Friday, 1 August 2014


Friday, 1 August 2014

It's August! Summer's still here, but there's lots of good reasons to stay indoors with the television on. Below are my prime picks of shows hitting US and UK screens over the next four weeks, so read on if you need to plan your TV month...

The Killing (1 Aug, Netflix)

You thought THE KILLING had been axed? It was, twice. Luckily for fans of this U.S remake of the Nordic Noir hit, Netflix have bankrolled a fourth season for Seattle detectives Holden and Linden, who are stuck in the worst downpour since the age of Noah. Three time Academy Award-nominee Joan Allen is the big-name guest-star.

Masters of Sex (5 Aug, More4)

Unfortunately, MASTERS OF SEX wasn't a big draw for Channel 4 audiences last year, so it's been moved to sister channel More 4. Already the UK home of The Good Wife, that seems like a much better fit for this period drama about two sex researchers in the 1950s, and hopefully ratings will meet reduced expectations. I hear this second season is terrific, too.

Outlander (9 Aug, Starz)

Ronald D. Moore is still chasing a big hit after scoring a success with his Battlestar Galactica remake, and has been dipping his toe into various projects as producer (such as Syfy's Helix) since that show ended. However, OUTLANDER is the first series that he's running, based on a popular book saga by Diana Gabaldon, about a nurse in the 1940s who finds herself thrown back to mediaeval Scotland. I haven't read the novels, so have no idea how that scenario can sustain itself, but assume there's a big romance and some Life on Mars-esque time-travel angst.

A Touch of Cloth (9 & 10 Aug, Sky1)

Charlie Brooker's Naked Gun/Airplane!-inspired cop comedy A TOUCH OF CLOTH returns for a third two-part special, which is quickly becoming an annual tradition on Sky1. John Hannah and Suranne Jones are back as detectives Jack Cloth and Anne Oldman, navigating their way through the spoofs, silly wordplay and surreal sight gags. Only this time they're joined by Doctor Who's Karen Gillan as, tee-hee, Kerry Newblood.

Legends (20 Aug, TNT)

Another new U.S show begins in late-summer, and LEGENDS sounds like a remake of 1990s series The Pretender. Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) plays a CIA agent who has the extraordinary ability to adapt to any situation. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but he must kill at improv comedy. Also stars Ali Larter (Heroes) and Morris Chestnut (Nurse Jackie).

Doctor Who (23 Aug, BBC1)

The jewel in the August schedule is the eagerly-anticipated debut of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, in the eighth series of the new DOCTOR WHO. All signs point to a darker interpretation of the character, and Capaldi's has spoken about a more dramatic series with longer scenes and juicier material. It was all getting a bit manic and preposterous with Matt Smith, wasn't it. Even better, there won't be an infuriating hiatus halfway through the series, so all 13 episodes will be served up weekly until November.

The Intruders (23 Aug, BBC America)

Orphan Black's success has paved the way for this new sci-fi drama from BBC America, THE INTRUDERS, concerning a secret society who achieve immortality by taking refuge in people's bodies. It sounds like a mix of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and the explanation behind Being John Malkovich, coming from creator Glen Morgan (The X-Files). It stars John Simm (Life on Mars), James Frain (True Blood) and Mira Sorvino.

The Leftovers (TBD, Sky Atlantic)

HBO's high concept drama THE LEFTOVERS, about a world where 2% of the human population vanished instantaneously, gets its UK premiere. Don't expect any answers (perhaps ever), but do expect weird character studies and some fascinating extrapolations of what such an event would do to the survivors and society at large.

Resurrection (TBD, Watch)

Everyone wants to do a version of French drama The Returned, it seems, and RESURRECTION is a U.S supernatural drama with very strong similarities. If you like that sort of thing, and hate reading subtitles, maybe this will appeal.

Under the Dome (TBD, Channel 5)

We all quite liked UNDER THE DOME's pilot, where a massive dome trapped a small town beneath its impenetrable veneer, chopping a cow in half in the process. But then this high-concept drama failed to offer a strong enough sense of realism, and concerns about the longevity of the premise soon raised their head. I know it's based on a Stephen King book most people regard well, and presumably this means the writers have something to always refer to and lean on, but... man, this show is dull. I have no idea how it was successful enough to warrant a second season, but hopefully it won't get a third. Just explain the damn dome, because I don't care about anyone trapped under it.

For a look even further ahead, please visit and bookmark my UK-specific TV calendar.