Thursday, 2 October 2014

Can the impervious COMMUNITY survive without three original actors?

Has a sitcom ever had a more turbulent life than COMMUNITY? Creator Dan Harmon was fired after three seasons by NBC. The consequently dire fourth season faced a backlash from fans. Harmon was thus rehired, but Chevy Chase didn't return. Then Donald Glover upped sticks halfway through the fifth season, ahead of the show being axed by NBC. Only for it to be rescued for a sixth season by Yahoo online; which Jonathan Banks can't return to because of commitments to Better Call Saul. And now original star Yvette Nicole Brown has announced she won't be back, having decided to spent more time caring for his ailing father.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

GOTHAM, 1.2 – 'Selina Kyle' • the child-snatchers

★★ (out of four)
written by Bruno Heller • directed by Danny Cannon

Second episodes are tough nuts to crack in the writers' room, so I won't condemn GOTHAM outright, this early, but my gut says it's a show I won't be reviewing weekly. Reviewing cop procedurals is dull work at the best of times, and Gotham's positioning as a Batman prequel already feel like more trouble than it's worth. I don't get goosebumps when someone compares Oswald Cobblepott (Robin Lord Taylor) to a penguin. It doesn't excite me that teenager Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) prefers to be called Cat. The fact young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is naturally light-footed doesn't strike me as clever foreshadowing. And I could do without the random teases that so-and-so could become The Joker, like when someone angrily refers to Detective Bullock (Donal Logue) as a "clown".

What did you think of ABC's social media obsessed comedy SELFIE?

Last night in the U.S, ABC premiered their new single-camera comedy SELFIE; a loose My Fair Lady remake starring Karen Gillan and John Cho. I already reviewed this pilot over the summer, and hated its guts, but was I too harsh? IDK. Did you find it entertaining? Did it bring the LOLZ? Or do you agree it was awful trash everyone should be ashamed about? Let me know in the comments below!


It's October. Officially autumn. So what treats does the television have in store for UK and U.S viewers from now until Halloween? Let's look at the most notable highlights...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

MAD MEN's Jon Hamm gazes into Channel 4's BLACK MIRROR

It's been announced that the ninety-minute Christmas special of Channel 4's twisted anthology drama BLACK MIRROR will star Jon Hamm (Mad Men), whose character will link three intertwined stories. He'll be joined by The Shadow Line's Rafe Spall and Game of Thrones' Oona Chaplin (great-granddaughter of silent movie legend Charlie).

Monday, 29 September 2014

OUTLANDER, 1.7 – 'Both Sides Now' • lost girl

★★½ (out of four)
written by Ronald D. Moore • directed by Anna Foerster

The mid-season finale of OUTLANDER was satisfying, if guilty of reheating the nasty threat from "The Garrison Commander", only now with added gristle because Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) newly-married to Jamie (Sam Heughan). It'll be interesting to see how Outlander deals with the fact its two love birds have hooked up this early, as they're currently in a honeymoon period where it's fresh seeing them as bonafide couple. I suspect Outlander won't regret doing it, as a number of shows have recently chosen to unite their romantic leads successfully. I recall doing that revitalised later seasons of Chuck, because the 'will-they-won't-they?' cliche of romantic fiction is more overplayed than seeing married couples dealing with life.

TV Picks: 29 September – 5 October 2014 • The Blacklist • Forever • Have I Got News For You? • Never Mind the Buzzcocks • QI • Scrotal Recall

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

Sunday, 28 September 2014

DOCTOR WHO, 8.6 – 'The Caretaker' • parental approval

★★½ (out of four)
written by Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat • directed by Paul Murphy

Over recent years, DOCTOR WHO has created a new type of episode where, essentially, The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) lives amongst normal people in an everyday setting. The first example was series 5's "The Lodger" (where The Doctor became the wacky tenant of a present-day household), followed by its its series 6 sequel "Closing Time", both written by Gareth Roberts. He continues to cleave deeper into that self-made niche, aided by Steven Moffat in this instance, and "The Caretaker" is series 8's iteration—where The Doctor goes 'deep undercover' as a school janitor, to the alarm of Clara (Jenna Coleman).

Friday, 26 September 2014

Review: SLEEPY HOLLOW, 2.1 – 'This is War' • it's back, crazier than ever!

★★ (out of four)
written by Mark Goffman • directed by Ken Olin

SLEEPY HOLLOW is back for more. More, more, more! Has there ever been a more frenzied, resolutely high-tempo supernatural drama? I can't remember the time an episode paused for breath, as the writers seem to push every scene like it's the climax of a blockbuster movie. Season 2's typically bonkers premiere, "This is War", was the concluding part of season 1's finale—answering how Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) escaped being buried alive in a wood, and partner Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) escaped being sent to Purgatory. Big answers were required, and delivered in the show's usual way: during a barrage of preposterous flashbacks, fake-outs, scene-chewing performances, copious visual effects, bizarre hoop-jumping (find Benjamin Franklin's key that can cheat the 'one in, one out' rule of purgatory), and the gross overuse use of smoke-and-light machines.

Digital Spy: What's the Big Idea? How LOST Changed U.S TV

Yesterday, an article I wrote for Digital Spy was published, entitled 'What's the Big Idea? How Lost Changed U.S TV'. It's a brief look at six shows that felt emboldened by the 2004 success of Lost to do something equally imaginative, or was directly influenced by that hit show's ethos and style. Have a look!