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Gory tale of New York: is Guillermo del Toro's The Strain worth catching?

17 September 2014 12:00 AM, PDT

Will the horror maestros tale of vampire zombies running amok in the Big Apple reanimate two rather lifeless genres?

Vampires are cool. Zombies are cool. How cool would it be if there were vampire zombies? That seems to be the pulpy maths behind FXs 13-part horror series The Strain, which starts its UK run on Watch on Wednesday 16 September at 10pm. Its a gory supernatural thriller dressed up in the blue Hazmat suit of an outbreak procedural in the run-up to a rare solar eclipse, a transatlantic flight full of dead bodies lands at JFK airport. Suspecting ebola or worse, the Centre for Disease Control deploys its canary team, led by abrasive virologist Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll from House of Cards), who everyone calls Eph (as in Wtf). But the canary team cant get their big brains wrapped around the concept of a vampire plague quickly enough to prevent it taking hold in the city. »

- Graeme Virtue

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TV highlights 17/09/2014

16 September 2014 10:00 PM, PDT

Our Zoo | This World: Irelands Lost Babies | Scott & Bailey | Oh You Pretty Things: The Story Of Music And Fashion | Cant Pay? Well Take It Away! | Awkward | The Strain | Tennis: Toray Pan Pacific Open

Third episode of the soothing period drama about the founding of Chester zoo, or Call The Zookeeper. As the villagers grow ever more hostile to the Mottersheads ambitious plans, the family try to manage their burgeoning wildlife collection. Eve the bear is showing signs of improvement and George (Lee Ingleby) tries to win over a newspaper hack in a bid to sway the difficult locals. They literally turn up with flaming torches this week, so hes got a job on his hands. Julia Raeside

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- Julia Raeside, Andrew Mueller, John Robinson, Bim Adewunmi, Ali Catterall, Hannah J Davies, David Stubbs and Gwilym Mumford

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The Leftovers; Bad Education review its baffling, bewildering, but has a strange beauty

16 September 2014 10:00 PM, PDT

Two per cent of the population disappears in the Sudden Departure, and many questions are raised not least, what on earth is going on?

A baby disappears from the back seat of a car, as does the daddy of a little boy, and the driver of another car that immediately crashes (its not one of those Google ones, sadly). A kind of rapture, the Sudden Departure, is happening: people are vanishing, everywhere, even famous ones J-Lo, the Pope, Salman Rushdie; some may be missed more than others. Two percent of the worlds population, gone.

The Leftovers(Sky Atlantic) is not about what to do with yesterdays mash, then. This glamorous, disturbing new 10-part HBO import is about the aftermath of the Sudden Departure, and the 98% who have been left behind, specifically in one New York town. So 98% is leftovers? Thats some serious over-catering Perhaps they should have changed the title for a British audience. »

- Sam Wollaston

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You've got to work hard to find love. On The Bachelor, women intern for a husband | Sarah Burnside

16 September 2014 5:58 PM, PDT

Contestants on The Bachelor market themselves in the hope of recognition and are paid in the currency of promises of future success. Doesnt that sound like a modern workplace?

Its not difficult to guess at a feminists instinctive reaction to a show like The Bachelor: the program resembles a postcard from some sort of dystopia. In the shows bizarro world, the norms of romance are retained, but its also standard to share your new partner with a dozen other women with whom youre in furious competition.

Less overtly, the show resembles a workplace, albeit an odd one. A series of The Bachelor is effectively an interminably long job interview for the rarely-advertised position of Beloved, or perhaps a portrait of a dysfunctional organisation with an unusually high rate of redundancy.

