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Big adventures on the small screen

Marvel’s Iron Fist Review Upodcast

On this week’s episode we review the first 6 episodes of Marvel’s Iron Fist, the final Marvel Netflix series before The Defenders kick in to gear.

We’re joined by our friend and comic book connoisseur Akin Aworan to breakdown the story of this billionaire turned martial artist (or is the other way around)

We try to keep it spoiler free for the most part and give a pretty clear spoiler warning before we go into details.

We talk about:

  • Our ranking of Marvel Netflix shows and how Iron Fist fits within them
  • Is the critical reception of the show justified?
  • What works?
  • What really doesn’t!
  • Spoiler section
  • We form the Rosario Dawson appreciation society
  • What we hope for the final 7 episodes of the show

Marvel’s Iron Fist is now available on Netflix globally.


You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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Ep 216: Spectral Upodcast Review

We recorded this episode during the holidays but never got a chance to post it, so with this UPOD brings you a belated festive cheer!  Returning with a Santa’s sack of new TV to consider Ahmed talks about Hulu Original Shut Eye, Shooter on Netflix and the pilot of the McGyver reboot.( As usual Martin and Asim are generally ignorant about these shows).

Bringing this back to cinema Martin talks about John Carpenter and also the upcoming season of Martin Scorcese films at London’s BFI. (for more information about the Martin Scorcese season head over to the BFI website)

The main event however belongs to a Netflix original: Spectral, which we discuss at length and alsodebate the merits of providing original content via the “new” disruptive players in the marketplace.

Spectral is available on Netflix globally, and here’s the trailer if you have missed out:


Happy 2017!

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

 

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Ep 215: Sherlock – The Lying Detective Upodcast Review

The game is well and truly afoot!  As Sherlock dives further into series 4, so Upodcasting dives further into Sherlock.  Coming up in this latest episode, we continue our own investigations, talking through all of the key issues and talking points of episode 2 – The Lying Detective.  In many ways, this could be considered the sexy episode and Asim and Martin will reveal why.  The stage is well and truly set for a grandstand finish in episode 3 and we shall return next week to conclude matters!

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

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Sherlock – The Six Thatchers Review Upodcast

Hot on the trail of the BBC’s series (no seasons please, we’re British) four opener, Upodcast takes a deep dive into the first episode.  Will Watson and Holmes get it on?  What the hell happened during the one-off Christmas special and how will Holmes talk his way out of murdering someone in cold blood?  Three small questions, among the many others that we’ve pondered since the last episode and they all get answered thankfully.  For this and more, plus our looking forward to the next two episodes, take a listen; we’ll see you again after episodes 2 and 3!

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

 

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The Flash Season 2 Review Upodcast

The consistently amazing season of CW’s The Flash comes to an end and what a season it has been. In the episode the Upodcast team breaks down some of their favorite moments, why they are still surprised how much they ended up loving the show as a whole and what to hope/expect for Season 3 (which can’t come soon enough)

You can listen/download/stream our Upodcast below.

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Quantico Ep 1 & 2 Upodcast Review

Priyanka Chopra US TV debut Quantico is a big deal! So much so that we needed to dedicate an hour just to dissect the first 2 episodes.

We’re joined by Jay also known as @Bollybrit (Nominated as a finalist in the Best Blog Category at this year’s Asian Media Awards!) who is a pretty big Priyanka Chopra fan and of course Martin who saw her in our first ever Upodcast episode of Kaminey but had lost any recollection of seeing the movie.

We talk about why Quantico is important from a diversity perspective as well as stepping stone for Bollywood. We review the first 2 episode in more detail, speak about the general intrigue, the action set pieces and how it stacks up to contemporary shows like Scandal and How to Get Away from Murder.

We wrap up the podcast by talking about which level of Bingeability the show has and which other actors could possibly make the jump to Hollywood too.

Check out more of Jay’s work on his blog on www.BollyBrit.com

You can listen/stream or download the episode below.

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Daredevil – suit close-ups

MARVEL'S DAREDEVILAs long as you’ve not been living under a rock recently, you’ll know Daredevil has started on Netflix. Or quite possibly you’ll know exactly that and also have watched all of the first series by now!

Whilst the show builds up a genuine pace and the body count rises inexorably, one thing we as viewers are deprived of, is a proper good look at the suit. But as we can see from these lovely close-ups, it’s quite a beauty.

 

This really is a gritty, grounded, authentic, suspenseful and edgy action drama featuring a great cast that includes:

  • Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil
  • Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk
  • Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple
  • Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
  • Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson
Vondie Curtis Hall as Ben Ulrich
  • 
Scott Glenn as Stick
  • Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa Marianna
  • Bob Gunton and Leland Owlsey
  • Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley

MARVEL'S DAREDEVIL

For those needing bit of background, this is a great kick-off point:

Blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) fights against injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the Super Hero “Daredevil” in modern day Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.

Daredevil is one of the best known characters among the street level heroes and is in fact – fingers crossed we hit the same levels of production budget, script etc – the first of four epic live-action adventure series (A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, all leading up to the teaming of the main characters in Marvel’s The Defenders) that delves into the backstory of how Matt Murdock evolves into Daredevil.

