... or have you hit the Escape button on AMC's new drama?
My opinion of the HBO drama's first three episodes...
My thoughts on the thrilling conclusion for Jack Bauer...
I review the premiere of Guillermo del Toro's vampire horror...
An early look at ABC's awful comedy musical...
My thoughts on CBS's new sci-fi family drama with Halle Berry...
WRITER & DIRECTOR: Graham Linehan
GUEST CAST: Belinda Stewart-Wilson (Victoria Reynholm), Noel Fielding (Richmond), Joanna Bobin (Journalist), Gemma Chan (Female Sulu), Suzy Kane (Female Bones), Simon Kunz (Judge), Alexandra Roach (Stenographer) & Nick Sidi (Lawyer)
TRANSMISSION: 30 July 2010 - CHANNEL 4/HD, 10PM
MALIK YOBA AND LAURA MENNELL JOIN THE CAST OF SYFY'S ALPHASSyfy have a superhero drama in the making called Alphas, about a team of people with extraordinary mental powers. It's written by Zak Penn (X-Men III, The Incredible Hulk), the 90-minute pilot's directed by Jack Bender (Lost), and they've just added Malik Yoba (Defying Gravity) and Laura Mennell (Watchmen, left) to the cast, alongside David Strathairn (Good Night, And Good Luck). The press release with full details is below:
Yoba Portrays the Fiery Bill Harken and Mennell Portrays the Seductive Nina Theroux in 90-Minute Pilot Directed by Lost's Jack Bender and Starring Acclaimed Actor David Strathairn.
New York, New York - July 29, 2010 - Syfy has announced additional casting for its previously announced pilot Alphas, inking actors Malik Yoba and Laura Mennell to co-star in the wry action-adventure project from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project. Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun Television and will be directed by Jack Bender (director and executive producer of Lost). It is slated to commence production next month in Toronto.
Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
Yoba plays Alphas team member Bill Harken, a former FBI agent from working class roots. Harken's Alpha skill allows him to intentionally activate a "fight-or-flight mechanism" producing a power surge of adrenaline giving him increased strength, speed and immunity from pain.
Mennell plays the complicated Alpha team member Nina Theroux. Seductive, intelligent and confident, Nina's Alpha ability allows her to influence people into doing whatever she wishes but her power can sometimes spin out of control. Her skill also comes with a personal drawback in that she can never be sure if anyone's feelings for her are real. Nina was the first team member enlisted by Dr. Rosen to whom she remains extremely loyal.
"Malik and Laura are perfect additions to an already impressive ensemble cast. They both have great intensity and charisma," said Stern. "We look forward to seeing them breathe life into the complex characters of Harken and Nina."
Malik Yoba is well known for his co-starring role as NYPD detective J.C. Williams on the popular police drama New York Undercover from 1994 to 1998, and has also appeared in the feature films Why Did I Get Married? (2007), Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010), Cool Runnings (1993) and Criminal (2004). He has made numerous television appearances including on the series Arrested Development as Ice, a bounty hunter whose real love is party planning, and the recurring character Brock Harris on the sitcom Girlfriends. Yoba also appeared in the crime drama Thief and the NBC crime drama Raines, and portrayed astronaut Ted Shaw on the futuristic drama Defying Gravity.
Malik Yoba is represented by Kieran Maguire of The Arlook Group and Steve Muller at Innovative Artists.
Laura Mennell is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Janey Slater in the feature film Watchmen, Lily Mercy in television movie Montana Sky (2007) and the Emmy nominated television movie Flight 93 (2006), which chronicled the events aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
Laura Mennell is represented by Vicki Petronio-King for Play Management Inc.
Leading the cast will be critically lauded actor David Strathairn, who earned rave reviews and received Best Actor Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Edward R. Murrow in the film Good Night, and Good Luck. Strathairn plays the unconventional, eccentric Alphas team leader Dr. Lee Rosen. Though he comes across as somewhat of an absent-minded professor at times, he is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives and in support of his Team.
