Archive | UK TV reviews

Reviews of UK TV programmes


December 19, 2014

What have you been watching? Including Ascension, The Fall, State of Affairs, Ground Floor and Scorpion

Posted on December 19, 2014 | Post a comment | 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.

Yes, a doubler – two in one week to cater for the Christmas break and mop up a few leftovers. There’s only been one new show of note this week, though, and that’s…

Ascension (US: Syfy; UK: Sky1)
A spaceship is sent out in the 1960s to colonise a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. 50 years later and the ships’ descendants experience their first murder. Except there’s a Completely Obvious Twist…

I’m only about halfway through the second of the three episodes, so I can’t comment on how this ends, only that the first episode is catastrophically dull as it tries to establish its Mad Men in space vibe while simultaneously trying to avoid giving away that twist, which even a passing acquaintanceship with science, technology, history and the release date of Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’ will reveal within the first ten minutes. However, once the twist is revealed, everything gets a lot more bearable as the writers stop contorting themselves to avoid giving the game away. It’s still not great, and the main stars – Tricia Helfer and Lauren Lee Smith – are lumbered with duller versions of their best known roles, but you might be relieved to know it does at least get better. And you can while away the time spotting references to classic SF authors and noted authors of the 1960s.

After the jump, I’ll be running through only The Fall, Ground Floor, Scorpion and State of Affairs. I’ll tell you now, though – I’m only halfway through Elementary (it’s okay so far – who is the publisher of the ornithology quotes, hmm? – but isn’t this a show that’s supposed to be about Holmes and Watson? I’m not getting that any more).

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Ascension, The Fall, State of Affairs, Ground Floor and Scorpion"

December 15, 2014

What have you been watching? Including Ground Floor, Arrow, The Flash, The Newsroom, The Machine, Jack Reacher and Red 2

Posted on December 15, 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.

Time for a little bit of a catch-up, given I haven’t done one of these in a fortnight. There are still a few things in my viewing queue that I haven’t yet had time to watch: last night’s The Librarians I’ll cover in a third-episode verdict this week and I’ll probably do the same for The Legacy, although the subtitling makes it hard to watch when I’m doing the ironing. I’ll also try to give Netflix’s Marco Polo a watch, given they dumped the whole series online over the weekend.

I have managed to watch a few films, though.

Red 2 (2013)
The gang from Red are back to far less effect, with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren joined by Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lee Byung-hun as the old/amateur spies (plus one deadly young one) forced to use their lifetime of skills to save the world. Again. There’s a lot more travelling to foreign climes but only Byung-hun’s martial arts and Hopkins’ performance really lift the piece above the humdrum, with most of the interesting edges of the first movie filed off or toned down. It does give us a brief onscreen meeting of Hopkins and Brian Cox, which is probably the only time you’ll get two Hannibal Lecters together.

Jack Reacher (2012)
Tom Cruise is improbably the 6’5” military policeman of the Lee Childs novels, here investigating a seemingly random sniper shooting with an obvious suspect who needs his help being vindicated. A perfectly adequate, reasonably intelligent thriller with military trappings that does little to excite, beyond a few decent fights. Rosamund Pike is wasted.

The Machine (2013)
A strange little independent sci-fi thriller funded by the Welsh Government, of all things, in which scientists Toby Stephens and Caity Lotz work on developing intelligent machines for the Ministry of Defence and have to wrestle with the Turing Test, the nature of consciousness and intelligence, and other existential questions, as well as killer robots. Lotz is the obvious star, demonstrating all the qualities that made her such a powerful presence in the second season of Arrow, but Stephens is no slouch either. The film doesn’t quite manage to square all its intellectual concerns with its need for gore, and the ultra low budget means that the action is largely confined to a couple of rooms. But it’s a lot more interesting and intelligent than you might have expected. Plus it’s got Siwan Morris from Mine All Mine and Caerdydd in it

After the jump, I’ll be running through lots and lots of episodes of: Arrow, Constantine, Elementary, The Fall, Forever, The Flash, Gracepoint, Ground Floor, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, The Newsroom, Scorpion and State of Affairs.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Ground Floor, Arrow, The Flash, The Newsroom, The Machine, Jack Reacher and Red 2"

December 1, 2014

Preview: Space: 1999 - The Bringers of Wonder (Special Edition)

Posted on December 1, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Space: 1999 - Bringers of Wonder

Space: 1999 - Bringers of Wonder

Starring: Barbara Bain, Martin Landau
Price: £13
Released: December 8 2014

Today is a day of firsts. Not only is it December 1st, the first day of Advent, it’s also the first time since I started this blog up way back in 2005 (gosh, nearly 10 years ago!) that I’ve published a guest post. Isn’t that amazing?

This first guest post is by noted author and critic Mr James Cooray Smith, who has bitten the bullet and done something I could never do: watch Space: 1999 again. In this case, he’s watched the forthcoming limited edition Blu-ray release of the show’s only ever two-part episode, The Bringers of Wonder, as well as the cinema version of said two-parter, Destination Moonbase Alpha - get it while it’s hot, because only 1,999 copies of this are being produced.

After the jump, Jim will let you know what he thinks and reveals that the show is officially considered a form of torture in the US. Before then, here’s a trailer, and if you’re feeling brave, I’ve also provided the two episodes in question, so you can see what you’re going to get (NB: watching the episodes may be considered illegal under Geneva conventions of all kinds):

Continue reading "Preview: Space: 1999 - The Bringers of Wonder (Special Edition)"

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