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Top TV Series for 2014

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Whether you’ve made a new year’s resolution to watch more television – not that anyone would ever do that…nervous laughter…or you’re simply after a bit of great telly to get you through the January blues, we have compiled our top 10 shows that will be gracing your TV sets this year.

As for our returning favourites – if you haven’t seen their predecessors yet, then for heaven sake catch up!

Orphan Black, Series 2

If you haven’t been watching this show…why why WHY haven’t you been watching this show?! A drama that tricks cynics into watching (and enjoying) the sci fi genre before they know what’s hit them, the first series consisted of ten one-hour episodes and was one of the finest dramas of the year, with the action fast-paced and a consistently great storyline.

Also, the acting talent of the silverscreen Tatiana Maslany will genuinely absolutely amaze you. To avoid spoilers we won’t elaborate. Let’s just say if the first series is anything to go by, the second will be outstanding.

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Orange is the New Black, Series 2

This surprisingly hit saw a privileged blonde incarcerated in a women’s jail for a crime she committed ten years earlier, and not only did we empathise with poor Piper, we fell in love with the other jailbirds one by one as their stories were explored. Season one was left on a gruesome cliffhanger, so we are waiting with bated breath for the next instalment to get on our screens!

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Game of Thrones, Series 4

Arguably the best television show in years – yes yes, Breaking Bad aside – Game of Thrones is back for season 4.. After the devastation of season three’s Red Wedding stunned fans of the show, we reckon it’s about time we see some less favourable heads roll.

If you haven’t caught up yet, call in work, tell them you’re ill, and settle down in front of your television. We promise you will not regret it.

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Rectify, Season Premiere

Rectify is already a huge hit in the USA, premiering on the Sundance channel, but has yet to hit the UK silverscreen. A short series based on a man who is released from death row after 19 years when new evidence comes to light, the story is less of a whodunnit and more of a examination of the character Daniel’s mental state after being released from a windowless room for the majority of his life.

It’s slow, but powerful and truly worth watching. Also, it is from the producers of Breaking Bad. Just saying.

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The Returned, Series 2

The French series was beautifully made and intriguing in plot premise (though things got very weird, didn’t they?) If you simply want a recap of series 1, by all means take it: in a sleepy town in France, several previously dead members of the community simply come back to life, with no memory of ever having being dead.

One little girl’s twin is now in her late teens, another’s wife has moved on with another man, another’s a murderer…and that’s where we’ll stop. It’s creepy. Vive le season 2!

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Girls, Series 3

Girls is a totally honest and hilarious depiction of a band of slightly messed up twenty-somethings lives in New York City. It’s like a Sex and the City gone horribly, horribly wrong.

These women aren’t glamorous and go out drinking cocktails every night of the week – they endure bizarre relationships, watch daytime TV and confront issues with OCD head on.

It’s so great, please watch it.

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True Detective, Season Premiere

We are as much in the dark as you are about this one, but early critics have absolutely lauded the new crime drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who star as two detectives who have been hunting for a serial killer across seventeen years.

It sounds like one of the most promising series of the year, and we can’t wait to check it out.

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Hannibal, Season 2

This series about a serial killer involving graphic murders is definitely not just a gore fest. The imagery is just gorgeous, and the writing is suspenseful and perfectly acted – transcending a cop drama by delving into the psyche of a man breaking apart at the seams.

We can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store.

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Community, Season 5

If you’re anything like us, you are jumping for joy that Dan Harmon has returned to Community. The showrunner was unfortunately fired, and other writers were brought in to write up season 4. The end result was terrible, leading Community to be a shadow of it’s former self.

Saying this, it might be simply hope that season 5 will be great again with Harmon at the helm, but the trailer did have more laughs in it than the whole of series four. Just saying.

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Sherlock, Season 3

One episode has aired and Sherlock is smarter than ever, Benedict Cumberbatch is as sexy as ever, and Martin Freeman has shaved off that stupid moustache!

John and Sherlock are back in business! And there’re still two glorious more episodes to go! Blink and you’ll miss them though – the third and last episode will air next Sunday!

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Sherlock Review: The Empty Hearse

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‘He’s baaaaaack!’ the immense Sherlock fandom screamed, as did more or less every character in the episode. Two years after Sherlock leapt from the roof of a hospital in the series 2 finale, keeping its huge viewing audience on tenterhooks for just how he did it, the consulting detective returned to a delighted fanbase and an utterly furious John Watson. And it was glorious.

