Archives For BBC One

Random Acts of Chance

December 29, 2017 — Leave a comment

Image credit: Hulu

Eldon Chance is a middle-aged neuropsychiatrist and malcontent who demonstrates severe risk-taking behaviour, endangering the safety of himself and loved ones in the name of vigilantism. His enablers include an antique-restoring bruiser and an obsessive cop willing to work outside of the law. Continue Reading…

Hack Jobs

November 6, 2015 — Leave a comment
Image credit: Facebook/'Mr. Robot' Official Page

Image credit: Facebook/’Mr. Robot’ Official Page

Congratulations to television producers everywhere – it took them years, but they have finally found a new stock-hero to sit alongside doctors and the various branches of law enforcement. No, not the superhero – vigilantes, after all, being more or less cops with powers – but the hacker. Continue Reading…

Image Credit: Steven Lippman/Steven Lippman/SHOWTIME

Image Credit: Steven Lippman/SHOWTIME

Infidelity is almost as vital a staple of television as the violent murder of young women. Convoluted assignations are practically the only things that occur in our beloved, cryogenically-frozen soap operas, and these often end in someone’s climactic death. There isn’t a marriage on the box that doesn’t harbour a cheat or a killer. The message seems to be this: that we, the gawping masses, either want someone other than our significant others, or we want to kill them. But the telly, our moral guardian, is ever on hand to save us from our dark desires and enact them, ad nauseam, for our delectation and, presumably, titillation. Continue Reading…

Ordinary Television

April 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

Not even Channel 4’s own announcer sounded convinced when she was forced to describe the last episode of Indian Summers as the ‘gripping finale to our hit series’. This was a risible, ham-fisted attempt to lash together the hazy colonial nostalgia of a Somerset Maugham story with modern sensibilities. It failed. Continue Reading…

Maddening Mad Men

April 10, 2015
Image credit: AMC

Image credit: AMC

Alas, there wasn’t time to sit through every episode of Mad Men (AMC/Sky Atlantic), as I had pipedreamed, before the first episode of the second half of the final season (there’s an easier way to put that but as long as showrunners want to tease us with half-portions of final episodes, they should know how uncomfortable we all are). This may be a good thing: that trademark blend of purposeless sexism and misogyny, ranging from the puerile to the sadistic, was, frankly, trying by the end of this opener – exposure to 85 episodes might force a tough re-evaluation of the company one keeps on screen. Just as, say, OD-ing on Breaking Bad might make Walter White seem less of a troubled genius and more of a simpering slap-head. Continue Reading…

Cromwellian: Wolf Hall

January 24, 2015 — Leave a comment
Image credit: BBC

Image credit: BBC

Condensing Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies into six hours of television must have been a challenge that required a severe hand as well as a deft one and, after the first episode, we can conclude that Peter Straughan has produced an admirable script. One that marries well with the BBC’s seven million pound budget; both of which, one assumes, were attractive to its commanding cast. Continue Reading…

New Year’s Espionage

January 10, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Image credit: ABC/Marvel

It behooves a television critic to say something about the ‘festive telly’ but, hélas, the moment has passed, and what more is to be said? I’ve answered so many questions, seen so many of the same faces, and laughed at so few jokes on celebrity quizzes that I’m sure they must film them all in one go on a revolving cyclorama. On The Big Day itself, the BBC and ITV teamed up to give us schmaltz with both barrels in the form of Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. Continue Reading…

Image Credit: Amazon Studios

Image Credit: Amazon Studios

We have found the show of the year: Transparent. Available on Amazon Prime, and produced by Amazon Studios, I binge-watched its ten episodes in three satisfying sessions – the only reason I didn’t consume it in two being that I didn’t want it to end. Continue Reading…

***Contains spoilers for Boardwalk Empire***

Image credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

Cometh September, cometh autumn, which means longer evenings and the return of good television with which to spend them watching. Seven years after Nucky Thompson’s arrest at the end of the last season, the final run of Boardwalk Empire (HBO/Sky Atlantic) finds Steve Buscemi’s kingpin exiled to Cuba, eagerly awaiting the end of prohibition and positioning himself as the middleman between the US and Bacardi, whilst Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) is on the chain gang and America is in the depression. Although we don’t know how these things came to be – excepting the depression – it’s much better for the plot to have skipped ahead than to have had to witness Nuck’s ignominy in a trial. Continue Reading…

Forgive me, but when I first heard the premise – if we can call it that – of BBC One’s new Saturday-night filler Tumble, all I hoped was that Ashley Roberts might be found cavorting in leotard. Alas, she is not and no one’s doing anything as entertaining as cavorting in this utterly charmless programme. Continue Reading…