BermanBraun is an independent media company whose three divisions -- television, feature film and digital media -- create and exploit entertainment content and advertising solutions throughout the world. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, founded by principals Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun in January 2007, has separate strategic global alliances with NBC and Microsoft to create and distribute creative content across all platforms. In February 2009, BermanBraun launched WONDERWALL -- the primary celebrity destination on the MSN Network, ranking ahead of TMZ.com and People.com in traffic, with number one user engagement in the celebrity news space. In April 2010, partners BermanBraun, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. (HFM U.S.) and MSN launched GLO, a lifestyle destination site. BermanBraun is currently producing THE CAPE for NBC's 2010/2011 television season. They are also producing DECODED for the History Channel for Fall 2010. BermanBraun also produces SWORDS for The Discovery Channel and IS SHE REALLY GOING OUT WITH HIM? on MTV.
About Universal Cable Productions
Universal Cable Productions creates quality content across multiple media platforms for USA, Syfy and other networks. A leader in innovative and critically acclaimed programming, UCP is the studio behind USA's Royal Pains, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Psych, In Plain Sight, Covert Affairs and Facing Kate, along with Syfy's Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Caprica. The studio also produced both long-running series Monk and Battlestar Galactica. UCP is a division of NBC Universal.
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 95 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)
"It's been an exciting time spreading the good news about Sky's investment in comedy and I'm delighted that we've been able to attract a wealth of comedy talent. Sky's investment in original comedy is testament to our long-term commitment to original and innovative programming."Lumsden made her name working for the BBC until June 2009 and is credited with developing shows like Gavin & Stacey, Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh.
"[Lucy] is the leader in her field and has made sure that customers benefit from her considerable experience and brilliant sense of humour. This really will be content worth paying for."This is great news. I'm so glad Sky are beginning to use their increasing muscle and money to create original content, rather than rely on sports, movies and US imports. Their similar initiative to fund original drama gave us Skellig, The Take, Going Postal, and Strike Back, so hopefully similar successes awaits them in comedy.
WRITERS: Brent Fletcher & Miranda Kwok
DIRECTOR: Chris Martin-Jones
GUEST CAST: Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Nick Tarabay, Viva Bianca, Katrina Law, Jai Courtney, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Craig Walsh Wrightson, Ande Cunningham, Daniel Feuerriegel, Tania Nolan, Craig Parker, Mia Pistorius, Lliam Powell, Brooke Williams & Craig Walsh Wrightson
TRANSMISSION: 27 July 2010 - BRAVO, 10PM
"The Event was the stand out show at this year's pilot screenings and so I am delighted to bring it to Channel 4 for its UK premiere. Ambitious, clever, fast-paced and gripping -– the series is the perfect addition to Channel 4's slate of quality US series. UK viewers should prepare themselves for an autumn of thrilling drama."The Event premieres in the US on 20 September. Channel 4 are expected to start showing it in October.
WRITER: Victor Fresco
DIRECTOR: Michael Fresco
CAST: Jay Harrington, Portia de Rossi, Andrea Anders, Jonathan Slavin, Malcolm Barrett, Isabella Acres, Maz Jobrani & Colin Baiocchi
TRANSMISSION: 27 July 2010 - FX/HD, 9PM
WRITER: Michael R. Perry
DIRECTOR: Rod Hardy
GUEST CAST: Reggie Lee, Michael Harney, Victor Alfieri, Gerald Kyd, James Read & Luis Gatica
TRANSMISSION: 24 July 2010 - NBC, 8/7c
Thought-provoking factual and current affairs; innovative British drama; comedy talent at its best and new entertainment shows for young audiences
BBC Three's mission to engage younger audiences with bold, creative risk-taking and challenging programming continues this coming Autumn. BBC Three continues to do what no other digital channel does in reaching younger audiences with thought-provoking factual and current affairs; innovative British fiction; new, emerging comedy talent; and entertainment shows. The channel is now the most watched channel for 16-34 year olds for the hours it broadcasts and since its relaunch in February 2008 has grown by 29 per cent.
