Babylon Berlin nightclub scene

And the winners of the Babylon Berlin competition are…

For the past two weeks, TMINE has been running a competition to win one of two boxsets of seasons one and two of the rather marvellous Babylon Berlin on DVD.

All you had to do to enter was ‘Like’ the TMINE Facebook page and leave a comment on the competition entry post. Since Disqus malfunctioned for at least one person, I allowed commenting on the Facebook post announcing the competition for said person.

Entry closed last night and the following people were all smart and talented enough to want to have Babylon Berlin on DVD and to follow the instructions:

Look at the advanced technology that runs TMINE, hey? Have you ever seen its like before?

Anyway, as usual, together with the mighty power of the Internet Random Number Generator, I’ve picked two people at random from the entries to receive the DVDs. And they are…

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Babylon Berlin

Competition time: win a copy of Babylon Berlin on DVD

It’s been a little while, I know, since the previous TMINE competition. But look at this! Here’s a chance to win series one and two of Babylon Berlin on DVD and there’ll be a chance to win Deutschland ’86 in a few weeks, too.

Babylon Berlin, of course, was one of TMINE’s Top 14 Shows of 2017. But in case you don’t know about it, here’s the Spiel (did you see what I did there?)

THE CRITICALLY acclaimed, multi award winning hit German period drama Babylon Berlin follows a young police inspector uncovering a tangled web of corruption amongst the political, social and sexual extremes of the Weimar Republic. Making waves at home and internationally after its run on Sky Atlantic, and with its third series due later this year, Babylon Berlin Series One & Two Box Set is set to arrive on DVD courtesy of Acorn Media International.

The lavish, $40m series is Germany’s most expensive drama to date, and explores a metropolis in turmoil: growing poverty stands in stark contrast to the excesses and indulgence of the night life in 1929 Berlin.

Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), an ex-soldier from Cologne, is transferred to Berlin to investigate one of Berlin’s biggest pornography rings, together with stenotypist Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries) and his partner Bruno Wolter (Peter Kurth). Rath is forced into an existential conflict, torn between loyalty and uncovering the truth as an even greater conspiracy unfolds: Soviet rebels confronting the rise of National Socialism. Berlin’s police headquarters increasingly become the melting pot of a democracy whose days are numbered.

The social climate and political factors that coalesce into a growth in power of the populist far-right has striking political relevance even now, 90 years after the show is set. With a rare 100% critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, Babylon Berlin is perfect for your next box set binge.

Babylon Berlin Series One & Two will be available digitally to download and keep from iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play on 1 March 2019 and arrives on DVD as a four-disc box set on 1 April 2019.

Continue reading “Competition time: win a copy of Babylon Berlin on DVD”
David Morrisey as Aulus
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Britannia and Black Lightning

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week

The Winter Olympics is over! Isn’t it? I think it is. I have to admit I’ve not been paying it any attention.

But it seems to be over, judging by the fact we’re starting to get some new shows again in the US. I’ve already reviewed CBS’s Living Biblically this week and at some point in the next few days, I’ll also be casting a critical eye of Good Girls and The Looming Tower. I’m skipping that Biggie and Tupac thing (Ed: Unsolved), on the general grounds it’s a mini-series, a biopic and an anthology, which is a fatal triple combination.

I might give Heathers a go, if I can be arsed, but I’ve not seen the original and other reviews haven’t been kind. I might give Canada’s Crawford and Little Dog a whirl, too, assuming I can find both a way to watch them and the time.

But that’s all for the next week to reveal. Until then, after the jump, I’ll be looking at the current regulars: Black Lightning, Corporate, Counterpart, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, High Maintenance and The Magicians. And since I had a little time to spare, I finally caught up with the final four episodes of Britannia.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Britannia and Black Lightning”

Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath in Babylon Berlin
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Babylon Berlin (season two), Counterpart and The Alienist

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week

Gosh, it’s been a busy old week, hasn’t it? Elsewhere, I’ve posted third- and fourth-episode verdicts on The Resident (US: Fox; UK: Universal Channel), Corporate (US: Comedy Central) and Burden of Truth (Canada: CBC), and that’s on top of reviewing the first episode of The Alienist (US: TNT; UK: Netflix).

