Watch the US version of Peep Show. Well, one of them, anyway

Peep Show is coming to an end in the UK this year, with its final, ninth series starting on Channel 4 on Wednesday. Here’s a trailer, in fact.

Nine series, hey? That’s the kind of popularity that normally makes US format-acquisition specialists salivate. No surprise then that the US is currently developing its own version. Slightly more surprising is that this is their third attempt, the first attempts having died horribly. 

Want to know how horribly? Well, here’s one of them, made so long ago it was saved to a VHS in 4:3 and starred The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

[via]

What did you watch last week? Including Ambassadors, You, Me and Them, and The Tunnel

It’s “What did you watch last week?, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I watched last week 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.

Elsewhere, you can find my third-episode verdict on The Tomorrow People. Still in the viewing queue are last night’s Serangoon Road and Homeland and Saturday’s Atlantis, which given I haven’t watched last week’s episode either is probably telling me something. NBC’s Dracula I hope to be reviewing either today or tomorrow – certainly before Thursday when it airs on Sky Living.

But I’ve tried some new shows:

Ambassadors (BBC2)
David Mitchell and Robert Webb of Peep Show et al are a UK ambassador and a member of his staff, working together to further UK interests by covering up Mitchell’s cock-ups and framing the French as best they can. Unfortunately, if it weren’t for the fact that Mitchell and Webb were in it, you wouldn’t know it was a comedy, it’s that unfunny. Okay, to be fair a couple of laughs were emitted while watching it, but they may have been reflex actions.

You, Me and Them (Gold)
Seemingly a contradiction in terms, UK Gold – the home of old tele – is making its first new sitcom. From the makers of (terminally unfunny show) Outnumbered, it sees Anthony Head (Buffy et al) in a relationship with the 26-years-younger and impressively English now Eve Myles (Torchwood). They’re happy together, but everyone from Myles’ extended family to Head’s ex-wife and friends has an opinion on their somewhat icky relationship. Will the relationship weather this family-based storm?

Despite the impressive cast (Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Rawle and Susie Blake are in there, too, as Head’s ex-wife and Myles’ parents respectively), this suffers the same problem as Ambassadors in not being funny, although here, everyone is doing their hardest to convince you that actually it is. A few good lines here and there, but you do have to be the kind of person who thinks even the mention of sex or simple bad parenting is comedy gold to find this remotely entertaining. And isn’t it weird when Anthony Head uses his real accent?

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Agents of Shield (ABC/Channel 4)
Ooh, secrets are revealed! But they’re not that secret or incriminating! And no one cares! And are we going to get anything except lots of Extremis this season?

The Blacklist (NBC/Sky Living)
After last week’s stonking Manhunter tribute, this week we got a tiny Prison Break tribute, with Robert Knepper playing a man who’s good at escaping from prison, although what a shame about his limp arm. I think the plan now is to have every actor who’s ever played a famous villain face off against Spader in a series of tribute episodes, while Spader archly hams away. It’ll be fun to watch if that’s what they do. And maybe next week we’ll get some answers about what’s up with Megan Boone’s hubby?

The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic/Canal+)
The story progresses, with prostitution the apparent political motive for the villain in this version of The Bridge. Things on the English side of the story are once again far more interesting than on the French side, with the Brtis served well by Ben Richards’ ear for blokey English dialogue (“If he messes with my bitches…”, “Hey Tupac, this is South Kent not LA.”) and Stephen Dillane giving an outstanding performance as the English plod. If only the same could be said for new arrival Keeley Hawes… First episode review.

Recommended shows
Arrow
 (The CW/Sky 1)
A veritable DC comics fest, with Tony Daniel’s Dollmaker arriving on the scene (you may have noticed a head nod in the name of the Dollmaker’s attorney), Black Canary getting her own non-super-powered scream and – oh my gods – the mention of none other than Ra’s Al Ghul himself. We may even have the beginnings of a Deathstroke origin story. But oh dear, everyone on the island’s been captured and locked up again! Tsk, tsk.

Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
The A-story was more interesting as a notion – Holmes isn’t getting cases so looks for them and one seemingly minor incident becomes a full blown, major investigation – than as a crime. The B-story, however, was more interesting from the point of view of character development. The show’s really starting to need a new Moriarty, although I really liked the old one…

Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
Ooh, a new character, as well as the return of Nathan Lane. Finally, something to change the formula. One question: are the women and girls who aren’t Gloria going to get some storylines soon?

Serangoon Road (ABC1/HBO Asia)
A really exciting episode, pitting our hero (and heroine) against the black market, MI6 and others. Now officially on the recommended list.

“What did you watch last week?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

Thursday’s “Peep Show dead, the French executioner and CBS’s Anne Rice angels” news

Film casting

International TV

UK TV

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Casting on ABC’s The Black Box, NBC’s Chicago PD and Showtime’s Trending Down
  • Emily Osment to star in ABC Family’s Young and Hungry
  • Nathan Lane to co-star in HBO’s The Money
  • Andy Mientus to recur on ABC Family’s Chasing Life
  • Rumer Willis joins E!’s Songbyrd
Competitions

Competition time: see the first episode of Spiral season 4, Q&A with Grégory Fitoussi and more!

Clement and the judge in Engrenages

As I’ve mentioned before, the second Totally Serialized is about to take place in London. Featuring international cinema and TV, as well as UK shows such as Doctor Who and Peep Show, it’ll offer you the exclusive chance to see:

  • The first episode of the mini-series Labyrinth, based on the multi-million selling novel by Kate Mosse, followed by a panel Q&A with cast and key creatives
  • The UK premieres of innovative French shows Rebound, Spin and The Church Men
  • A panel on TV screenwriting with Jack Thorne (The Fades, This is England), Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) and French screenwriters
  • The world premiere of Flight of the Storks directed by Jan Kounen
  • The world premiere of Jo attended by Jean Reno
  • A comedy medley of French and British sitcoms (The Thick of It, Peep Show, Kaboul Kitchen, Workingirls)
  • A Skins revival to say goodbye to the cult show ending this year, with a screening of the very first episode and a Q&A with the creator Bryan Elsley
  • A night of Doctor Who fun with fancy dress, music, quizzes and a writing masterclass with Toby Whithouse.

Full details of what’s on are here and here’s a trailer:

And I have a pass to give away to one lucky person for all of Friday 18th’s events, which will include:

  • The UK premiere of the first episode of Spiral series 4
  • The UK premiere of new Scandinavian sci-fi show Real Humans
  • Episode two of the French political series Spin
  • A Q&A with actor Grégory Fitoussi

Here are some trailers – yes there will be English subtitles:

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is leave a comment below before midnight on Tuesday 14th January, after which the results will be announced. Good luck and spread the word!

What did you watch this month? Including The Killing 3, Arrow, The Wedding Band and The Hunger Games

It’s “What did you watch this month?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched in the past month that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

As you can probably tell from the temporary retitling of this feature, it’s been a busy old time for me of late, which is why I haven’t been updating you on shows and why I haven’t been watching as many. Oh, and the Sky+ box as been doing lots of “PART-REC” and “RECORDING FAILED” and even deleting things I have recorded, including Young Doctor’s Notebook. That’s helpful, huh?

But since a load of shows have had their finales, now seems a good time to give my thoughts on those, at least.

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Arrow, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Go On, Last Resort, Modern Family and Peep Show. I’m adding Elementary and The Wedding Band to the list as well – more on that in a moment.

And here’s a few thoughts.

