News: The Fall, Bannan renewed, Ascension cancelled, a full Daredevil trailer, Walking Dead spin-off green light + more

Film

Internet TV

UK TV

UK TV show casting

New UK TV shows

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Tony Rock joins ABC’s Judah Miller pilot
  • Andrew McCarthy to be a regular on ABC’s Jenna Bans drama
  • Oliver Rix and Simone Kessell to star in ABC’s Of Kings and Prophets
  • Maggie Grace exits CBS’s Code Black
  • Trevor St John and George Young join The CW’s Cordon
  • Echo Kellum to co-star in The CW’s Dead People, Sharon Lawrence joins ABC’s Mix
  • Tim DeKay to co-star in Fox’s Frankenstein
  • Lauren German to co-star with Tom Ellis in Fox’s Lucifer
  • Nasim Pedrad to be a regular on Fox’s Scream Queens
  • Bret Harrison to replace Brian Austin Green on Fox’s The Perfect Stanleys
  • Claire van der Boom to be a regular on NBC’s Game of Silence, Shane Mcrae to be a regular on Sneaky Pete, Rizwan Manji to be a regular on NBC’s Aseem Batra pilot
  • Rachel DiPillo to star in NBC’s Cuckoo remake, Ashley Johnson to be a regular on NBC’s Blindspot
  • Don Hany to star in NBC’s Heart Matters, Callie Thorne joins TNT’s Breed
  • Tim Bagley promoted to regular on NBC’s Mr Robinson
  • Christine Taylor joins NBC’s Sharing, Jerry Minor to be a regular

Mini-review: Halt and Catch Fire 1×1 (AMC)

Halt and Catch Fire

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, AMC

Of all the events in history you might have expected to have seen dramatised on TV, the quest in the early 1980s to develop 100% IBM PC-compatible computers by reverse engineering IBM’s proprietary BIOS chip probably wasn’t one of them. Leave it to AMC, then, to expand the envelope, because here we have Halt and Catch Fire – named after an obscure assembly language instruction – which seeks to do just that.

Starring Lee Pace of Pushing Daisies as Joe MacMillan (the Steve Jobs of the piece), Scott McNairy as Gordon Clark (the Steve Wozniak), it sees former IBM salesman MacMillan go rogue and turn up at a fictitious Texan computer company a year later. There he meets Clark and persuades him to help him build a PC-compatible. Along the way, he’s also recruited a bright young engineer, Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) who’ll help them both to make MacMillan’s dreams a reality.

And actually, it’s very good. While Silicon Valley and the BBC’s similar Micro Men decided to take the comic route to deal with computers, this is as serious and as hardcore as AMC’s Mad Men. Although it’s not based on a real company or people, it draws elements from real events to look at the somewhat overlooked Texas companies that helped to create the PC revolution and recreates the early 80s as convincingly as The Americans, albeit that portion of the 80s that led to Tron, right down to the synthesiser incidental music and theme tune. Lee Pace is compelling as the visionary and ruthless MacMillan, who’s prepared to destroy an entire company to get what he wants. The technical details are impressive and assume a level of knowledge in the audience, whether it’s a discussion of firmware, the use of hexadecimal notation or comments familiar to anyone in IT (“No one ever got fired for buying IBM”).

And although it’s an AMC show, this first episode actually clips along at a reasonable pace. Admittedly, the first 15 minutes or so are a bit shaky, thanks to an Armadillo accident (no, really) and Clark’s sheer lack of charisma next to MacMillan’s overwhelming personality. And Davis’ character is somewhat undermined in that after a cracking introduction that shows how bright she is, that’s initially only to show why MacMillan wants to sleep with her and his near-sociopathy.

But by the end of the episode, it becomes a compelling watch. Definitely one to stick with.

Tron: Uprising still doesn’t look half bad

We’re on to trailer two for the Disney series, which is going to feature the likes of Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Lance Henriksen and (yey!) Bruce Boxleitner. And it’s still looking good, although I’m still not seeing anything too new, you know – more retreads of existing things as with Tron: Legacy. What do you think?

For those that want it, this is the show description:

“TRON: Uprising, Beck’s Beginning,” introduces a Beck, a young mechanic living in Argon City, a growing metropolis in a far off corner of the grid that has just been occupied by General Tesler, a henchman of the notorious Clu. After his best friend Bodhi is ruthlessly derezzed by Clu’s army, Beck seeks justice for his lost friend and launches a crusade against the regime. His rebellion captures the attention of Tron, the greatest warrior The Grid has ever known, who sees the potential in Beck and trains him to be his successor. Labeled with the moniker of The Renegade, Beck sparks a revolution to fight for the freedom of The Grid.”

Tron: Uprising still doesn’t look half bad

We’re on to trailer two for the Disney series, which is going to feature the likes of Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Lance Henriksen and (yey!) Bruce Boxleitner. And it’s still looking good, although I’m still not seeing anything too new, you know – more retreads of existing things as with Tron: Legacy. What do you think?

For those that want it, this is the show description:

“TRON: Uprising, Beck’s Beginning,” introduces a Beck, a young mechanic living in Argon City, a growing metropolis in a far off corner of the grid that has just been occupied by General Tesler, a henchman of the notorious Clu. After his best friend Bodhi is ruthlessly derezzed by Clu’s army, Beck seeks justice for his lost friend and launches a crusade against the regime. His rebellion captures the attention of Tron, the greatest warrior The Grid has ever known, who sees the potential in Beck and trains him to be his successor. Labeled with the moniker of The Renegade, Beck sparks a revolution to fight for the freedom of The Grid.”

Monday’s “Walliams joins Blandings, Sky Atlantic acquires Awake and Titanic sinks” news

Film

Trailers

  • Trailer for Looper with Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Trailer for Hysteria with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dandy

Books

UK TV

US TV

US TV pilots

Wednesday’s “Who when?” news

Doctor Who

Film

British TV

Canadian TV

US TV

Wednesday’s “FX: renewal is no illusion” news

Film

Theatre

  • Anita Dobson and Greta Scacchi to play Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Bette & Joan

British TV

US TV

Third-episode verdict: Breakout Kings

Breakout Kings

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, A&E

One of the things about holidays, work, et al, is sometimes it takes me a while to catch up with everything, particularly new shows that don’t look especially brilliant from the outset. That’s why I’m three episodes behind on Breakout Kings, which looked anything but appealing – except for one thing

For starters, Breakout Kings has had something of a chequered history. Originally in development at Fox, the show got a pilot episode in January 2010. However, Fox didn’t pick up the series but tried to sell it to other networks instead. A&E picked up the show in June 2010 and after a wee bit of recasting, here it is.

Now, not to suggest that the writers are stuck for ideas, but we have here the story of a bunch of criminals who help US marshals track down escaped prisoners. Want to guess which Fox show the writers used to work on?

That’s right: Prison Break. They even brought T-Bag (Robert Knepper) along for an episode.

Cue the trailer.

Continue reading

Friday’s “Undercovers covered” news

Enjoy the fireworks this weekend everyone!

Film

British TV

US TV