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What have you been watching? Including Strange Empire, Coverband, Electra, The Flash and Doctor Who

Posted on October 20, 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 - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

You may have noticed I was playing epic catch-up on Saturday, in contravention of my normal rule of weekend blogging. So on top of Friday’s all out efforts and a couple of extra ones today, I’ve reviewed the following new shows, some of which have already been acquired for Blighty’s viewing pleasure:

Yay, me. No back log now. Time to have regular weekends again. Phew.

In fact, so ahead of myself am I that I’ll point out that ages ago, I reviewed NBC’s Constantine, which starts on Friday. Okay, it’s changed a bit since the pilot but you’ll get the general point.

But I’ve not stopped there. Oh no. Because I’ve also watched a New Zealand and a Canadian show just for luck. Okay, I was a bit behind on all of them, so I’ve only seen the first episode of each, but honestly, that felt like enough.

Strange Empire (Canada: CBC)
Set in the 1860s on the Alberta-Montana border, this sees three women (Cara Gee, Tattiawna Jones and Melissa Farman from Lost) band together for survival after virtually all the men in their town are murdered and those remaining behind battle for power. Very nicely made and already being described as the saviour of CBC, it's historically interesting but about as tedious as any other western, and none of the characters really grabbed me.

Coverband (New Zealand: TV One)
A one-hit wonder band reunite back in New Zealand years after they were famous. Unfortunately, the female lead singer was the one who was a success, leaving the terminally unsexy rest of the band to make it by themselves, something at which they fail miserably. Now having to deal with the pressures of normal lives and forced to do cover versions of other bands’ records, they suck completely until they stagecrashed by Laughton Kora, who shows them what rock charisma and singing really are, so they hire him. Kind of.

It’s an amiable and accurate enough show, based on cast member Johnny Barker’s own experiences as an Auckland cover band musician, and were there enough time in the world, I’d probably tune in for a few more episodes. But the show’s not so inspiring that I’ll throw something else aside for it and I’ve already seen The Wedding Band crash and burn, so I don’t think I need to see that happen again.

Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn’t want to produce any globally available videos of its own shows, apparently, so here’s a picture of the cast to tide you over.

Coverband

That's it for new new shows, but after the jump, I’ll be running through: Arrow, black-ish, The Blacklist, Doctor Who, The Flash, Forever, Gotham, Homeland, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Plebs, Scorpion, Selfie and The Walking Dead.

But hey! Before you go, I should mention I went to the theatre, too!

Electra (Old Vic)
Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra, a new translation of Sophocles’ original text by Greek tragedy stalwart Frank McGuinness, music by PJ Harvey – what could go wrong? Well, not much actually, beyond a certain staticness to the direction, a slightly weak performance by Jack Lowden as Orestes and a very strange performance by Tyrone Huggins as Aegisthus. Other than that, a fine piece of work, surprisingly faithfully staged (although that’s not quite how Greek people prayed), with an outstanding performance by Thomas and a surprisingly funny text by McGuinness – in part to cover up for casting slightly older than originally written, but also to hide the unlikelihood of Electra not recognising Orestes. Liz White (Life on Mars) gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from her as Chrysothemis, Electra’s sister.  

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What have you been watching? Including The Edge of Tomorrow, A To Z, black-ish, Homeland, Manhattan Love Story and Arrow

Posted on October 13, 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 - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

I was away last week, as you hopefully noticed, and while I had high ambitions of watching lots of German TV and telling you all about it, I didn’t turn on my TV even once the whole time I was there. It’s almost like I have a life or something.

I also didn’t watch much of the usual shows while I was away - except on plane flights and Germany ain’t that far away - which given how many new shows have been starting up or airing their second or third episodes, has meant a weekend of catch-up TV. But I’m nearly there, bar the latest episode of Homeland.

Of last week's outright new shows on the main US networks, I’ve already reviewed The Flash, and I’ll be reviewing The Affair and Cristela either tomorrow or on Thursday. I might review Starz basketball comedy Survivor's Remorse and the Audience Network's manly-men MMA drama Kingdom, but they're possibly a bit sporty for me, so we'll see. I might also turn my eye to Canada's women-western Strange Empire, and Australian political drama Party Tricks, too, towards the end of the week.

But that's it for new new shows, so after the jump, I’ll be running through: A to Z, Arrow, Bad Judge, black-ish, The Blacklist, The Code, Doctor Who, Forever, Gotham, Gracepoint, Homeland, How To Get Away With Murder, Legends, Madam Secretary, Manhattan Love Story, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Plebs, Scorpion and Selfie. Which ones will I keep watching and which ones will I be dropping? Keep reading to find out.

But before that, strangely enough, despite the epic backlog, I did manage to watch a movie this week.

The Edge of Tomorrow (2013)
Cowardly Tom Cruise enters video game Groundhog Day when he kills an alien during a D-Day style military campaign and inherits its ability to put time into a loop. Emily Blunt then trains Cruise in how to be a proper soldier, so he can win the war, thoughtfully killing him each day to reset the time loop. A cross between a first-person shooter and the Allied invasion of Normandy, the film benefits a lot from Doug Liman’s more thoughtful approach to direction and Cruise does well at first as a snivelling PR guy who has to learn to become a more conventional Cruise hero. Ultimately not making a lot of sense, it nevertheless is an engrossing and above-average piece of science-fiction with some scary-arsed aliens and that probably would have done a whole lot better under its original title of All You Need Is Kill.

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News: Peter Pan workplace romcom, Gotham finds Two Face, a Mexican Homeland/Hatutfin remake + more

Posted on October 3, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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The Daily News will return on Monday 13th October

Film casting

Trailers

  • Trailer for American Sniper with Bradley Cooper
  • Trailer for The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Rory Kinnear et al
  • Trailer for Home Sweet Hell with Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson [NSFW]

International TV

  • Mexico’s Televisa to remake Israel’s Prisoners of War/Hatufin

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

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