- WEEKLY TV PICKS
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
NBC have released the first trailer for season 5 of Community, which sees creator Dan Harmon back in charge after a fourth season that became a parody of his cult gem. This gives us a good idea about how Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) will return to Greendale post-graduation, and my overall impression is how this taster feels quite... mature? I mean, I'm sure it's still going to be abundantly silly and goofy at its core, but this trailer doesn't have that feeling of desperation last season had. It already feels like we're getting a fresh chapter of the show, rather than a well-intentioned tribute act. I only hope the loss of Chevy Chase and the impending absence of Donald Glover doesn't prove insurmountable. We're still aiming for the "six seasons and a movie" goal, after all...
Community returns for a 13-episode season on 2 January 2014 as part of NBC's new 'Comedy Night Done Right'.
written by Chip Johannessen & Patrick Harbinson | directed by Daniel Minahan
The penultimate hour saw Brody's (Damien Lewis) mission gather momentum, with the inevitable obstacles and problems thrown his way. I actually really love Homeland when it's doing things in this vein, as it does a great job of building suspense by flitting between the CIA control room and what's happening out in the field—especially when the operation involves Brody and Carrie (Claire Danes), who are both characters that remain stubbornly unpredictable. Or predictably unpredictable?
Monday, 9 December 2013
The BBC have released the official trailer for Sherlock's third series, which premieres on BBC1 this New Year's Day (and 19 January on PBS Masterpiece over in the US). It looks good and I'm a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch's tetchy and supercilious approach to playing Holmes, but coming two years after the last episode... has excitement over the "how did Sherlock fake his own death?" mystery blown over? I'm still curious to know what the explanation is, but it's a shame this show can't be produced any quicker. A six-month wait for the answer would have been fair, or a year at the absolute most... but 24-months? The answer had better be suitably brilliant, Mr Moffat and Mr Gatiss...
TV Picks: 9-15 December 2013 (British Comedy Awards, Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery, Lucan, Royal Variety Performance, etc.)
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Misfits ends this Wednesday after five series, and we're still waiting for the US remake (which doesn't appear to be happening now Josh Schwartz has left Warners Bros., who own the script he co-wrote with Howard Overman). But did you know Italy already has a version of Misfits on-air, which started life as a webseries in 2011 before being shown on TV? You can watch the first episode above, which comes with English subtitles. The Freaks! official YouTube channel has a lot more content, too.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
MAJOR SPOILERS! So far, this fourth season has continued the good work of the third, before it started wheel-spinning and The Governor (David Morrissey) morphed into a maniacal cartoon baddie. I've often grumbled about the lack of interesting characters on The Walking Dead, but I've been pleased to see the writers make more of an effort in that respect. We had some new faces mixing with the old guard, a few of the show's underwritten characters were improved (especially Carol, who developed a controversial hard-liner attitude), and I liked how the season threw up interesting dilemmas (such as the prison's viral outbreak that started decimating the population and creating zombies-from-within). And then, of course, The Governor returned...
Friday, 6 December 2013
written by Jon Brown (story by Jon Brown & Howard Overman) | directed by Lewis Arnold
It's the penultimate episode of the last ever Misfits series, and despite this week's story being a quasi-remake of an early classic (where the first generation of misfits encountered problems with their powers after taking drugs at a rave), this one was nevertheless very entertaining and pushed the show's arcs along in big ways ready for next week's finale.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
written by Alexander Cary & Charlotte Stoudt | directed by Keith Gordon
One of the things that most appealed about Homeland when it started, and has stayed largely true ever since, is that it always eschewed the temptation to become a big action thriller. It plays in the same sandpit as predecessors like 24 and The Unit, but rarely indulges high-octane action dramatics—usually saving explosive moments for finales. So, three episodes before the finale, it was fun to see Homeland indulge itself with a whole hour dedicated to Brody's (Damien Lewis) attempt to get from Iraq to Iran and claim asylum—which was all part of the CIA plan, masterminded by Saul (Mandy Patinkin), to have him infiltrate the Iranian government and assassinate a bigwig.
Monday, 2 December 2013
TV Picks: 2-8 December 2013 (The Audience, Liberty of London, Set List: Stand-Up Without a Net, Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine, etc.)
Saturday, 30 November 2013
Labels: Movie Reviews
★★★ (out of five)
The sequel to V/H/S (a sort of a 'found footage' anthology inspired by REC) is better than its predecessor, but only because the four tales cut to the chase much sooner and don't outstay their welcome. V/H/S/2 retains the conceptual problems (VHS being a dead format it's bizarre to imagine anyone still using, and who's editing these stories together?), but it would be churlish to condemn V/H/S/2 for these reasons. All you really need to know is: are these found footage vignettes scary and worth your time? The answer is yes, for the most part.
The framing narrative ("Tape 49", directed by Simon Barrett) is stronger than the first movie's, as two private investigators go looking for a missing college student and discover a stack of VHS tapes in his abandoned home. While one checks the house, the other plays the tapes...
"Phase I – Clinical Trials" from director Adam Wingard (promoted from framing narrative duty on V/H/S) is the least-plausible of the four stories. A patient (Wingard himself) is given a cutting-edge artificial eye that is also recording everything he sees, and discovers the ocular implant enables him to see ghosts. It's THE EYE in the found footage medium, and mostly provided a string of jump-scares when the patient keeps being spooked by ghosts that are haunting his house. Were these ghosts always there, but only now seem to intent on scaring the patient silly because he can see them? I have no idea, as Wingard only really seems interested in his jump-scares. It's the first-person shooter of ghost stories. (★★ out of five)