US TV

Things to make you feel old: Scarlett Pomers

Remember Star Trek: Voyager? Well, why not, it was only on a couple of years ago, right? Remember that cute little kid, Naomi Wildman? Here she is:

Naomi Wildman

Ah! Well, she was played by Scarlett Pomers. She’s 24 now and this is what she looks like.

Scarlett Pomers

I feel old.

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Sitting Tennant

Tuesday’s Sitting Tennant (week 46, 2012)

Toby's Sitting Tennant

Marie may not be here any more, but as Sitting Tennant fades away, let’s once again remember the happy days of David Tennant licking things, with this lovely new work by Toby.

  1. Toby: 10

Sitting Board of Winners 2012
January
Hebbie, Sister Chastity

February
Sister Chastity

March
Sister Chastity

April
Sister Chastity, Shilohforever

May
Hebbie, Sister Chastity

June
Hebbie, Sister Chastity

July
Hebbie

August/September
Toby, Sister Chastity

October
Hebbie, Sister Chastity

November
Hebbie, Toby

Got a picture of David Tennant sitting, lying down or in some indeterminate state in between? Then leave a link to it below or email me and if it’s judged suitable and doesn’t obviously infringe copyright, it will appear in the “Sitting Tennant” gallery. Don’t forget to include your name in the filename so I don’t get mixed up about who sent it to me.

The best pic in the stash each week will appear on Tuesday and get ten points; the runners up will appear on Friday (one per person who sends one in) and get five points.

Each month, I’ll name the best picture provider and then at the end of the year, the overall champion will be announced for 2012!

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Tuesday’s “JK Rowling adaptation, Inside No. 9, Jamie Foxx is Electro and Piper Perabo Goes On” news

Films

Film casting

Canadian TV

UK TV

  • BBC1 to adapt JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy
  • Loads of stars to star in Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s BBC2 anthology show Inside No. 9
  • Casting on Broadchurch, Endeavour and Murder On The Home Front

US TV

US TV casting

New US TV shows

  • ABC developing Rookie
  • Sunday cable ratings: Boardwalk Empire down for finale, The Walking Dead gets 10.5m

New US TV show casting

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What did you watch last week? Including The Amazing Spider-Man, Arrow, The Killing 3 and Homeland

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

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Arrow, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Falcón, Go On, Grand Hotel, Last Resort, and Modern Family.

Still in the pile to watch from the weekend: Dexter, Wedding Band and The Killing. But here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching.

  • Arrow: I’m not sure what’s more implausible: that John Barrowman could have a grown-up son or that Tahmoh Penikett could be beaten in a fight so easily. Still, this was the first effort by DC’s very own Geoff Johns, and noticeably the first clunker of the season, despite the arrival of Helena Bertinelli – Huntress, herself. FIlled with dreadfully bad dialogue and poor characterisation, it felt like a bad Geoff Johns comic rather than a TV script. Stick to what you know, Geoff. And just to reiterate, Tahmoh Penikett!

