Tag Archive | Touching Evil

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What did you watch this week? Including Life of Crime, Elementary, Arrow, Vegas and Hannibal

Posted on May 17, 2013 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What did you watch this week?", my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I've watched this week that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

First, the usual recommendations:

  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • Doctor Who (BBC1/BBC America)
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic)

These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can't be sure which.

Still in the viewing queue: new show The Goodwin Games, which I'll be reviewing on Monday, and I'll be playing catch up with New Zealand show Harry, too.

I did give Life of Crime a go, too, in which Hayley Atwell plays a cop in three different time periods at different stages of her career. Entirely fits the template of ITV crime dramas and you could predict virtually everything that happened in each time period, with the corresponding Attitudes written in neon lights all over every character.

Now, some thoughts on some of the regulars and some of the shows I'm still trying:

  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1): No League of Shadows, surprisingly, but everything played out in the finale pretty much as you'd expect, beyond the final twist. Overall, a very decent season, although it started to lost its edge and become a tad more Smallville than Batman Begins by the end. One to look forward to next season, certainly.
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): There I was complaining there wasn't enough cool sci-fi in the show, when up it pops in spades. For my next trick, can we have some more intelligent schemes from the terrorists, please. 
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living): Everything played out pretty much as I expected in terms of revelations, but in many ways better than Sherlock's handling of similar Sherlock Holmes facets. I also liked the fact they made Irene Adler and Moriarty one and the same. It'll be great if they bring her back and make her a maths professor, too. A good explanation for an in-story bad accent, too. PS, New York can try to pass itself off as London, but it will always fail.
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living): I'm not convinced that Hannibal should be that good in a fight, particularly not up against Demore Barnes who was in The Unit. All the same, another fascinating episode, Gillian Anderson getting more to do this week. What surprises me is that the show, which I'm thinking more and more of as a cross between Touching Evil (US) and David Cronenberg's oeuvre, is actually capable of instilling dread in me, which is a very novel emotion of a TV show to be able to create in its audience. Magnificent, but its fate is in the balance at the moment. Please renew it, NBC.
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic): And so it's gone, in a somewhat underwhelming finale that mostly just tied up loose threads, left a couple dangling and let everyone pat each other on the back and say goodbye, all while Carrie Anne Moss had nothing to do, which was par for the course. A shame, since it started off with so much fire.

"What did you watch this week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid - and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I've watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you've seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

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Review: Cracked 1x1 (CBC)

Posted on January 11, 2013 | comments | Bookmark and Share


In Canada: Tuesdays, 9/9.30NT, CBC

Imagine a world where cops are armed but they never shoot anyone. Imagine a world where the mental ill are treated with respect, even when they kill people. Imagine a world where there's an entire police unit dedicated to investigating crimes committed by the mentally ill so that they can be helped and treated.

No need to imagine. That world is Canada.


'Inspired' by real-life incidents, Cracked sees Canadian police officer Aidan Black (David Sutcliffe) get a touch of PTSD and start doing inappropriate chicken impressions. When he returns to work, still not quite right - 'cracked' even - he's given a chance to help on the newly formed Psych Crimes Unit, where he's to work with psychiatrist Daniella Ridley (Stefanie von Pfetten), another cop (Luisa D'Oliveira) and a psychiatric nurse (Dayo Ade) in helping to investigate crimes committed by the mentally ill, and then, using his unique insight and compassion, talk to them a lot.

And while on the one hand it's a delight to have a show that doesn't think banging everyone to rights or shooting them, particularly if they're mentally ill, is a good idea, it doesn't half expose the fact that for most drama, something has to happen for them to be interesting.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Cracked 1x1 (CBC)"

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Lost Gems: Touching Evil (US) is on tonight in the UK - watch it

Posted on May 14, 2010 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Jeffrey Donovan and Vera Farmiga in Touching Evil


Is six years too soon for something to be a Lost Gem? Whatever the haggling on that one, it's a moot point now, since a Lost Gem is about to be recovered (briefly).


The world is occasionally filled with small miracles. Tonight, starting at 2.45am, ITV1 in the UK has decided to reshow the US version of Touching Evil, one of the TV shows regularly flagged up in Top Ten Lists of "shows that should never have been cancelled". Now you can take a trip back in time to 2005 and my fifth ever blog entry for a very exciting brief essay on why you should all watch it (and an exhortation that you should all watch season two of The Wire on FX, proof if any be needed that I'm right before everyone else, including Charlie Brooker, and you should all listen to me) or you can stick with me here for a few seconds for some updated reasons.


If you're unfamiliar with both the UK version (which starred Robson Green, was created by Paul Abbott with occasional scripts from the likes of Russell T Davies) and the US version, the more literal plot is that it's about a police detective who gets shot - in the head - and who comes back to work brain damaged, his life a mess and his personality altered. However, that brain damage also gives him certain insights and skills (nothing supernatural, unlike the UK version) that enable him to catch criminals better, even if it does make him obsessive and cross lines he genuinely shouldn't cross.

The less literal theme of the show, as the title suggests, is the corrosive nature of evil - how it affects those who do it, those around them and above all the people who have to stop them. And it's brilliant. It's dark, it's brilliant, and it isn't afraid to go to places US TV almost never goes. And happy endings in it are very, very rare, which isn't to say it isn't also very funny at times.

Why's it so good? Mainly, because of the writing. It has scripts from the likes of Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist), Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Anna Fricke (Everwood, Men in Trees, the forthcoming US version of Being Human) and Michael Angeli (Battlestar Galactica).

But it's also exec-produced and occasionally directed by the Hughes Brothers (Dead Presidents, From Hell), who give the show a distinct air of unreality. You're never quite sure if the whole thing is some near-death experience of the lead character's; whether it is or it isn't, it's certainly beautiful to look at.

As if all that weren't reason enough, there's the cast. It stars Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice and the Oscar/BAFTA-nominated Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), and co-stars Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, The A-Team) and Kevin Durand (Lost). They weren't such big names back then so now you get to see them c2004, stretching their acting muscles.

It also features guest appearances by actors including Peter Wingfield (Highlander, Caprica), David Eigenberg (Sex and the City), Andrea Thompson (Babylon 5), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Deadwood) and the mighty Željko Ivanek (Damages, Heroes), who manages to out-do Ian McDiarmid, who played the same role in the UK original.

To whet your appetite and to show you what kind of series it is, here's the first three minutes or so, followed the wonderfully dark title sequence and excellent theme tune (episode two onwards), and a playlist of some of the series highlights, should you want to spoil it for yourself.

But whatever you do, do yourself a favour and watch it. It's not out on DVD and it only gets repeated every five years (although you can scour YouTube for the eps if you miss one).

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