Friday, 25 July 2014


This year's San Diego Comic-Con is in full flow until Sunday, but chances are you're not there to enjoy it. But hey, the internet is your salvation! A lot of fans upload 'shaky-cam' videos of entire hour-long panels, so below are my pick of Thursday's events. (If you notice any of these embedded videos have been removed, or a better quality one becomes available, please let me know in the comments section below).

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, 5.22 - 'The Gift' & ANGEL, 2.22 - 'There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb'

BUFFY: Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.
The fifth season finale had some very good moments, but I was a little underwhelmed considering it represents the climax of what feels like a very long season. I don't think this year worked as well as it might have, with various issues throwing the storyline off-track at times, but enough worked for me to rate THE GIFT quite highly. Obviously, the shock ending of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) sacrificing herself instead of Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), to prevent an inter-dimensional apocalypse, didn't have the same impact for someone coming late to the show. I'm aware there are two more seasons to go, and it would take an inordinately brave show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer to no longer feature Buffy the vampire slayer.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Television: Escapism or Realism?

Is television drama an escape from reality, or a mirror on the world?

To immediately answer that question, it can be both. But which do you prefer? Why do YOU watch scripted television drama? Is it because it offers stories that simply can't happen in the real-world (i.e. escapism), or because it reflects ordinary lives in a more dramatic way (i.e. realism)?

I think it comes down to personal taste, and I certainly don't stick to either "type" of drama exclusively, but chances are you favour one or the other. Having grown up seeing TV as an escapist medium, I tend to enjoy the more fantasy-tinged shows over the deadly serious dramas.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The panels I would attend at San Diego Comic-Con this year...

The geek mecca of San Diego Comic-Con opens its doors tomorrow morning, and I... won't be going. This will be the 35th SDCC I've missed in 35 years. I know, it's shameful. I just find it hard to justify the cost of international flights from the UK, and, frankly, queuing for six hours alongside a 42-year-old man dressed like Optimus Prime doesn't interest me. Neither does watching a few world premieres in that kind of cramped environment, even to see a table of distant celebrities answer questions.

24: Will Jack Be Back Another Day?

Fox cancelled 24 in summer 2010, but it was revived this year for twelve-part "event series" 24: Live Another Day. It was set in London (for real) and halved the episode order, which kept the storyline much tighter. They even included a twelve-hour "time jump" in the finale, to end the season with the kind of denouement usually denied to the show because of real-time constraints.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TRUE BLOOD, 7.5 – 'Lost Cause' – party animals

PAM: Oh. My. God. I'm a Republicunt.
It helps when a show references its own ridiculousness, but it doesn't always remove the stench of a bad idea. In the aptly-named "Lost Cause", Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) organised a party round Sookie's (Anna Paquin) house, days after her best-friend and boyfriend were murdered? The writing did its utmost to make you swallow this preposterous notion, with various characters commenting on how weird it was, but I couldn't go along with it. I remain baffled True Blood is doing such a terrible job with its final season, because even season 4-6 has a sense of conviction that just about kept them watchable.

Trailer: BBC America's sci-fi drama THE INTRUDERS

The success of Orphan Black for BBC America has perhaps given the channel a taste for intellectual sci-fi, so here comes THE INTRUDERS from Glen Morgan (X Files, Millennium). It's based on a book series by Michael Marshall Smith and concerns a "secret society chasing immortality by seeking refuge in the bodies of others". In other words, someone made a book-turned-TV-show out of the explanation to 1999's Being John Malkovich?

Monday, 21 July 2014

FX will return to FARGO

Having secured 18 Emmy nominations, it was almost unthinkable FX wouldn't commission a second season of their hit crime drama FARGO. Unusually for U.S television, it will concern a completely different story, with new characters, in a different time period.

Review: MONTY PYTHON LIVE (MOSTLY) - flogging a dead parrot?

The last performance of Monty Python's reunion/farewell show at London's O2 stadium was broadcast on GOLD last night, and simulcast around the world. It was a historic moment, as it officially drew a curtain on Monty Python as a comedy entity. Their seminal sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus finished in 1974, they haven't made a feature film since 1983, and Graham Chapman's untimely death in 1989 forever dented the ensemble, but now the gang have officially bid fans goodbye.

TV Picks: 21-27 July 2014 (Alan Carr – Chatty Man, Commonwealth Games, Kevin Bridges Live, Virtually Famous, etc.)

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