Canadian TV

Review: Continuum (Showcase) 1×1

Continuum

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Showcase

Canada seems to have had a thing for time travel for late. Maybe it’s pining for a previous government or something, but following semi-hot on the heels of Being Erica, we have Continuum on Showcase – Canada’s last best hope for original programming thanks to all the government cutbacks.

Continuum is doubly a show about time travel since you feel like you’re going back in time when you watch it – it’s essentially a remake of Time Trax, starring everyone who co-starred but didn’t star in that series you used to watch: Rachel Nichols from Alias, Victor Webster from Mutant X, Lexa Doig from Andromeda, Roger R Cross from 24, and probably everyone who’s been in any episode of Stargate ever (but not starred in it).

Here we have Nichols as a cop in a dystopia 65 years in our future in which the corporations have bailed out the failed governments and imposed their own not-always benign laws. When a bunch of incarcerated terrorists (or are they just rebels?) somehow manage to escape to 2012, Nichols gets accidentally dragged back with them and she has to round them up again before they can take over the world, prevent the future and kill lots of people in the process.

So far, so Time Trax. The big difference between Continuum and Time Trax, however, is that despite being a little mired in the police procedural genre, Continuum is actually pretty good, with some interesting attempts at world building, a couple of twists on the whole time travel thing, and some really halfway decent bits of futurology.

Plus it’s got Rachel Nichols in a catsuit. That’ll work.

Continue reading “Review: Continuum (Showcase) 1×1”

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Wednesday’s “History sets ratings record, Citytv orders comedies and no more Jesse Stone” news

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Trailers

  • Trailer for Stephen Frears’ Lay The Favourite, with Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall and Catherine Zeta-Jones

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Internet TV

What did you watch last week? Including Playhouse Presents, Tales of Television Centre, Iron Man: Extremis and Prisoners of War

It’s “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 I’ve missed them.

The usual recommendations from the first-run shows are (oh gods, summer has arrived): The Apprentice, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, Mad Men, and Prisoners of War. Hunt them down.

Still in my review backlog: Continuum, which I hope to do tomorrow.

But here’s a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • The Almighty Johnsons – essentially the same finale as last year (a case of mistaken goddess identity) but some fun and interesting wrinkles in the set-up. And yes, someone was actually smited. About time, too. No news on whether there’s a third season, yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed
  • Awake – Now that I know that he didn’t wake up and it was all a dream, I’m a lot happier with the ending, which while satisfying in a lot of ways, did have a somewhat confusing final five minutes. It’s a shame they didn’t get a second season, since the last few episodes showed that the creators realised that procedurals weren’t the way forward and they were going to do more interesting things. Too late, though. Fingers crossed for that Jason Isaacs Emmy though.
  • Prisoners of War – Our Carrie has arrived – and he’s a bald, middle aged bloke. Having watched Homeland, it’s not hard to guess where the show will be going next in terms of what transpired while they were in captivity and whether the third POW is really dead or not, but nothing’s guaranteed.
  • House – a somewhat insubstantial ending redeemed only by the number of cameos they managed to sneak in and the fact they went again for the Sherlock Holmes reference with a faked death. But the show’s been firing half-cocked for several seasons now, so a non-world changing finale was pretty much guaranteed. A shame – I wish it had been cancelled about three seasons ago now.
  • Playhouse Presents – Better in theory than practice, with Gina McKee’s Byker Grove nurse episode a couple of weeks ago ultimately a mood piece rather than having any real plot, although it was a tense, well-directed and well-acted affair. I’ve yet to see last week’s one by Matthew Holness in which Dougie Henshall is a lone sniper in a post-apocalyptic rabies wasteland, but that description alone makes me want to watch it badly.
  • Don’t Trust the B—- – A fun cameo by Dean Cain and a surprisingly whacky incorporation of David Krumholtz as a manga artist means this will be on the recommended list for sure when it comes back in the Fall. Debuted well on E4, too, I hear.
  • Modern Family – it’s the end of the season, so there must be plot movement for a change. But a funny episode, too. Consistently okay to good this season, but never as hilarious as it was in the beginning.
  • Tales of Television Centre – a chance for a load of old actors and production staff to reminisce about the 1970s and 1980s, particularly those on Doctor Who. It’s been a long time since I watched a documentary about TV where I learnt a lot, but this was one. Good fun and informative, too.

And in movies:

  • Spider-woman and Iron Man: Extremis: Marvel has been plonking a few of its “motion comics” onto Netflix so I thought I’d try some. Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD reminded me of why I don’t read Marvel much – very silly plots about shadow secret organisations coupled with 1950s-style space operas just isn’t my cup of tea – so I dropped that after 15 patient minutes. The artwork’s actually very good and the actress they got to voice Spider-Woman worked well. It was just a rubbish story…

  • …whereas Iron Man: Extremis was a slightly different story. This featured a storyline by the marvellous Warren Ellis (remind me: when is Global Frequency airing again? Hee hee) and featuring the artwork of Adi Granov, whose version of the Iron Man outfit ended up being the one used in the movies. Here the original comic was animated to feel like a ‘Max Payne’ interstitial, but being a ‘Marvel Knights’ production – essentially Marvel’s version of DC’s Vertigo adult label, but taking adult to mean extremely violent (cf Punisher: War Zone) – it was all about the gross out and nastiness factor.
    Extremis is (spoiler alert) rumoured to be the basis for Iron Man 3, but although some of it was used for Iron Man, I’ll be very surprised if any of this gets through, because as well as the ultra-violence, it’s such a nerdy, hard SF, body-horror concept that I can’t see it playing well in Peoria, as the saying goes. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting 1h15 that stays true to the comics, including a guest visit by John Pilger… sorry Pillinger. Have a watch if you can find it.

John Pilger in Iron Man: Extremis

“What did you watch this 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?

“What did you watch this 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?

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Scandinavian TV

Mini-review: Sebastian Bergman (BBC4) 1×1

In the UK: Saturdays, 9pm, BBC4

Well, The Bridge has come and gone, so BBC4 has had to try to fill the hole in its schedule and our lives with a new Nordic crime drama. Since the whole craze in the UK started with Wallander – albeit the Kenneth Branagh and Krister Henriksson versions – it only seems appropriate to turn to another Wallander: Rolf Lassgård. Lassgård was the original Kurt Wallander in the Swedish series movie based on the Henning Mankell novels, and it’s the creators of those movies who have clubbed together to give him a new role: the eponymous Sebastian Bergman, a bitter, misogynistic, misanthropic psychological profiler who lost his family in the 2004 tsunami, something from which he hasn’t recovered.

Anyway, this two-part trial run for the character sees him returning to work after a long absence. To avoid spoilers, let’s talk after the jump. The best embedded video I can give you is this and it’s in Swedish (sorry) and is the authors discussing the book the series is based on, not the actual TV series. But there’s a much better English language trailer over here that actually features Rolf Lassgård.

Continue reading “Mini-review: Sebastian Bergman (BBC4) 1×1”

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