thu 03/12/2020

TV drama

The Good Lord Bird, Sky Atlantic review - picaresque account of the myth of John Brown

On the face of it, this new Sky Atlantic series sounded as though it might be a grave and sombre slice of American history, telling the story of the anti-slavery crusader John Brown and how his raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia helped push America...

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The Crown, Season 4, Netflix review - royalty rocked by personal and political turbulence

Pre-release excitement about the fourth coming of The Crown (Netflix) has centred on Emma Corrin’s portrayal of Princess Diana, still big box-office 23 years after her death. There’s no denying that Corrin has risen heroically to the challenge of...

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His Dark Materials, Series 2, BBC One review – upping the ante whilst retaining the magic

The first series of the BBC and HBO’s fantasy adventure His Dark Materials felt even more timely than when author Phillip Pullman first published Northern Lights twenty-five-years ago. The second season builds on the heady mix of philosophy and...

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theartsdesk Q&A: screenwriter Jed Mercurio

So you want to be a TV screenwriter? You might do a lot worse than to sign up for Jed Mercurio's new online course at BBC Maestro, where over 28 lessons he explores the pitfalls and hurdles of a screenwriter's life, from the nuts and bolts of...

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The Queen's Gambit, Netflix review - chess prodigy's story makes brilliant television

It’s surprising, perhaps, that the dramatic potential of chess hasn’t been more widely exploited. There was a nail-biting tournament in From Russia with Love, while the knight’s chequerboard struggle with Death was the centrepiece of Ingmar Bergman’...

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The Sister, ITV review - half-baked dramatisation of esteemed novel

Neil Cross’s novel Burial was hailed for its skilful plotting and insightful characterisations, as well as its macabre atmosphere. Disappointingly, the author’s own adaptation of the book looks clumsy and uncomfortable on TV.It’s being shown in four...

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The Undoing, Sky Atlantic review - trouble in paradise for gilded Manhattan couple

Plenty of pedigree wattage has been packed into this slickly addictive new HBO drama (showing on Sky Atlantic). The twin headliners are affluent Manhattan couple Grace and Jonathan Fraser (Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, the latter basking in the high...

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Emily in Paris, Netflix review - addictive escapism in the City of Light

Is Emily in Paris “the dumbest thing on Netflix right now?” or a sugar-rush of escapism in the midst of our global pandemic misery? “We need things to make us smile,” commented one Parisian viewer. “In the time of Covid,we don’t need more to stress...

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Brave New World, Sky 1 review - Aldous Huxley's novel doesn't look very happy on TV

Famous dystopian novels are reliably popular with TV adapters, so it’s strange that this is the first time Aldous Huxley’s treatise on a society controlled by technology and psychological manipulation has been turned into a TV series. Of course,...

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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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