9 items from 2014
The writers’ room has become a staple of American television production. But look to our British friends across the pond, and they’ve got other ideas. Imagine: one writer, penning all the episodes of a show. No writers’ room. No shared concept. Just single vision, single author, executed from start to finish by the creator.
“Every writer would cravenly admit they would want to write their shows themselves,” says Steven Moffat, the famed British scribe with a long list of credits, including “Coupling,” “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock.”
Throughout his career, he’s worked on series with both production models. “The writers’ room came about because we have huge volumes of episodes to make.” It’s simply more practical, he says, for shows with long runs like “Doctor Who.”
But for shorter-run series, the Brits say the single-author strategy is more creatively satisfying. Which means it fits especially well in the miniseries category. »
- Debra Birnbaum
Comparisons between Crossbones, NBC’s umpteenth attempt at launching a successful series this season, and Black Sails, another pirate-themed show over on Starz, are inevitable. And Black Sails has Crossbones beat in every respect. It’s sharper, grittier, more compelling and certainly sexier (you won’t be seeing any steamy, R-rated hookups on NBC, that’s for sure). Still, there are worse ways to spend a Friday night than watching John Malkovich bite into the role of Blackbeard with theatrical, bizarrely-accented gusto on Crossbones. Make no mistake – Malkovich is the main attraction, and in many ways the sole attraction, of Crossbones.
So, is he enough? Is Crossbones worth tuning in for? The answer is that it’s still too early to tell – but early signs in “The Devil’s Dominion” aren’t promising. Though Malkovich is clearly relishing his part, and he’s hamming it up in a way that »
- Isaac Feldberg
Argh you ready for a new swashbuckling pirate series? NBC certainly thinks so and they have pressed John Malkovich to portray the legendary Blackbeard (Edward Teach if you prefer). The series, “Crossbones,” premieres at the end of May, and now we have gotten a new trailer for it. Setting up the characters and basic outline of the plot, the video offers up much discussion about a mysterious logbook that harbors information about a secret device. Actually, it’s not really a secret, the official description of the show refers to the device in question as “the world’s first longitude chronometer,” but unless we missed it, the trailer doesn’t seem to say that. Instead, it pits an already infamous Blackbeard against one Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle of “Coupling” fame), and makes us wonder just how bloody it will all get. This “Crossbones” trailer really operates as a showcase for the regularly compelling Malkovich, »
- Josh Lasser
NBC suffered a number of setbacks this year, with its original series Ironside, Welcome to the Family, The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves the World, Dracula, Crisis and Believe all proving dead on arrival, and Revolution shedding viewers at an alarming rate in its second (and likely last) season. Only James Spader drama The Blacklist arrived as a modest hit, while perennial underdogs Community and Parks and Recreation have been holding their own in the comedy department. To put it simply, the Peacock network really needs a hit, and execs are now pinning their hopes and dreams on pirate drama Crossbones, which arrives next month.
Unfortunately, though Crossbones has been in development for a few years, the fact that Starz got their pirate drama Black Sails to air before Crossbones paints NBC in an unsavory light (not exactly a new position for the network behind ill-fated Revenge clone Deception, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Feature Mark Harrison 7 Apr 2014 - 07:00
Now that it's left our screens, Mark details what How I Met Your Mother did right...
This article contains major spoilers for How I Met Your Mother, especially the finale - if you're watching at E4 pace, you'll probably want to come back later in the year.
Last year, we made the case for CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother's geek credentials, and came to the conclusion that while the leads are all cool, good-looking people in that sitcom way, they also have geeky interests in common as they grow into their thirties together.
For people who don't watch the series, or have maybe seen an episode or a clip while channel-hopping past E4, this show is essentially Friends warmed up. Whenever you hear that comparison, it never seems to come across in a flattering way, but that's reductive to both Friends, »
Over the last few months we have told you about a great new festival called SohoCreate, which will celebrate all things creative in the UK’s top media industry hub – Soho. Now we can reveal that stars from TV, Film, Art and Music have been announced as guest speakers for the event…and we couldn’t be more excited!
Actor Ben Miles, known for his roles in Coupling and more recently Dracula, is set to speak while SFX supervisor Paul Franklin, who won Best Achievement in Visual Effects for Inception, will also offer an exclusive insight into his career. Other speakers will include: actor Gary Kemp, Jeremy Herrin, film director Sophie Fiennes, visual effects producer Michael Elson and Sally Greene OBE just to name a few!
SohoCreate takes place on 4-6 June 2014 in Soho. For more information and to register please visit www.sohocreate.co.uk. Tickets for the festival »
- Lucy Cave
The BBC Worldwide Showcase event took place in Liverpool this week, and among the shows being promoted for sale overseas was, of course, Doctor Who. Steven Moffat was on hand, and spoke to BBC News about the show (and Sherlock and Coupling too). Among the many questions he was asked was a topic which we discussed in
- Christian Cawley
A quick review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as a lot of ladies feel like Don Corleone... This review's been delayed by snow and power outages, so let's get to it quickly before another act of God befalls my neighborhood. "The Exes" weirdly reminded me of Steven Moffat's brilliant Britcom "Coupling," not because the plot was similar to anything Moffat did, but because it felt like the episode spent 2/3 of its running time patiently laying the groundwork for an uproarious final 10 minutes. There were some amusing things in the opening installments, like Schmidt and »
- Alan Sepinwall
"Sherlock" Season 3 has a new player: Amanda Abbington joins the cast as Mary Morstan, John Watson's fiancee. But the role isn't Abbington's first connection to the show. Rather, she and Martin Freeman have been real-life romantic partners for years.
How much does the fictional Mary resemble the real actress? And how did she get the role?
There are some big differences between truth and fiction, of course. While Mary is new on the "Sherlock" scene, Abbington and Freeman have been in a committed relationship for over a decade. The two actors also have two children together and have worked on multiple acting projects over the years: "Men Only" (where they met), "The Debt," "The Robinsons" and "The Good Night."
A veteran of British television, »
9 items from 2014
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