Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review: Channel 4's BLACK MIRROR – WHITE CHRISTMAS


★★★☆

It's hard to say which was the most exciting thing about this feature-length edition of Charlie Brooker's BLACK MIRROR; the fact the show's been given a Christmas special, or that its growing acclaim overseas resulted in Mad Men's Jon Hamm having an extensive role. Both were equally stimulating before a single frame of the show had been seen, but I'm pleased "White Christmas" managed the difficult trick of making an extended episode with an intertwined narrative work. It's just a shame that, if I'm completely honest, only a few elements of this special achieved the highs I expect from the show.

Why is there a WALKING DEAD spin-off?


Answer: $$$$$. AMC have a phenomenon on their schedule, but the cash cow only produces 16 episodes a year, which they split into two batches to try and make it feel more substantial. A spin-off (sorry, "companion" series) will help keep THE WALKING DEAD universe on-air for twice as long, while benefiting from fresh characters and a different location. It also helps that this new series (codenamed COBALT) won't be following an established comic-book's lead, which will mean no spoilers and a less predictable direction. Here's what we know:

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dan's 10 Favourite TV Shows of 2014


It's that time of the year again. I know the internet's full of top 10 lists, but mine's less about what was "the best" and more what became "a favourite". Sometimes, show X is objectively better than show Y, but X has something about it that just makes it more entertaining—for me. Basically, here are the TV shows that most captivated me during their runs, and I looked forward to sitting down to watch every week.

Isn't that all that matters, really?

Monday, 15 December 2014

TV Picks: 15-21 December 2014 - Black Mirror • British Comedy Awards • Great British Bake Off: Christmas Masterclass • Rik Mayall: Lord of Misrule • Text Santa


Below are my picks of the most notable new shows, returning or premiering on UK screens over the next 7 days...

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Video: SNL's HOBBIT OFFICE


Martin Freeman (The Office, The Hobbit) was the guest emcee of this past weekend's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and the highlight was the sketch I've embedded above. It's beautifully simple: what if the characters of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth saga were employees of an Office-style mockumentary? Freeman amalgamates Bilbo Baggins and Tim Canterbury from his two biggest pop-culture hits, with support from Bobby Moynihan (Gandalf/David Brent), Taran Killam (Gollum/Gareth), Kyle Mooney (Legolas), and Kate McKinnon (Tauriel/Dawn). It's rare for a SNL sketch to make me laugh, but this one managed it.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Trailer: BROADCHURCH - Series 2


How will ITV's small-town whodunit justify a second series, considering the murder was solved last time? It's still vague, although the first 60-second trailer for BROADCHURCH series 2 suggests the story will concern the disappearance of two little girls. It feels like we're just going to have to buy into the idea this town's cursed when it comes to bad shit happening. Maybe the disappearances will tie into last year's storyline, somehow? Who knows. But if it's ultimately a different crime being investigated in the same coastal community, I'd say the chances of a third series are slim. Unless audiences are happy to buy into the idea of picturesque Broadchurch being some kind of nexus for murder and kidnapping...

Broadchurch returns to ITV on 5 January 2015.

Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons join FARGO season 2 cast


HBO recently confirmed the new casting for True Detective, and now it's the turn of FX with FARGO. We already know the second season will jump back in time, to dramatise the 1979 Sioux Falls, South Dakota case mentioned by Keith Carradine's character Lou Solverson. Now we know that Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man) will play Peggy Blomquist, "… small town beautician with big city dreams who is trying to figure out who she really is and what she really wants as she struggles with traditional societal expectations." Her husband, a butcher named Ed, will be played by Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad).

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Fox's SCREAM QUEENS casts Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis


If you haven't heard, producer-writer-director Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) has a new 15-episode horror drama beginning on Fox early next year. Entitled SCREAM QUEENS, it's another anthology show like AHS, with the first season revolving around a campus rocked by a spate of murders. Yeah, it sounds like American Horror Story: Slasher. Or Scream: The TV Series, which is actually coming next year courtesy of MTV.

Monday, 8 December 2014

THE LEFTOVERS undergoing changes for season 2


HBO's high-concept drama THE LEFTOVERS (set in a universe where 2% of the world's population inexplicably vanished) will apparently jettison much of its supporting cast, and the action is moving away from the fictional town of Mapleton, New York.

TV Picks: 8-14 December 2014 - Big Fat Gypsy Christmas • Brian Pern: A Life in Rock • Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies • Royal Variety Performance


Below are my picks of the most notable new shows, returning or premiering on UK screens over the next 7 days...