The episode begins with a brief recapping of the fall. As Sherlock relays his infamous suicide speech down the phone to John, a figure moves the clearly dead Moriarty from the roof. They open a briefcase to find DUN DUN DUUUUN a Sherlock mask! Sherlock contact lenses! As Sherlock jumps from the roof he is tethered to a bungee rope, and instead of plummeting to the ground, he bounces back up, smashes through a window and kisses everyone’s favourite shy morgue worker Molly Hooper as Derren Brown hypnotises Watson asleep to give them more time to plant Moriarty’s body.

Now, if you were anything like us, you’d be screaming “NOOOOO” at the television whilst tweeting utter profanities about Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, the BBC and all that is great and good in this world. If you were smarter than us, and we’re assuming that’s most of the population, you would have made a deduction of your own – this explanation is just a bit of a gag at all the wildest of the Sherlock speculation, and not the real explanation we expected.

Awkward panic over, but those sneaky writers got our heart’s pounding within three minutes, from which they don’t readdress the fall until the end of the episode, and by that point you are so involved in the intensity of the present plot you almost don’t care how he did it anymore.

Almost.

From there, we are plunged into the world of Sherlock, which has rather expanded from the days of simple police investigations. Mycroft AKA Sherlock’s brother, played by one of the show’s writer’s Mark Gatiss himself, has brought Sherlock back to London on account of a major terrorist attack on the city being imminent.

Sherlock decides it’s time to surprise John with his resurrection, and interrupts his marriage proposal to new character (played by Martin Freeman’s real life wife, the wonderful Amanda Abbington), and Freeman’s reaction to seeing his old friend back from the dead is utterly perfect. He goes from enraged to devastated to choked up to furious to eerily calm. Emmy please. Emmy for Mr Freeman.

It’s not long before Sherlock’s back to work, sadly without the fuming moustached John, but we do get Molly solving some crimes! Yay! However, John is quickly thrown back into Sherlock’s insatiably dangerous world after being kidnapped and stuck into a bonfire by presumably this season’s mystery villain.

Sherlock saves his life, leading John to begrudgingly allow himself to be embroiled in his friend’s life again, which led to the main storyline of the series – a terrorist cell is planning on blowing up the Houses of Parliament, and it’s up to our favourite crime fighting duo to save the day!

The storyline is good, really really good, but what is better is the episode’s constant nod to their dedicated fans in moments both cheeky and hilarious, particularly when one theory involves Sherlock and Moriarty being in on the suicide trick together on account of being gay lovers – a lovely homage to those slightly more passionate fans who enjoy the old slash fanfic. Even when we finally learn how the trick was done, we’re not altogether sure it’s true, and that there may well be another 12 explanations handed to us before the end of the mini series.

So what did you think? A fitting conclusion to the rooftop mystery?

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CALIFORNI-CANCELLATION

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It’s looking a bit moody for Showtime as they’ve just cancelled long-running David Duchovny vehicle CALIFORNICATION in the run up to its seventh and, indeed, now final season.

Following the adventures of Duchovny’s Hank Moody, a feted novelist combating eternal writers block by sleeping with most of California and endlessly letting down his family, it was unashamedly rude, crude and lewd – taking full advantage of the late-Noughties cable TV boom to provide both sides of the pond with one of the edgiest comedies of recent years – winning a Golden Globe or two in the process.

Ironically, Season Six achieved its highest ratings in the show’s history earlier this year, peaking at 2.9 million viewers, which perhaps suggests the decision was partly a creative one from Duchovny (now pushing his mid-50’s) and creator Tom Kapinos. Given the show could well have ended several seasons ago from a narrative standpoint, it’s probably not a terrible decision on their and Showtime’s part.

For fans of Hank and his long suffering friends and family, you can enjoy his final hurrah when CALIFORNICATION begins airing its final season of 12 episodes in April 2014 on Showtime.

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Why From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is Worth Getting Excited About

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Hot on the heels of popular horror television series such as American Horror Story, True Blood and the Walking Dead, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn finds itself getting the TV treatment, with a series currently in production.

