Airdates

When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE? Including New Amsterdam

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

Four acquisitions this week, but only one with a premiere date. Let me elucidate:

Acquisitions

  • Universal has picked up Global (Canada)’s six-part event mini-series about a vanished aeroplane, Departure, which stars Archie Panjabi, Christopher Plummer and a host of others. However, there’s no premiere date as of yet, probably because it only started production in November and hasn’t aired in Canada.
  • Alibi has acquired Nine (Australia)’s “so dumb it hurts” serial killer drama Bite Club, featuring Lost’s Dominic Monaghan. That’s likely to air in February, but there’s no exact date yet.
  • Walter’s bought DR (Denmark)’s adaptation of Jakob Ejersbo’s book of the same name, Liberty, featuring Connie Nielsen, Carsten Bjørnlund and Sofie Gråbøl. No premiere date either, as ‘this year’ is the best information Walter is offering at the moment.

Premiere dates

NEW AMSTERDAM — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin — (Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC)
New Amsterdam (US: NBC; UK: Amazon)
Premiere date: Friday, February 8

The Black List: Redemption‘s Ryan Eggold playing a newly arrived medical director at New York’s largest, oldest and most famous public hospital, New Amsterdam. He reckons there’s a lot wrong with it, so plans to turn it upside down, ignore all the rules and fire everybody who’s part of ‘the system’, so that doctors can get back to being doctors rather than accountants/golf players. Why, he’s so optimistic and revolutionary, he might even inspire that Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who, Sense8, The Carrie Diaries) to stop touring all the TV talk shows to raise funding and come back to working as a doctor again.

Based on a real-life doctor at the real New York hospital of Bellevue, there is at least a germ of something different in New Amsterdam and it was moderately interesting to see Eggold doing some robust change management, listening to those on the front-line to see what could be changed and then putting it into practice. The show doesn’t make him an all-knowing genius, but one who makes mistakes and is prepared to listen to find out how to fix them. It’s also not entirely populated with pretty people, with nice old doctor Anupam Kher turning out to have almost House-ian diagnostic skills, if a much better bedside manner, thanks to the mystic skill of “taking your time”.

However, the rest of the time, it’s plain old medical procedural melodrama and soap, with Eggold turning out to have cancer, his wife nearly miscarrying their baby, doctors trying to have relationships and dumping their girlfriends for not being black enough and so on. That’s before we get onto the likelihood of random people being injected with Ebola by terrorists in order to destroy New York.

This is clearly not a production team confident in its ability to woo viewers with rigorous MBA framework analyses.

By the end of the first episode, I’d been pleasantly surprised by the show but not interested in it enough to want to watch much more of it. But at the very least, it wasn’t a waste of my time.

Episode reviews: 1

Criminal Minds
News

Criminal Minds cancelled; New Amsterdam acquired; Al Pacino’s Hunt; + more

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

UK TV acquisitions

Internet TV

  • Netflix green lights: adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow Bone trilogy and two Six of Crows novels
  • Al Pacino joins Amazon’s The Hunt
  • Breeda Wool to recur on Netflix’s GLOW
  • Trailer for season 2 of Netflix’s The Punisher
  • Trailer for season 3 of Netflix’s One Day at a Time

UK TV

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • NBC green lights: pilots of legal dramas Prism and Bluff City Law
  • TBS developing: remake of TNT Comedy (Germany)’s Arthurs Gesetz (Arthur’s Law)
Project Blue Book
US TV

Review: Project Blue Book 1×1 (US: History)

In the US: Tuesdays, 10/9c, History

When is a remake not a remake? You could argue that History’s Project Blue Book isn’t a direct remake of Project UFO for sure, given that both are supposedly based on something else – real-life reports from the USAF’s Project Blue Book investigations of unidentified flying objects. However, they’re really so similar, I can’t help but feel that Project Blue Book should be described as a remake, even if it’s nowhere near as frightening or as interesting.

Project UFO was a scary thing. At least, I thought so watching at the time and even watching the title sequence now gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I’ve already written quite extensively about it elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself too much here, but essentially its final formula was:

  1. Someone spots a UFO
  2. The USAF sends two people to investigate
  3. They spend 90% of the episode proving that there was a perfectly rational explanation for everything
  4. They go away
  5. The final five minutes reveals it was aliens all along!

And Project Blue Book isn’t that different, even if the whole thing now has a big dollop of post-X-Files conspiracy theory bolted on top.

Project Blue Book
© History

History?

As it’s the History Channel and although that’s a title that increasingly should be said with air quotes round it, there is a germ of real history to Project Blue Book. It sees Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire, Queer as Folk) playing real-life university astronomer J Allen Hynek. He’s recruited by the USAF to investigate the spate of sightings of unidentified flying objects that Americans around the country have been reporting. The USAF wants him to debunk them as it’s not very helpful to have mass hysteria during the Cold War. To help him – or maybe vice versa – he’s accompanied by Michael Malarkey (The Vampire Diaries), a (not real-life) air force captain who’s been investigating UFOs by himself for some time.

Both are sceptical from the outset and prove a formidable investigatory team. Malarkey is able to use his flying and air force experience to debunk some aspects of stories and get some people to talk, while Gillen’s scientific expertise enables him to sort the ridiculous from the plausible and get others to talk.

