Monday, 26 January 2015

TV Picks: 26 January – 1 February 2015 - Attenborough's Paradise Birds • Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe • Fortitude • The Good Wife • The Jump


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

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Letterboxd: SIN CITY - A DAME TO KILL FOR • BAD NEIGHBOURS • THE INBETWEENERS 2

★★½ (out of five)

There are two key problems with SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller waited too long to produce a sequel to their 2005 hit, which means the appetite for more tales from the titular city has long since evaporated; and the collection of stories featured in A DAME TO KILL FOR are all substandard compared to anything from before.

But that's not to say SIN CITY 2's a complete washout. If you're a fan of the first film, it guarantees more of the same. Some feel the lack of noticeable evolution with the technology's a problem, but I don't agree. This universe has a particular look (a largely monochrome appearance with dashes of vibrant colour, and a tendency to snap into stark silhouettes to ape the graphic novel source material), and to alter that too much would be wrong. There are sequences that are moderately more ambitious than anything seen in SIN CITY, but for the most part A DAME TO KILL FOR could have been made in 2005. Is that a flaw? For me, no—but clearly opinions will vary.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Brief thoughts on Channel 4's relationship comedy CATASTROPHE


Despite adhering to an overused setup (two lovers cope with an unwanted pregnancy), Channel 4 comedy CATASTROPHE overcame its hoariness because, frankly, it was funny and well-performed by writer-stars Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. They played, um, Sharon and Rob—middle-aged, transatlantic lovers who become expectant parents following a crazy week of passionate sex after meeting in a London bar.

Trailer: Netflix's THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT


It's the first trailer for Netflix's new sitcom THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, created by Tina Fey (30 Rock). It concerns the eponymous woman (Ellie Kemper) who's rescued from a doomsday cult, after spending 15-years in an underground bunker. Adjusting to the modern world, Kimmy gets a job as a nanny for an Upper East Side socialite (Jane Krakowski), and laughs ensue.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Trailer: HANNIBAL – Season 3


Sadly delayed from its usual spring return to summer, here's the first trailer for season 3 of NBC's stupendous HANNIBAL. It's a juicy tease that doesn't reveal too much, but neither does it skimp on actual footage from the new episodes. Interesting to see that Lady Murasaki (Tao Okamoto), Dr Lecter's "aunt", is in scenes with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), no? I'm interested to see how the show explains Hannibal's (Mads Mikkelsen) ability to abscond overseas and somehow create a new life for himself without arousing suspicion...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Trailer: THE STRAIN - Season 2


FX's vampire horror drama THE STRAIN returns this summer, and the teaser suggests it'll be larger in scope and more action-packed... although I have serious doubts this video's an accurate representation of what they'll achieve on a cable budget! On the plus side, they've cast Joaquín Cosío (Quantum of Solace) as Angel Guzman Hurtado (a.k.a 'The Silver Angel'), a popular vampire hunter from the source novels. Even better, they're replacing the child actor who played Corey Stoll's son with Max Charles from American Sniper.

Monday, 19 January 2015

TV Picks: 19-25 January 2015 - Catastrophe • Cucumber • Banana • The Eichmann Show • The Jonathan Ross Show • Mr Selfridge • Top Gear • Wolf Hall


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

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Amazon pilots: COCKED • DOWN DOG • MAD DOGS • THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE • THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS • POINT OF HONOR • SALEM ROGERS


It's Amazon pilot time... again. From the lows (axing The After before production began) to the highs (Transparent winning two Golden Globes), I think we've all adjusted our expectations of Amazon's pilots. A few will be very good, most will be decent but forgettable, and some will be just plain awful. I've seen all of the latest batch for winter 2015, so below are my capsule reviews of each...

Fox favourites 24, PRISON BREAK and THE X FILES to return! Uh, maybe.


Do you ever get the impression U.S network television wish they could turn the clock back a decade or two? Speaking at the Television Critic's Association winter press tour, Fox Television chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman announced the network was in a rebuilding mode, and have been discussing the return of some old hits...

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Review: Syfy's 12 MONKEYS


★☆☆☆

The problem facing Syfy's remake of Terry Gilliam's 1995 sci-fi mystery 12 MONKEYS (itself an adaptation of 1962 short film La Jetée) isn't that it will, inevitably, pale in comparison. It's more the fact the whole concept feels utterly exhausted at this point, as we've seen so many permutations of the 'time traveller sent back in time to prevent the end of the world' that it doesn't hold much appeal now. A film has the benefit of a big budget, and a finite ending to play around with expectations, so there are still examples of this sub-genre that work extremely well... and perhaps will always exist, adapting to the ever changing cultural concerns of the day. However, a lower-budget television series has to play the long game, which means Syfy's take on 12 Monkeys is considerably less interesting and must appeal to a wider demographic than Gilliam's cerebral puzzle-piece...