Like the film, the ten-episode serialised supernatural crime saga will be centred around bank robber, Seth Gecko and his unpredictable brother Richard as they are en route to Mexico. After taking the former minister Jacob Fuller and his family hostage so they can use their family RV to make a run for the Mexican border, they take a pitstop at a strip club unaware that it is populated by vampires. Forced into a battle for their lives the brothers and the Fuller family team up to survive on-coming attacks until dawn forcing them into a battle for their lives that will last until dawn. The series will not only echo the tone of the film but the series will add new characters and backstories to the fold and it is said that it will expand the Mesoamerican mythology behind the vampires.

The series will star D.J. Cotrona (Dear John, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) as Seth Gecko, Zane Holtz (Holes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) stars as Richie Gecko, and Jesse Garcia (“Sons of Anarchy”) plays Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez, a new character created for the series. Don Johnson (Django Unchained, “Nash Bridges”) will play Sheriff Earl McGraw in a recurring role.

One part getaway movie, one part horror movie, From Dusk Till Dawn is a spectacular movie. So whilst we wait for further information about the upcoming series we have picked five things that made the first movie so awesome:

At the time From Dusk Till Dawn was released, George Clooney was most known for his work as Dr. Doug Ross so it was strange for audiences to see him go from someone who saved people at the ER to playing Seth Gecko who sends people to the ER. It was because of this irony that he was picked by Quentin Tarantino for the role.

Quentin Tarantino’s performance as Richie Gecko is solid and holds his own against the others in the movie. He pulls off an astonishing performance as the younger psychotic brother of George Clooney and flawlessly delivers his lines.

Tom Savini’s appearance as Sex Machine is superb. A man of many talents and hailed as a God for his SFX work, Savini plays his character with cool confidence but combined with his ‘special’ lap gun that just screams Rodriguez, there’s no denying how awesome this character is.

Salma Hayek played Santanico Pandemonium in the film and performs one hell of a lapdance. This was done without the aid of a choreographer and was the result of Director Robert Rodriguez telling Hayek to just feel the music and dance to it.

The SFX work provided by Greg Nicotero (Evil Dead 2, “The Walking Dead”) and his team are, although somewhat outdated compared to today’s standards, absolutely enjoyable. The vampires and the over-the-top deaths would be nothing without them and play a large part in the success of the film as a whole.

So there you have our list of five things that we feel made the first film so enjoyable an. So whilst we wait for more information about the upcoming series why not check out the trailer for the film below:

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Agents of SHIELD Pick Up the Pieces After Thor: The Dark World

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The folks behind the Marvel universe are well known for interweaving the plot lines of their movies having characters pop up in different films or directly making reference to certain events. It would appear that the team behind the films have decided for their next move to expand this crossover to TV in a forthcoming episode of the popular television series Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

If you have not seen the series before, which is set after the events of Avengers Assemble, SHIELD features a resurrected Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) who is given the task of leading a new team of agents from extraterrestrial threats. The series also stars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton and two British thesps, Elizabeth Henstridge and Ian De Caestecker.

In the crossover episode, SHIELD will pick up the pieces after the events of Thor: The Dark World and although Chris Hemsworth hasn’t been slated to appear in the episode it is worth remembering that Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo as Director of SHIELD Nick Fury in an earlier episode wasn’t announced either.

Those in the UK can see Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on Channel 4 meanwhile Thor: The Dark World is currently on wide release in UK cinemas now.

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Promo Trailer for Almost Human: Lethal Weapon by way of Blade Runner.

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Hardly a season of US network TV goes by these days without a new offering from the Bad Robot/JJ Abrams staple – in fact this year we have two on the table, starting with Almost Human, and it’s fair to say the buzz circling this new offering from Fringe guru JH Wyman has been crackling for some time. Imagine Lethal Weapon by way of Blade Runner and you won’t probably be far off the mark.

Karl Urban, fresh off stealing almost every movie he’s in, plays John Kennex – a depressed, psychologically damaged cop circa 2048, where ‘synthetics’ are now part of the police force. Kennex, rejecting his own forced synthetic implants, equally rejects the idea of a synthetic partner to keep him on the straight and narrow – so cue tension with Michael Ealy‘s infuriatingly calm, measured Dorian, a seemingly defective synthetic assigned to him, and about as close to human as a robot can get. It’s the classic cop-buddy dynamic, thrown forward thirty five years into a world of hover cars, androids and undoubtedly lots of neon.

