US TV

Starbucks’ Da Vinci’s Demons offer unsurprisingly refused

It’s the end of the week and although the tray is normally empty by now, look how many of Starbucks’ vouchers there are left in my local store that give away the first episode of Da Vinci’s Demons for free.

Free Da VInci's Demons episode at Starbucks

Yes, you can’t even give this rubbish away.

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What did you watch this week? Including Defiance, The Americans, Continuum, Elementary and Hannibal

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this 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:

  • The Americans (FX/ITV)
  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
  • Being Human (US) (SyFy)
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • Doctor Who (BBC1/BBC America)
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
  • Endeavour (ITV1)
  • Go On (NBC)
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic)

These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which.

Still in the viewing queue: Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, which still doesn’t look appealing; BBC2’s The Politician’s Husband; and Sundance’s ‘difficult’ Rectify.

Now, some thoughts on some of the regulars and some of the shows I’m still trying

  • The Americans (FX/ITV): The first good episode not written by Joe Weisberg, although the parallels between ‘the oaths’ were crude. But the end twist shows how quickly things can turn round in this spying game.
  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1): Feels like it’s going round in circles, covering old storylines it’s already covered. The stunts are still good though.
  • Bates Motel (A&E/Universal): I’m not actually watching this, merely reading updates on episode guides. Turns out that there are some interesting twists to it, but those twists are more interesting to read about than to watch.
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): A pleasing series of double-bluffs. Just as you think you can see where the episode us going, it goes in a completely different direction. Not quite the slam dunk of the first episode – you’d have thought with it being the most popular drama in Canada, Shaw might sink some cash into the show – but full of good moments.
  • Defiance (SyFy): Precisely as conventional as you’d have expected the second episode to be, focusing more on the cultures of the aliens than on giving the aliens interesting personalities. Also horrifically patriarchal as before, with even the ‘strong’ women and female aliens deferring to the men or needing the support of men for their decisions.
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living): Notable mainly for the arrival of master blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton from the Holmes stories, rather than any aspects of the plot itself.
  • Endeavour (ITV1): Much better than the previous episode, although I had for a moment hoped it was going to be a prequel to my favourite Inspector Morse episode, Masonic Mysteries. However, it was pretty obvious what was going on and the denouement was glacially slow and silly.
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living): Despite episode four having been dropped and then cut down into US-only webisodes, episode five carries on pretty well from previous episodes, but feels like a cross between Millennium and Touching Evil. Actually quite moving in the scenes between Jack Crawford and his wife, it’s an excellent show that’s definitively worth watching.
  • Plebs (ITV2): A good way to end the series. Here’s hoping for more!
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic): Quite liking the additional of Mia’s mother to the story and Carrie-Anne Moss is finally getting some good things to do. But the rest of the plot feels like it’s treading water, and Dennis Quaid has stopped putting the effort in. On the other hand, it did treat the domestic abuse storyline with tact and sensitivity, despite the era in which the show is set.

“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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Friday’s “Scarlett Johansson: drugs mule, Max Beesley: man in a suit, and a Scream TV series” news

Film casting

UK TV

  • Gina McKee, Andrew Lee Potts, Elliot Knight, Warren Brown, et al to star in BBC1’s By Any Means
  • Polly Walker, Aidan McArdle and Cal Macaninch join Mr Selfridge
  • TLC acquires Devious Maids and Mistresses remake

US TV

US TV casting

  • Guest stars for the finale of The Office
  • Max Beesley joins Suits

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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Classic TV

Nostalgia corner: Remington Steele (1982-1987)

Remington Steele

“Try this for a deep, dark secret. The great detective Remington Steele, he doesn’t exist… I invented him. Follow: I always loved excitement so I studied and apprenticed and put my name on an office but absolutely nobody knocked down my door. A female private investigator seemed so… feminine, so I invented a superior, a decidedly masculine superior. Suddenly there were cases around the block. It was working like a charm until the day he walked in with his blue eyes and mysterious past and before I knew it he assumed Remington Steele’s identity. Now I do the work and he takes the bows. It’s a dangerous way to live but as long as people buy it I can get the job done. We never mix business with pleasure, well, almost never. I don’t even know his real name.”

It’s hard for women to get to the top in business. Don’t believe me? Just check how many women are CEOs or members of the boards of directors for Fortune 500 companies.

The reasons for this are long and complicated, involving history, discrimination and a whole lot more. In particular, there’s perception. Some people, both men and women, don’t think women are going to be as good as men are at certain jobs.

Particularly private detectives. Or at least people didn’t in 1982, before VI Warshawski, Anna Lee and co. Certainly, Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalst) found it hard to get any work when she started out. She may have come top of her class at pretty much everything, but with her name on the door, for some strange reason, no one was interested in hiring her.

So crafty Laura Holt decided to invented a boss with a very masculine name: Remington Steele (Remington as in gun, rather than Fuzzaway). Suddenly, for some equally strange reason, people were queuing up to hire her – well, they wanted Remington Steele, but he was always out of town on business but somehow he always managed to solve his cases with the help of his ‘assistant’.

All was going well with this set-up until a movie-loving, very handsome con man (Pierce Brosnan) turned up and assumed Steele’s identity. Together, he and Holt end up working together, solving crimes. But would their relationship ever become more, when it was all founded in lies – hell, she didn’t even know his real name? Well… that would be saying.

Here’s the intro from the very first episode – the observant will notice the wording is different. After that, the full, rather catchy, Henry Mancini-scored theme tune, and then every episode title from the show, all of which were puns.

Continue reading “Nostalgia corner: Remington Steele (1982-1987)”

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US TV

Watch the Hannibal Ceuf (not Oeuf) webisodes or else nothing will make sense

Hannibal

NBC has a ‘born to lose’ tattoo somewhere on its corporate body, doesn’t it? It just doesn’t want to do well in the ratings. Here’s a perfect example.

Tonight’s episode of Hannibal has been pulled from the schedules in the US at the request of show runner Bryan Fuller, because the story involves children being brainwashed into killing other children and that’s a bit too much like the Sandy Hook shooting back in December or something – although, apparently, it’s okay to have adults tortured and/or killed every week on TV, so the rest of the series is going ahead.

So instead of tonight’s originally scheduled episode, NBC is going to show the next episode. How can that be, you might ask, given that Hannibal is a serial and we’re busily watching all kinds of relationships develop? Aren’t we going to lose out on some important details?

Don’t worry, NBC has your back. In case you were planning on watching tonight’s episode and actually want it to make some kind of sense, Bryan and NBC have stripped out from the missing episode all the bits that involve children being mean, and converted the rest of the episode into five webisodes that further the serial nature of the show.

Yes, I can’t see anything going wrong here at all, can you? Viewers outside of the US will, however, get the full episode in the correct running order. Except Canadians, who also got Coquilles last night rather than Oeuf.

Webisodes after the jump, but they’re only viewable in the US, I’m afraid (unless you happen to be a user of Tunnelbear, for example). Also, no one in the NBC online department can speak French, so they’ve called the webisodes Ceuf rather than Oeuf. Or maybe that’s short for Cannibalised Oeuf.

Ain’t NBC funny?

Continue reading “Watch the Hannibal Ceuf (not Oeuf) webisodes or else nothing will make sense”