Tag Archive | Battlestar Galactica

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Trailers for all two of SyFy's new shows: Ascension and Dominion

Posted on May 16, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

After that big slab of new shows that NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, TNT, TBS and even to a lesser extent The CW are putting out in the Fall, SyFy's upfront presentation of a mere two shows looks a bit rubbish. Even more rubbish is that Dominion is due out in June, Ascension in November. And most rubbish of all are the shows themselves - at least, judging by the trailers.

Dominion, which stars Anthony Head doing his best American accent (cf Jonathan Creek, Free Agents), is a spin-off from dreadful Paul Bettany starrer Legion. The show carries that on in a transformed post-apocalyptic future, 25 years after an army of lower angels, assembled by the archangel Gabriel, waged a war of possession against mankind. If you enjoy this, you are probably a very unique and special snowflake of a person.

Ascension, which stars Tricia Helfer, who'd almost certainly rather be on ABC in a second season of Killer Women rather than back on SyFy, imagines that while Kennedy was busy exhorting America to aim for the moon back in '63, he was also sending off a covert colonising spaceship full of families on a 100-year long voyage. Seems plausible, doesn't it? 

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What have you been watching? Including Remedy, Spun Out, W1A and Ender's Game

Posted on March 21, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV.

New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:

I'll be getting round to The CW's The 100 either today or early next week, but I did try a few other new shows, too: two Canadian, one British.

Remedy (Canada: Global)
Dillon Casey is a doctor who comes from a family of medics, all of whom work at the same hospital for some reason. After cocking up something chronic, he's forced to come back as a porter and we get to see hospital life from the viewpoint of everyone who works there who isn't a medic. Which might be interesting and different (at least, if you've never watched Casualty), except it's so self-consciously quirky and 'family', it's practically unwatchable, so I gave up. Only really notable for Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint).

Spun Out (Canada: CTV)
For reasons best known only to Canada, they've decided to produce a totally unrequested response to CBS's The Crazy Ones that's even worse. Starring Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall fame, it's a multi-camera sitcom about a PR agency run by Foley, together with his daughter, and all the highjinks they get up to once newbie Billy from BSG turns up. All the same, it's possibly one of the least funny things TV has ever produced.

W1A (UK: BBC2)
A follow up to BBC4's cult comedy 2012, this reunites Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes as the former Olympic organisers now recruited by the BBC to handle sensitive issues. I've not worked an awful lot for the BBC but it is recognisably accurate but exaggerated as a piece of satire. How funny it is for people who don't work in television, I'm not sure, although parallels with any large organisation no doubt abound. Most of the humour, though, comes from wordplay, mostly provided by narrator David Tennant, and in the cameos by famous people, such as one by Alan Yentob and Salman Rushdie that'll send your eyebrows through the roof. 

Bonneville is, of course, the hapless sensible everyman, dealing with a quagmire of neverending meetings with 'timewasting morons', trying to use common sense of all things to deal with problems. However, the show has a slightly dodgy edge, with Bonneville fighting against the excesses of liberal political correctness so the show also treads a slightly tricky path around things like the Countryfile age discrimination suit. Generally, a promising start, so I'll be tuning in next week.

I also watched a movie:

Ender's Game
Evil insect aliens attack the Earth and 50 years later, we're still preparing in case they come back by training kids in war planning, in the hope their brains will be flexible and fast enough that they'll make great generals. Essentially, Harry Potter in space school, right down to its own version of Quidditch, but with a pleasingly darker, smarter, nastier edge, our hero essentially someone who can outstrategise his bullies rather than who spends the whole time feeling put upon. The final battle is a big intense surprise; Ben Kingsley's awful New Zealand accent is not a surprise. 

After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Believe, Enlisted, Resurrection, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, Banshee, The Blacklist, Community, Continuum, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hannibal, Line of Duty and Suits

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Third-episode verdict: The Musketeers (BBC1/BBC America)

Posted on February 4, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerMusketeers.jpgA Barrometer rating of 4

In the UK: Sundays, 9pm, BBC1
In the US: BBC America. Will air in late Spring

So we're three episodes into The Musketeers, an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's classic The Three Musketeers so embarrassingly low in its ambitions, it decided to leave out the 'Three' in case people were confused by there being four heroes. Originally aimed at filling the gap in between seasons of Doctor Who, it's had all the narrative sophistication of Dogtanian and The Three Muskehounds without the charm, characterisation, acting talent or fidelity to the original.

For the first two episodes at least, we've been treated to junior league antics, with a collectively poor bunch of actors (honourable exceptions: Peter Capaldi and Santiago Cabrera) prancing around Prague in leathers, sword-fighting like they're still seven and playing at being Jedi in their back gardens. You'd have been hard-pushed to distinguish most of the characters from one another, such was its bland uniformity, and without their names, the occasional reference to France and the musketeers, you'd have been even harder pushed to realise what the source material for the series was.

Things changed considerably for the better on Sunday, though, where despite the presence of Gaius Baltar himself (James Callis), hamming it up something chronic as a pirate/trader, the show decided to take a turn for the serious and to dust off its moth-eaten copy of Dumas' original to actually flesh out some of the characters, as well as do some of its own inventing. So at last we get some of Athos' back story and Cabrera gets to show off his Spanish. The history of the period became something more than just a head-nod in between anachronisms and actually got to be an important plot and character point: Porthos, whose non-whiteness had until now been ignored and used mainly as a combination of colour-blind casting and an acknowledgement of the non-white Dumas, was revealed as the son of a former slave and his experiences of slavery were used to good effect to contrast with the then-legal practice of slavery that even a cardinal of the church could indulge in.

Unfortunately, despite the general hugely improved script quality of the episode compared with its predecessors', the show's structural flaws were still there for all to see. As well as the blatant fact the show isn't filmed in France or have any real French qualities at all, the poor acting, and everything else, it's about 20 minutes too long per episode. So even though the show was allowed to breath a little and to actually give some qualities to the musketeers for us to care about them, after a while, every scene ended with the surprise that there was yet another scene afterwards that you'd have to sit through to get to the end of the episode.

It's not a great show - indeed, in combination with the likes of Atlantis and other "original British dramas" (which all seem to be adaptations, incidentally), I've been getting conditioned of late to hate anything that's British and a drama, knowing it's largely going to be a waste of my time and an insult to my intelligence - but this third episode did make me think there was hope in sight and the show might be worth watching by the end of the season. However, the fact they're now going to have to write Peter Capaldi out of the series for the second season makes me think that even if I do get to the end of this season, there won't be much point.

Barrometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: Will probably get another season but no more, and the departure of Capaldi might be sufficient pretext for the BBC to cancel the show if ratings continue to drop.

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