The great ITV shutdown 

So, something Olympic related has happened and I’m not sure whether to be mildly impressed or mildly patronized.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, the Olympics has just happened in Brazil and the United Kingdom (possibly for the last time) managed to come second in the overall medal table behind the USA.
And this has lead to the traditional, futile,  effort to convince the great British public to actually leave the house for once. Except this year they’ve managed receive some assistance from an unexpected corner.

ITV, the large commercial TV company in the United Kingdom will turn off all seven of its stations for one hour. And I don’t mean showing adverts for gyms and Spartan races I mean a black screen with the text “we’ve gone running – why don’t you join us?”

And whilst I appreciate the thought, I’m just not sure it’s going to work. First off the whole ‘olympic legacy’ just doesn’t work. Since London 2012, 400’000 people that were doing grassroots sport are no longer doing so.
And I’m fairly certain that depriving people of Murder She Wrote and Coronation Street isn’t going to do anything.

But hey, everythings worth a try right?  As long as ITV comes back on in time for Live and Let Die.

What do you guys think?

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Houdini and Doyle

Cast

Series cast summary:
Stephen Mangan Stephen Mangan
 Arthur Conan Doyle (6 episodes, 2016)
Michael Weston Michael Weston
 Harry Houdini (6 episodes, 2016)
Rebecca Liddiard Rebecca Liddiard
 Adelaide Stratton (6 episodes, 2016)
Emily Carey Emily Carey
 Mary Conan Doyle (6 episodes, 2016)
Noah Jupe Noah Jupe
 Kingsley Conan Doyle (6 episodes, 2016)
Adam Nagaitis Adam Nagaitis
 George Gudgett (2 episodes, 2016)
Tim McInnerny Tim McInnerny
 Horace Merring (2 episodes, 2016)

Plot- At the turn of the 20th century the Metropolitan Police were overwhelmed with bizarre cases so they turned to outsiders including Houdini and Doyle, who collaborated with New Scotland Yard on some unsolved and inexplicable crimes.

Review-Do you know what there’s not enough of on TV? Quirky outsider helping the police to solve murders, I mean aside from Elementary, The Mentalist, Diagnosis Murder, Psych, Murder She Wrote, Sherlock, Lucifer….

But this is unique in that it features real people that existed! And were friends in real life! (Although this happened 20 years after this series is set)And it stars such legendary actors such as Stephen Mangan (Postman Pat in the Postman Pat Movie) and Michael Weston ( PI Lucas from House)! Its also set in London… so yay?

The series actually has a pretty cool USP, legendary escape artist Harry Houdini and creator of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team up to solve murders that could have a supernatural element whilst indulging in wagers and embarrassing their police liaison Constable Stratton ( Rebecca Liddiard – me neither). It’s standard but it could work.

Could, but doesn’t.

How can I put this….. It feels very staged. Like you can tell that its on sets with actors. Turn of the century London looks too clean, the main actors have no chemistry and seem to be mostly focused on remembering their lines so the scenes where they ‘spar’ lack any type of authenticity.

Also, whilst Houdini and Doyle are meant to be chalk and cheese, the really do seem to be pretty much the same person with the same traits except from the odd line that’s basically “I’m still a skeptic”, “I still believe”.

The murders are pretty standard as well, complete with deus.ex machina endings. That either seem to have been decided by the role of the dice or have been really badly signposted.

There’s the gem of a good idea here, but this is seriously hammered by a crowded genre and the fact that if I wanted to watch murders being solved in turn of the century London I’ll watch the frankly amazing Ripper Street. This series whilst it does nothing wrong, it doesn’t do a whole lot right and I’d be quite surprised if lasts more than one or two series. At any rate, I’m finished after three episodes.

My Score- Poor 

Attack in Brussels- A Response

I don’t feel like writing about films today.

I did when I got up.

When I was in the shower.

When I was brushing my teeth and having my first cup of tea.

My friend who proofreads all my articles before I hit ‘Publish’ was good to go.

And then I turned the news.

And saw what was happening in Brussels

And all of a sudden my opinion of 10 Cloverfield Lane and High Rise (which I had spent hours crafting and perfecting) seemed… irrelevant somehow.

And, as always when I see these types of events, my heart went out to the victims, and, as always, quotes from The Siege came to my mind.

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Come on General, you’ve lost men, I’ve lost men, but you – you, you *can’t* do this! What, what if they don’t even want the sheik, have you considered that? What if what they really want is for us to herd our children into stadiums like we’re doing? And put soldiers on the street and have Americans looking over their shoulders? Bend the law, shred the Constitution just a little bit? Because if we torture him, General, we do that and everything we have fought, and bled, and died for is over. And they’ve won. They’ve already won!

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: [to General Devereaux during the Mexican standoff] You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to a fair trial. You have the right not to be tortured, not to be murdered, rights that you took away from Tariq Husseini. You have those rights because of the men who came before you who wore that uniform. Because of the men and women who are standing here right now waiting for you to give them the order to fire. Give them the order, General.

Elise Kraft: It’s easy to tell the difference between right and wrong. What’s hard is choosing the wrong that’s more right.

However, like a TV show I’ve seen one to many times, I know the next few scenes. Sing with me now.

Sympathy, Muslim blaming (even though terrorists are a fraction of a fraction of a %), tighter regulations, more fear, more attacks, the wheel keeps on spinning. Long after you, me, and probably even our children are cold in the grave things like this will still keep happening.

There must be a way to stop things like this from happening. From labeling all those different to us as ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’ until then, we just do what we would normally do, we go out, eat, drink, see films. Do all the things that the people attacking us don’t wan’t us to do.

Because if we give in to fear, then the attacks today were successful

If we give in to hate then the attacks today were successful

If we blame those different to us with only our prejudice as evidence then the attacks today were successful.

These were not the first attacks on an innocent city and they will not be the last but we can make them the exercise in barbaric impotence that they deserve to be treated as.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reviews to write.