Vinessa Antoine in Diggstown
Canadian TV

Review: Diggstown 1×1 (Canada: CBC)

In Canada: Wednesdays, 8/8.30NT, CBC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Canada is regularly seen as a bastion of liberalism, for many good reasons, even if the shine is starting to come off Justin Trudeau’s halo right now. However, oddly enough, despite a great love of home-grown legal shows that goes all the way back to Street Legal and beyond, Canada’s not had a primetime show about a black female lawyer – until now.

Diggstown sees Being Erica‘s Vinessa Antoine taking on that mantle to become a high-flying corporate lawyer who switches over to legal aid work when her aunt commits suicide, following a malicious prosecution. She chooses instead to champion the poor and unrepresented whom the system otherwise disregards and leaves to suffer.

To a certain extent, that’s all there is to say about Diggstown. That’s the show – take it or leave it. Sure, we can talk about quality. It’s certainly leagues ahead of Street Legal, even the recent revival, in pretty much every department. Antoine is a strong lead, the Halifax setting is relatively novel for a TV show and there’s a good supporting cast that includes Natasha Henstridge (Species)as Antoine’s boss.

Similarly, despite Street Legal‘s claims to relevancy, Diggstown has far more interesting things to say than its stablemate does. Antoine is an inexperienced lawyer but has been picked up like a shot, so is she a diversity hire? Work colleague Stacey Farber (Saving Hope) certainly seems to think so and believes she’s being overlooked. But Antoine points out that Farber is a rich white girl so how many extra layers of privilege has she enjoyed already without realising? It at least leads to some interesting conversations.

While Diggstown deals principally with the local black community and its overlooked issues through Antoine’s personal life, the first episode gives Farber a white, working class man to minister to. He’s a former alcoholic who desperately wants to be a good dad, yet he seems to have been correctly arrested for a DUI. It’ll mean he loses his licence and thus his job as a lorry driver, but who cares about that, right?

Diggstown does, which opens up story possibilities that the average US legal show wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

Natasha Henstridge
Natasha Henstridge in CBC’s Diggstown

Unmissable?

All of which makes Diggstown notionally a good show at least. The thing is, despite all its good qualities, there wasn’t really a point where I felt compelled to keep watching and I often had to spool back the episode after I found myself drifting. Sure, I have no real love for legal procedurals, but I can be moved from time to time by something like Goliath into watching more than a single episode.

Here, though, everything felt unquirky, if that’s a word. There was nothing to grab onto, no through-plot of note beyond Antoine dealing with her own backstory. I did like the attention to ‘the little people’, without the mawkishness of US TV, and that might keep me coming back, but nothing within the character set-up itself will.

At least, I think that’s the reason. But to be honest, I really can’t quite work out why Diggstown didn’t excite me more, given that there’s nothing really wrong with it, but quite a lot right with it. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did if you watch – and maybe you’ll be able to work out why.

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Captain Marvel
Film reviews

Orange Wednesday: Captain Marvel (2019) and Mile 22 (2018)

Every Wednesday, TMINE reviews two movies and infringes a former mobile phone company’s trademarked marketing gimmick

Two recent movies for Orange Wednesday this week, one of which only got released this week – yes, I’ve been to the cinema!

  • Captain Marvel (2019): Marvel’s first superheroine movie
  • Mile 22 (2018): Mark Wahlberg and his team of special forces spies has to get Iko Uwais 22 miles to an airport

Both of those after the jump.

Continue reading “Orange Wednesday: Captain Marvel (2019) and Mile 22 (2018)”

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Orphan Black
News

New Orphan Black series; Kaikki synnit, Leila, On My Block trailers; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

Internet TV

  • Trailer for season 2 of Netflix’s On My Block
  • Trailer for Netflix’s Leila
  • Netflix developing: limited series adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See

Scandinavian TV

UK TV

  • Trailer for series 3 of Sky1’s Jamestown

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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Secret City: Under The Eagle
Australian and New Zealand TV

Boxset Tuesday: Secret City (season two) (Australia: Foxtel; UK: Netflix)

In Australia: Mondays, 9pm, Foxtel
In the UK: Available on Netflix

Secret City was one of TMINE’s top shows of 2016. A marvellous return to the genre of ‘dogged journalist investigates political cover-up at the highest level’, it was every bit Australia’s answer to State of Play and deservedly earned worldwide success through Netflix distribution.

