What did you watch this week? Including Continuum, Arrested Development, The Fall, The Goodwin Games and The Black Dahlia

A little earlier than normal since I’m away tomorrow, 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, which are somewhat dwindling now ‘summer’ has arrived:

  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • Don’t Trust The B—- (ABC)
  • The Fall (BBC2/Netflix)
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)

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

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

  • Arrested Development (Netflix): Well, I watched most of the first episode of the new Netflix series and laughed a couple of times, but that was about it. I wasn’t even sure at first I was watching the right episode. But I was. I hear, however, it gets better with episode three.
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): Shaping up to be quite a disappointing second season this, after the strong and clever narrative of the first season, but the arrival of Alessandro Juliani as a psychiatrist from the future was an intriguing twist, at least, and the final revelation was unexpected, too.
  • The Fall (BBC2/Netflix): A meditation on modern misogyny, with Anderson’s cop staying calm under pressure from above and below for the terrible crime of having sex. It’s all handled very well, with the media’s participation in misogyny flagged up, and the parallels with the misogyny of the serial killer make it an inditement of patriarchy rather than just particular institutions.
  • The Goodwin Games (Fox): Gave up in the middle of the second episode. Just not funny.

And in movies:

The Black Dahlia
Ah, the irony – a Brian De Palma film about misogyny! Based on a James McEllroy novel, it’s a fictional investigation into the real-life Black Dahlia murder, starring Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as boxing rivals-cum-police partners. However, most of the interest is in the female cast, with Scarlett Johansson as Eckhart’s ex-prostitute girlfriend, Hillary Swank superb as a rich girl Hartnett takes up with and the likes of Mia Kirshner as the murder victim and Fiona Shaw as Swank’s mother, with KD Lang, Jemima Rooper and Rose McGowan in bit parts. For the turgid first half it tries to have its cake and eat it, concerning itself with the fates of the women involved. But De Palma can’t avoid his exploitative tendencies and the second half is mostly distasteful misogyny, some of it admittedly in keeping with the 1950s time period. But it’s in the last 15 minutes that the whole thing falls apart in quite the most insane way – I have literally no idea what Shaw in particular is up to in one particular scene and it consequently veers into unplanned comedy. Steer well clear.

“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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Thursday’s “Glenn Close joins Guardians of the Galaxy, Two And A Half Men to add a girl and Amazon’s Alpha House and Betas” news

The Daily News will return on Monday

Film casting

Trailers

  • Trailer for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
  • Trailer for This Is The End, with Seth Rogen, James Franco and Emma Watson [NSFW]

UK TV

US TV

US TV casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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What TV’s on at the BFI in July 2013

It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of July 2013. This month, as well as the conclusion of the celebration of Doctor Who, which for some reason ends with the seventh Doctor’s Remembrance of the Daleks

…there’s a preview of the second series of Toy Boy, as well as a season of TV programmes about film.

Continue reading “What TV’s on at the BFI in July 2013”

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The Weekly Play

The Wednesday Play: The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980)/Another Flip for Dominick (1982)

With The Wednesday Plays, I have tried as much as possible to steer clear of sci-fi, since – and let’s face facts here – there’s plenty enough of that on this ‘ere blog already. However, doing so has meant steering clear of possibly the most famous ‘double bill’ in Play For Today history: The Flipside of Dominick Hide and Another Flip For Dominick.

Set in both the 1980s and 2130, the first play sees time-travelling researcher Dominick Hide (Peter Firth) return to his own past to investigate an ancestor. There he meets a woman, Jane (Caroline Langrishe). And that’s all I can say without spoiling it for you.

So popular was the first play that writer Alan Gibson bowed to popular demand and brought all the characters back for a sequel two years later, about which I can tell you even less because I’ll spoil the first play if I do. Let’s just say it involves another time-traveller and leave it at that.

While being quite slight things that probably won’t impress the hard-core SF fan, they are, as with most BBC sci-fi plays, more about relationships and people than concepts. Both plays contrast the society of the future with the conventions of English society as it was then, as well as the differences between relationships. They also largely rely on Peter Firth’s endearing performance to draw in the viewer, particularly since he seems to know remarkably little about how to survive in the present day for a man whose job it is to know all about the past.

Since their original airings, both plays have been repeated several times and are available on DVD as well (for a mere £6, too). But you can watch them both below. Enjoy! Don’t forget, if you like them, buy them so that the creators are rewarded.