Monday, 20 April 2015

TV Picks: 20-26 April 2015 – Ballot Monkeys • Jane the Virgin • The Last Leg • Madam Secretary • The Paul O'Grady Show • Safe House • W1A


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

Sunday, 19 April 2015

OUTLANDER, 1.11 – 'The Devil's Mark'


★★★★

A pivotal and exceptional hour from Outlander, despite how much of the trial adhered to the tropes of innocent women charged with witchcraft and having to suffer the false testimonies of townsfolk with scores to settle, or who wilfully misinterpret events to serve their own prejudices and fears.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

INSIDE NO. 9, 2.4 – 'Cold Comfort'


★★★☆

"Cold Comfort" appears to be series 2's "experimental" instalment, following series 1's near-silent comedy "A Quiet Night In"—which has become an Inside No.9 tradition; seemingly inspired by the success of Psychoville's fourth episode, which was filmed in (seemingly) one uninterrupted take. The gimmick for this half-hour was about the difficulty of crafting a compelling story with a camera placed in a static position—looking down the lens of CCTV camera 9, at Comfort Support Line telephonist Andy (Steve Pemberton). Although a bit of narrative flexibility was available, by virtue of the fact there were three other camera angles visible in camera 9's feed.

Teaser: BATMAN v SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE


This teaser leaked online yesterday, so most people have already watched and condemned it based on terrible smart-phone footage. I wasn't going to do that, as everything deserves to be seen in its best form. BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a film that's struggling to excite discerning geeks, despite the fact the title alone would have sent nerds into meltdown about 10 years ago. But a lot has changed since 2005. Superhero movies are ten-a-penny, and most are very good—Oscar-worthy in the case of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. The standards are higher now, so fans expect more...

AMC's PREACHER casts its unholy trinity


The cable network's adaptation of PREACHER, the notoriously vulgar and blasphemous 1990s comic-book, has cast its three leads, and they're a very intriguing lineup. Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter) has taken the lead as disaffected preacher Jesse Custer, who has the ability to verbally impose his will on people; Ruth Negga (Agents of SHIELD) will play Jesse's crack-shot girlfriend Tulip O'Hare; and Joseph Gilgun (Misfits) has been cast as alcoholic Irish vampire Cassidy. In addition, Ian Colletti is set to play supporting character Eugene Root, aka 'Arseface' (so-named because an unfortunate firearm accident disfigures him), Elisabeth Perkins (Weeds) has joined the lineup as Vyla Quinncannon (a scheming businesswomen connected to Jesse), and Lucy Griffiths (Robin Hood, True Blood) has been cast as Emily Woodrow (a no-nonsense mother of three who becomes Jesse's advisor).

Friday, 17 April 2015

DAREDEVIL - Season One


★★★★

'Into the Ring' • 'Cut Man' • 'Rabbit in a Snowstorm' • 'In the Blood' • 'World on Fire' • 'Condemned' • 'Stick' • ' Shadows in the Glass' • 'Speak of the Devil' • 'Nelson v. Murdock' • 'The Path of the Righteous' • 'The Ones We Leave Behind' • 'Daredevil'

(Spoiler warning: the following review shouldn't be read if you haven't seen the entirety of season 1, although an effort's been made to avoid ruining the experience by mentioning notable deaths and revealing the ultimate outcome. But still, caution advised...)

MAD MEN, 7.9 – 'New Business'


★★☆☆

An episode where lots of women moved on to with their lives, either by making new connections or severing ties with their past. Betty's (January Jones) off to study for a master's degree in psychology (rationalising she's suitable because "people love to talk to me"); Megan (Jessica Paré) moved her clothes out of Don's (Jon Hamm) apartment as their defunct marriage finally reached an amicable end, sweetened by Don giving her a cheque for $1,000,0000; Don slept with quiet waitress Diana (Elizabeth Reaser), only for her to later decide she can't start a relationship because it makes her forget her two daughters (one who died, the other living with her father); and Megan's mother, Marie (Julia Ormond), had an unexpected sexual liaison with Roger (John Slattery), which inspired her to end her own unhappy marriage—to the chagrin of Megan's righteous sister Marie-France (Kim Bubbs)...

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Teaser #2: STAR WARS - THE FORCE AWAKENS


I know everyone in the known universe is sharing the new STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS teaser tailer, but for the 2% of people who get their film trailers from DMD, here's the new footage that director JJ Abrams released at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim. You get a Mark Hamill voiceover as Luke Skywalker (superb), our first look at Harrison Ford as a grey Han Solo ("Chewie, we're home"), an unexpected look at Darth Vader's half-melted helmet (was that retrieved from the crashed Star Destroyer seen in the gorgeous first shot?), and all the expected fireworks and CGI ships n' stunts. Stormtroopers! The Millennium Falcon! X-Wings! TIE Fighters! It was all here. It looks like your childhood Star Wars, brought into the modern age, without that ugly digital falseness that coated George Lucas's accursed prequels. It seems the Force is strong with this one...

ANGEL, 3.10 & 3.11 – 'Dad' & 'Birthday'

ANGEL: The part that scares me -- are all the questions, you know: Why is the sky blue? Why do people get sick? Why is there always pigs' blood in the fridge? I don't have all the answers. Well, I do to that last one.
After the breakneck pace of recent episodes, climaxing with the shock death of vampire Darla during childbirth, "DAD" was a quieter hour and a chance for the characters to have a breather, take stock of their situations, and make loose plans for the future. Angel (David Boreanaz) had the inevitable 'new daddy' troubles of trying to get his baby son to sleep, even resorting to making silly faces; Wolfram & Hart regrouped, with Lilah (Stephanie Romanov) forced to painstakingly research the mysterious goatee'd vampire killer who's arrived in town; and Holtz (Keith Szarabajka) himself took charge of the situation from Sahjhan (Jack Conley), and has began recruiting warriors who share his deep desire to kill Angel because they have relatives who fell prey to vampires...

Monday, 13 April 2015

OUTLANDER, 1.10 – 'By the Pricking of My Thumbs'


★★☆☆

"... something wicked this way comes." More than last week's mid-season premiere, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" felt like an hour that took a stride into fresher territory: introducing an important character only previously alluded to in conversations, the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow); deepening the character of Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek), Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) mystical friend at Castle Leoch; adding another complication caused by Dougal's (Graham McTavish) carnality; and even threw in some inter-clan violence with the McDonald's...