I review the first four episodes of BBC America's paranormal thriller, starring John Simm and Mira Sorvino...
HOMELAND! THE FLASH! CONSTANTINE! GOTHAM! More!
Fluffy time-travel historical romance for girls? THINK AGAIN!
Was this the best episode in a very, very long time...?
Syfy have a new zombie series; but it's not as good as THE WALKING DEAD, of course...
Summer 2014's almost over, but which TV show kept you most entertained?
WRITER: Mark Verheiden[SPOILERS] There are many things to enjoy, appreciate and admire about Caprica at this embryonic stage. The acting's strong, the production design's exemplary, the visual effects are fantastic, the characters show promise, Bear McCreary's score's wonderful (I also like the opening titles), and there are some interesting themes and ideas swirling around. But, despite all that, I can't help feeling I've seen one too many stories about people stuck in artificial bodies to be fully engaged with the show just yet -- despite Caprica's twist that the "ghost in the machine" is very literal, if digital...
DIRECTOR: Jonas Pate
GUEST CAST: Philip Granger, Avan Jogia, Hiro Kanagawa, Scott Porter, Polly Walker & Dale Wolfe
[*] Speaking of which, how do we feel about the visual gimmick of Zoe's robot body sometimes being perceived as Zoe in her human form by us, the viewers? I don't see that they had another option (if only to save money having to animate that CGI Cylon), but the nitpicker in me hates how other actors have to adjust their eyeline because human-Zoe's petite compared to the giant robot-Zoe.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is an amusing movie title that mentions an item of food, but can you change the existing title of a movie to include something edible?Send me your food-related movie titles by e-mail (one per entrant), and I'll pick the funniest one as the winner. The competition closes on Wednesday 3 February @6PM (GMT), and is only open to residents of the UK and Ireland who haven't won a previous competition at DMD in the last 6 months. Terms & Conditions are otherwise the same as usual and can be read here.
WRITERS: Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon & Andrew Chambliss[SPOILERS] It's time for Joss Whedon to put away his dolls and consign them to the attic. Dollhouse comes to a premature end after two short seasons, hobbled from the start by a bad timeslot and network insistence that they launch with a string of episodic stories. The series hit its stride once Whedon was allowed to build a serialized mythology mid-season, to quickly tackle some weighty existential themes. And, ironically, once he was given carte blanche to do whatever he pleased when the show was cancelled a few months ago, Dollhouse became one of the most enjoyable and stimulating sci-fi action shows of the past few years. Dollhouse won't be remembered as fondly as Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel (or even the briefer spark that was Firefly), but it was a more intelligent and mature piece of work in many ways, and at least Whedon managed to tell a complete, if heavily condensed, story...
DIRECTOR: David Solomon
GUEST CAST: Felicia Day, Adair Tishler, Zack Ward, Nate Dushku, Maurissa Tancharoen, Christian Monzon, Brandon Dieter, Noah Harpster, Brandon Molale, Alan Tudyk & Summer Glau
[*] Although I think it's worth remembering that, bad timeslot aside, Fox did renew Dollhouse for another season (despite bad ratings and poor DVD sales), they gave Whedon's team enough time to complete his story, and they aired all the remaining episodes. A better timeslot may have helped, but I think it was ultimately a clear-cut case that Dollhouse didn't appeal to many people, beyond Whedonites and sci-fi aficionados.
WRITERS: Glen Whitman & Robert Chiappetta[SPOILERS] Fringe plays the "infection card" far too often for my liking, but "The Bishop Revival" nevertheless felt a lot stronger and became more complex than I was expecting from the teaser, where a Jewish family wedding descended into chaos when fourteen of the groom's guests died of asphyxiation at their well-ventilated venue, seconds after an elderly lady appeared to point the finger at a suspicious stranger lurking nearby...
DIRECTOR: Adam Davidson
GUEST CAST: Lauren Attadia, Aaron Brooks, Magda Harout, Dan Joffre, Nancy Linari, Al Miro, Leonard Tenisci, Max Train & Brendan Zub
[*] Yes, Fringe's fascination with Germany continues, and giving us confirmation of the Bishop family's origins makes it clearer why Walter wrote that manifesto from season 1 in German.
[*] And when Jo Brand did step out of her comfort zone it was to make the astonishingly weak gag that David Mitchell's brothers are Phil and Grant Mitchell from EastEnders. A joke so amateur that David was forced to spin it off into something half-amusing (about fictional people being considered real) just to save Jo's utter embarrassment.
WRITER: Jamie BrittainIn the first of a trial-season of guest reviews, regular reader Dan Lester takes a look at the series 4 premiere of E4's teen-drama Skins...
DIRECTOR: Neil Biswas
Would you like to guest review a TV show not currently covered by Dan's Media Digest? If so, please get in touch. I'm especially interested in talented writers who would like to review Desperate Housewives on Channel 4 and Supernatural on LivingTV, but other suggestions are welcome. I can't guarantee your work will be posted here, so please don't take offence if your submission doesn't get used. It's also uncertain if my "guest review season" will become a regular fixture, so I'd appreciate some feedback on the above review from readers. Thank you.
WRITERS: Matthew Federman & Stephen Scaia[SPOILERS] Three episodes in and Human Target's mostly delivering what you demand of an action-adventure series about a freelance security expert putting himself in the line of fire to protect clients. It's fun, it's fast, the stories are easy to grasp (yet feel more robust than anything on, say, Chuck), and the casting has been excellent so far. It's still not digging its hooks into me, but that's mainly down to the decision to drip-feed information about its regulars over time, so Chance (Mark Valley) is still something of a macho cipher...