Some time in the next few days I’ll be taking a gander at Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop), and passing a third-episode verdict on Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix). I’m also knuckling down to try to watch all of Netflix’s Altered Carbon in time for a Boxset Monday. Let’s see how that goes.

But today, it’s time to look at the regulars. SEAL Team and Will & Grace are on a break right now, but Engrenages (Spiral), Happy!, The Magicians and Star Trek: Discovery will all be getting my considered opinions, as will The Brave and Great News season finales (which will probably be their series finales, to be honest).

On top of that, Counterpart has now started in earnest, there’s a new episode of The Alienist and Amazon’s started dishing out two episodes of season two of Baron Noir at time (although I’ve not had time to watch today’s two new episodes, just the first two). And although it didn’t quite merit a full Boxset Monday treatment, I did watch all of season two of Babylon Berlin this week.

That’s all after the jump – see you in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Babylon Berlin (season two), Counterpart and The Alienist”

The Alienist

Review: The Alienist 1×1 (US: TNT; UK: Netflix)

In the US: Monday, 9/8c, TNT
In the UK: Available on Netflix starting April 19

Although ‘TNT – bang!’ may have had some success as a diversification strategy for the US network, giving us the likes of The Last Ship, TNT’s new slogan has largely only resulted in bold experiments such as Will that promptly flopped. The network may be looking to expand its range of interests, but it seems its viewers still want crime shows and plenty of them – and nothing but crime shows.

To its credit, though, TNT is still trying to push the envelope with its original output. In the past couple of years, we’ve had Animal Kingdom, Claws and Good Behavior, all of which have tried to change the usual procedural crime formula even if they’ve not been very good, and now we have the somewhat better The Alienist.

The Alienist

Adapted from the first of Caleb Carr’s best-selling series of book by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) and Hossein Amini (Drive), the show is a sort of Ripper Street meets Mindhunter set in 19th century New York. It stars Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil WarGood Bye Lenin!) as Dr Laszlo Kreizler, an ‘alienist’ as the then parlance described those who tried to treat the mentally ill. When a mutilated boy’s body is found dressed up as a girl on the city’s new bridge, Kreizler senses a mind at work similar to one of his former patients’ and seeks to involve himself in the investigation. Helping him are his former Harvard classmate turned newspaper illustrator Luke Evans (The Hobbit, Dracula Untold) and the police force’s lone woman, Dakota Fanning (Twilight). Hindering him – at least at the moment – is the new police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (yes, that one).

All of which sounds very promising, doesn’t it? Great cast, great looking, lots of lovely period detail, particularly in the speech and there’s a pleasing variety to the characters. It’s all a bit ‘temporal tourism’ in the style of Babylon Berlin, as we learn for example that police officers used to summon help by banging their truncheons against metal girders, but it does it very well and with a considerable amount of debauchery.

Trouble is, when I say it’s Ripper Street meets Mindhunter, that’s it. We’re done. Say no more, as it doesn’t yet do much more than relocate attempts to think like serial killers back 100 years, while pointing out that women, ethnic minorities, the mentally ill and the physically ill really didn’t have a great time of things back in the 19th century. Corsets? Apparently they were a bit tight. How do you like that insight?

It’s hugely more gory than previous shows, mind you, and the frequent visits to naked prostitutes are another obvious differentiator. But in terms of plotting, we’re basically Gotham By Gaslighting Manhunter.

Dakota Fanning in The Alienist
Dakota Fanning in The Alienist


All the same, there’s that kind of quality both in front of and behind the camera. There’s also the fact the books have done as well as they have. All of which means I’m prepared to stick it out for a few more episodes to see if there is more to the show than its first episode would suggest.

So far, not much has been done with Roosevelt, so I’m curious to see where that goes, and Brühl’s slightly bonkers speech at the end of the episode suggests that we’re not going to get modern psychology transported back into the 19th century, but something far more of its time instead.

But for such an obviously expensive, notably different looking show, TNT hasn’t exactly puts its better foot forward with its initial outing.