Danny Cohen, Controller BBC Three said: "It's been a great year so far for BBC Three with young audiences growing by a further 14 per cent. We hope to build on this across the Autumn with a rich range of thought-provoking Current Affairs and Factual, youthful drama, and energetic comedy and entertainment featuring young British talent."
BBC Three's commitment to hard-hitting factual and current affairs continues with a fresh range of programmes that shine a spotlight on the lives of young people around the world.
Brand new shows being announced today in factual and current affairs include:
Stacey Dooley, one of the stars of the hit BBC three series, Blood, Sweat And T-shirts, returns with two new moving and insightful documentaries exploring the issue of child exploitation. In Stacey Dooley Investigates – Kids With Guns, Stacey meets child soldiers in the Congo and hears their personal accounts of what life as a child soldier entailed.
In Child Sex Trafficking In Cambodia Stacey travels to Cambodia, where an estimated third of the country's 80,000 sex workers are under 18, to investigate under-age sex trafficking.
The Born Survivors season also returns with more hard-hitting, inspirational documentaries in which young people who live with serious issues reveal their strategies for survival. The films tell extraordinary stories of young people surviving whatever life throws at them, giving them a unique opportunity to talk candidly about their experiences and determination to change their lives.
Can't Bully Me follows four young people aged 12-14 as they endeavour to overcome the traumatic effects of bullying. They attend a network of specialised centres for children who've been so badly affected by their experiences that they can no longer attend mainstream school.
My Boyfriend The War Hero tells the story of Craig and Vicky. Eighteen-year-old Craig was hit by a roadside explosive. He lost both legs and an arm, becoming the youngest British serviceman to be injured in Afghanistan and one of only three British soldiers with a triple amputation to have survived his injuries.
Despite her youth, and the tremendous responsibility she's taking on, Vicky remains desperately in love with her fiancé and has made a commitment not just to share a home with him, but also eventually to marry him. The film follows Craig and Vicky in the first few months of their new life together as Craig copes with the consequences of his horrendous injuries and Vicky comes to terms with her decision to "stand by her man".
In Kara Tointon – Don't Call Me Stupid, actress Kara confronts the extent to which being dyslexic has affected her and realises how different her life could be when she compares how she lives and works, to her non-dyslexic EastEnders cast-mates, friends and family.
Kara, as part of the Born Survivors season, faces the truth about her dyslexia and embarks on a potentially life-changing programme as she sets out to improve her reading age to adult status and deal with the wider implications that the condition has had on her life.
In the inspiring documentary My Brother And Me, Jeff Brazier explores his relationship with his brother Spencer, who has cerebral palsy. It's a surprising and uplifting journey of two people finally learning how to understand and accept each other for who they are.
Spencer is 24. He has never had a job or a girlfriend and spends his days watching TV and playing computer games. Jeff believes that despite his disability Spencer is capable of living a much more active and fulfilling life. Now Jeff is planning to put his theories to the test.
Jeff and Spencer spend some serious time together while their mum (Spencer's full-time carer) gets away for a much-needed break, as Spencer moves in to Jeff's house in Essex. What Spencer doesn't know is the intense programme that Jeff's got in store for him. Jeff wants to push his brother to make some real changes in his life, but will Jeff's tough love prove too much for their already fragile relationship?
Jeff says: "Through embarking on this journey with Spencer I hope to provide the catalyst that will enable him to find himself, his courage and his confidence, break down the psychological restrictions he places on himself and for us to grow close once more after our 15 years of living with some distance between us."
Also announced in comedy:
BBC Three continues to give new writers and comedians their first break in TV. On the back of a hugely successful first series, Simon Brodkin returns with his critically acclaimed character Lee Nelson in Lee Nelson's Well Good Show. Nelsy gets in among the excitable studio audience, entertaining them with cheeky banter and all manner of daft games, ably assisted by his best mate, and "fat legend", Omelette.
