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  • OWN developing: modern-day power couple light drama Love is ___
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Audrey Fleurot in Les Témoins
French TV

A trailer for season 2 of Les Témoins (Witnesses)

Audrey Fleurot in Les Témoins

I’ve been a bit occupied with a broken phone today – grrr, argh – so WHYBW is going to have to wait for another time. But I’ve not forgotten you. Today – hat-tip to Thierry Attard – we have a trailer or two for season 2 of Les Témoins (Witnesses). Despite its being one of the very few French shows to make it to network TV in the UK, I missed the first season because it started airing just before my August holidays. So I can’t tell you what that was about, although the suggestions from Wikipedia are that it was quite conventional.

Witnesses is set in the small coastal town of Le Tréport in northern France, where the bodies of murder victims are being unearthed and left for discovery. The former chief-of-police, Paul Maisonneuve (Thierry Lhermitte), is implicated in the murders. Detectives Justin (Jan Hammenecker) and Sandra (Marie Dompnier) investigate the case

Sounds very vanilla.

However, season 2 looks a bit different. Marie Dompnier returns but one of my favourite actresses – Audrey Fleurot of Engrenages (Spiral) fame – is this season’s guest star and here are the trailers I promised you.

If your French is a bit duff, that’s “15 men found dead, frozen on a bus. All loved the same woman.” And here’s a write-up which I genuinely did translate myself this time:

A country road along the North Sea, the first day in Spring. 15 dead men, frozen, found sitting quietly in a bus.

Catherine Keemer: a mysterious woman, an amnesiac, discovered the next day in her car, 100km away. The 15 victims in the bus: all the men shared her love, for one night or a year. Sandra Winckler, a determined and obsessed cop who won’t tolerate an unsolved mystery. Sandra Winckler (Marie Dompnier) and Catherine Keemer (Audrey Fleurot): two woman who are going to need to unite for the better and against the worst.

Now that’s a bit more interesting. The show’s back on France 2 in March but no word yet if either Netflix or Channel 4/Walter Presents is going to pick it up. You’d hope, wouldn’t you?

PS No, I don’t know why the names are above the wrong people in the poster (the tag line: “Love is the biggest danger”)

What have you been watching? Including Travelers, Falling Water, The OA, Shooter and Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!)

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. 

I did promise you on Monday one potential last WHYBW to sign off with before the Christmas hols to mop up the few shows with remaining episodes this week. And here it is! How exciting. How reliable of me for a change.

After the jump then, the finale of Falling Water and as Netflix released all of Travelers today in the UK, I was able to binge-watch the final episodes, so I’ll be looking at them, too. Thanks to its delayed airing, I’ll be looking at the latest (not final) episode of Shooter, and I’ve also watched a few more episodes of The OA since I started it on Monday. 

On top of that, I also managed to catch up with another of Netflix’s French imports:

Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!) (France: France 2; UK: Netflix)
Sort of the French equivalent of ExtrasDix pour cent is set in a talent agency, where the various members of staff have to deal with all the problems that beset the ‘talent’, including the talent themselves. Except there’s all manner of inter-agency rivalry, poaching et al to deal with, too, once the head of the agency pops his clogs.

The show’s selling point in France is that series producer Dominique Besnehard was one of the biggest talent agents in France for 20 years and managed huge numbers of top actors, actresses and directors. He then persuaded a select range of these stars to appear as ‘themselves’ in the show to send themselves up, with episode one seeing Cécile de France (The Young Pope, Around The World in 80 Days, Mesrine) finding herself ditched from a Quentin Tarantino movie for being – gasp! – too old.

Which is a problem for UK audiences, since although there’s a chance that some of us will be familiar with some of the stars such as Audrey Fleurot from Engrenages (Spiral), most of the stars are like de France and are going to leave virtually everyone scratching our heads in exactly the same way every American did when Les Dennis turned up in Extras, for example. Even if you do know the show features such cameos (which isn’t obvious), most people aren’t going to know fictional character from cameo, let alone know an actor’s public persona and what they’re sending up.

On top of that, it’s just not that funny. Quelle surprise, given it’s France 2, but the show’s few jokes went flashing past unaccompanied by laughs. Oh, and the subtitling is terrible.

One to avoid unless you really know your French acting scene, I’m afraid.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Travelers, Falling Water, The OA, Shooter and Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!)”

News: Audrey Fleurot joins Les Témoins; Iceland’s Last Vikings; + more

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  • Rob Thomas (no, not that one) to guest on iZombie
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What have you been watching? Including Gone Girl, Suits, Spiral, The Blacklist and The Americans

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.

It’s February. How did that happen? Anyway, what with the Superbowl and the fact that no one launches any new shows at the end of January, it’s been a relatively quiet week in terms of new shows, with only Sky/Pivot bucking the trend to give us Fortitude. On the other hand, a few old hands have returned with new seasons…

After the break then, all the regulars, including 12 Monkeys, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, Banshee, Constantine, Elementary, The Flash, Gotham, Ground Floor, Hindsight, Man Seeking Woman, Spiral (Engrenages), State of Affairs, and Suits. The observant will notice that neither Cougar Town nor Marvel’s Agent Carter are on that list: that’s because I’m watching them with my wife and she only watches TV – get this – when she’s in the mood. It’s just inconceivable, isn’t it? I also tried to watch Backstrom‘s second episode but failed, as it was even less engrossing than the first episode.

But that relative lull means I’ve been able to squeeze in a movie this week.

Gone Girl (2014) (iTunes, Amazon Prime)
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike meet, fall in love and get married. Then one day, Affleck returns home to find his wife gone in mysterious circumstances. But it’s not long before the finger starts pointing at him. Novelist Gillian Flynn adapted her own bestseller for this slightly meandering, variable piece, shot with the usual visual precision by David Fincher. By turns disturbing, upsetting and even comedically ridiculous, the film veers close to misogyny, but the specificity of Affleck and Pike’s characters means they can’t be generalised to All Men and All Women or even to reality itself, such are some of the ludicrous twists. It’s at its best when analysing the nature of media coverage of criminal cases and allowing the Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack to dominate, at its worst when trying to convince the audience that This Could Happen.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Gone Girl, Suits, Spiral, The Blacklist and The Americans”