TV

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The Walking Dead returns for Season Five

19 Sep 2014

Zombie series starring Andrew Lincoln is highest rated cable show of all time

Season four of The Walking Dead closed with a massive cliffhanger. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his cohorts thought the colony of Terminus would offer them safe haven from the ever-present zombie hordes but now they find themselves stripped of their…

Crackanory

19 Sep 20144 stars

Iconic TV show returns for new series featuring Vic Reeves and the late Rik Mayall at his best

When Rik Mayall appeared in a 1986 episode of Jackanory reading George’s Marvellous Medicine, his idiosyncratic take on Roald Dahl’s tale was, inevitably, loved by the kids, and pooh-poohed by a small number of parents. ‘Dangerous and offensive’ they…

Creative Assembly's Alien Isolation aims to revive the sci-fi survival horror videogame franchise

19 Sep 2014

Latest Sega videogame based on 1979 Ridley Scott movie, with voice acting from original cast members

The world of Alien has been the inspiration for multiple videogames. Most have focused on the all-out action of James Cameron's Aliens rather than the creeping terror of Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror hybrid. After the misfire of 2013's reviled Aliens…

The Driver

16 Sep 20143 stars

David Morrissey, Ian Hart and Colm Meaney star in BBC cab driver crime drama

Even if you’re bored and miserable, 'be happy with your safe lot' seems to be the clarion cry message of this three-parter. David Morrissey plays Vince, a cabbie who is made to feel worthless at home (by a dismissive wife and sullen daughter) and…

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season One

16 Sep 20144 stars

Andy Sandberg finds the perfect vehicle for goofy humour in hilarious series

Saturday Night Live alumnus Andy Sandberg has found the perfect vehicle for his goofy humour in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He takes the lead as Detective Jake Peralta, the precinct's top cop who butts heads with the uptight new Captain Ray Holt (Andre…

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Cilla

12 Sep 20142 stars

Sheridan Smith and Aneurin Barnard work with humdrum raw material in insipid biopic

Given that her TV appearances these days seem limited to a news soundbite whenever the latest of her contemporaries gets either Yewtreed or convicted, it’s hard to imagine that Cilla Black was once hot showbusiness property. But here she gets the…

Tyrant

10 Sep 20142 stars

The creators of 24 and Homeland deliver a ropy script and even ropier cast choices in new series

Anyone expecting subtlety from a show created by various folk who were involved in 24 and Homeland is the kind of person who thinks that peace in the Middle East will be announced tomorrow. Tyrant has been dubbed in some quarters as a Dallas for the…

Cucumber, Banana, Gotham, The Knick: this autumn's best TV shows

10 Sep 2014

Toast of London and Broadchurch revamp Gracepoint also among our highlights

In 1999, Russell T Davies helped remould the British TV landscape with Queer as Folk. After resurrecting the Time Lord for a whole new generation, he’s returning to his Channel 4 roots for three separate series, linked by a vivid exploration of modern…

Almost Royal

27 Aug 20143 stars

Amy Hoggart and Ed Gamble star in a gentle, Royalty-mocking romp

It’s easy for us all to say it in hindsight, but you’d have thought that the Americans would have seen regal siblings George and Poppy Carlton (heirs to the throne, albeit way, way down the list) coming a mile off. Sacha Baron Cohen had already made US…

Black Sails - Season 1

26 Aug 20142 stars

The swashbuckling series is a po-faced Pirates of the Caribbean knock-off

Black Sails is prequel of sorts to Treasure Island following the lives of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and John Silver (Luke Arnold) 20 years before Robert Louis Stevenson's pirate adventure. But this is no salty sea yarn for the kiddies: there's far…

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The Sopranos: The Complete Series on Blu-ray

26 Aug 20145 stars

A chance to revisit the majestic TV series that reshaped the small-screen form

With the tragic death of James Gandolfini last summer, any prospect of more Sopranos episodes or the much-discussed movie died with him. So, what we are left with is a mere 86 episodes of majestically written, acted and produced television, which only…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: BJ Novak of the US Office on debut short story collection One More Thing

15 Aug 2014

'There’s a story in my book called “Regret is Just Perfectionism Plus Time". That’s how I feel'

If you’ve ever watched the US series of The Office, BJ Novak’s face will be instantly recognisable as obnoxious temp Ryan Howard. A producer, writer and actor on the show (he landed the gig aged just 25, after producer Greg Daniels saw him at a comedy…

The Killing and Ripper Street: two shows revived by the post-TV age of video on demand

15 Jul 2014

With streaming services fast becoming the norm, network cancellation is no longer the final curtain

