Archive | Featured articles

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


September 24, 2013

Review: The Blacklist 1x1 (NBC/Sky Living)

Posted on September 24, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

NBC's Blacklist with James Spader and Megan Boone

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by Sky Living. Starts 4 October

Ah, James Spader. Star of the original Stargate movie and Sex, Lies and Videotape, he was the thinking heterosexual woman's crush of the early 90s, the sensitive, hot intellectual actor it was okay to collect a sticker album for.

But time marched on and thanks to a process called 'Shatnerisation', he stopped being the subtle, sophisticated actor he once was, preferring instead to ham it up something chronic on The Practice and Boston Legal. It's therefore somewhat appropriate that for his return to mainstream TV, he's picked one of the least subtle roles available to him this season: 'the concierge of crime' Raymond 'Red' Reddington on NBC's The Blacklist.

Reddington is a Moriarty, a man other criminals come to to organise their plots, put them in touch with other criminals and get them what they need. But one day, he mysteriously turns up at the FBI's headquarters, voluntarily surrendering himself to the authorities. He then offers up the name of a criminal and agrees to help the FBI catch him on one condition: that he only speak to FBI rookie Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Why her and what he's doing are even bigger mysteries, but before the end of the first episode Reddington is offering his continuing help to catch everyone on his 'blacklist' of big bads, providing he gets to stick with Keen.

And while that's all as ridiculous as it sounds, it's actually a surprisingly enjoyable hour and Spader, despite being the headline act with the spotlight firmly on him, curiously decides to diet his performance and reduce the ham. The hat doesn't help though.

Continue reading "Review: The Blacklist 1x1 (NBC/Sky Living)"

Read other posts about: ,

September 19, 2013

Nostalgia corner: John Doe (2002-3)

Posted on September 19, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

John Doe

Imagine you knew everything. I mean literally everything. Okay, maybe not the answer to questions about things that haven't happened yet - although with all that knowledge about everything, you'd certainly do well on the stock market and horse racing, for example - but whatever question anyone ever asked you, you could answer it, provided it was part of the sum of all human knowledge, whether it was a question about an obscure 19th century French law, how to make an explosive or how many dimples there are on a golfball.

Everything, that is, except your own name or indeed anything else about yourself. Are you a god in human form? An alien? A scientific experiment?

That was the set up and central mystery of Fox's John Doe, a 2002 series that saw Prison Break's Dominic Purcell wake up naked on a deserted island off the coast of Seattle, with no memory of who he was, brain chock full of answers, a mysteriously shaped scar on his chest and even more mysteriously only able to see in black and white - apart from a few, very important things that show up in red.

It's a fascinating idea, and one that requires a fascinating answer. Unfortunately, the show was also a salutary example to serial shows based around a central mystery - whatever you do, you better have some good answers at the end of it all. Here's the series-explaining title sequence:

Continue reading "Nostalgia corner: John Doe (2002-3)"

September 18, 2013

The Wednesday Play: The Changeling (1974)

Posted on September 18, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Helen Mirren in The Changeling

One of the most famous - and best - plays of the English Renaissance is The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. First performed in 1622, it has two parallel plots, one tragic, one comedic. The main plot involves Beatrice-Joanna, Alonzo (to whom she is betrothed) and Alsemero (whom she loves). To rid herself of Alonzo, Beatrice uses De Flores - who loves her - to murder him. The other plot involves Alibius and his wife Isabella. Franciscus and Antonio are in love with her and pretend to be a madman and a fool, respectively, in order to see her. Lollio also wants her.

To preserve the element of suspense, I won't tell you which is the comedic plot and which is the tragic one.

In 1974, Anthony Page directed a version of the play for the BBC's Play of the Month strand that starred Helen Mirren as Beatrice-Joanna, Brian Cox as Alsemero, Stanley Baker as De Flores, Tony Selby as Jasperino and Susan Penhaligon as Isabella. Needless to say, it's pretty good, and it's today Wednesday Play.

If you like it, buy it on DVD - it's one of the Helen Mirren at the BBC collection, which also includes The Apple Cart, Caesar and Claretta, The Philanthropist, The Little Minister, The Country Wife, Blue Remembered Hills, Mrs Reinhardt, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cymbeline and The Hawk. That's 17 hours for £12.50, which I reckon's pretty good…

  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 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400  

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years