Archive | Welsh TV

An archive of blog entries about Welsh TV programmes and production.

November 21, 2014

What have you been watching? Including Cara Fi, The Comeback, Neville's Island, Robocop (2014), Constantine and The Fall

Posted on November 21, 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.

First, I’ll apologise in advance for the typos: I’m just heading out the door to watch The Imitation Game.

Anwyay, we’re nearing Thanksgiving and the Christmas season (aka ‘December’) which means that viewing options are starting to drop off, new shows are few and far between, and old shows are giving us their mid-season finales. But I have watched a couple of new things, including State of Affairs, which I’ve reviewed elsewhere.

Cara Fi (UK: S4C)
A dying Welsh village puts the faces of its single men on the sides of milk cartons to attract women there. Starring Dave Coaches (Steffan Rhodri) from Gavin & Stacey, it’s pretty gentle, not especially romantic comedy with a sad basis in reality. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it’s a different change of pace from the usual fare and it clips along decently enough.

The Comeback (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
Lisa Kudrow plays a fading, once semi-famous actress, trying to use reality TV to make a comeback, only to discover that she might get a second chance, playing a thinly veiled pastiche version of herself in a sitcom. Technically the show’s second season, it’s first season airing in 2005, and since then, most of its young stars (Kellan Lutz, Malin Akerman) have gone on to better things, although Akerman makes a cameo in the first episode, Lutz lined up for a later appearance. However, as with the first season, this is such an insider TV show that even though I’ve been writing about TV and US TV for the best part of two decades, even I found it a bit niche. More damningly, I didn’t laugh once. Fans says the show’s simply ahead of the curve, in which case I’ll probably find it funny in 10 years’ time, but seeing as most of it is cringe comedy and laughing at people who’ve fallen on hard times, maybe not.

I’ve also watched a movie:

Robocop (2014)
Remake of the 1980s ‘classic’, this hits neither the original’s lows nor its highs, loses virtually all the satire, and ditches Nancy Allen’s tough female partner for Omar from The Wire. Nevertheless, the story of a murdered cop turned into a cybernetic police officer for a privatised police force does actually do some interesting and different things, looking at the concepts of free will, the nature of perception, media manipulation, the disabled, prosthetics, and the tensions between altruistic science and those funding it. It’s certainly not memorable and will probably be forgotten about soon enough, but it’s nevertheless a pretty decent film that would probably be a lot more noticeable and notable were it not for the original.

And I’ve been to the theatre, too.

Neville’s Island (Duke of York's)
Four Northern middle managers (Neil Morrissey, Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Robert Webb) go the wrong way on an outward bounds course and end up stuck on an island in the Lake District. How will they get on together? Will they escape? And will any of them go mad and attack the others? I’m not saying, but it’s a fun play which ultimately doesn’t say a whole lot, but is entertaining nevertheless, with some good performances. It also features one of the best sets I’ve ever seen – or smelt. Seriously, that’s some moist piney goodness they’ve got going on there.

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

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November 19, 2014

S4C's new romcom Cara Fi has an interesting disclaimer

Posted on November 19, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It’s on S4C, it’s about a dying Welsh village that puts the faces of its single men on the sides of milk cartons to attract women there, it stars Dave Coaches (Steffan Rhodri) from Gavin & Stacey – it’s Cara Fi.

But it has something of an interesting disclaimer at the start of every episode.

Cara Fi

Beats the usual boilerplate, doesn’t it?

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July 25, 2014

Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (DVD)

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hinterland DVD main screen

Y GwyllStarring: Richard Harrington, Mali Harries
Price: £15.15 (Amazon price)
Released: 30 June

One of the most bizarre things about this year's airing on BBC4 of the S4C show Y Gwyll (aka Hinterland) is that it was largely in English. Every scene of each of its four episodes had been shot in both Welsh and English and a completely Welsh version of the show had aired on S4C in October/November 2013. Yet BBC4, which has been prepared to air on Saturday nights during primetime shows entirely in French, Flemish, Swedish, Danish and Italian, decided instead to air the last-minute hybrid English-Welsh version that BBC1 Wales had chosen to air in January.

Viewers who were aware of this wanted to know why and probably would have liked to have seen the fully Welsh version, at least to compare and contrast, but perhaps also because it was actually very slightly better. Now they can. Because while Arrow Films, the home of Nordic Noir DVD releases in the UK, released that hybrid version on DVD last month as Hinterland/Y Gwyll, a few weeks later, they very quietly also released the Welsh version as Y Gwyll/Hinterland, too.

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