We’re excited at the prospect of Almost Human. Sure, for every Lost, Bad Robot can serve up a lukewarm Alcatraz, but Wyman’s involvement for a start is hugely promising – he being the guy whose dogged, clever storytelling gave the underrated Fringe a strong send-off, and anyone who saw the final season of that show will see Wyman is taking a natural jumping off point from there for Almost Human. It’ll rise and fall, of course, on the dynamic of Urban and Ealy – but early signs point to their mismatched duo, dubbed as a ‘ro-bromance’ whatever on earth that’s supposed to mean, working as well on screen as on paper. If that can be shored up by good visual effects, solid world building and plots that escape the generic, we’re confident Almost Human might ‘almost’ be one of the best new offerings this season.

You can catch the two-night premiere of Almost Human on FOX, November 17/18th. A UK airdate is yet to be confirmed. We’ll leave you with the promotional trailer for the show. Let us know what you make of this one.

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Danny Boyle to Direct Brit Marling & James Nesbitt For Channel 4’s Babylon

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Oscar winning director Danny Boyle is best known for such films as Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Trainspotting. But what has he been up to recently? Well, he has been keeping busy in the U.S. working with his Slumdog Millionaire writer and producer Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson on Telemark, a 10-part WWII miniseries for the FX network.

However, Boyle has also been working closer to home readying a pilot for Channel 4 called Babylon. Scripted by BAFTA winners Sam Bain and Jessie Armstrong, Boyle is stepping up to direct Brit Marling (Another Earth) and James Nesbitt (The Hobitt). Described as “razor-sharp and visually audacious,” Babylon is said to take a wry look at the modern police force. Nesbit will play Chief Constable Richard Miller and Marling will play Liz Garvey, a new-media savvy American who has been hired to revolutionise the PR department of London’s police force.

The pilot shoots this Autumn for an early 2014 broadcast with a further six episodes already ordered for production.


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National Geographic Greenlights First Scripted Series, Act of Valor

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Following the hulking success of National Geographic‘s SEAL Team Six last year, the channel has decided to team up with Relativity and Tandem Communications to create their first scripted series, Act of Valor, based on last year’s feature film of the same name.

This will be the second of Ryan Kavanaugh‘s Relativity studio’s films to hatch into a full blown series following the 2010 documentary Catfish, which resulted in the subsequent MTV reality series. Written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers), Act Of Valor is reported to be heading into production early next year and will focus on pararescue jumpers tasked with rescuing and providing medical services to people in combat and humanitarian emergencies.

Relativity Television CEO, Tom Forman states that “The film Act of Valor was ground-breaking in its unique approach, and we look forward to applying its gritty, realistic vision to television,” whilst Tandem Communications COO, Tim Halkin commented that “Act of Valor is an intense, fast-paced series that will resonate with viewers worldwide.”

Tandem will be pitching Act of Valor to international buyers at MIPCOM whilst a MIPCOM Media Mastermind Keynote is expected from Kavanaugh in Cannes tomorrow, October 8th.

In the meantime we’ll leave you with a trailer from last year’s SEAL Team Six.

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Greg Davies’ Man Down Preview and Q&A

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Comedian and general tall-man Greg Davies has gone from The Inbetweeners notoriously harsh Sixth Form teacher Mr Gilbert to starring as a hapless and indulging teacher in his own sitcom, Man Down.

Written by and starring the man himself, Davies’ plays Dan, a well-meaning but generally moronic teacher who spends the first couple of episodes trying to win back his exasperated girlfriend. He is dumped by Naomi after she gets fed up of his lack of trousers, still living with parents, refusing to buy new light bulb ways. Relying on his two best friends, the ditzy but delightful Jo and straight man moustached Brian, Dan must learn to navigate his way around a fed up ex-girlfriend, a strict and forever watchful headteacher, and his overly affectionate parents, one of whom enjoys attacking him to show his fatherly affection and leading to one of the first real laugh-out-loud lines of the show: ‘Take me fishing! Don’t attack me as a bear!,’ an experience that apparently was drawn straight from Greg’s experience with his own father.

