24: Legacy E1-2 (Fox)

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24-legacyNew 24: Legacy – exactly the same as the old 24.

Seriously, I could leave it there and make this a candidate for the shortest review on the site. The only surprising thing about the new 12-part mini-series spin-off is how little difference losing its iconic star Kiefer Sutherland has made to the franchise. Honestly, you’re more likely to notice that the on-screen ticking clock has gone from red and orange to a cool blue, or that the end credit music has been changed, than you are to notice that Jack Bauer is sitting this one out. And who can blame him?

It turns out that the lack of any returning characters really doesn’t make any difference, because the show is still packed with exactly the same archetypes as it always has been. The name tags might have changed, and the actors might be different this time around, but they’re going through exactly the same motions and spouting the same interchangeably homogeneous, bullet-point dialogue so it really doesn’t make any difference. You could just as easily be watching a rerun as a brand new show. Read the rest of this entry »

Prey S1 E1-2 (ITV) and 24: Live Another Day E1-2 (Sky One)

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I seem to be about the only person who isn’t completely enamoured by ITV’s new crime thriller mini-series Prey, and I’m not entirely certain why that should be. It certainly has some very strong aspects to it, but overall I’m left feeling rather cool and somewhat unengaged by it while critics all around me are swooning into its arms.

prey-iconThe story by TV newcomer Chris Lunt centres on police detective Marcus Farrow (John Simm) who finds himself arrested for a bloody killing he didn’t commit. Convinced he’s being framed because of his investigation into the case of a long-dead Turkish gangster, he goes on the run to solve that murder and by extension also the one he’s accused of, and has to evade his own former colleagues in the process. That gives rise to a hybrid drama, part all-action thriller and part crime procedural which is unusual for British productions but not so much in the wider scheme of things – the most obvious forebear being the TV and film versions of The Fugitive, but there’s also strong hints of 24 and the Bourne films in both the premise and the execution. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh all right, just one more … post about binging

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Back in March, I had a discussion with Generation Star Wars blogger John Hood about the growing phenomenon of binge viewing. John had just gulped down the entire Netflix remake of House of Cards in one weekend, whereas I remained very opposed to the whole idea of back-to-back viewing of whole series despite how popular that form of media consumption has undoubtedly become in 2013. (See the original blog conversation with John.)

At the time that John and I were collaborating on that post, I was part-way through watching the first season of Game of Thrones on Blu-ray. As my subsequent review attested, I love that show and consider it a leading candidate to top my list of ‘all time favourite TV shows ever’. It should have been exactly the type of thing to get me binge viewing then, right? Well – no, as it turned out, quite the reverse. I started viewing the first 10-part season on January 8 with a mind to watch one episode a week so that I would finish by the time the second season was due to be released in March. Instead, I ended up polishing off the final episode on July 5. Whoops! And that doesn’t include all the audio commentaries and special features, which took another month to polish off before the boxet was finally sucked dry of its contents.

Yes, that’s getting on for eight months to fully watch the Blu-ray set. Even by non-binging standards that’s pretty dreadful. But the thing is, when it came to watching Game of Thrones it was like imbibing a fine wine: I didn’t want to gulp it down like cheap lager, I wanted to savour every mouthful and linger over every glass to extract the most flavour out of it. To rush the experience seemed somehow disrespectful to the talents of the all the filmmakers and artists who had worked so long and hard over it; the least I could do was properly appreciate their work rather than gulping them down as fast as I could. Read the rest of this entry »