Marvel’s first original series on Netflix has quite some serious pedigree behind the scenes: Executive Produced by series Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (“Spartacus”, “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer“, “Angel” ) and Drew Goddard ( “Cabin in the Woods ,” “Lost,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, in addition to writing the first two episodes of Daredevil), along with Jeph Loeb ( “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Smallville,” “Heroes”), who also serves as Marvel’s Head of Television.

Community Season 5 Trailer : Beyond The Darkest Timeline

Who knew this quirky show would last until season 5?

Creator Dan Harmon is back after a troublesome season 4 which we didn’t hate as much as the rest of the fanbase but it did feel like a waterdowned, clone which had replaced the original one.

After being pushed back to january 2nd, there was still some doubt if the show would be able to return full force, especially as it was announced that Donald Glover would be leaving after 5 episodes.

But looking at this trailer, the show’s is coming back full force and adding quite a few news characters.

Community comes back 2nd of January.

(and we can’t wait!)

 

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First Trailer India’s 24 Looks Dhin-a Din Da!

Never been a huge fan of Indian Television, which are formulaic, melodramatic family dramas that keep going on and on! But there was always potential in the vast audience and talent available and it seems that legendary actor Anil Kapoor has finally tapped into it with the adaptation of “24”, produced by him which also marks his debut on the small screen.

Following the format but not the story line of the massively successful TV show, which ran for 9 seasons and ended every episode with a cliffhanger, we will see Anil Kapoor playing Jai Singh Rathod together with Anupam Kher, Tisca Chopra, Shabana Azmi and Rahul Khanna.

The show was a run away success in the wake of 9/11 and it’s tough, non negotiating brand of counter terrorism appealed to a global audience, but the concept got stale after a couple of seasons so it’s going to be interesting to see what director Abhinay Deo (who we interviewed when he was in town for promoting his debut Delhi Belly) and writing team of Rensil D’Silva and Milap Zaveri do with the format and if they’ll be able to breath live to serialized story telling in India.

Already the production values and cinematography looks like a vast improvement from what we usually see on South Asian Channels.

Here is the first trailer and poster. We’re just happy to see more of Anil Kapoor on screen, time to dust off that Lakhan costume we still have hidden in our wardrobe somewhere.

 

 

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TV New Season Preview: The Most Anticipated Fall Premieres

Fall is by far my favorite season. The leaves are starting to change around my house, the weather is getting more pleasant, and one more thing. The return of all my favorite sitcoms! It has been a long summer of reruns, Olympics (no complaints here), and other time fillers that are just teases until the new fall shows. So with all of the anticipation, what shows are going to be worth the wait? Are there any new shows that we should be watching? As we all now, as certain shows go on in their series they start to fade, but the shows here are must watch this fall.

Community

Now I want to start of the list with this gem, and also state that there is an NBC bias here. I believe they offer the best shows, and are high above other channel lineups. With all that aside, Community tops the list. This quirky series has had a rough start, and with all the mix ups within the last year or so (the firing of creator Dan Harmon) this show proves to be a hit episode after episode. For TV and movie nerds like me, the focus on the shows nerd culture, abstract meta episodes, and strong homages to other genres (think Fistful of Paintballs) have us coming back every week. This year they will be adding James Brolin as Jeff Winger’s dad to the show. Every Community fan knows Jeff’s daddy issues, so this season should prove to have some poignant, yet still hilarious moments.

The Office

This makes this list for many reasons, but most of which is to say farewell to this Thursday night staple. The U.S.’s version of The Office has had a long 8 year run, that has been full of highs and lows, taking us through the entire story of this Scranton’s office of misfits. With Steve Carell’s (Michael Scott) departure a couple seasons ago made many think that the show was done for. The following seasons were actually quite good, but I feel they have called a good time to bring the series to a close. There still a promise of great episodes, though some of the hilarious might change to heart felt, as closing series often due. Also, with Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) starting her new Fox series, it will be interesting to see what role she plays, which is also a great hilarious complement to the show. So make sure you watch this series finale, as it promises to be a good one.

The New Normal

From a show ending its run, to another starting theirs. The New Normal appears to be another quirky show dealing with the issues of a surrogate mother helping out a gay couple have children. The series looks to be an affirmative LGBT comedy, much in the vein of Modern Family (to be discussed) yet seems to be even more quirky. After some dispute over the use of the term normal in an LGBT show, it looks to have a good first year in its future. Besides, who doesn’t like a little controversy? The show will feature a mother without a filter for the offensive statements she makes (Lucille Bluth comes to mind), a young female lead who is seemingly the level headed one, and the two men looking for a child. All of these elements combined make the series look promising, and I think should be given a solid try.

Modern Family

While we’re on the subject, let’s look at Modern Family. Last season closed with Cam and Mitchell not being able to have a second child, Gloria expecting a child, and all the other craziness that is attached with this shows popularity. This show promises laughs with every single episode, and looks to still be going strong. What is great about this show, going into its new season, is that it still delivers. A lot of times you see a show start to fade at this point in its run, but week after week, Modern Family shows us a glimpse into the new view of suburbia, and its off beat characters (truly there is no “normal” lead) keeps us all coming back for more. This may be my top recommendation of the upcoming season.

