QuickTakes: Arne Dahl S2, The Walking Dead S6, Fargo S2, Arrow S4, The Flash S2, Empire S2, American Horror Story Hotel, The Last Kingdom

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It’s that time of year when the television schedules burst back into life and are packed with new series of shows, both old favourites returning for a new run and a few unfamiliar faces trying to make their initial mark. In fact there are so many such shows cascading onto the networks at the moment that just trying to watch them all is a practical impossibility, let alone trying to keep up with in terms of penning reviews.

All of which means it’s time for one of those bumper ‘combo’ posts of QuickTakes wherein a selection of the new shows I’ve been watching in the last week get a single paragraph before we have to move on to the next. Hopefully that’s still long enough to get the gist of things. Well, they are long paragraphs after all! Read the rest of this entry »

Empire S1 E1 (E4)

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There’s been such a lot of hype about Empire, so much so that I felt I had to give it at least a shot – even if the premise of a soap opera centred on a hip hop music and entertainment business could hardly on the face of it have appealed to me less.

empire-picSometimes the hype can be deceptive, and sometimes it can be spot on. And with Empire, it’s unequivocally the latter. It’s a slick, glossy and high-energy modern reboot of 80s big glam soaps like Dallas and Dynasty – and just like those shows it takes Shakespearian tragedy as its guiding light and inspiration as it sets up the battle for succession of a multi-million dollar family business. One character immediately hits the nail on the head by summarising the situation by saying “What is this? We King Lear now?” in a scene within the first five minutes, just one example of razor-sharp writing that expects the viewer to keep up and pay attention and know what it’s talking about at all times. Read the rest of this entry »