Vella Raja
Airdates

When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE? Including Vella Raja, Escape At Dannemora, Sex Education and Titans

Every Friday, TMINE lets you know when the latest TV shows from around the world will air in the UK

Acquisitions

The big one of the week is CBS (US)’s FBI, which has been picked up by Sky. No word on an exact date or even what channel, but Sky Witness seems the obvious choice.

Premiere dates

Vella Raja

Vella Raja (Amazon)
Premiere date: Today

Amazon Prime’s first Tamil-language series, Vella Raja follows several characters that find themselves in a hostage situation after a drug heist. Stars Bobby Simha (Jigarthanda) and Parvathy Nair (Overtake).

Escape At Dannemora
Escape At Dannemora (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic)
Premiere date: Tuesday January 1, 9pm

Escape At Dannemora recounts the real-life, stranger-than-fiction prison break in upstate New York in the summer of 2015 which spawned a statewide manhunt for two convicted murderers, aided in their escape by a married female prison employee who reportedly carried on months-long affairs with both men. The limited series stars Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette, Paul Dano, Bonnie Hunt, Eric Lange and David Morse.

Sex Education
Asa Butterfield and Gillian Anderson in Netflix’s Sex Education
Sex Education (Netflix)
Premiere date: Friday, January 11

Sex Education follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) – an inexperienced, socially awkward high school student who lives with his mother, Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a sex therapist. Surrounded by manuals, videos and tediously open conversations about sex, Otis is a reluctant expert on the subject. When his home life is revealed at school, Otis realises that he can use his specialist knowledge to gain status.

He teams up with Maeve, a whip-smart bad-girl, and together they set up an underground sex therapy clinic to deal with their fellow students’ weird and wonderful problems. Through his analysis of teenage sexuality, Otis realises he may need some therapy of his own.

No trailer that I can spot, yet. Sorry

Titans

Titans (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Friday, January 11

The first programme from the US’s nascent DC Universe streaming service is actually a surprisingly credible and interesting look at some of the DC comic book world’s lesser known heroes, as well as some of its more important ones but from a different perspective than the one we’re used to at the movies. It sees original Batman sidekick Dick Grayson shed his Robin persona to become a Detroit police detective. However, it’s not long before he’s having to protect a teenage girl – who has somewhat demonic qualities – from a whole bunch of people who want her dead (or worse). Along for the ride is an alien who’s lost her memory (Starfire) and a new, shapechanging hero (Beastboy) who lives with some odd friends…

The first episode is excellent and after a few bumpy episodes caused by some bad choices of villains and supporting heroes, as well as some standalone episodes designed to launch other DC Universe shows such as Doom Patrol, the show quickly soars off to become one of the current members of TMINE’s Recommended Viewing list. Be warned, though – not only is it surprisingly sweary, its fight scenes are impressively gritty and there’s a lot of blood, so it’s not one for the young comics fan, who’d be better off watching Teen Titans Go To The Movies.

Episode reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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Tell Me A Story
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Tell Me A Story

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

It’s been a bit of a slow one, this week – yes, I’m talking about myself – but it’s also been a bit quiet for TV. I’m vaguely considering watching Amazon’s Homecoming, since:

  1. It stars Julia Roberts
  2. It’s from Sam Esmail (Mr Robot)
  3. Each episode is only about half an hour long
  4. I would have watched it last weekend, but I was away (!)

But that’s more or less been it for new shows, although I’ll be taking a look at the first episode of new arrival Tell Me A Story (US: CBS All Access) after the jump.

I’m sure the weekend will bring us something new, though. Gosh, if only there were a handy feature on this ‘ere blog that could tell me when new shows were starting

Time for the regulars, though. Black Lightning went on holiday this week, so after the jump, it’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Doctor Who, Happy Together, The Last Ship, Magnum PI, Pine Gap, Titans and You. There’s not one but two promotions in that list. Can you guess which ones will receive the TMINE blessing?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Tell Me A Story”

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Brenton Thwaites as Robin in DC's Titans
US TV

Third-episode verdict: Titans (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)

In the US: Fridays, DC Universe
In the UK: Acquired by Netflix. Will air in 2018

Genre mash-ups can work. And sometimes they don’t. Titans is an interesting example not just of sub-genre mash-ups but of how they can go both right and wrong at the same time.