Parks and Recreation

So yes, one more NBC hit to round off the list. Last seasons Parks and Recreation ended with Leslie Knope winning the local election, and her boyfriend Ben Wyatt getting an offer to move to DC for a job on Capitol Hill. The upcoming series will help bring all of those revelations to a close, but furthermore, having Leslie Knope in a higher office with more responsibilities is likely to wreak even more hilarious havoc on the town of Pawnee, Indiana. With all of the laughs that comes out of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation office, this new year proves to be full of great plot twists and Ron Swanson manliness.

So here is the list of shows you must watch this upcoming year. They are all solid comedies, and all sure to keep you entertained. All of these shows have the right formula, and the formula hasn’t yet lost its potency. For shows you can avoid, I strongly recommend avoiding The Middle. This show has been done before, and though it’s been around for a few seasons, there is nothing special or outstanding about that show. But as you’re all getting ready for the Fall season, make sure your DVRs are set for these sitcoms.

This is a guest blog from Jordan Mendys, he’s a TV and Film fanatic, and a blogger for Aspire Direct. He lives in NC with his wife, and is greatly looking forward to the new season of his favorite shows.

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Q&A with Hollywood Actor, Faran Tahir for DALLAS (New Series)

Faran Tahir may not be considered a household name yet but he has a face familiar to millions around the world. The talented actor has appeared in a number of big Hollywood films and has guest starred in the many American household television shows like Warehouse 13, Blue Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles, Supernatural, Charmed and Lost, to name a few. Faran will now be seen guest starring in the resurrected drama series, Dallas, where he plays the character, ‘Smiling Frank’ who is Cliff Barnes, driver and right-hand man.

“Dallas was a phenomenon in its time. I didn’t get to watch it regularly but I definitely knew who was who on it. The resurrected Dallas has already proved to be a hit in the US and I hope it has the same impact with the British audiences” said Faran.

Faran made his first debut in 1994 as Nathoo in Disney’s live action version of The Jungle Book. He has since gone onto star opposite Hollywoods A-list, Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, as the evil sadistic Raza in Iron Man opposite Robert Downey Jr and the heroic Captain Robau in J.J Abram’s reboot of Star Trek in a brief but momentous role.

Next year Faran will be seen starring in ELYSIUM, a sci-fi thriller with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster directed by Neill Blomkampthe director of DISTRICT 9. THE TOMB, a prison break action movie with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.JINN, a supernatural thriller and TORN, a drama about two families dealing with the untimely death of their teenage sons in a shopping mall explosion.

The new 10-part series of Dallas will be shown in the UK on Channel 5 starting 5th September at 9pm.

Here is a Q&A he did with some press people:

Did you ever watch the original series of Dallas?
Dallas was a phenomenon in its time. I didn’t get to watch it regularly but I definitely knew who was who on it. The resurrected Dallas has already proved to be a hit in the US and I hope it has the same impact with the British audiences.

What was the first day on the set of Dallas like?
On the first day we were all in the same boat. We were resurrecting an old classic with the old cast alongside a new generation of Barnes and Ewings. Everyone was nervous yet focused.

Were you given any advice by the original cast?
No. They were all praying that we wouldn’t screw it up!

You play the character ‘Smiling’ Frank Ashkani, who is he?
Frank is a mysterious man. Definitely not someone you want to mess or cross paths with. His real name is Raheed Durani and is Cliff’s right hand/driver and designated disposer of dead bodies. Sometimes referred to as ‘Smiling Frank’ but he doesn’t actually smile.

How does it feel working for Cliff Barnes?
It’s great working for Mr Barnes. All in days work.

Since starring in Dallas, have you felt the urge to shoot JR?
For those that have watched the old series will recall JR as a schemer with cut throat tactics. So, of course! Could you imagine the audience being left with another ‘Who shot JR?’ cliff-hanger.

So when did you first fall in love with acting?
My love affair with acting started when I was a little kid. I would often secretly stand in front of the mirror and act out scenes.

You have done film, television and theatre. What has given you the greatest satisfaction?
I get equal satisfaction from all three. There are stories that need the intimacy of live theatre to have the emotional impact. Then there are other stories that require the expansive canvas of the film screen and the sensitive eye of the camera to give the audience a window into characters and story. And sometimes, the freedom television affords to create a story and character over many hours can be priceless. I always say that a painter can paint in oil or water-colour or do a pencil sketch. It all depends on what story he or she is trying to tell. It is the same idea for me. It just needs to be interesting and challenging.

How did you feel when you landed a role in Star Trek?
I felt like a 10-year old boy. I have always liked Star Trek. I grew up on Star Trek. It was awesome. I have always been big fan of the original series with William Shatner and the Next Generation and respect the philosophy and its message of hope it portrays.

What was the whole experience of working in the film like?
You start off with complete awe but very quickly realize that you have a job to do and you better not screw it up. It was challenging and I wanted to show competence dignity and strength in a short amount of time.

Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you would become Captain of a Federation Starship?
A kid can dream, right? Sometimes even your wildest dreams can come true and the first time I walked on the set and the set of the ship I was like, “wow, I’m captain of a federation ship.”

How did the role of Raza in Iron Man come about?
It wasn’t easy! It involved a lot of readings with the casting director, the director and Robert Downey Jr. It also involved meetings with all the producers, a process which took almost three weeks.

What was your favourite scene in Iron Man?
I would most probably say, when I first encounter Tony Stark in the cave. I play an evil sadistic character of Raza, where it involves me or should I say Raza, putting a piece of burning coal in someone’s mouth, that’s fun right!

How did it feel getting beaten up by Iron Man?
Legendary. Growing up reading Marvel comics, never in my life did I imagine, that one day I would actually be getting beaten by Iron Man on the big screen.

Is it now easier for Asian actors in Hollywood or do you still get offered stereotypical roles?
There will always be stereotypical roles but I think that things are slowly changing. Hollywood is a tough place and not for everyone. Egos can be fragile and the business is tough. People with glass chins won’t survive. You need to be able to take a few punches and still be able to get back up.

What advice would you give young Asian actors?
Never give up on your dreams and work hard to achieve them. Complacency is death. When you find failure, be brave and when you find success show humility.

What else can we look forward to seeing you in?
I have some interesting stuff coming out in the next year. ELYSIUM, a sci-fi thriller with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster directed by the director of DISTRICT 9. JINN, a supernatural thriller and TORN, a drama about two families dealing with the untimely death of their teenage sons in a shopping mall explosion. THE TOMB, a prison break action movie with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

@asimburney

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TV Special: Awake, Alcatraz, Touch, Person Of Interest, Comic Book Men

A veritable cornucopia of televisual delights awaits with the latest instalment of Upod.  So where to start?  Well, to be honest there’s so much going on with brand new shows, season-old shows, established favourites and unusual erm, side-shows that I’ll give a simple rundown; but it almost seems unfair.

 

Given the frankly disappointing autumn debut of Pan-Am, it was a delight to get stuck into Alcatraz this year.  With many misgivings, mainly surrounding the similarities to Lost and JJ ABrams’ contribution, the Upod team is happy to love this show.  At least for probably 3 seasons; quite how good it will be in season 29 when they’ve caught the 299th prisoner, we can’t say.

 

From this we move to Kevin Smith’s reality TV show (don’t let that put you off folks) Comic Book Men – a fascinating look at a neighbourhood comic store and geekdom all rolled into one.  Ever so slightly more ambitious is the new Kiefer Sutherland show, Touch.  With a global scale and one of the main characters being a “gifted” kid, it’s just begging to fall over itself a la Heroes, but until it does, we’ll keep tuning in.

 

More conventional, but arguably of more interest, is Person of Interest (PoI).  Another JJ Abrams project which is a little bit Minority Report, partly Source Code and soemthing else, PoI was created by the lesser spotted Nolan and gives viewers more from two very talented actors: Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. 

 

Not content with the head-fuckery of the shows so far, Upod concludes it’s serious programmes by looking at Awake.  Starring Jason Isaacs as a confused and grieving-but still effective policeman, Awake places the viewer in 2 realities and then lets the rest fall into place.  It is very much worth a look.

 

Thankfully we have the 3rd season of Danny Mcbride’s outstanding Eastbound and Down to bring us back to our senses.  Kenny Powers returns to our screens for the final episodes of what must be one of HBO’s boldest shows.  The regulars return, having relocated from Mexico and Kenny’s rekindled relationship with April (and baby) gets off to a bad start.

 

So there you have it: Kevin Smith IS reality, Alcatraz probably has an alternate reality, Kiefer Sutherland’s kid wants to change reality, Jonathan Nolan is watching your reality, Jason Isaacs is greedy and wants two realities and Kenny Powers just basically ignores his reality.

@martincawley

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Community Returns Trailer

If there is a somber gloom over our faces recently, it’s because one of our favorite shows, NBC’s Community, had been put on hiatus before Xmas. With it’s uncertain future dangling between the fingers of US corporate overlords twitter prayers and online campaigns were being started everywhere with the “Six Seasons and A Movie” Battle Cry being heard in every corner of the interwebz. But we can all take a sigh of relieve as the hiatus is coming to an end and Community fans are rallying to get newbies to watch the show.

The Trailer is frankly amazing and made me laugh more than anything since Community left our screens and just re-inforced why I love this show so much. And show creator, Dan Harmon,  mentioned that it was a different experience writing and shooting the episodes in a bubble disconnected with the rest of the world and getting constant feedback from the fans that love the show. Looking at some of the shots in the trailer, we can see that the team has gone all out.

 

Community is back on screens March 15th and get your friends and family to watch it, bribe them , annoy them, blackmail them, I don’care, just do it!

