Canal+ is my favourite (and the best by a country mile) of all the French TV channels and although it's having a bit of a problem at the moment with subscriber numbers and is cutting back quite severely, it is at least still producing a fair old number of top notch shows. Evidencing that is the channel's trailer for its upcoming TV schedule, which has something of the Beeb's "Original Drama" vibe to it.
Most of the shows will be familiar to British viewers or at least visitors to this 'ere blog, since it features season 6 of Engrenages (Spiral) (BBC Four) and season 3 of Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (Amazon), as well as season 2 of Versailles (BBC Two) and season 3 of Kaboul Kitchen (Kabul Kitchen) (Channel 4).
But new to the pack is Guyane (Guyana), an eight-part "modern Western" lavishly filmed in the country of the title and which started a couple of days ago. Here's a synopsis:
Twenty-year-old Vincent Ogier (Mathieu Spinosi) is a Parisian geology student who has come to Guyana for an internship at a gold mining company: Cayenor.
A thirst for danger and a foolish mistake will push the young engineer to team-up with the "godfather of gold" Antoine Serra (Olivier Rabourdin from Spin and The Last Panthers), who reigns over the lost village of Saint Elias. Vincent believes he has found a mythical gold mine: a mine abandoned for 120 years, named "Sarah Bernhardt". Serra has the skills to operate it. Seemingly paternal and friendly, Serra embarks with Vincent into the depths of the Guyanese jungle…
In a few weeks, Vincent will pass from trainee to adventurer…
No, I'm not quite sure about the Sarah Bernhardt thing, either. Here's the trailer and you can have a much longer Guyane trailer, too, you lucky people:
Every Friday, I let you know the latest announcements about when new, imported TV shows will finally be arriving on your screens - assuming anyone's bought any, of course.
It's another quiet week for acquisitions, so I can offer you but one new show premiere time and date:
Twin Peaks (US: Showtime) Sky Atlantic: May 22, 2am (regular time: Tuesdays, 9pm, starting May 23) Episode reviews: simulcast, so I ain't seen nothing yet
However, I'll just point out that in case you don't have Amazon Prime, the truly marvellous Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (France: Canal+) will be available to own on DVD from Monday (you can already get it on iTunes, if you prefer digital).
It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching.
Well hello. How are you today? Have a nice break away from it all? That's what I like to hear.
Right, that's the small talk done. Let's talk telly.
So, I didn't watch an awful lot over the Christmas break, since I was actually in Germany and if you've ever watched German TV, you'll remember what a mistake that was (more about that tomorrow). But after the jump I'll be talking about the regulars I did watch, including the return of Doctor Who (briefly) and Sherlock (less briefly):
Global Internet The OA
UK Doctor Who, Sherlock
France Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau)
However, New Year's Day was on Sunday and Americans being quite efficient, there have already been two new shows to grace the screens. I've already reviewed Ransom (US: CBS) but on top of that there was:
The Mick (US: Fox) A gender-swapped, race-swapped Uncle Buck that sees It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Kaitlin Olson playing the white trash grifter sister to a billionaire's wife who gets lumbered with looking after the kids when the rich couple go on the run following fraud investigations. If she sticks around, she gets to enjoy the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But she'll also have to deal with the bitchy neighbours, the bitchy daughter and the entitled son.
The show's created by John Chernin and Dave Chernin, the creators of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, so you shouldn't be too surprised to hear that it's funnier than you might think, more accurate about being poor than you might think and also based around people being mean too one another verbally and physically in order to get one up on everyone else. Olson's very good as the Mick(ey) of the title and everyone is marvellously bitchy, too.
Except that's not my idea of fun, so I probably won't stick with it.
I also watched a movie.
Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) Sequel in name only to the actually not that bad 2011 Jason Statham remake of the Charles Bronson/Jan-Michael Vincent actioner, The Mechanic. Here, Mechanic: Resurrection throws pretty much all the first movie's nuance aside in favour of a sort of melange of The Transporter, The Transporter 2 and The Internecine Project. No longer the meticulous hit-man planner of yore, Statham is retired in Brazil until fellow East End child army survivor (don't ask) turned billionaire bad guy Sam Hazeldine (Peaky Blinders, Resurrection) blackmails him into returning to his old life by abducting new girlfriend Jessica Alba. Only if Statham kills three of Hazeldine's impossible-to-reach rivals in ways that look like accidents will Hazeldine release Alba. He says.
Foresaking The Mechanic (2011)'s character building and steely professionalism, Mechanic: Resurrection is an insultingly stupid piece of work that tries to give us glossy backdrops, non-stop Statham fight scenes, a bit of ultraviolence and a bit of casual racism as a substitute, hoping we'll like it better. Certainly, the stars seemed to have liked it, because Alba's former Afghanistan soldier turned teacher of Cambodian children is an insult to women, but she does get to go to lots of tropical islands; Tommy Lee Jones gets more of the same travel action, but perhaps was also swayed by the chance to play a socialist arms dealer with a James Bond-style underwater base and submarine using all the subtlety he deployed in Under Siege; Michelle Yeoh was purely there for the tropical islands and not to have to do anything athletic for a change, as far as I could tell.
To be fair, most Statham movies take the piss a little bit and Statham is as aware of that as anyone. Certainly, the fact he takes his shirt off in almost every other scene can't be accidental and I refuse to believe that the FX shots were anything other than deliberate tributes to Derek Meddings' model work in 1970s James Bond movies. There's a certain amount of tongue going into cheek here.
But the writing is still terrible and worst of all, almost none of the murders Statham is supposedly hired to make look like accidents would pass as such for more than a minute. Terrible.
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.