Other Season Highlights:
Sex, lies and true love in modern Scotland. Lip Service is a seductive new relationship drama starring Laura Fraser, Ruta Gedmintas and Fiona Button following the lives of a group of 20-something friends.
Cat (Laura Fraser) is a self-assured architect, unnerved by the return of her former lover, Frankie (Ruta Gedmintas), a talented but emotionally reckless photographer who arrives back in Glasgow unannounced, bringing havoc in her wake. Fiona Button plays struggling actress Tess, Cat's best friend and flatmate who has an uncanny knack of falling for the wrong sorts of women.
This irreverent, sexy six-part series has been created by Harriet Braun (Mistresses, Attachments).
Russell Tovey plays Steve, a laddish man with no desire to seek employment, in Stefan Golaszweski's hilarious and often shocking comedy about what really goes on behind the bedroom doors of today's twenty-somethings in Him And Her.
Dan Clark, comedian and writer, returns in the self-penned comedy, How Not To Live Your Life as desperate lothario Don who is still no wiser as to how to live his life.
And the channel welcomes home another favourite as Moz, Johnny Vegas, and Jenny, played by Sinead Matthews, return to Salford in Ideal after fleeing the UK to avoid a possible prison sentence. Ideal, now in its sixth series, is the channel's longest running comedy hit.
The Chief of Police has kicked the bucket, the President has been assassinated and the King is dead! So, who do you turn to? Each week on The King Is Dead a well-known public figure is hypothetically bumped off. It's down to the comedic interview panel, led by Simon Bird, to scour the Great British celebrity pool for a top-notch replacement. Three celebrities compete in this unique and vigorous interview process in a bid to prove they are the best applicant for the available job.
Following its success last year, The Adult Season returns to explore the pressures on young people to grow up quickly and what it means to be an adult. Leading the season of eight documentaries is a series of four films entitled My Mum And Me.
In Tulisa – My Mum And Me, Tulisa from chart-smashing N-Dubz heads ups this intimate and deeply personal authored single documentary. Tulisa's mother suffered from a schizo-affective disorder and she breaks the taboo to find out what life is like for other young Britons with a mentally ill mum or dad.
Being a teenager is tough, but for Jazz it's even harder, because she has an undiagnosed form of dwarfism and is smaller than an average seven-year-old. Small Teen, Big World tells the story of the close relationship between Jazz and her mum Bev, who has the same condition.
In the final film of the series, Glamour Models, Mum And Me gives a voice to a young girl, Georgia, whose unusual life is reaching a crossroads. Her mother is tabloid favourite Alicia Douvall. Should she pursue her mother's dreams of 21st-century tabloid celebrity or continue with her education?
The Adult Season also features a number of single documentaries: The Blind Me, from the producers of last year's acclaimed The Autistic Me, follows young blind people as they struggle to achieve the independent grown-up lives that others take for granted. Alice And Her Six Dads is a warm-hearted and emotional film, following 22-year-old Alice as she searches for her real dad.
During Alice's life there have been six different men that she's thought of as being her dad – some meant more to her than others. But there's one of these men Alice has no memory of – her biological dad. In this film Alice sets off on a journey to meet these different men from her childhood, and in the process work out what it really means to be a dad. And Alice has a big decision to make; she's recently got engaged, but which of her dads will walk her down the aisle?
Alongside these documentaries will be a range of new and returning series.
Following the success of last year's one-off documentary, Baby Beauty Queens returns as a six-part series diving into the world of the child beauty pageants where nine year olds get spray tans and diamante eyelashes are all the rage.
After a successful first series, Young, Dumb And Living Off Mum follows eight more inept and spoilt 17- to 23-year-olds as they leave their privileged pampered lives behind and attempt to grow up and sever the apron strings. From making their own beds to budgeting, they shoulder responsibility for the first time in their lives.
Also returning to the Adult Season is Underage And Pregnant – the candid programmes once again follow a mix of young mums, and some dads, with varied backgrounds as they come to terms with pregnancy, birth, and their new lives with a baby.