The US remake of The Killing might not have had the same cultural impact as the Danish original (which sparked the UK obsession with Nordic Noir) but was still an absorbing atmospheric crime thriller. Transposing the action from Denmark to Seattle with…

Amy Pascale - Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe – A Biography

15 Jul 20144 stars

A refreshingly candid look at the man behind Buffy and Marvel's Avengers

With his genre-changing series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon shaped the face of television in the 1990s. Nearly 20 years on, having written and directed 2012’s The Avengers, which became the third highest grossing film worldwide, he now plays a…

Utopia

8 Jul 20144 stars

Dark, compelling and addictive Channel 4 series combines conspiracies, bleak comedy and violence

David Fincher is currently working on an American adaptation of Utopia for HBO. And you can see why Dennis Kelly’s thriller would appeal to the director of Se7en and Fight Club, with its mix of conspiracies within conspiracies, bleak comedy and graphic…

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Interview: Jackass/CKY star Bam Margera on Nikki, Novak and watching Titanic alone

24 Jun 2014

'I'm Peter Pan with credit card. Nothing can become everything – and repeat!'

First record you ever bought? I didn't buy it, Phil [Bam’s father] did. It was Metallica Master of Puppets for $8 at Kmart. I had to cry til I got it. Last extravagant purchase you ever made? Giving away millions of dollars / meeting nine assholes…

Weir's Way: The Collection

23 Jun 20144 stars

Tom Weir's natural and social history travelogue remains an epic and unmatched view of Scotland

Author, broadcaster, explorer, environmentalist, World War II veteran, subject of tribute songs named after him by Edinburgh’s indie-pop group Aberfeldy and Aidan Moffat alter-ego L Pierre, and pin-up man for knee-high socks, bobble hats and other…

Adam Buxton brings Bug to Glasgow and Manchester

17 Jun 2014

Five facts ahead of pop culture commentator's music video ‘analysis’ nights

1: Some people will always see Adam Buxton as one half of the archetypal studenty double act, Adam & Joe. And that’s fine, because they were totally brilliant. 2:But Buxton has had some success all on his lonesome including one series of Channel 4’s The…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: A guide to the work of John McGrath

10 Jun 2014

The timely, Independence-themed work of the political playwright is given a festival retrospective

John McGrath was one of Britain’s most prolific writers, directors and producers. Born in 1935, he was a passionate socialist theatremaker. He’s particularly noted for setting up theatre company 7:84 in 1971, which became known around Scotland and…

Game of Thrones: Season 4

9 Jun 20145 stars

‘The Sopranos in Middle Earth’ keeps living up to its name

What would make you stop watching Game of Thrones? Some might have thrown in the towel at the end of season one after Ned Stark lost his head in King’s Landing. Others probably waited until the truly horrific (yet beautifully directed and acted) Red…

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The best vampire TV shows

4 Jun 2014

As the final series of True Blood airs, we profile the best vampire series and where to watch them

Of all the classic monster legends, vampires have captured the pop culture’s imagination the most. From Bram Stoker's Dracula through Nosferatu, The Lost Boys and Twilight, much like the bloodsuckers themselves, the myths refuse to die, being…

Quirke

22 May 20143 stars

Gabriel Byrne stars in this tedious miniseries about a detective in 1950s Dublin

What is it about certain fictional cops and medics that we can’t know their first name? Quincy and Columbo never revealed them, while Endeavour was only unleashed as Morse’s given forename in book number 12. And here we have Quirke, the latest gruffly…

'We explicitly wanted this type of discussion about national identity, heritage and guilt' - Benjamin Benedict on Generation War

20 May 2014

The German WWII mini-series provoked debate about the country's role during and after the war

In terms of popular culture, we're so used to seeing the events of World War II through Allied Forces eyes. But what about the lives, hopes and dreams of those who fought for Germany? This fresh viewpoint is what makes German mini-series Generation War…

24: Live Another Day

6 May 20143 stars

It’s groundhog day for Jack Bauer and co

All hail to our favourite TV torturer and flawed saviour of the US realm: Jack is back! But only partly so. 24 is now really 12, with this ninth series cut down in episode numbers by 50%. So, in 24: Live Another Day, we’ll experience half the adrenaline…

24 things you might not know about 24

2 May 2014

The real-time Kiefer Sutherland actions series returns for the London-set Live Another Day

1 Kiefer Sutherland wasn’t the only actor considered for the role of Jack Bauer – Richard Burgi was also in the running (although Burgi did appear in 11 episodes of the first season). 2 Other interesting casting choices that didn’t happen: Katee…