think it'll probably make more sense and give me a higher chance of succeeding if I review each comic as it comes out. 

Appropriately enough, for my first new review, it's Superman/Wonder Woman #1, which horrifyingly enough is only the first new second title for Wonder Woman in 61 years. As you may have noticed, though, she has second billing in this to Superman, because to mirror the successful bromance of Superman/Batman, we have here what DC hopes will be the successful romance of Superman and Wonder Woman.

Indeed, one of the most controversial aspects of the DC's nu52 has been the jettisoning of the Lois Lane-Clark Kent-Superman triangle of days gone by and the Steve Trevor-Diane Prince-Wonder Woman triangle of even farther off days gone by in favour of this new pairing, hinted at in pre-nu52 issues, fulfilled in alternative continuities but never official canon in DC's main lines. Until now.

Now, following brief flirtations with the relationship by writers in Superman, Justice League and more bizarrely Young Romance (but notably, thanks to Brian Azzarello, not in Wonder Woman), we finally have a title that's dedicated to it. Hooray!

One question is: will it be a success? An even better question is: will it make for a good comic. Let's answer that question after the jump. Beware of epic spoilers ahead (sorry).

The gatefold cover for Superman/Wonder Woman #1

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October 8, 2013

Review: Serangoon Road 1x1-1x3 (ABC Australia/HBO Asia)

Posted on October 8, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Serangoon Road

In Australia: Sundays, 8.30pm, ABC1
In Asia: Sundays, 9pm, HBO Asia

Australia's been having something of a renaissance when it comes to quality TV of late, particularly in the realm of the period crime drama. We've already seen one rather fine effort this year: ABC1's The Doctor Blake Mysteries, in which Craig McClachlan investigates crime in a small Victoria town in the 1950s. That's been bought by the BBC and has already been renewed for a second season.

Now, in a co-production with HBO Asia (that network's first ever original drama series), ABC1 are giving us Serangoon Road, a surprisingly enjoyable and intelligent private detective show. Set in Singapore in 1964, it stars Don Hany (East West 101) as Sam Callaghan, a former Australian soldier who helped the British during the Malay uprising of the 1950s and now helps Joan Chen (Twin Peaks), who has inherited her late husband's detective business. Callaghan has to deal not only with the local criminals, including the Red Tiger gang, he has to cope with the sometimes helpful Americans (largely Michael Dorman of The Secret Life of Us), the usually unhelpful British and the occasional Australian ex-pat - in particular, Claire Simpson (Maeve Dermody), whose businessman husband is always absent…

Filmed in Malaysia and with an obviously large budget and a cast of huge Australian and Singaporean stars, it would be tempting to think Serangoon Road would be nothing but a beautiful-looking, historical bore. Instead, it's a vibrant, exciting, multi-lingual show that brings to mind the likes of Bring Em Back Alive and Tales of the Gold Monkey, except thankfully with more intelligence.

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October 8, 2013

Preview: Y Gwyll (Hinterland) (UK: S4C/BBC Wales/BBC Four)

Posted on October 8, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hinterland/Y Gwyll

In the UK (in Welsh): S4C. Starts 29 October.
In the UK (English/Welsh): BBC Wales in early 2014. Then BBC4

TV is getting more and more international. Not only are different countries remaking other countries' shows, more and more are willing to show the originals, even if they were shot in a different language.

Here in the UK, we have BBC4 and its foreign TV slot of Wallander, Spiral, The Killing, The Bridge, Inspector Montalbano et al; meanwhile, Sky Arts has given us Prisoners of War, Isabel, In Treatment, Grand Hotel, Maison Close, Hard and their like, while Channel 4 has made its first foray into French in years with Canal+'s The Returned.

But it's easy to forget (well, if you live in England it is) that English isn't the only native language still spoken in the UK. Although the likes of Manx and Cornish are confined to relatively few speakers, both Scots Gaelic and Welsh not only have thousands of speakers who regard them as their first languages, there are entire TV channels dedicated to programming in these languages: BBC Alba and S4C respectively.

While BBC Alba is a relatively new phenomenon, the output of which is largely confined to dubbed English-language programming, sport and factual programmes, S4C is over 30 years old and has produced everything from soap operas (Pobol Y Cwm) to comedy (Dim Byd) and drama (Caerdydd).

And yet, despite this new keenness for multi-lingual, global programming, you'd be hard-pressed to find any of this home-grown, Welsh language programming on the BBC or Sky Arts, not even in the foreign language slots.

Until now.

Because for the first time since A Mind To Kill 20 years ago, S4C has made a cop show. Not only that, it's made it simultaneously in both English and Welsh. Airing first on S4C this month and then in the rest of Britain next year on BBC Wales and BBC4, Hinterland/Y Gwyll* follows the investigations of DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington from Lark Rise to Candleford), who's newly arrived in Aberystwyth from London. Partnered with DI Mared Rhys (Mali Harris from Caerdydd), Mathias has to investigate four dark and disturbing, 120m cases against the backdrop of the Welsh landscape in a way that should appeal to the rest of the world. In fact, Denmark's already bought it.

Here's the trailer. A preview with minor spoilers of the first episode after the jump, together with some more information from a Q&A that I attended at BAFTA last week.

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