wed 23/09/2020

TV drama

The Singapore Grip, ITV review - colonial clichés

ITV’s Sunday evening costume drama slot is filled for the next six weeks with this lacklustre adaptation of JG Farrell’s satirical novel, The Singapore Grip. Set in 1942, it was written in 1978 as the final part of his trilogy about British...

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Away, Netflix review - pioneering voyage to Mars descends into astrosoap

Could you cope with spending three years away from your family and loved ones while you went on the first crewed mission to Mars? This is the question that underpins Away, Netflix’s new space exploration drama.Certainly it’s a daunting ask, but if...

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All Creatures Great and Small, Channel 5 review - revival of vintage vet show is full of Yorkshire promise

The BBC’s version of James Herriot’s books about his life as a Yorkshire vet became a weekend TV staple, running for seven series and a couple of Christmas specials between the late Seventies and the start of the Nineties. This elegantly-mounted...

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The Deceived, Channel 5 review - who's fooling who?

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, except somebody had renamed it The House at Knockdara. This was the title of the first novel by Michael Callaghan, Cambridge literature don, aspiring writer and serial seducer of his female students....

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Little Birds, Sky Atlantic review - decadence and intrigue in 1950s Morocco

Diarist, novelist and writer of erotica Anaïs Nin lived a brilliantly-coloured life littered with affairs with literary A-listers (Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell et al). She might have been delighted by this playfully-written and...

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Prodigal Son, Sky 1 review - meet Michael Sheen, psycho killer

We knew that Michael Sheen was a skilful and versatile actor, but lately he’s been getting dangerously good. Last year he roared into the third season of The Good Fight as the outrageous drug-fuelled lawyer Roland Blum, like an explosive fusion of...

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The Plot Against America, Sky Atlantic review - fascism comes to 1940s USA

Based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name, The Plot Against America flashes back to the global turbulence of the 1940s to depict a counterfactual America that turns to the dark side. Instead of the re-election of Franklin D Roosevelt for a...

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Mrs America, BBC Two review - how a conservative revolutionary scuppered the Equal Rights Amendment

In the midst of our increasingly confrontational politics of race and gender, it was a timely move to make this series (on BBC Two) about Seventies radical feminism and the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the USA, even if some of the...

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Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the good, the bad and the unspeakable

American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das Boot and now this new incarnation of Penny Dreadful (Sky Atlantic). The original was a blowsy Gothic mash-up of Dracula,...

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Das Boot, Series 2 Finale, Sky Atlantic review - deeper and darker

The second series of Das Boot (Sky Atlantic) began strongly, and by the time we reached this last pair of episodes it was almost too agonising to watch. You could argue that it sometimes overreached by stretching the scope of the narrative to...

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Roswell, New Mexico, ITV2 review - they've landed!

It fell out of the sky in the summer of 1947, and crashed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. UFO-logists and conspiracy fanatics insist it was an alien spacecraft, but the US Air Force says it was a meteorological balloon.For the purposes of this...

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Perry Mason, Sky Atlantic review - low life and hard times in Depression-era LA

Rather like David Suchet’s Poirot, the world will always think of Raymond Burr as the doughty defence lawyer Perry Mason, whom he played in nine TV series and 26 TV movies between 1957 and 1993. But Burr’s Mason existed before the age of the prequel...

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