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie

@asimburney

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Inbetweeners the Movie

Inbetweeners

Following 3 hugely successful series on Channel 4, the Inbetweeners faces its final curtain call with a film.  The show has been noted by some critics as being a far more accurate portrayal of the lame British male 6th form experience and of bland teenage suburbia, than the oft-feted Skins.  In just 3 short series (no more than 20 episodes in total) viewers (mainly male I’d guess) have come to love the 4 dysfunctional charcaters.  Maybe it is uncannily accurate and doesn’t try too hard, unlike Skins, which I never fell for.  However, much like the aforementioned other show on Channel 4, the Inbetweeners has also featured some damned fine music…the Ting Tings, the Jam, the Cure, MGMT and more

British audiences have already been teased with a short trailer for the feature being released on August 19th this summer.  Neil, Jay, Will & Simon will certainly leave us with a bang (I would have thought in more ways than one), having taken a typical lads holiday to Malia, in Crete.

 As the trailer doesn’t really give much away apart from Jay’s perving, whch we all know about already, we can only guess at what “gross-out” moments will be revealed.  But as the TV show has already given us moments of puking, drinking, dope-smoking and many other memorable moments, regular viewers will surely not be disappointed.  After all, the trailer does end with a quote from Jay: “You’d better bring your willies ’cause it’ll be knee deep in clunge” *

* For definition of clunge, please see Google, Zemanta doesn’t quite stretch to this unique British colloquialism.

Martin @martincawley

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The Last Airbender: The Legend Of Korra Trailer Debuts!

Forget about the M Night Shyamalan movie, the animated series The Last Airbender was probably one of the best shows on TV. It managed to satisfyingly mix an epic yet heartfelt storyline with some great martial arts on par with any hero’s journey but since it was a Nickelodeon show, not everyone gave it it’s due. Read More

Coming soon: The Hour, BBC2

 

BBC2's The Hour

New to the BBC this summer is a 6 part drama, The Hour, written by Abi Morgan. Set in 1956 on a British topical news programme (think Panorama in a prior incarnation perhaps) at the time of  the Suez crisis, The Hour, according to Ben Stephenson (Controller BBC Drama commissioning) aims “to [re-establish] BBC2’s reputation as the home of distinctive, intelligent and ambitious drama”. The BBC press release says that a competitive and sharp-witted love triangle (ouch, I don’t want to be in one of those) will be the lens through which viewers will see the defining events of the decade unfolding. The backdrop to this is a mysterious murder and a controversial and dangerous journalistic investigation.

 

With a suitably strong cast, including Dominic West, Ben Wishaw, Romola Garai and supported by Tim Pigott-Smith, Juliet Stevenson and Julian Rhind-Tutt among many others, the ingredients for a cracking 6-parter are firmly in place.

My only concern is that it will be unfairly labelled the BBC’s Madmen. Whilst I can understand the superficial comparison – set in the 1950s, looks and feels as authentic and stylish (from the trailer at least, see below) – I think this will prove to be unfair. Certainly Abi Morgan has only given viewers 6 episodes and of course the show will not span the decades and detail quite the social changes that take place over the course of Madmen. If anything, the trailer makes me think more of the opening credits to the outrageous cartoon Archer.

The Hour starts on July 19th at 9pm on BBC2.

 

 

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The Shadow Line: released on DVD

Thrilly chiller

With the current glut of American TV shows that continue to dominate the comedy / drama landscape, both in the US and here in the UK, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are high quality alternatives out there.  As Upodcasting has mentioned, nay fawned over, in the past, the possible highlight of this last year was the BBC re-working / re-boot of Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. One of the few occasions when I genuinely decried the shorter TV seasons that we enjoy in the UK.  New to the BBC this spring, was The Shadow Line.  Not something that could ever spill over into multiple seasons like for example The Sopranos or as “light” as Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow Line is a self-contained one-off series, albeit with more than three episodes.

The Shadow Line written by Hugo Blick, tells the story of a murdered drug-lord investigated by from the side of the criminal underworld and the police.  The show caught my attention initially due to Christopher Ecclestone’s presence.  Here he plays Joseph Bede, a reluctant drug-lord-cum-straight businessman, forced into the drug dealing driving seat following the death of his previous “employer” Harvey Wratten.  With a lot of angst we see Bede plan his strategy of one big deal and then exit, in order to pay for the care for his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Second in the list of notable performances goes to Chiwetel Ejiofor, as DI Jonah Gabriel.  Rather than simply give the audience a cliched “copper with questionable morals” the writers create a character who is “copper with a bullet in his head and amnesia”.  I found this twist hugely interesting and gave a lot of freedom to question the character’s motivations and potentially his morals. 

The highlight in terms of charcaters for me however, is Gatehouse, peerlessly played by Stephen Rae.  I shan’t reveal too much about Gatehouse for fear of spoiling things, but there is more than sufficient menace and threat to sustain you over the 7 episodes.  Also watch out for a superb scene in the clock shop, where he and Glickman come face to face; top notch stuff from Rae and Anthony Sher

If you enjoy police dramas but want a break from the tried and tested proceedural formula, you can do far far worse than give this a look.  There is a high quality feel throughout, coming from the strong writing and acting.  I felt the atmosphere, created by washed-out colours and bleak, empty spaces (be they urban or otherwise) was very effective: although following a trend from the Swedish Wallander shows (both UK and Swedish versions) it complemented both the writing and storyline. 