  • Elementary: A bit more procedural than the previous week’s episode, but funnier, which the show could certainly do with. Definitely starting to feel like Sherlock Holmes, too. The one caveat: kind of demeaning to suggest that (spoiler alert)a woman in need of seed funding would become a prostitute. There’s a joke in there somewhere, possibly deliberate by the writers.
  • Falcón: Just noticed it’s got that nice Santiago Cabrera from Heroes in it. It’s also getting harder not to notice that no one – apart from Cabrera – knows how to pronounce Spanish words, and even he pronounces them in a Latin American way, rather than a Castilian way. We even had Falcón himself pronouncing General Pinochet’s name in a French style to rhyme with ‘croquet’ rather than ‘jet’, which is a little silly. Those niggles aside, it’s a compelling series, albeit quite a gruesome one, although frankly Falcón is a little self-obsessed and needs to man up. Sad to see Maurice Roëves get killed off within about two minutes, mind.
  • Go On: Oh yes. There’s an old blind guy in it. They seemed to have forgotten him for a while, but now he’s back for an episode with a reasonable amount of pathos. It also had Hayes MacArthur back and Laura Benanti had something to do for a change, which was nice.
  • Homeland: 15 minutes of probably the stupidest TV since season four of 24, followed by a decent half hour and ending. Why is it fundamentally so hard for Homeland to be consistent this season?
  • The Killing 3: So I’ll confess that I gave up after episode eight of the original – not because I didn’t like it but because two hours a week was a bit of a push for me. I didn’t bother with series 2 either. But I thought I’d give it a try for series 3. And… it’s okay. The acting’s good, the production values are good. But the plot, with the cunning kidnapper, feels very The Bridge (lite) – so much so that I started watching that again immediately afterwards – and the familial problems of Sarah Lund felt very implausible and cliched: it’s the standard trope that any woman who works hard in a police show will always lose her partner and end up with estranged kids as punishment for her transgressive ways. And of course she has to bump into her son at the station and get distracted. And of course the kidnapper has to call while she’s talking to her son and she can’t just say “It’s the kidnapper! I must take this! Lives depend on it!” But I am enjoying it and I’m going to try my best to keep up with it. BTW, is Danish politics really so low budget and amateurish that it seems more like Torquay council elections? And I’m assuming the name of the ship is a red herring, too (possible spoiler): that it’s not the mother who had her daughter abducted as punishment for the husband’s failings, as with Euripides’ Medea?
  • Last Resort: Apart from my complaint about the producers seemingly not knowing there’s a difference between the Caribbean and Hawaii, a decent enough episode that highlighted the problems of rape in the US military. Daisy Betts failed to rise to the acting challenge, however. A decent enough fight scene on the action side, but the show’s just kind of chugging along at the moment.
  • The Mindy Project: Not the funniest thing ever, but the “Iron Man novelisation” moment made me laugh out loud.
  • Vegas: The procedural was slightly duller this week, although the historical background to it was interesting. The episode did have some nice insights into Dennis Quad’s military background, with his sparring with the USAF investigator working well. Carrie Anne Moss also had a little more to do, now that the separate “Women Only” storyline is up and running, plus we have an extra female character to add to the mix, too. Needs to find some more verve if it’s to survive for a second season, though.

And in movies:

  • The Amazing Spider-man: The best Spider-man movie so far – far more Nolan-esque than the previous outings – with proper acting, some deeper moments than the first three, Emma Stone (redhead going blonde)’s Gwen Stacey being far less of a cipher than Kirsten Dunst (blonde going redhead)’s Mary-Jane, and Rhys Ifans doing a wonderful job as Dr Curt Connors aka The Lizard. Some great stunt scenes and the CGI felt solid, too, like it was actually a man doing the stunts, but the film still couldn’t avoid some cheese towards the end. Could have done with being more fun and shorter, though.

“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?

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US TV

Message to ABC’s Last Resort: there is a difference between Hawaii and the Caribbean

Last Resort is generally a rather good drama. However, this epic tale of a rogue US submarine captain who holes up himself and his crew on a Caribbean island when his own government fires on him suffers a little from his choice of filming location: Hawaii.

Now on the one hand, Hawaii does look a lot more like the Caribbean than New York or Los Angeles do. I imagine there are tax deals to be done, too. But it seems it has confused the writers into thinking that Hawaii and the Caribbean are exactly the same in every other regard, too.

So here’s a shot from a recent episode, depicting a trial scene. On the left, some islanders; on the right, the US navy. Can you spot something that’s not terribly Caribbean about the left side?

Last Resort on Hawaii

Yes, including the man representing the islanders – he’s also the head of crime on the island – there are precisely two black people. In the Caribbean.

So now let’s have a look at a ‘local representative’. Let us look at him and listen to him talk.

Do you see how he sounds not only very very Hawaiian, but he talks about the cultural purity of the island, its traditions from 300 years ago, etc, even though that is in no sense what anyone from the Caribbean would actually say and is a quagmire of historical inaccuracy?

Now, on the one hand, it’s good to see the US’s 50th state getting some TV work – although there’s always Hawaii Five-0. It’s also good to see Hawaiian actors (and some non-actors) getting some work. But given how very, very few shows there are with significant numbers of black Americans in the cast, why, when given a show set in the Caribbean, are there precisely two black people in the main cast, one of whom is the main criminal on the island, the other the lead American? And why don’t the writers appear to know the slightest thing about the cultures and true histories of Caribbean islands?

UPDATE: I am, as Chris rightly points out, an idiot, since it’s actually – despite the occasional dodgy French Caribbean accent – set in the Indian Ocean. How embarrassing. Which makes even less sense (Trident missiles couldn’t hit the US from that distance for starters). But as Chris also points out, general points still stand, because whether the made-up island is in the East or West Indian Ocean, it’s still not going to be populated by Hawaiians. Or have the cultures portrayed.