The first episode sees the two of them investigating a (supposedly) real Project Blue Book sighting, in which a pilot collided with a ‘green orb’ but which Malarkey and Gillen reckon could well be a weather balloon. But some things don’t quite add up…

Neal McDonough

Darkhness

The scientific investigation of UFOs is strangely enough the show’s strongest quality. It really is interesting to see the two of them use science and expertise to investigate stories and discover the truth, with both actors providing strong counterpoints to one another.

But, unfortunately, lingering behind the scenes is the shadow of The X-Files. Despite this being ‘the History Channel’, all of the very real Project Blue Book turns out to be a cover-up run by Neal McDonough (Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Burning Zone, Star Trek: First Contact, Captain America) to stop people finding out the truth about the real aliens, particularly those from Roswell. Gillen and Malarkey are just patsies being used to provide a veneer of plausibility to the project.

The USAF should probably sue for libel. Certainly, it’s what ruins Project Blue Book for me. The show was already playing fast and loose with history at this point: Hynek may eventually become a believer and even invent the ‘Close Encounters’ grading system in real-life, but for the first few years of the project, he was a committed sceptic, not the easy convert the first episode suggests.

Similarly, for a conspiracy, it ain’t half clumsy. McDonough might as well be shouting at Malarkey ‘There are real aliens so stop investigating too hard or you’ll find them’ for all the subtlety the writers allow him to show and there’s only so many times that a shadowy man in a hat can follow Gillen before you wonder why he doesn’t realise someone high up has it in for him.

Blue Book

Home

Unlike Project UFO, there is an attempt to give the two investigators in Project Blue Book something of a life outside of investigating aliens. However, much of it feels like just extended efforts to keep the paranoia going through other plot lines.

Laura Mennell (Alphas, Haven, Loudermilk, The Man in the High Castle, Watchmen) has a thankless role as Gillen’s wife and so far most of her storyline has focused on going dress shopping with the potentially dangerous, potentially gay Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl), who might be trying to use her to find out more about her husband.

Otherwise, though, it’s 50% conspiracy nonsense, 50% moderately interesting adaptations of real Blue Book investigations. If we turn off a) and focus on b), the show will get a lot better, as it has a fine cast, good period detail and a decent budget for recreating ‘sightings’. Having been a bit of UFO buff as a kid, it was also thrilling to see all the famous photographs I had in my scary UFO book, too, so more of that, please.

If not, YouTube has pretty much all of Project UFO on it, so I might just give that a rewatch instead. ‘Ezekiel saw the wheel…’

Russian Doll
News

Bite Club acquired; Weird City, Russian Doll trailers; + more

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

UK TV acquisitions

Internet TV

  • Trailer for Netflix’s Russian Doll
  • Trailer for YouTube Premium’s Weird City

French TV

  • JoeyStarr, Marina Hands and Myriam Boyer to guest on France 3’s Capitaine Marleau

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

International TV

What have you been watching? Including A Ghost Story for Christmas, Plan Coeur and Counterpart

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

And we’re back in the room. Yes, TMINE’s back for 2019 and WHYBW is back on Wednesdays again. All is right in the world, non?

Runaways
Marvel’s Runaways

This week’s reviews

Obviously, TMINE’s been back for a few days now and I’ve done not one but two full boxsets this week:

  • Season 1 of Bloom (Australia: Stan)
  • Season 2 of Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu; UK: Syfy)

How impressive is that? Feel free to peruse their wisdom at your leisure.

Kevin Eldon in Cavendish
The actor Kevin Eldon

New shows

Both Canada and the US have started firing up their mid-season shows and offering previews of some forthcoming ones as well. As a result, between now and next WHYBW, I should be serving up reviews of:

  • Coroner (Canada: CBC; UK: Universal) – Serinda Swan and Roger Cross in a crime procedural adaptation of MR Hall’s novels
  • Cavendish (Canada: CBC) – comedy about two brothers who return to look after their ailing father, The Actor Kevin Eldon
  • Project Blue Book (US: History) – Aidan Gillen and Michael Malarkey investigate UFO sightings in the 50s. Not related to this show at all.
  • Deadly Class (US: Syfy) – adaptation of the graphic novel that sees Benedict Wong teach kids how to kill in the 80s
  • Black Monday (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic – probably) – Don Cheadle in a scathing satire of Wall Street in the 80s

And anything else that pops up, such as ABC (US)’s Schooled, which starts tonight (although that’s a spin-off from The Goldbergs so maybe not). Sex Education is on Netflix from Friday, so I might boxset it.

That’s a pretty full schedule, though, and as Deadly Class and Black Monday don’t air in the US for a couple of weeks, I might postpone them until nearer the time.

Plan Coeur
Plan Coeur

The regulars

After the jump, it’ll be just the usual regulars, as well as what I watched over Christmas: three full episodes of Counterpart, the remaining four episodes of Plan Cœur (The Hookup Plan), the penultimate episode of Happy Together and the season finale of Titans, as well as 2018’s A Ghost Story For Christmas. See you in a mo…

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including A Ghost Story for Christmas, Plan Coeur and Counterpart”