A sort of Lower Decks/The Zeppo for superhero shows, it sees a bunch of also-rans and sidekicks grouping up together to fight crime, evil and maybe even the Apocalypse. The first episode introduced us to all our main characters – Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven, each of whom belongs to his or her own genre. Robin is all gritty shakycam, ultraviolence and Batman Begins, as he struggles to strike his own path as a detective away from Batman’s influence; Starfire is an odd sci-fi Bourne Identity, an alien princess who’s lost her memory and is on a quest to find out who she really is; Raven is The Exorcist, the daughter of a demon, and a potential threat to all humanity if she’s not careful; and the shape-changing Beast Boy… remains to be seen, given he’s had a grand total of five minutes’ screen-time over the first three episodes.

All separate, these worked very nicely. Surprisingly, even when they’ve come together over the three episodes to greater and lesser degrees, those genres have been able to survive contact. The plots have worked, the characters have complemented each other, nothing’s made the other seem too silly or too serious.

Titans

Hawk wind-up

The trouble, however, arrived in episode 2. In part, Titans is designed to launch other superheroes and other TV shows, with Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol set to appear next year. Episode 2 gave us Hawk and Dove and quickly exposed the fact that superheroes in silly costumes don’t look good next to grimdark – and vice versa. It also showed that Titans needs to have a good ensemble onscreen in each story: with just Robin, Raven and Hawk and Dove in the episode, it felt flabby and in need of the variety the other characters bring.

Indeed, when everyone’s united in the third episode and Hawk and Dove are still present but downplayed, Titans continues to be compelling view, as you’re never quite sure which direction it’s going to go in next. Demons? Sci-fi incinerations? Exorcisms? Detective work? Your guess is as good as mine. Even when the stupid villains of episode two, the Nuclear Family, show up again, somehow they’re more palatable.

At its best, then, Titans is a ready-made Avengers – what Justice League should have been if there hadn’t been such problems behind the scenes. There are hints at a large universe, such as Robin’s nonchalance when he realises that Starfire is an alien (I’m guessing knowing Superman might help on that score) and the presence of Donna Troy in his address book. There’s the different take on Batman, a figure who’s never actually seen in full even as Bruce Wayne, but whose mentally dodgy presence is felt throughout. There are some surprisingly good fight scenes, smart looks at what it is to be a mortal superhero who grows old and needs to wash their costume at night. It can be funny, thrilling and can evoke pathos.

However, when the show steers away from its core mix, it risks disrupting this delicate chemistry and looking downright ridiculous. If it can stay focused, Titans will be a definite keeper. But if it gets its genre mix wrong, it’ll be off the viewing queue before you can say Gotham.

Barrometer rating: 2

The Barrometer for Titans

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Titans
Internet TV

Review: Titans 1×1 (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)

In the US: Fridays, DC Universe
In the UK: Acquired by Netflix. Will air in 2018

‘Tis the season to launch new streaming TV services, apparently. You’d think there were enough already, with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Crackle et al already here and charging a healthy $10 or so a month for a subscription, but ‘No Large Media Conglomerate Left Behind’ and all that. Disney (which owns Marvel) is contemplating its own service, while WarnerBros, which is already mulling its own streaming service, has just launched another one for its DC Comics property.

It’s going to end badly, you mark my words.

Anyway, a streaming TV service needs TV to stream. Although DC Universe has a decent back catalogue of movies and TV series, a lot of DC’s comic properties are already doing nicely on other networks so are tied up elsewhere. The Flash, Arrow, Gotham, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine, Krypton, and Black Lightning won’t be gracing DC Universe yet. Instead, the company is working through some of its lesser, quirkier properties. Later down the line, we’ll be seeing live-action Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol series, but first up, we’re getting Titans.

Unsurprisingly, to ensure its first scripted outing is a success, DC Universe has chosen to commission the US’s most powerful and prolific TV producer Greg Berlanti (producer of virtually all those other DC superhero shows, plus the likes of You and a few other shows, too) to head it. Equally unsurprisingly, it’s pretty damn good. Who needs Batman, hey? F*ck Batman.

Continue reading “Review: Titans 1×1 (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)”

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Marcella
News

Marcella, Titans renewed; another Lethal exit; Netflix’s Chronicles of Narnia; + more

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

Internet TV

French TV

UK TV

  • Trailer for BBC Four’s There She Goes
  • ITV renews: Marcella
  • BBC NI: green lights legal drama Counsel, Down’s syndrome adventure drama Up and Downs, renews The Soft Border Patrol and Give My Head Peace

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Brett Dier to co-star in ABC’s Schooled
  • Tequan Richmond and Tetona Jackson to star in, Leland B Martin and Lala Milan join BET’s Boomerang
  • Matt Bomer joins DC Universe’s Doom Patrol
  • Richard Roxburgh, Gina McKee, Rory Kinnear et al join HBO’s Catherine The Great