Friday, August 08, 2008

Ita in vita ut in lusu alae pessima jactura arte corrigenda est

There’s been not a lot of note going on in the world of TV lately. In the UK, plenty of new shows have premiered: Bonekickers (still ludricrous but no longer shit), Harley Street (honestly, was anyone in need of more docs on the box?), House of Saddam (Godfather in Iraq), and Burn Up (trashy polemical); while the altogether higher quality Mad Men, Burn Notice and Saving Grace have returned to American screens. ABC Family have introduced The Middleman, of which I have no idea what to think, but suspect I enjoy. The other ABC have been airing The Hollowmen, which is a tamer version of The Thick of It. Subsequently, it’s a lot less funny, but still fun to watch.

Yesterday, there was a perfect storm of telly news. In the UK, it looks like Holby Blue has been axed in order to maintain the purity of the Holby brand. That the brand was applied by a filthy, hot poker, and is leaking pus all over the nation’s TV screens matters to nobody. Poor old Red Planet - that’s two out of three shows down, now. As long as it stays at that ratio, and Moving Wallpaper gets a second stab, I’ll be happy.

I was convinced its appalling first season would be Robin Hood’s only chance to target the appreciation index, but back it came for season two, despite Budapest being a poor stand-in for Sherwood, and Keith Allen being a terrible stand-in for Alan Rickman; who was himself a pale, mooncast shadow of Nikolas Grace. Season three is on its way, but the news that poor wikkle Jonas Armstrong will be too tired to continue further must surely be the drama’s death knell. Tiger Aspect can’t possibly regenerate Robin Hood, though they might be out there, looking for their Jason Connery, right now. Let’s all move on. Ivanhoe, anyone? Treasure Island? Moonfleet?

Well, that’s my humble nation dispatched with. Over in the States, there’s good news for those who love original and offbeat writing; bad news if you’re of a superstitious nature, and believe there ain’t no-luck-but bad-luck. TV jinx Darin Morgan has been bought onto staff at Fringe, the new JJ Abrams opus. Morgan’s most recent gigs were Bionic Woman and Night Stalker. Better luck this time, sir.

Battlestar Galactica may well be coming to an end in ten episodes – though they might all be seventy minute episodes, the way things are going – and Caprica may be we all get of Ron Moore in 2008. But it looks as though the show intends to live on. Jane Espenson has been announced as the writer of a further prequel, to be directed by Edward James Olmas, which is due to air after the series finale airs, sometime in 2009.

Finally, AMC, having recreated the early sixties in all it’s sexist, entitled glory, are turning their hands to the down-beat, crime-ridden, paranoia-driven seventies, with a series version of Francis Ford Coppala’s inter-Godfather gem, The Conversation. Apparently, NBC tried this in ’95, but got nowhere. I’d love to see someone capture the Easy Rider, Raging Bull film sensibility and whack it onto telly. If this pans out, it could be the greatest series ever. Tip out that sax, Harry!


  1. I've seen the Fringe pilot and it's a competent framework (well-shot and paced, watchable lead) built to serve up chases based on sf McGuffins. Those promised - telepathy, telekinesis - suggest that no one's sat down and thought very hard about them yet.

    But Life is coming back, and Big Bang Theory, which has me convinced that someone's bugged our regular table in my local.

  2. Darin Morgan? A jinx? You sir are mistaken. Mr. Morgan is BRILLIANT.