No Activity
US TV

Third-episode verdict: No Activity (US: CBS All Access)

In the US: Sundays, CBS All Access

I think Patrick Brammall has a plan for world domination. I really do. He was certainly doing his best to take over Australia, with The Moodys and then Upper Middle Bogan. Then there was Glitch, in which he was the lead, but that didn’t stop him from cameoing in The Letdown.

But that wasn’t enough for him, oh no. Then he tried his luck in the US with appearances in Life In Pieces and New Girl, as well two pilots: Furst Born and a remake of Upper Middle Bogan (what would they have called that, I wonder?).

Apparently, that still wasn’t enough for Brammall, because he also decided that as well as acting in TV shows, he’d start writing them, too. His first effort was No Activity, an award-winning comedy cop show that’s so far run for two seasons on Australian streaming service Stan and is going to start its third season this week. He co-created it and starred in it, too.

Enough? Never. Not for the Bond villain-esque Brammall. He naturally took the show to America and is now starring in and co-writing an adaptation that is now airing on US streaming service CBS All Access.

Continue reading “Third-episode verdict: No Activity (US: CBS All Access)”

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Russell Peters and Mishqah Parthiephal in The Indian Detective (Marcos Cruz/Bell Media)
Canadian TV

Review: The Indian Detective 1×1 (Canada: CTV; UK: Netflix)

In Canada: Thursdays, 9/8 pm MT, CTV
in the UK: Available on Netflix from December 19

Call me crazy, but there’s something about casting a comedian as the star of a TV show that leads you to expect it to be funny – more so, if he starts trying to tell jokes. But that’s not the case with The Indian Detective, which stars comedian Russell Peters. Peters is apparently the world’s third highest paid comedian according to Forbes, so again, you might think The Indian Detective is funny.

It’s not.

But maybe it’s not supposed to be. Certainly, co-creator Frank Spotnitz has no form for writing comedy. Bad action shows: Transporter: The Series, Hunted, Ransom. Sure. The occasionally good bit of sci-fi: The Man in the High Castle, The X-Files. Undoubtedly. But comedy? Nope.

And look at Cracker. Robbie Coltrane starred in it. Was it funny? Nope. Well, maybe sometimes.

The Indian Detective

Comedically, that’s about the size of The Indian Detective. It see Peters playing an inept Canadian beat cop. He’s so inept he’s just been demoted to a fourth-grade Constable after the drugs shipment his informant told him about turned out to be a van load of bikes.

But while he’s on suspension for a month, he gets a call from his dad, who’s moved back to Mumbai. Dad wants him to come visit and with nothing else to do, Peters takes up the opportunity. But before you know it, the lawyer who lives upstairs from dad (Mishqah Parthiephal) is asking him to help investigate the case of a client, who’s admitted to murdering a local swami but who she thinks is innocent.

And guess what – Peters turns out to be quite good at ‘detecting’. Maybe not ‘The Order of Canada’ good as his dad’s been telling everyone, but enough to solve the crime. Except it turns out there’s something deeper going involving Canadian billionaire property developer William Shatner (Star Trek, TJ Hooker – yes, I went there) that will get played out over the subsequent episodes.

Not Cracker

The Indian Detective is not Cracker by a long chalk. Think of it more as a bit of Indian tourism that shows off both the poor and rich parts of Mumbai, sometimes stereotypically, sometimes not, all married with criminal investigations that wouldn’t even tax a fourth grade Canadian police constable. There’s the occasional joke thanks to ‘flash forward’ interrogation scenes from when Peters returns to Canada that look like they’ve been lifted from Peters’ stand-up, but out of context, they feel more like character quips rather than anything expected to make you laugh hard.

Despite this being his first starring role, Peters isn’t half-bad. It’s a little surprising that he has two potential love interests, but hey ho, it’s a funny old world, innit? Parthiephal doesn’t have to do much beyond translate and offer native guidance to Mumbai, but there’s decent support from Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham) as Peters’ toupee-clad dad. The Great One himself (Shatner) only appears in one scene in this episode and I wouldn’t expect that to change much until the end, as is the way of these things.

The show looks good and an Indian-set programme makes a nice change, but the first episode was a real drag and every failed attempt at a joke only made it harder to watch. Stay with it for Shatner if you must, but don’t be expecting an hilarious comedy, a top drama or the next Cracker.

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Russell Peters and Mishqah Parthiephal in The Indian Detective (Marcos Cruz/Bell Media)
Airdates

When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE? Including Salvation, Manhunt: Unabomber, Le mystère du lac and The Indian Detective

Every Friday, ‘When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE?’ lets you know when the latest global TV shows will air in the UK

A bit more bustle this week, with a bunch of new acquisitions announced, all of which will air in 2018:

  • Craith (Hidden) (Wales: S4C; UK: BBC Four)
  • Instinct (US: CBS; UK: Sky Living)
  • Knightfall (US: History; UK: History UK)
  • SEAL Team (US: CBS; UK: Sky 1)
  • The Terror (US: AMC; UK: Amazon)
  • Zone blanche (Black Spot) (France: France 2; UK: Amazon)

We also have some premiere dates, including dates for shows acquired this week for a change. But just in case you were wondering, season 2 of Travelers will be available on Netflix from 26 December. There’s something to enjoy with your Christmas leftovers, hey?

Salvation (US: CBS; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Now (sorry, only just noticed it was there)

Despite previous indications to the contrary, this one actually ended up on Netflix (whoops). An asteroid’s coming to hit the Earth and only a student, a brilliant industrialist and some plodding government types can save the day. I lasted about two episodes, as it alternated between reasonably smart and galactically stupid, but you might last longer. Has been renewed for a second season in the US.

Episode reviews: 1, 2

Manhunt: Unabomber (US: Discovery; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: December 12

True story of the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber, the deadliest serial bomber in history. The story focuses on FBI agent and criminal profiler Sam Worthington (Clash of the Titans, Deadline Gallipoli, Terminator 4), who pioneered the use of forensic linguistics to identify and ultimately capture Unabomber Paul Bettany. This series features Bettany and Worthington’s first leading roles on US television; it will also air on Discovery UK in 2018 at some point.

I haven’t reviewed it because it aired in August this year. Bloody August.

Le mystère du lac (Vanished by the Lake) (France: TF1; UK: Walter Presents)
Premiere date: December 13

Lise (Barbara Schulz) hasn’t returned to her small hometown since the tragedy that shattered her teens. Now a detective, she is back to care for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. But the day she arrives, a neighbour’s teenage daughter goes missing under the exact same circumstances as Lise’s two best friends 15 years previously. Determined to prevent history from repeating itself Lise imposes herself on the local police squad to help find the missing girl.

Desperate for answers, Lise takes it upon herself to revisit the cold case of her vanished friends. In the process of addressing her own painful memories, she is confronted by her mother’s own muddled recollections, including some shocking new revelations. But can Lise trust these memories have not been tainted by disease?

The Indian Detective (Canada: CTV; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: December 19

A four-part comedy series developed by Frank Spotnitz and Smita Bhide (Transporter: The Series) for comedian Russell Peters in his first starring role. It also stars WILLIAM SHATNER. Yes, that one.

Peters plays Doug D’Mello, a Toronto cop who unexpectedly finds himself investigating a murder in his parents’ Indian homeland. The investigation leads Doug to uncover a dangerous conspiracy involving David Marlowe (Shatner), a billionaire property developer, while dealing with his own ambivalence toward a country where, despite his heritage, he is an outsider.

It only started in Canada yesterday, so I haven’t had time to watch it yet. Fingers crossed, I’ll be reviewing the first episode on Monday, next week for sure.