  • Arrow: Slowly been declining in strength and becoming more and more comic book in its implausibility. Geoff Johns’ introduction of Huntress to the show was just dreadful, too, with bad dialogue, bad acting and a script that was actually pretty detrimental to one of DC’s best-loved female superheroines. Still, Kelly Hu got to come back for a bit at least. And then we have John Barrowman as a ‘heavy’. HA HA HA! Still, the last episode was a bit of an up-tick in quality again, so all is not lost yet.
  • Dexter – So, hang on, Dexter literally thought he had a ‘dark passenger’? It wasn’t just a metaphor? Well, that’s just bobbins. Anyway, a distinctly uninspiring finale that at least wasn’t as ridiculous as last season’s and with a big surprise (or two) to boot. And at least the first half of the season was good because of Ray Stevenson and it was good to see Dokes back, even in flashback.
  • Don’t Trust The B—-: A variable three episodes with a real clunker and a couple of very funny ones. Glad to see them remembering that Chloe is supposed to be an evil b—–, too, not just kooky and a bit of a party girl. And a head nod to The Great Gatsby – you don’t get many of those these days. As always, too, full kudos to James Van Der Beek, who is really relishing playing… himself. And Dean Cain, too.
  • Elementary: So this is more of a guilty pleasure than because it’s a great show, but I do actually look forward to it now each week. It’s still working out what exactly a Sherlock Holmes mystery should be and no matter how hard they try, Joan Watson is still incredibly dull, but it’s good fun.
  • Go On: Unlike Community, the show still hasn’t worked out how to make its individual characters gel as a group, but it’s doing some nice work with at least some of the characters by themselves.
  • Homeland: So the season finally ended with two decent episodes in a row. While it was still a little daft, the finale had the right combination of thrills, twists and developments, none of which you probably saw/will see coming. Just about redeemed itself after a season of vastly variable quality.
  • The Killing 3: So the iPlayer deleted last weeks’ episodes before I had a chance to watch them (not letting me download them didn’t help). Again, this is just one of the reasons why I’ve had a hard time watching the three seasons of The Killing. Anyway, I watched the last two and was surprised by almost nothing. Seriously, I don’t get why people love this show so much. Okay, it’s well acted, but apart from its vibe and Sarah Lund, it’s daft, stupider than an episode of season two of Homeland and is just 1001 crime drama cliches. Or at least this season has been. It would have been more of a surprise if Sarah Lund had been able to ride off into the sunset happily. In particular, the criminal’s plan four episodes ago kind of relied on the police not being able to hit him even once with 30 rounds of ammunition… as he slowly sails under a bridge they’re standing on. Just silly. Bring back The Bridge.
  • Last Resort: Talking of daft and silly, that’s Last Resort. While having a few thrilling moments each episode, it’s also had some ridiculous matte work to help some of our heroes go to ‘the Philippines’ and we have had a daft series of abduction cycles for one character that’s worse than the Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Plus the stuff with the COB has been dreadful. Shame really, but at least it looks like they’re heading towards a decent ending.
  • The Mindy Project: Interesting to see some sign of work competency from Mindy, but the Zoolander-ish attack on midwifery was just bizarre. The Christmas episode was a bit dull, but had a good final 10 minutes.
  • Peep Show: While never quite hitting the delightful depravities of previous series and while feeling a little bit like we’ve been here before, it’s still a guaranteed source of laughter each week.
  • Vegas: I’m wondering what they promised Carrie Anne Moss when they asked her to star in this, because if it was ‘a lot of screen time and a decent role’, they were lying. Ditto Jason Mara. Over the last couple of episodes, we’ve had a very clunky ‘girl power’ episode and quite a dull Christmas episode. Such a shame after the initial promise of the pilot, but it’s still a relatively absorbing weekly watch.
  • The Wedding Band: While still a bit sexist and a bit ‘male gaze’, The Wedding Band is still proving to be an interesting subversion of the ‘bro comedy’ that plays with the sexist conventions and messes around with them. It’s not outstanding, but it’s enjoyable.

And in movies:

  • The Hunger Games: Despite being loved by the same demographic as Twilight, this is a very different, far more satisfying beast – a future dystopia heavily based on ancient Rome that sees kids take the place of gladiators in a high-tech country arena where they have to fight to the death. The always excellent Jennifer Lawrence is about 1,000,000 times better – and a better role model – than Kristen Stewart’s Bella, too. Give it a watch.

“What did you watch this month?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?