Review: S.W.A.T. 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS

It would be tempting to think of S.W.A.T., CBS’s new mid-mid-season replacement drama, as the latest and last of the current trend in military shows that’s so far given us The Brave, SEAL Team and Valor. After all, watch any cop movie or TV show and you’l have quickly gleaned that S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) are a sort of militarised version of the US police who dress in black, have lots of guns and grenades, drive army-grade vehicles and burst into buildings to shoot criminals who also have lots of guns.

The truth is actually a little different, of course. The US and even Los Angeles aren’t so violent that they can justify having a bunch of dedicated armed ninja on staff, doing nothing but hanging around all day waiting to shoot things. So for the most part, SWAT officers are regular cops who receive specialised training but go about doing regular police work until they get the call – they usually carry their SWAT gear around in the backs of their cars, in fact.

Knowing this fact doesn’t actually make S.W.A.T. that much less mystifying, though. Even knowing that it’s an adaptation of a 1975 TV series that starred The Baron‘s Steve Forrest and Vegas‘s Robert Urich isn’t going to help you either, although it will help to explain the music played over the pilot episode’s final scene.

Because firstly, it’s actually not all that violent. More weirdly, though, rather than being a reboot of the original TV show, this new S.W.A.T. is really CBS’s answer to Marvel’s Luke Cage.

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The Lord of the Rings

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings; House of Cards fires Kevin Spacey; Brainiac found; + more

Internet TV

International TV


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • Hulu developing: adaptation of Meghan Daum’s The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion as Unspeakable
  • NBC developing: family dance school drama The Dunnings

New US TV show casting

The Orville

When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE? Including The Orville

Every Friday, TMINE lets you know the latest announcements about when new imported TV shows will finally be arriving on UK screens – assuming anyone’s bought anything, of course

No acquisitions this week. Oh dear. But we do have one – yes, count them… it – premiere date.

The Orville (US: Fox; UK: Fox UK)
Premiere date: Thursday, December 14, 9pm

Ostensibly Seth MacFarlane’s parody of the Star Trek universe, in which he plays a mid-tier captain of a mid-tier vessel with a definitely mid-tier crew that includes his ex-wife (Adrianne Palicki). However, it’s not actually funny and every episode is actually just an an old Star Trek episode that MacFarlane wanted to cos-play in. If you like Star Trek, that may be just what you’re looking for, though, and given it’s just been renewed for a second season in the US, it’s safe to invest in it a little.

Episode reviews: 1, 23

The Orville

The Orville, Blood & Water, Mangoes and Second Jen renewed; Counterpart trailer; + more

Internet TV

  • Annabeth Gish to recur on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House

Canadian TV


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

Babylon Berlin nightclub scene
German TV

Review: Babylon Berlin 1×1-1×2 (Germany: Sky 1; UK: Sky Atlantic)

In Germany: Fridays, 8.15pm, Sky 1. Started October 13
In the UK: Sundays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic. Starts November 5

Ask any Brit who didn’t take GCSE or A-level History what Germany, particularly Berlin, was like during the inter-war years, they probably won’t have much of an idea. Chances are that if they have a clue at all, that clue is going to be based on the movie Cabaret.

It’s a movie that subtextually looms over Babylon Berlin, Sky Deutschland’s epic new attempt to break into the international TV big leagues, following the success of Deutschland 83 and Amazon’s You Are Wanted. Yet while it fleshes out that cinematic snapshot of a society, Babylon Berlin is very much its own beast and owes as much to that other staple of German fiction, particularly TV fiction, the ‘Krimi’.

Based on the books of Volker Kutscher, Babylon Berlin is set in Berlin in 1929 and follows young police inspector Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) after he arrives from Cologne to investigate a porn ring.

Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath in Babylon Berlin
Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath in Babylon Berlin © Frédéric Batier:X Filme

However, as the deaths begin to mount up, it soon becomes clear that the pornographers have connections to more dangerous people. On top of that, there’s a revolutionary band of Poles and Russians in town (the Fourth International), about whom the Bolsheviks, now led by Stalin, might have something to say, too. Needless to say, Bruch is on the case, even if it takes him to those debauched nightclubs you might have heard so much about…

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