DIRECTOR: Steve Boyum
GUEST CAST: Emmanuelle Vaugier, Alex Fernandez, Tyler McClendon, Claire Smithies, Aleks Paunovic & Sean Maher
[*] Or, to be more precise, Chance's dizzying array of aliases she'll have to labouriously trace, at any rate. Let's hope she does it alphabetically, eh?
WRITERS: Matthew Weiner (3.1) & Cathryne Humphris, Kater Gordon & Matthew Weiner (3.2)[SPOILERS] Watching Mad Men somehow makes you feel like a more intelligent, sophisticated person. The glacial pace may not be to everyone's taste, but the acting, production design and scripts are so precise and beautiful that it's like letting your mind slide into the '60s for a bit of urbane escapism. Season 3's premiere "Out Of Town" picks up only six months after the events of season 2's finale, so it's April 1963...
DIRECTORS: Phil Abraham (3.1) & Lesli Linka Glatter (3.2)
GUEST CAST: Ryan Cartwright, Michael Gaston, Embeth Davidtz, Lauri Johnson, Brynn Horrocks, Sunny Mabrey, Kelly Huddleston, Annie Little, Jamie Elman, Ryan Cutrona, Eric Ladin, Kiernan Shipka, Abigail Spencer, Brian Carpenter, Kevin Cooney, Megan Henning, Talia Balsam, Elizabeth Rice & Jeremy Scott Johnson.
WRITER: Gaby Chiappe[SPOILERS] I appear to be enjoying Survivors' second series more than most people are, which is interesting to me. I don't concur with claims there's been a lack of action this year, either; in two episodes we've had people trapped under a burning hospital, a life-or-death gunshot operation, foot chases from drifters, and some escapes from an underground lab! That's enough for me. The show also feels more enjoyable now it's taking place in a big city (the production team are doing a fantastic job replicating 28 Days Later's aesthetic and eerily empty streets on a TV budget), and there's a decent mystery to the scientists over their back-story and future plans are. So, while I agree Survivors can be silly and most of the characters aren't particularly well-crafted by the writers, I'm not ashamed to admit I find it entertaining...
DIRECTOR: Jamie Payne
GUEST CAST: Fiona Douglas, Patrick Malahide, Alisa Arnah, Aleksandar Mikic, Mia Fernandez & Barry Aird
[*] That said, I'm still perplexed by why everyone keeps saying they have to leave the city because there's no food or water. I mean, the average city must have hundreds of supermarkets, and each one must be full of bottled water and canned food... so, why the alarm? Have they all been looted? Just how many survivors are there?
WRITERS: Mark Verheiden & Misha Green[SPOILERS] I feel like I'm beginning to rate the success of Heroes purely on how much happens in an episode, how quickly, and how well it keeps me entertained. See, if I rate it on storytelling complexity or my emotional connection to events, it's still barely working at all. "The Art Of Deception" was better than last week's dross because it had more relevance to the season's storyline, and there were a few scenes I rather enjoyed, but that's about as upbeat as I can get about Heroes now, as it plods towards it finale...
DIRECTOR: SJ Clarkson
GUEST CAST: Todd Stashwick, Harry Perry, Elizabeth Lackey, Erin Allin O'Reilly, David H. Lawrence & Ray Park
WRITER: Chris Fedak[SPOILERS] The storyline may have been coincidentally similar to Human Target's "Rewind" (both involved espionage aboard a commercial passenger jet, with a data-stick MacGuffin), but "Chuck Versus First Class" didn't suffer too badly in comparison. Human Target's episode was definitely more inventive with its action, but it doesn't yet have the emotional depth to its characters that Chuck has. This fifth episode of the third season felt like a notable turning point for the series, too...
DIRECTOR: Fred Toye
GUEST CAST: Brandon Routh, Kristin Kreuk, Steve Austin & Josie Davi
"In the film District 9, an alien spaceship hovers above Johannesburg and its extra-terrestrial occupants are put into a ghetto. But, if an alien spaceship appeared overheard where you live, what would you do with all the aliens inside?"After literally hours (oh, okay, four minutes) deliberation, I have decided that the best three entries, in ascending order, are as follows:
I'd leave the aliens where they were. But every so often I'd introduce a celebrity or two to live among them for a few days, all the while broadcasting the internal security camera feed live 24/7 to the watching world. Then the public could choose to vote the celeb back out, or leave them there among the visitors. Channel 4 need a replacement for Big Brother, I believe, and Celebrity Alien Filth Survivor would fill that gap. – Iain Hepburn
After viewing the spaceship from afar for several hours, I grabbed just one DVD and approached the off-worlders. Despite their primitive appearance and indecipherable facial expressions, they seemed to hold a certain degree of intellect. So I played the film entitled 'District 9'. For two hours they stared in horror. But as the film ceased and the ambiguous ending arrived, the chief adventurer turned to me and smiled. "Yes," he said. "His work is done. We will take back Neill Blomkamp now." – Neil Baker
I would round up all the aliens and put them into an amusement park, where they would be the main attraction. The male and female "prawns" would be separated into separate compounds, so as to eliminate breeding, and visitors would be protected by electric fences and hi-tech security systems. I would spare no expense, even organising a safety inspection by a small team of extraterrestrial and sea-food experts, prior to public opening. What could possibly go wrong? "Welcome to Arthropod Park." – Christopher HowardThanks to everyone who took the time to enter this contest, and better luck next time if you didn't win a prize. Special congratulations to the above winners, but particularly Christopher Howard, who walks away with the top prize of goodies.