In the UK: Saturday, 7pm, 18th May 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7c, 18th May 2013, BBC America
Ian: Just open the doors, Doctor Foreman. The Doctor: [To himself.] Eh? Doctor who? What's he talking about ?
- from Doctor Who -An Unearthly Child
Doctor Who's name has been a subject of considerable interest, ever since the first episode. Whether it was Ian Chesterton's misnaming of him as Doctor Foreman in the very first episode or the more recent Steven Moffat antics regarding River Song, the Doctor and their wedding, everyone's wanted to know what his name really is. Doctor von Wer, Dr John Smith, Theta Sigma - Who knows, ho, ho?
This season has, in fact, been building on this, with Clara mid-runaround
stopping off in the TARDIS library to find out the Doctor's real name. So it all looked like we were about to get some big revelation in the appropriately named The Name of Doctor, the season finale, billed as revealing 'his secret'. And revelations we did get, just not the ones we were expecting. Let's go chat about The Trouble with Clara after the jump.
Over the past few years, a new trend has started to emerge in television drama: the overseas cop show. Now, in a sense this is nothing new: The Persuaders! and other shows all filmed in exotic locales in the 70s and even earlier shows such as The Man From Interpol had been set overseas, even if they'd never actually gone there for filming.
But the new trend, seen in the likes of Wallander, Zen and Falcón, has English-speaking actors playing other nationalities in overseas locations. Wallander had Ken Branagh, Tom Hiddleston and sundry other Brits being quintessentially British while pretending to be Swedish, while Rufus Sewell got to drink lots of espressos in Italy in Zen, and Marton Csokas and Hayley Hatwell were as English-sounding as can be while solving crimes and romancing each other in Barcelona in Falcón.
France's TF1, meanwhile, is looking to be a bit of an international player at the moment and, taking this trend on board, has gone one step further: rather than wait for some foreign broadcaster to start shooting a French cop show with English-speaking actors, it's decided to do it itself and get a whole bunch of international actors over to Paris, get them all to fake American accents (except for the Americans, obviously) in a 'quintessentially French' cop show, and then sell the results to the rest of the world through the Fox International channel. It also managed to recruit famous French film star Jean Reno (The Professional/Leon) in his first lead TV role as the eponymous Jo of the series' title – a cop in the famous Brigade Criminelle (what Spiral calls 'the crime squad') with more than a few issues. On top of that, they got in as show runner René Balcer, the creator of TF1's late 90s cop show Mission Protection Rapprochée and Paris enquêtes criminelles, the French version of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Unfortunately, they also got French production company Atlantique Productions to make it. To be fair, Atlantique has been around for 30 years, making English-language productions such as Deadly Nightmares (aka The Hitchhiker), Death in Paradise and Counterstrike, not to mention Borgia for Canal+ and Transporter: The TV Series. What TF1 failed to notice was that largely, these programmes are all rubbish.
Here's a trailer for Jo. We can talk more after the break – spoilers ahoy!
In the US: Mondays, 8.30/7.30c, Fox. Starts tonight
And so it begins – the summer burn-off of all those shows the US networks thought they might need as mid-season replacements but didn't. We've Save Me on NBC this week as well, but on Fox, we've starting with The Goodwin Games, a sitcom from the makers of How I Met Your Mother that has some of that show's charm, but lacks its sparkle or any real hook.
The idea here is that Beau Bridges, patriarch of the Goodwin family and bad father, comes into a sizeable fortune – more than $20 million. He also knows he's going to die, so before his death, he creates a series of games and videos through which he can get his three estranged children (Scott Foley, Becki Newton, TJ Miller) to come together again and parent them from beyond the grave, the lure of all that money being what keeps them playing his games.
And while it's a moderately intriguing idea – I'd be happy to see The Game as a TV series or a US version of The One Game – the show has only a few innovations in an otherwise ordinary sitcom. And it also has TJ Miller. Sigh.
About the blog
This is a UK media blog 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 UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"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."
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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. 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.