• Television

    Game of Thrones discussion on Arena

    Tune in to RTÉ Radio 1's Arena as it devotes its entire programme to a discussion of the award-winning TV show and its final season. Host Sean Rocks will be chatting with me and the other panellists - Arlene Hunt, Daragh Downes and Dave Rudden - about characters, stories, and theories.

  • Television

    Celebrating Nigel Kneale

    As mentioned recently I’ve an essay in the forthcoming anthology, We Are The Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale, which is edited by Neil Snowdon and published by Spectral Press. Tied into the launch of the book there will be a rehearsed reading of Kneale’s lost drama The Road at the Horse Hospital, London from 7pm – 10pm on 10 December, organised by Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. It will feature the voice talents of Jonathan Rigby, Mark Gatiss, Jason Morrell (son of Quatermass actor Andre), Claire Louise Amias, Clarence Smith, Annabel Bates, James Swanton, Michael Shaw, and David Morely Hale. After a short break there will be a discussion…

  • Television

    best of 2013 – TV

    Here’s my unedited selection of picks of the top TV from my ‘Best of 2013‘ post on the Forbidden Planet International blog. This is the category I found the hardest to cut down – television is producing some of the best dramas currently. Hannibal Developed by Bryan Fuller I came to this sceptical as I didn’t think new life could be breathed into the franchise based on the Thomas Harris books, but Hannibal defied all my expectations and offered me some of the most memorable television in 2013. Apart from the intense central performances by Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and…

  • Television

    it's bedlam

    Sky has been promoting its new supernatural show called Bedlam, and I decided to tune in for an episode. The premise is simple: an asylum that has been in the Bettany family for hundreds of years has been re-fitted into flats for Yuppies and creepy things begin to happen. This ain’t a new concept, but it’s all about the execution after all. Alas, execution is what’s going to happen to this series, because it’s clumsily put together, hackneyed, and not very scary at all. There is an attractive cast of characters, including the heiress vixen (Charlotte Salt), her dad the evil landlord (Hugo Speer), the troubled, sexy young man who…

  • Television

    Skins 5

    A few years back I watched a chunk of episodes from the 1st series of British teenage drama Skins late one night. I had previously decided based on the trailers that I wouldn’t care for it, and was quite surprised at the quality of the writing, acting and the character development. I then watched Season 2, and thought it was extremely strong with compelling storylines. In particular I thought the episode where Cassie goes to New York after the death of Chris to be quite sublime: a poignant expression of the reaction to shock and trauma, as well as a lovely, and unexpected, take on the city and its inhabitants.…

  • Television

    ordinary unordinary lives

    A new American television series, No Ordinary Family, has just begun broadcast on this side of the Atlantic. Its premise is simple: an ‘ordinary’ family – wife, husband, daughter and son – with the the usual moderate middle class disfunctionality gain super-powers and must adjust to them. I’ve seen two episodes, and will probably watch a few more out of mild-mannered curiosity. In the pilot the show quickly established the Powell family dynamics: Stephenie (Julie Benz), the Mom, is a scientist, career woman and the main wage earner; Jim (Michael Chiklis), the dad, is a police sketch artist and failed painter who feels inadequate despite being the main carer for…

  • Television

    seeing the strange

    I took this photo in the woods about a week ago. Of course it’s a desiccated thistle head, but it also looks like there’s a winged creature escaped from a fantasy world – such as The Dark Crystal – perched on top of it. Seeing the world at a slant can lend wonder to the most ordinary moment or scene. I’m away today to spend the holiday with my parents, and I’ll be back next week. I might blog, but I also might take a break. It depends on my humour. It was inevitable that after praising the Little Crackers series on Sky I should see two of them I…

  • Television

    Little Crackers

    Over the past couple of years the satellite broadcaster Sky has been venturing into commissioning original television programmes, which is generally a good thing as I’m always happy to see screenwriters getting work. Even though Sky is part of the Murdoch MegaCorp, it can have its benefits (as long as you avoid the news channels). This holiday season Sky has been airing a series of short films by male and female comedians called Little Crackers. Most of them are autobiographical, or at least represent the essence of the comedian (and the comedians usually appear in the short as a character). I’ve seen five of them so far and they are…

  • Television

    healthy competition?

    I’ve noted before that I’m fond of the BBC Masterchef series in all its incarnations. My main reason is that I enjoy seeing people who are passionate about their hobby/profession demonstrating their skill, as well as watching their talent being nurtured over the course of the programme. Not all reality TV shows do that. Often there are competitive elements within the show that are orchestrated to create conflict between the contestants for the entertainment of the viewer. This can mean that the best and most talented person does not win the show. I can’t bear watching the worst examples of this kind of reality TV show. They’re just heartless. I’ve…

  • Screenwriting,  Television

    brains on your tie

    I’ve been a fan of Fringe since season 1. It had a shaky start, but I gave it leeway because there is nothing I like better than a television program showcasing capable women, mad scientists and weird events. From the beginning it was clear the show rotated around the character of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), and what I liked most about her was her drive, ambition and her ability to emphatise with those who have been preyed upon by stronger forces. This is a woman with a mission to save people, and women in particular. She also had her heart broken quite badly in the first season, with a long…