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A fourth Totally Serialized is coming to London in January

Posted on December 16, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


Un village français



Caroline Proust

Hey everyone – remember the first three Totally Serialized (one, two, three)? Well, the fourth one’s coming next month…

Totally Serialized – Season 4
29 - 31 January 2015 at Ciné Lumière

From 29 to 31 January, Ciné Lumière will hold the 4th edition of Totally Serialized, the one and only TV series festival in London. Aimed to promote and improve collaboration between the UK and France, it will showcase the best of new productions from both sides of the Channel.

Audiences will get a chance to attend exceptional preview screenings and meet creators and actors of their cult TV series.

Those last years of production have proven that TV series are more creative than ever. And more recently, the British TV industry has broken down frontiers, with international buyers moving away from a remake-centred strategy and now broadcasting the original series with subtitles. French shows such as The Returned, Braquo, Spiral, Hard and Maison Close from the French Pay TV CANAL+ have benefited from this shift, and have proven to be a success on Channel 4, FX, BBC Four and Sky Arts respectively. Just recently, Channel 4 acquired Witnesses, another French series. One of the aims of the festival is to encourage this trend.

A dedicated industry programme is organised in association with Creative Europe Desk UK and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) on 29 & 30 January aiming to foster international exchanges and co-productions in order to meet the growing demand for high-quality European TV drama. Various aspects of the constantly-evolving field of TV series, including producing, screenwriting, and financing will be covered.

The festival opening ceremony followed by an industry cocktail is organised with CANAL+.

In partnership with the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD), British and French TV writers will gather and discuss the art of TV writing on 30 January while networking events will accompany this two-day programme. The festival also launches a speed-dating meeting between selected French and British producers organised with Europe Creative Desk MEDIA France and Ile de France Film Commission.

Festival highlights include a preview of award-winning writer Russell T. Davies’ Banana, courtesy of E4 (Channel 4) in the presence of members of the cast and crew.

Spiral enthusiasts are in for a treat as several events will be dedicated to this dark and labyrinthine Parisian crime drama. While Series 5 will be showing on BBC Four, the CANAL + CREATION ORIGINALE series will be unravelled by its screenwriter Anne Landois in a special screening of episode 1 at Ciné Lumière on 29 January. In addition, Caroline Proust, who plays Captain Laure Berthaud will give a masterclass where Spiral’s fans will learn behind-the-scene stories on 31 January. The UK premiere of Paris, a mini-series from the team behind Spiral, will top it all.

Thrillers are a strong strand in this year's festival as we will also screen the UK Premiere of Jean-Christophe Grangé's The Passenger with actor Jean-Hugues Anglade (Braquo). and host a masterclass with Tony Grisoni in which he will decrypt the creative process behind the acclaimed Channel 4 TV show Southcliffe.

This year's festival will be a platform for new talent with a BAFTA masterclass on 'Breaking and entering TV Screenwriting' for budding writers, a marathon of new French TV comedies and fresh out of French animation schools directors with En sortant de l'école, a mini series based on Jacques Prévert’s poems.

After the jump, the programme of public events (ie the ones you can attend if you don’t work in TV). And to find out more or book tickets, visit the Totally Serialized web site

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Engrenages (Spiral) is coming back on November 10 – and here's a new teaser trailer

Posted on October 18, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


Only on Canal+, mind, but I’m sure a BBC4 airing won’t be far behind. Canal+ also has a new teaser trailer (in case you missed the first teaser trailer, it’s over here).

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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.

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