The show seemed to divide both critics and viewers when broadcast.  The watching public started at 3m viewers becoming 2m after 1 episode and then to a hardcore of 1.3m thereafter.  And critically there seemed to be much division, derision and worship in equal measure.  Some hailing the fact the Beeb had wanted to show something as complex, stylish and occasionally baffling; and some who wanted to bash the script, the “extended metaphors” and the attempt to break from the usual in-house, comfy feel of BBC drama.  Frankly I’m pleased it was made and glad I loyally watched each episode, even if the ending pissed me off slightly.  That still doesn’t detract from seeing a fine performance from an ensemble cast and having to actually think about a plot for 7 weeks.  It may be that the British public have lost their taste for adventurous, thought provoking TV drama and perhaps I am in that 1.3 million minority; but I’m better off for being so and so should you be too.

Out this week via BBC/2entertain for £15 and I would personally give this 3 1/2 stars as opposed to the 3 stars that a freebie daily newspaper in London gave it.

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New Thundercats Trailer and 10 minute footage!

Cartoon Network’s reboot of the 80’s animated Show
Thundercats is ready to air on TV in the next few months. And a new trailer and
some footage of how the show looks like have just been released on YouTube.
Check out both clips after the jump! Read More

The Wire characters what happened next: Marlo Stanfield

Here at Upodcasting we more than loved The Wire. We adored The Wire…knelt down at its altar and prayed for more of the goodstuff. Not that we were alone in this of course. And now, as times have changed and we realise that maybe only Idris Elba will be a true star off the back of the show, we can have fun following the fellow performers as they go about the humdrum existence of a mere jobbing actor. It is to my great surprise however to see that Jamie Hector has decided to leave the acting fraternity and become a footballer…most likely for Manchester United, current England Premier League champions.

Ashley Young and Marlo Stanfield – never in the same room together. 

  

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Rich Hall’s Dirty South, or, How Hollywood just doesn’t get the South

 

Repeated from July 2010, Rich Hall‘s The Dirty South, shows the comedian turning his attention to Hollywood‘s portrayal of the south.  And to be more accurate, how it has misunderstood, misrepresented and mis-sold the southern states.  Using interviews, archive footage and movie clips, Rich states a brilliant case that will make you think twice when you also fall back on generalisation and cliche when describing or poking fun at the south.

Aside from Hall’s general presentational style (best described as flat or deadpan and also ascerbic) which I enjoy, clips from Deliverance, In the Heat of the Night and To Kill a Mockingbird are brilliantly used to re-enforce his point.

Whilst the easy path to take is one that mocks the south and southerners, at least for those of us who’ve never been there, don’t live there…Rich Hall’s documentary shows us a friendly, vibrant and most definitely mis-understood south that we should not be quite so quick to parody and take the piss out of.  At the very least, the programme explains why we may have such simplistic views of this part of the US and his revelation about Burt Reyolds is absolutely outstanding.  Catch it on BBC iPlayer while you can.

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A list of black actors on Friends

Pretty hilarious video that start a bit slow but the beat kicks in around the 37 sec mark! Before watching though give it a think, how many black actors were there in Friends?

I could only come up with Charlie (Aisha Tyler) and that was in the final seasons. Check out the clip after the jump!

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Gylne Tider: Let it be- The Ultimate Celebrity Where Are They Now?

Gylne Tider means Golden Times in Norwegian and for the premiere of the 4th season of  “Where are they now?” a little viral video has been created with a host of childhood stars. Altough I don’t understand why some of the people are included (Glenn Close, Mickey Rourke) as they still have pretty succesful careers, it is fun to see a lot of older faces on blue screen backgrounds. Check out this awesome viral video after the jump! Read More

Jersey Shore: The Video Game

Probably the crassiest show on television at the moment but for many a guilty pleasure. What if Jersey Shore was an 8bit video game? The Guys and Gals from College Humourhave answered that question. I dno’t watch the show enough to get all the references but still funny to see Snooki and The Situation in this old school avatar! Check out the funny clip after the jump!

Let us know what you thought of the vid on the comment section below!

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HELP! Glee beats the Beatles!

Do they know that L with thumb & fore-finger means loser?

More disappointment this week for Beatles fans when it was revealed that one of the most enduring records in pop history was broken. Having held the top spot for a non-solo artist with the most records in the top 100 since 1964 (with 71) the juggernaut of a show that is Glee can now count on 75 singles having entered the American top 100.

The fab 4 show us how it's done but it doesn't mean Help! in semaphore 😉

What you may ask, does all of this mean? Well, if you’re a Beatles fan like I am, then on the surface it’s depressing. Surely the fab 4 were more musical, more talented and in hindsight, more loved than those 1 dimensional Disney-esque puppets the public can’t seem to get enough of? Well, apparently not; at least in terms of top 100 records anyway! However, start to scratch the surface and some of the Glee shine (could be a furniture polish with that name) starts to fade.