WRITER: Alan Ball
DIRECTOR: Michael Lehmann
GUEST CAST: Kevin Alejandro, Annica Bejhed, Grey Damon, Grainger Hines, Cooper Huckabee, Lil Mirkk, Melissa Rauch, John Rezig, Hans Tester, Tanya Wright, Marshall Allman, Mariana Klaveno, Denis O'Hare, Jim Parrack, Lindsay Pulsipher, Grant Bowler, Joe Manganiello, Brit Morgan, Evan Rachel Wood & James Frain
TRANSMISSION: 25 July 2010 - HBO, 9PM
"DirecTV wants us to do the show that we've been doing. If anything, they want us to push what we've been doing even further. They're encouraging us to be as bold as possible, which is something we strive for anyway. There have been no discussions about altering the show in any fundamental way." Continue reading...One thing that amused me about the interview is hearing that Zelman and Kessler are excited by the fact The 101 Network don't have breaks for advertising. Here in the UK, Damages has always been shown on the advert-less BBC1, so it slipped my mind that US audiences have been putting up with commercial breaks.
"Nikita is the hottest, most action-packed new drama of the season with an amazingly strong female lead that we know will excite and engage Living's audiences this autumn."Jeffrey Schlesinger, President of Warner Bros International Television Distribution:
"Our series have enjoyed great success on Living -- this is in no small part because the network truly invests in smart scheduling and creative marketing support around their programming. We believe the same will hold true for Nikita and Chase, two high-quality, compelling shows that fit perfectly into the programming mix of Living and its young audience."These are the first new US acquisition by Living since the channel was bought by Sky from Virgin Media.
WRITER: Steven Moffat
DIRECTOR: Paul McGuigan
CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Louise Brealey, Vinette Robinson, Phil Davis & Mark Gatiss.
TRANSMISSION: 25 July 2010 - BBC1/HD, 9PM
WRITER: Daniel Knauf
DIRECTOR: Michael Hurst
GUEST CAST: Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Nick Tarabay, Viva Bianca, Katrina Law, Jai Courtney, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Craig Walsh Wrightson, Daniel Feuerriegel, Ande Cunningham, Brooke Harmon, Tim Foley, Ioane King, Mark Mitchinson & David Austin
TRANSMISSION: 20 July 2010 - BRAVO, 10PM
"It's a new model for the future, of BBC Worldwide actually becoming a production partner and making stuff for themselves. Their big thing in America is Dancing With The Stars, which is the American Strictly Come Dancing. They sell that format all over the world, but they actually make that for American television and it's hugely successful, more successful than Strictly is -- this year it overtook American Idol for the first time ever. So that's part of building up a production base here, of taking British ideas -- and new ideas -- and making them on a worldwide scale. It's a really good ambition, I think, and it's going to have to be the case more and more. If you look at things like Dickens adaptations and Cranford, they haven’t been able to afford themselves for decades -- they're all made with money from Boston and stuff like that. Co-partner funding has been the future for decades now." Continue reading...
"We're always looking for guest stars who will be great in the part, but who also speak to our audience and feel like it comes out of the universe of our show. If Chuck and Morgan were watching Chuck, they would be excited about Linda coming on board. Obviously her body of work was important to us, but also knowing what this part was and the intensity that we were going to need from someone, Linda was a natural fit. She'll be [kicking ass] right out of the gate."Chris Fedak, executive producer:
"The mystery surrounding Chuck's mom is at the heart of the season, and there are going to be some shocking surprises in the first episode,” previews Fedak. “By the end of the episode we are going to turn everything on its head with regard to who she is."
"Chuck was certainly a Terminator fan, and Morgan was a Beauty & The Beast fan."How do you feel about this piece of casting? I'm quite excited. I don't personally think Hamilton's the best choice of those rumoured, from an acting standpoint, but she undoubtedly has ample geek cred. Plus, she's physically plausible as a relation of Zachary Levi (if not as perfect as Scott Bakula was as his father -- seriously, rewatch Quantum Leap, it's like someone sent Levi back in time!)