BFI events

December 2011 at the BFI

Lost Hearts

It’s a marvellous smorgasbord of TV in December at the BFI. Hoorah! The preview of Sherlock that was supposed to be on last month is showing on the 6th. There are previous of BBC2’s adaptation of Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood as well as an Arena documentary about Dickens adaptations. There are two more archive recoveries from the Library of Congress, as well as the yearly ‘Missing Believed Wiped’ featuring a ‘treat for sci-fi fans’. There’s also a Peter Kosminsky season, including Britz and The Project (although unfortunately no Shoot To Kill), as well as two episodes of A Ghost Story for Christmas, including the marvellous The Signalman.

But best of all, there’s a reshowing of 80s children’s drama Moondial (tagline: ‘What happens when the moon shines on a sundial?’)

I should also point out that in December, the BFI Mediatheque will have (free to view) 10 episodes of A Ghost Story For Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester, A Warning to the Curious, Lost Hearts, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, The Ash Tree, The Signalman, Stigma, The Ice House, A View From A Hill and Number 13. Go watch them – they’re blinking marvellous.

Continue reading “December 2011 at the BFI”

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: American Horror Story

In the US: Wednesdays, 10pm, FX
In the UK: Mondays, 10pm, FX UK. Starts November 7th

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how you can have all the elements of a scary story – haunted house, ghosts, demons, murders, possessions and more – yet not have something that’s actually scary.

So it is with American Horror Story, which since its first episode has settled down into something a bit more subdued, a bit more thoughtful, a bit more like it’s taken its Ritalin. But is it any cop yet? Not really.

The basic problem, apart from the lack of scariness, is that there’s so much going on in every episode, it’s hard to become too attached to any one element of the story and focus on it. Now, obviously, focusing on Alex Breckenridge as the youthful version of the house maid is what a lot of guys are doing when they watch the show, and since she is the most interesting part of the show, it was good to see episode three focusing on her. But we also had to deal with McDermott’s affair again, his daughter, the melty man, the arrival of the 1920s woman, Jessica Lange being way too big for the small screen and possibly the world’s fastest impromptu construction of a gazebo.

Yes, a gazebo. Or it might have been a very small bandstand: as I’ve remarked before, it’s hard to take American Horror Story too seriously, particularly when it doesn’t (or at least it isn’t sure if you should or not so hedges its bets).

We are at least getting answers to questions, but those answers aren’t exactly original – they’re exactly the answers you’d expect in any horror story, so possibly the show should be called Archetypal American Horror Stories – but we’re also getting new questions, the answers to which already don’t look any more interesting. And the questions in the first episode that were at least a little “on the edge” – who was the guy in the gimp suit? – appear to have been forgotten about for now.

As a show, it’s not bad and I’ll probably keep watching for Alex, but it really hasn’t found its feet yet and I’m not sure if it ever will. Not as cutting edge, scary or funny as might have been hoped, but not so badly made you want to switch off.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Should last a season; might even hit two seasons. But no more than that.  

What did you watch last week (w/e October 21)?

Time for “What did you watch last week?”, my chance to tell you what I watched last week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Dexter, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Homeland, Suburgatory and Community.

Things you might enjoy but that I’m not necessarily recommending: Being Erica, House and Ringer.

In the backlog: Once Upon A Time episode 1 and I should be letting you know what I thought of episode 3 of American Horror Story in a moment or two (fingers crossed).

A few things I’ve given a try this week:

  • Spy: We watched the rest of episode 1 of this, which was okay, but when we started on episode two, we discovered life was too short and gave up on it. Intriguingly, Darren Boyd gives exactly the same performance in this that he does on Safety Catch.

I didn’t watch any movies last week, I’m afraid. I’ve probably left something off the list, too.

“What did you watch last 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?

Monday’s “Catherine Tate is in the office” news

Doctor Who


British TV