Romantic love has become just like work under capitalism: it is at once all-consuming and precarious. You are expected to »

- Sarah Burnside

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Brilliant Creatures: Germaine, Clive, Barry and Bob review

16 September 2014 5:15 PM, PDT

Germaine, Clive, Barry and Bob came from a blessed land at a blessed time squeezed into genius by the sheer weight of Australias suburban dullness

Brilliant Creatures: Germaine, Clive, Barry and Bob (ABC) is the writer Howard Jacobsons investigation of the most seismic of Australian invasions, long before all those container-loads of reasonable white wine transformed Britain into a nation of middle-class drunks. This was the 1960s, and the exportats were cultural, in the figures of Germaine Greer, Clive James, Barry Humphries and Robert Hughes.

It was also, of course, a flight. None of the four, it seems, could wait to leave their birthplace. There was almost a willed torpor about Australia, said the writer Thomas Keneally of those times, which these brilliant children wanted to escape.

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- Tim Dowling

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Sesame Street Star Wars and the latest Kanye rant plus the rest of today's breaking pop culture news

16 September 2014 8:58 AM, PDT

Keep this frequency clear Guide Daily is live til five (pm)!

Passing todays pop cultural torrent through a filter of skewed opinion

Coming up: Kanye ranting, Bono flushing, indie-rockers beefing and cookie-control techniques

Get involved: comment below or tweet @guideguardian

4.58pm BST

If youre in Edinburgh, go and see Cate Le Bon at Electric Circus.

4.15pm BST

Remember we told you earlier this year about underground dance music supergroup Future Brown? Well theyve just signed to Warp, and heres their first single due out in November.

4.00pm BST

We all love Eraserhead, right? The heartwarming tale of a sexually harassed chubby man with high hair, caring for his wailing, skinless, deformed child in a desolate post-industrial world while hallucinating about a singing radiator.

I like to have people be able to form their own opinion as to what it means and have their own ideas about things. But at the same time, »

- Sam Richards

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The future of culture and broadcasting in a divided Britain | @guardianletters

16 September 2014 7:55 AM, PDT

Your feature answering the key questions raised by the prospect of Scottish independence (What a carve-up! From politics to sport, oil to national debt, how the split could work (10 September) leaves out an issue which many of us consider extremely important: culture. There is constant, fruitful cultural collaboration between the four nations of the UK, including touring across borders, funding and sponsorship, co-production and shared educational initiatives. The article mentions the BBC, but as the BBC Proms 2014 season ended many of us were asking whether the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will still be around in a couple of years, and whether the participation of an independent Scotland in this great national music festival had yet been considered.

Scotland may be able eventually to join the EU as an individual nation, but in the meantime will it still be able to draw on EU funding for cultural projects and, indeed, for educational purposes? »

- Guardian Staff

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Stephen Colbert backs independence for Scotland: 'Ich bin ein Edinburgher'

16 September 2014 6:35 AM, PDT

Any time people are angrily demanding something and I dont entirely understand why, I am with them, says Us satirist

Queen Elizabeth electrified the Scottish independence debate with her first public comments at the weekend. But in what may prove to be an even more significant intervention, the American satirist Stephen Colbert has come out for secession.

Folks, any time people are angrily demanding something and I dont entirely understand why, I am with them, said Colbert in a Monday night segment on The Colbert Report.

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- Amanda Holpuch in New York

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Cilla Black drama launches with nearly 7m viewers | TV ratings - 15 September

16 September 2014 3:08 AM, PDT

ITV biopic starring Sheridan Smith is broadcasters best-rating new drama since Broadchurch, beating BBC1s New Tricks

ITVs Cilla Black biopic starring Sheridan Smith began with nearly 7 million viewers, the broadcasters best-rating new drama since last years Broadchurch.

The three-part drama Cilla, written by Jeff Pope, whose credits include ITVs Fred West drama Appropriate Adult and Steve Coogan film Philomena, was watched by 6.7 million viewers, a 29.7% share of the audience, between 9pm and 10pm on Monday.