Not only do the Beatles win a top 10 head to head (34 v 1) but even this one from Glee was a cover version of a song people only like in an “aren’t the 80s cool”, ironic way, because ultimately Don’t Stop Believin’ is kinda crap. Jeez, the band was even called Journey FFS! Furthermore the Beatles didn’t release 5 singles a week and weren’t backed by multi-media marketing frenzy and more channels through which to buy music.

So bask in the artificial glory all you Glee lovers out there…the Beatles will take you on mano e mano when the back catalog is out for legal download and if anyone even knows what Glee was in 45 years time I’ll be mightily surprised.

I rest my case.

P.S. Kudos to Asim for creating the headline!
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Preview: Outsourced! Offensive or Funny?

So it seems Yemrika (the evil twin of America) has decided that desis need to start laughing with/at themselves and to aid poor brown people develop a sense of humour there is a new show on it’s way called Outsourced. Is this new NBC-show, programmed for their Fall line-up, supposed to be funny or just plain offensive, check out the clip after the jump!

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Gameswipe: Charlie Brooker’s done it again

Occasionally, channel surfing throws up something quite interesting. And not in the “oh I didn’t know fruit bats actually ate fruit” kind of way. This was certainly the case with Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe, re-screened by the Beeb last week and something I chanced uopn.

If you’re not familiar with Charlie Brooker, he usually fronts a show called Newswipe where he exposes the inner workings of news media, or Screenwipe where he exposes the inner workings and agenda of the television in general.

Gameswipe doesn’t quite follow in this trend, but his usual deadpan, sardonic and vaguely acerbic delivery remained. As someone who doesn’t play games, apart from Street Fighter and Angry Birds on the iPhone I loved the potted history of videogames and the demonstration of different videogames genres via a man in a black lycra suit (think Charlie from Sunny in Philadelphia playing Green Man, but in black and you get the picture).

Brooker also showed us how videogames have been presented in the media – mainly either in a patronising way or in shock at the fact you can beat someone senseless in the GTA series (for example and not exclusively) of games. What was enlightening however, was that Brooker, as a keen gamer and videogames journalist in a prior life, laid some of the blame for this perception at the failure of gamers in general to convey their hobby to a wider audience. To be fair, he did then talk about games such as Mad World on the Wii…

So, as far as “videogames” shows go and despite it being a one-off, Gameswipe is cracking good fun and as I saw, we have come a long way from Patrick Moore being Gamesmaster (and not really having a clue what he was doing – he’s an astronomer after all) and dishing out tips to spotty teenagers or Craig Charles hosting a show where yet more spotty teenagers battle each other on Street Fighter, on TV.

Check out a clip here or try BBC iPlayer!

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Spaced, The US remake

There used to be a time where we could complain about American shows polluting the global airwaves with drivel. But then the Brits dropped Big Brother, Pop Idol and Insert Country that Has Talent and the TV landscape has never been the same. Read More

Friday rant Virgin 1 & Navy Seals

Well well, what’s been getting my goat this week then? TV has been a consistent theme of mine since I started these weeklies and no changes to this week’s format I’m afraid. However, not merely content with picking on a TV show I am taking on a whole channel this time. Step forward and claim your prize Virgin 1.

Now, this isn’t a rant against Richard “Beardie” Branson and his beloved brand. I’ve flown on his airline, I’ve bought his records and I’ve even (briefly) taken out a pension. All of which are worthy causes (not sure about the Cola though…) but not enough to rescue the TV channel though.

My main criticism has to be endless repeats; of X-files and Sexcetera mainly. Strangely though, I am now convinced that Virgin 1 has screened Navy Seals (see trailer below) almost many times and that’s a bloody film frchissakes! Naturally I’ve now seen Navy Seals a couple of times in recent weeks and frankly, it’s a poor film. A peculiar relic of late 80’s cinema, there are numerous cliches – acting, plot (yes it does have one), dialogue and right down to some scenes even being cliche.

Notable however in hindsight not just because Charlie Sheen is sober and actually acting (see rant passim Two and a half men) but also because Dennis Haysbert is starring in what must be one of his earliest roles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-MlVm9FzM4

So, Virgin 1 + Navy Seals = not a good look. Please, please Virgin, if you’re going to repeat films endlessly, why not make it something decent? I suggest Wedlock starring Rutger Hauer, Mimi Rogers, and Asim’s favourite, Stephen Tobolowsky! Released only a year later and much more fun!!

Necklace with a difference

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cei0_t8eF_4

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Saturday rant – I’m Lost

Slightly tired and recovering after a “few” beers from last night I realise the Friday rant is overdue…So following from Asim’s blog about Lost; the show now gets my own treatment.

What started out in the first two seasons as something quite novel and intriguing rapidly went downhill pretty much as soon as (in the UK at at least) it started to be shown on Sky TV rather than Channel 4. This switch and my inability to keep following the show revealed to me that you know what…it ain’t actually that good. Certainly not good enough to get me to a) get a Sky subscription or b) even spend time downloading it or c) definitely not buying the DVDs.