Starring Anna Torv as political journalist par excellence Harriet Dunkley, it also had a lot to say about Australia’s political positioning with respect to both Asia and the US, something that proved to be very timely.

The first season was reasonably self-contained, with a downbeat ending that could have left the show “one then done”. However, that Netflix success means that Secret City is back for a second season.

But when is a second season not a second season? When it has almost nothing in common with the first season.

Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: Secret City (season two) (Australia: Foxtel; UK: Netflix)”

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Now Apocalypse
US TV

Review: Now Apocalypse 1×1 (US: Starz; UK: StarzPlay)

In the US: Sundays, Starz
In the UK: Mondays, StarzPlay

Some TV shows beg you to emphasise a word in their title. Look at This is UsIt so badly wants you to say usThis is Us. Because it’s important. Because it’s saying something about human nature and human existence about us.

I’m pretty sure that the producers of Now Apocalypse want you to pronounce it Now Apocalypse. Because it’s just so now. Just so timely. Has so much to say about today’s young people.

But maybe they want you to emphasise Apocalypse. Because it feels like the Apocalypse couldn’t come sooner.

Now Apocalypse
Roxane Mesquida in Now Apocalypse

Apocalypse Generation Z

I’m middle-aged. I wasn’t when I started TMINE, but that’s writing for you. But even though I have been known to hang out with and work with millennials and Generation Zers, I’m still no longer one of the kids.

So I’ve no idea if Now Apocalypse is supposed to be a satire of this group, or even of what group it might be a satire: LA’s Generation Z, Generation Z in particular or just a bunch of dicks who hang out in California. Maybe you, young reader, will know.

What plot there is to Now Apocalypse can be summarised as follows: there’s a group of friends and lovers in LA. They complain about their dates to one another, while intermittently trying to get off with one another. And there may be reptile aliens in the dating pool. These may be weed-induced hallucinations, though.

Most of the drama revolves around Avan Jogia’s ‘Ulysses’, a “4 on the Kinsey scale” who mostly wants to get off with his flat mate, but occasionally has fantasies about his flat mate’s slightly Aspy (“I find social cues hard to read”), slightly sexy research scientist girlfriend (Roxane Mesquida). Then there’s his pal webcam girl Kelli Berglund, with whom he trades dating stories from time to time.

So far, so LA naval-gazy. But every so often Mesquida drops hints that the world is coming to an end and that possibly she might be an alien, which Jogia half picks up on, half ignores. That is, until he falls off his bike in a weed haze and finds a man having sex with a giant reptile in an alley.

Kelli Berglund in Now Apocalypse
Kelli Berglund in Now Apocalypse

Fluid

As the first episode doesn’t really go into the alien plot very much, what we’re left with is a bunch of really annoying young people navigating the dating scene and going through the usual problems of ‘open relationships’, people who only want sex, people who lie on their dating profiles et al, that have been the stuff of relationship advice columns for decades – just with the added vicissitudes of sexual fluidity, apps, Internet porn and being Californian to deal with.

While the sexual fluidity is new, it really doesn’t have much to add beyond slightly more explicit sex scenes than Man Seeking Woman had, for example. At the same time, it doesn’t have the jokes or the insight that you’d hope for in a show that’s a statement piece like this. I found myself drifting off several times while watching it, hoping that the show would make either its characters less narcissistic or the peril to the entire world more perilous but never achieving gratification on that score.

Then again, I’m not really the right age for the show, so maybe there’s a few Generation Zers out there with whom it will chime. But I suspect they’re all in California right now and probably not reading TMINE, so I’d advise everyone else not to bother with Now Apocalypse.