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- John Plunkett

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Cilla; Glue review a lorra, lorra reasons to love ITVs Cilla Black biopic

16 September 2014 12:35 AM, PDT

It may not sound too promising but the singers career doubles as a fantastic portrait of Liverpool in the grip of Merseybeat madness

Im not going to lie, I wasnt convinced that Cilla Black merited a three-part biopic. Look at the other biographical stuff Jeff Pope, who wrote Cilla (ITV), has been involved with. Pierrepoint, about Albert the hangman; he killed a lorra lorra people. Likewise the moors murderers and Fred West, subjects of See No Evil and Appropriate Adult, respectively. Ok, so Mrs Biggs didnt kill anyone, but that one starring Sheridan Smith as this does was about the aftermath of the crime of the century.

Cilla though, what has she done? Well people like her, and she hosted a couple of very popular TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. And before, she was a singer, had a lot of success in the charts, and hung around a »

- Sam Wollaston

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The Leftovers: what critics make of the powerful Us drama

16 September 2014 12:00 AM, PDT

Bleak, beautiful and full of hope, Lost creator Damon Lindelofs new drama, in which families are torn apart when millions of people suddenly disappear, deals with grief in an intelligent, adult way

Upon learning that Damon Lindelof is returning to television with a new drama about a mysterious event which sees 2% of the worlds population disappear, viewers may well sigh: Theres no way Im watching that I gave six years of my life to Lost and look how that turned out.

Yet hold on, because The Leftovers is an altogether different proposition to the show that made Lindelofs name. Adapted from Tom Perrottas best-selling novel, itself a response to 9/11, The Leftovers is not really a drama about an unexplained occurrence so much as a drama about what happens to people after they experience a devastating event.

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- Sarah Hughes

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At the Movies: Margaret and Davids most divisive films revealed

15 September 2014 11:33 PM, PDT

David was a harsher reviewer overall than Margaret, and only six films achieved a five-star rating from both

Team America, Friday Night Lights and Sex and the City are among the most divisive films reviewed by Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton.

Following news that At the Movies will end on 9 December, Ive collated every score theyve given to a film since they moved to the ABC in 2004.

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- Nick Evershed

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David and Margaret the head and heart of Australian film culture

15 September 2014 11:01 PM, PDT

Theyll be missed. Strattons long career gave him enviable knowledge and Pomeranz could strike to the core of a film

The movies that divided David and Margaret the most

The news that At The Movies hosts Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton are retiring, announced by the ABC on Tuesday, is a huge blow to the Australian film industry, and to film lovers.

Their partnership began with The Movie Show on Sbs in 1986, shifting to the ABC in its current form in 2004. Starting with a tiny budget and no audience, The Movie Show was built almost entirely on the back of its presenters personalities and reputations (not to mention the hard-working crews they have always been quick to credit).

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- Laurence Barber

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TV highlights 16/09/2014

15 September 2014 10:00 PM, PDT

Champions League Football: Liverpool v Ludogorets Razgrad | Posh Pawn | The Secret Life Of Books | The Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane | Dont Stop The Music | The Leftovers | Later Live With Jools Holland | Bad Education

Liverpool return to European footballs top table after a five-year absence. Their opponents, Ludogorets, will be unfamiliar to all but the most clued-up of football hipsters, though the Bulgarian side did enjoy 15 minutes of YouTube fame thanks to their play-off victory over Steaua Bucharest, in which defender Cosmin Moti went in goal for the deciding penalty shoot-out (after Ludogoretss keeper was sent off in extra time), and, amazingly, managed to save two spot-kicks. Gwilym Mumford

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- Gwilym Mumford, Rachel Aroesti, Jonathan Wright, John Robinson, Bim Adewunmi, Lanre Bakare and Hannah J Davies

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Working-class talent being priced out of acting, says David Morrissey

15 September 2014 4:02 PM, PDT

State of Play star says creative industries have an 'intern culture' that is failing people from disadvantaged backgrounds

The actor David Morrissey has said young working-class people are being priced out of the profession and called on the creative industries to do more to end their "economic exclusion".