The main reason I, ahem, lost patience was nothing to do with the polar bears, the hatch, the timer or even the existence of the others. These are all good things. It was knowing that after 2-3 seasons, it was never going to get better for the remaining 4 or so seasons. Not a snowball in hell’s chance of maintaining decent writing, plot, intrigue and or mystery.

And this is a common bug for me – why do execs believe shows can run and run (see Rant passim Two and half men)? The notion that you can spin out a show like Lost with engaging ideas for that long is just plain wrong and I knew this as soon as I heard it was 7 seasons: inevitably, the show would have to more crap as more episodes came out and the plot became thinner and thinner. Inexorably the plot turned slowly and surely into a sci-fi show, which given the promise shown early doors is frankly a cop out worthy of the Dallas writers getting away with Bobby Ewing walking out of the shower. It was all just a dream…yeah right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvinAPPfyAQ

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Friday rant (only just)

Well well, it’s been quite some week, batting illness and the effects of an insane partying weekend in Sweden. However, here I am for another little shout from my soapbox. And in some ways, last weekend shapes the nature of the blog / rant this week.

American TV (see Friday rants passim) is currently held to be in somewhat of a golden age and generally speaking I have to agree, despite my protestations to the contrary. There is in my mind no doubting the sheer quality of a number of shows, from The Sopranos to The Wire, from Scrubs to Six Feet Under. But rather than focus on shows that I find to be merely crap and then tell you all that American TV ain’t all that good, I thought I’d draw your attention to something Anglo-Swedish – just to show that Europe still has a trick or two up its sleeve.

You may or may not have heard of Wallander, a Swedish detective show featuring Kurt Wallander as the lead role. Now, if you haven’t seen this programme, I’ll be honest; it’s a little bleak and a little dark, but then reality is little bit bleak and a little bit dark, so we shouldn’t complain greatly. First shown on UK screens in 2009, it accompanied the BBC remake of the same show. Fair enough you might say: a good cop show deserves a mention. But what is more interesting is not that the source material is good, but that the BBC has remade it for Brits in quite an interesting way. Rather than simply transplanting the show lock, stock into England and rather predictably London; the production – starring Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander – leaves the show in Sweden, with a host of good quality, jobbing British actors and a smattering of Swedish acting talent too.

The joy of this comes not only from it seeming more like the original, but at the same time in doing so (leaving the show set in Sweden) lends a far greater sense of originality (somewhat oddly). The remake by the Beeb succeeds where, alas, other remakes (UK version of CSI anyone?) fail in that the photography and feel of the original are maintained and we are allowed to see the lead character in situation as intended. BBC 4, you have once again done us proud.

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Friday rant part three: Two and a half men

ANother Friday, another chance for American TV to get it in the neck from me…

This time and with due consideration that this is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel I have chosen two and a half men.

Tag line = Two adults. One kid. No grown-ups. Yeah, we’re rolling on the floor with laughter already. The description then goes on…

A hedonistic jingle writer‘s free-wheeling life comes to an abrupt halt when his brother and 10-year-old nephew move into his beach-front house.

…no. No it doesn’t. It’s always difficult to sustain a show based on a kids/adults relationship theme and this is why films like Home Alone or 3 men and a baby or Look Who’s Talking are short-lived successes, but ultimately fail to charm as time passes. In the end, we’re adults, not kids.

I know the whole “plot” doesn’t involve the adult / child interaction; but to return to my point above, there’s no real problem wth this type of thing, but why oh why does this show get 7+ seasons and pay its stars so much ($500k per episode)? Again, further proof that for every Scrubs, Dexter or 6 feet under; there is of course a TV exec willing to wantonly ignore the notion of good quality TV entertainment.

More in next week’s rant, where I may veer away from cursing US tv and start with other non-tv matters!

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Friday rant (pt 2…and on Monday) Reaper

Well, another week passes and another thing bugs me. And I do understand I’m a little slow here, but Goddamnit I was upset when I found out that Reaper was only deemed worthy of 2 seasons.

This from the country that gave us Friends for God only knows how many seasons too many! And however many versions of CSI..?

What’s not to like about a show where the lead has to capture souls for the devil after his parents sold their son’s soul to the Devil? Played brilliantly by Ray Wise; possibly better know for being Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks. Throw in some alcohol and drug references, demons, angels and other whackery and this is surely a winner worth more airtime.

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First Friday Rant: Numb3rs

Numb3rs

We like to think we only get the good stuff, the cream of the crop of American TV, over here in the UK. Sadly for every season of Sopranos, 6 feet Under, The Wire etc, there will always be an exception proving the rule.

 

In this case, I reluctantly draw your attention to Numb3rs. That’s right: in case we can’t read, they have even inserted a 3 where the e would appear. How clever of the production team to do so.

This is comfortably one of THE worst shows ever to grace my flat screen. Not only does the title itself patronise the viewer, but the acting is passable at best, the scripts and story-lines are preposterous and the whole show has a crap look and feel to it – trying to copy num3rous other shows (you see what I did there..?)

All things considered, this show is best described as “derivative”, trying to ape CSI and the like, but without even the tongue in cheek humour of NCIS.

So, thanks Numb3rs: you have deservedly Christened my first Friday Rant! Have a great weekend one and all.