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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas from Wonder Woman

I’m off on my Christmas break now, so there’ll be nothing from me until January 5th 2015. So have yourself a great holiday season and I look forward to seeing you all again… in the future!

Merry Christmas!

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What have you been watching? Including Ascension, The Fall, State of Affairs, Ground Floor and Scorpion

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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 “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV – they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

Yes, a doubler – two in one week to cater for the Christmas break and mop up a few leftovers. There’s only been one new show of note this week, though, and that’s…

Ascension (US: Syfy; UK: Sky1)
A spaceship is sent out in the 1960s to colonise a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. 50 years later and the ships’ descendants experience their first murder. Except there’s a Completely Obvious Twist…

I’m only about halfway through the second of the three episodes, so I can’t comment on how this ends, only that the first episode is catastrophically dull as it tries to establish its Mad Men in space vibe while simultaneously trying to avoid giving away that twist, which even a passing acquaintanceship with science, technology, history and the release date of Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’ will reveal within the first ten minutes. However, once the twist is revealed, everything gets a lot more bearable as the writers stop contorting themselves to avoid giving the game away. It’s still not great, and the main stars – Tricia Helfer and Lauren Lee Smith – are lumbered with duller versions of their best known roles, but you might be relieved to know it does at least get better. And you can while away the time spotting references to classic SF authors and noted authors of the 1960s.

After the jump, I’ll be running through only The Fall, Ground Floor, Scorpion and State of Affairs. I’ll tell you now, though – I’m only halfway through Elementary (it’s okay so far – who is the publisher of the ornithology quotes, hmm? – but isn’t this a show that’s supposed to be about Holmes and Watson? I’m not getting that any more).

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Ascension, The Fall, State of Affairs, Ground Floor and Scorpion”

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The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: The Librarians (US: TNT; UK: SyFy)

In the US: Sundays, 8/7c, TNT
In the UK: Mondays, 8pm, Syfy

Well that rolled around quickly, didn’t it? Yes, time for a third-episode verdict already on TNT’s The Librarians, a spin-off series from the Noah Wyle TV movies that featured the character of the Librarian and is already being described as “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys for a new generation”.

Described by me as that, anyway.

The first couple of episodes were relatively action-packed, seeing Wyle and his helper monkeys defeat a magic-obsessed secret society led by a former Max Headroom who wanted the Crown of King Arthur, Excalibur and the Stone from whence it was taken (except it wasn’t) so they could return magic to the world. Budget now shot and Wyle off to defend the world from alien invaders instead, the third episode had to rely on the helper monkeys to fill the breach.

This was less than successful. The script was actually quite imaginative, giving us a new take on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur that was surprisingly innovative. And while one could quibble with Christian Kane’s confusion over whether a fresco was Minoan or Helladic – are you blind, man? – the lurching around from historical inaccuracy to historical inaccuracy of the first two episodes wasn’t such an issue in the third.

No, the problem was twofold: the characters and the lack of fun. Without Wyle to bolster up both the supporting characters and the script, episode three revealed the spin-offs flaws like so much wallpaper peeling off from some cracked walls. Without the right kind of action and fun, the show stops being enjoyable and actually becomes quite painful, as we’re forced to watch some really quite dreadful actors try to inject life into some paper-thin characters with dialogue that the average five year old would probably regard as hackneyed. And with a budget far too low for its ambitions, it’s hard to really respect a globe-trotting show that largely sticks inside tunnels, offices and Boston alleyways.

So what we have here is a very variable, family show that lives and dies on its writing, with a cast that can’t save it when that writing falls through. When it’s good, it’s going to be brain-off, adrenaline-on TV; when it’s bad, it’s going to be fingernails on blackboards TV.

Still, Bruce Campbell is Santa Claus next episode. How can that not be aces?

Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Should last a while at least, particularly now we’re reaching Christmas, but it’s still got a long way to go before it finds its feet.

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News: Thunderbirds renewed, HBO’s Sarah Silverman, James Ellroy and David Fincher shows + more

The Daily News will return on January 5th 2015. Happy holidays!

Trailers

  • Trailer for Stephen Belber’s Match, with Patrick Stewart, Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino

Australian TV

  • iView being added to PlayStation 3 and 4

Canadian TV

UK TV

New UK TV shows

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • HBO developing: James Ellroy and David Fincher 1950s Los Angeles drama

New US TV show casting

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News

News: Charlie Sheen to guest on The Goldbergs, Manu Bennett joins Shannara, Sam Neill to Toast London + more

Charlie Sheen on The Goldbergs

Trailer

  • New trailer for Taken 3
  • Clip from Terry Jones’ Absolutely Anything with Simon Pegg

Australian TV

UK TV

UK TV show casting

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV show casting