Morrissey, acclaimed for his role as Gordon Brown in The Deal, said the arts was a "very rich community" but was not doing enough to support young people.

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- John Plunkett

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Us soccer needs to find its voice it wasnt Fox's Gus Johnson

15 September 2014 1:39 PM, PDT

As the announcer ends a controversial (and loud) spell at the microphone, its time to combat a rare American cultural cringe

Mls: Seattle on rise with Rose as Galaxy stumbleDC United taste Mls success thanks to failure

Gus Johnson, who has stepped down from his controversial role as Foxs No1 soccer announcer, had become a lightning rod for some simmering cultural tensions within the American game.

Wrapped up in the reactions to his tenure, and now departure, has been an ongoing anxiety about cultural authenticity within the sport, especially as it features in Us broadcasting. Johnsons was an unapologetically American voice; not only that, it was one that came from the broadcast conventions of other Us sports, and tried to learn in public what it might take to be a credible American soccer announcer.

Van Persie breaking to the footbaaaaaaall, and its headed up and in! Danny Welbeck!

Im a »

- Graham Parker

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Rosie O'Donnell returns to The View and finds a show without a voice

15 September 2014 12:51 PM, PDT

A revamped View and the new Rosie both feel disappointingly cautious a far cry from the crass bombast that made it special

Rosie ODonnell is back on daytime TV and back on The View. After her controversial exit from the morning chat fest in 2007, following heated remarks with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck about the Iraq war, ODonnell swore to never return and has kept a low profile ever since.

On Monday morning, ODonnell summarized the time in between: I got married, I had another baby, my oldest boy is in college and went on to describe her heart attack and weight loss surgery. Now her biggest ailment appears to be her sciatica, over which she tossed her clogs to the floor and sat with her legs crossed under her for the entire show.

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- Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy

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Michael Che and Pete Davidson: meet SNL's two newest cast members

15 September 2014 10:41 AM, PDT

Michael Che and Pete Davidson will join Saturday Night Live to revamp its 40th season but who are they?

SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels announced on Friday that former Daily Show correspondent Michael Che will replace Cecily Strong as she moves on from SNLs Weekend Update desk, and on Monday Michaels added 20-year-old New York comedian Pete Davidson, from MTVs Guy Code and Nick Cannons Wild n Out.

If you havent heard of either of them, heres what you need to know.

I sat in [Hilfigers] office and I remember he said, You know why Im doing this for you? I was like, No. And he was like, Because somebody gave me a chance, so Im gonna give you a chance. So he asked me to do some designs and I just couldnt do them... I ended up being like a week late on the designs. And a week turned to two weeks, »

- Lilah Raptopoulos

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Cilla Black: five unlikely musical moments

15 September 2014 10:00 AM, PDT

The new ITV miniseries might make you wonder whether Cilla Black was ever more than the queen of the variety show. Well, she had her moments, singing with Marc Bolan and Scott Walker

Surprise, surprise! Cilla Blacks life story comes to our screens on Monday night, with Sheridan Smith taking the role of Cilla. To most people, Black is one of the staples of Saturday evening light entertainment, the colossus of ITV through the 1980s and 90s. Its easy to forget she became famous as a singer, a Liverpudlian protege of John Lennon, managed by Brian Epstein (her debut single, Love of the Loved, was a Lennon/McCartney composition). Like many female singers of the 60s, her work was mainly Mor covers, making her a safe option, and easing her move into television she had her own show on the BBC by 1968, and has rarely been far from our screens since. »

- Michael Hann

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Popular YouTube shows may be heading to Facebook's news feed

15 September 2014 9:13 AM, PDT

Social network wants multi-channel networks to bring their YouTube hits directly to its users

Facebook is keen to take on YouTube as a distribution network for online video, and has reportedly been courting some of the latters top multi-channel networks.

MCNs including Maker Studios and Collective Digital Studio have been testing uploading some of their shows directly to Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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- Stuart Dredge

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