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June 19, 2013

The Wednesday Play: The War Game (1965)

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

The War Game

Last week, 'Charley Says' reminded us all just how scared sh*tless Britain was by the threat of nuclear war during the 1960s and 1970s - understandably perhaps, given the risk of destruction of the entire human race. Nevertheless, despite the release of Protect and Survive, not many people were optimistic about their chances come Armageddon.

In part, that's thanks to the likes of this week's Wednesday Play, The War Game, which was a genuine Wednesday Play from 1965. Written, directed and produced by Peter Watkins, this documentary-style production imagined what would happen if there was a limited nuclear strike against Britain. And it's not pretty, with the instant blinding of those who see the explosion, a firestorm caused by the heat wave, radiation sickness, the British Army burning corpses and the police shooting looters during food riots.

Interspersed throughout the play are interviews with a series of establishment figures in favour of nuclear weapons and even nuclear war that were based on genuine quotations, as well as interviews with a doctor, a psychiatrist and others, giving details of the effects of nuclear weapons on the human body and mind.

Cheery, huh?

Well, no. In fact, following its transmission on 6 August 1965 (the 20th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing), the BBC said that "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting" and withdrew it, never to air it in full until 1985. But, hey, lucky people, you can watch it now! Remember - if you like it, buy it.

June 14, 2013

Review: King & Maxwell 1x1 (TNT)

Posted on June 14, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

King and Maxwell

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, TNT

Bugger originality. Bugger quality. What the viewing public really want from TNT is yet another show with an ampersand in the middle.

Yes, fresh from having cancelled the superb Southland, TNT just about calls it quits for quality TV with yet another show about two semi-quirky crime investigators. Fitting in nicely with the equally mediocre Rizzoli & Isles and Franklin & Bash, King & Maxwell is a procedural so bland, your parents and your parent's parents will love it. It harkens back to the time when private investigators ruled the airwaves and everyone had to guess "Will they? Won't they?" when a show had a female and male lead bantering in a way that was borderline sexual harassment.

It stars Rebecca Romjin (Pepper Dennis, Eastwick) as hardbitten former secret service agent Michelle Maxwell and Jon Tenney (The Closer) as hardbitten former secret service agent Sean King. They weren't in the secret service together, mind, but they work together now as private investigators, using their secret service skills and irritating banter to solve crimes those straight-laced, play-by-the-book FBI agents just can't handle.

And when you watch it, as well as feeling you're back in the 80s, right down to the terrible incidental music, you'll wonder if it's actually possible for writers to deliver scripts in their sleep or whether someone, probably Google, has actually developed software to automatically generate TV dialogue.

Here's a trailer. Try not to fall asleep, too - or to stab your monitor to make it stop.

Continue reading "Review: King & Maxwell 1x1 (TNT)"

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June 10, 2013

Review: Graceland 1x1 (USA)

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

image.jpg

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA Network

This is a true story, apparently. Once upon a time, US law enforcement seized a LA beachhouse from a drug dealer. However, rather than sell it, the agency decided to keep it as a safehouse. More than that, they decided to let other agencies use it, and before you knew what had happened, suddenly you had a whole bunch of undercover operatives from the DEA, FBI et al, all living together under one roof.

Graceland, which comes to us from USA favourite Jeff Eastin (White Collar), is a fictionalised version of the real Graceland, although it claims many of the stories told are real events. In it, preppie FBI graduate Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) moves into Graceland and has to get to know and befriend the house's existing residents, so that he can learn how to be a proper FBI undercover agent. In particular, he has to befriend the Zen-like surfer Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata), who's also to be his training agent, with the help of "Charlie" DeMarco (Vanessa Ferlito from CSI: NY). Why does he have to do this? Well, that's a secret.

Now, if all of this sounds familiar to some extent, it's because it's Point Break. Except not as good.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Graceland 1x1 (USA)"

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