‘That is word for word my dad’, said Greg, when asked about the father character. ‘The lengths he would go to wind his son up…’

The show certainly does venture into the ridiculous on a regular basis, to great effect, using Dan’s failings as a teacher and general human being as catalysts for things to go spectacularly wrong, including a cringe-making salsa dance session at a hospital, an incident involving pulling on the wrong underwear in a tailor shop, and having your classroom charges pretend to fire lasers up your nose to save you from an alien when your headteacher walks in. This is the crazy and hilarious world Greg Davies has created, and with the intention of creating the absurd.

‘We wanted to be as ludicrous as we could in the first episode and still tell everybody everything they needed to know’ said Greg. ‘It was always our intention for it to be fast paced and the arc of ludicrousness to be extreme.’

The show is well placed to be a hit, which strong gags and a genuinely funny cast, and has even already filmed its Christmas Special, a sure sign of the shows predicted success, something that was picked up by Greg himself.

‘We were chuffed’ said Greg when asked about the Christmas Special. ‘The only downside to that was the blistering heat of the summer and we were wearing Christmas jumpers.’

The show also stars ROISIN CONATY (Impractical Jokers), RIK MAYALL (The Young Ones), DEIRDRE MULLINS (Whitechapel), MIKE WOZNIAK (Live At The Electric), GWYNETH POWELL (Grange Hill) and JEANY SPARK (Wallander) and premieres on Channel 4 this Autumn.

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InterviewsTV News

TV Interview: Charles Baker Pays His Respect to Breaking Bad

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In the run-up the final episode, Cinema Chords recently caught up with Charles Baker who you will probably recognise as playing Skinny Pete in Breaking Bad.

In the interview he speaks about the popularity of Breaking Bad, the great on-screen duo that was him and Badger and why the show won at the Emmy Awards.

How did you get involved with Breaking Bad?

Well, I was in Fortworth, Texas and I was called in originally to play the skinny stoner in episode 4 of the first season. I read for the part and luckily they brought me in. Aaron Paul who plays Jesse Pinkman was supposed to die in the first season, but they decided he was too likeable to kill off and so they kept him. They made him a regular part of the show and decided that he needed friends and I was already established as a friend, so they kept me.

Wow, it could have been quite a different show if they killed Jesse.

Yeah, very much so.

Did you expect the show to be such a massive hit?

We knew it was going to be special, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted it to be as big as it was. We had a feeling that it was going to be something pretty cool and we all enjoyed doing it. Making it such a big hit was not necessarily what we were going for, we were just going for a love of the art and what we do. That’s one thing that Breaking Bad is, art.

What do you think it is about it that everyone loves so much?

Well, at least here in the States, a lot of people can relate. We don’t have a universal type of healthcare situation, and here we have a High School teacher who was able to support his family nicely up until the point where he needed healthcare. That’s what turned him, the knowledge that he was about to die and leave his family broke, or possibly in debt after having to pay for his medical bills. A lot of people here can relate to that. There’ also the drug aspect. There’s a lot of people in this country who are affected by drugs; they either know someone who’s into them or know someone who has been affected by someone into them.

Breaking Bad is great at presenting a wholly negative view of drugs. But, Miley Cyrus actually used the show as a way to imply she isn’t as ‘bad’ as a show that teaches how to make drugs. What do you think about that?

Like you said, we don’t promote drugs and we don’t actually show people how to make them. They do use a realistic process but they don’t use it exactly how it would be needed to make meth. Sometimes the ends do justify the means. We feel like we do a good job at portraying what happens when you get into this mess. Even my character, Skinny Pete, on the show, after people saw him play piano in one episode, this is what meth can do to someone who used to be a classical pianist. It changed him into an illiterate junkie who slings meth at rehab centres, you know?

How would you describe your character to someone who doesn’t watch the show?

He’s a very loyal, unfortunate person. I’d like to say he’s just a dumb street-dealer, but really he’s a lost guy just like Jesse. He had something going for him once, but something went wrong and he got in to this drug world. He’s a coward and isn’t quite sure of himself.

Why do you think he’s important for the show?

4500Matt Jones who plays Badger made a point in an interview recently when he said something that I thought was brilliant. He said that Skinny Pete and Badger are there to remind the audience what Jesse would have been if he hadn’t met Walt. Jesse was just like us and we were the three amigos in the beginning and, slowly, as he got more involved in the danger and the heavier side of the business, he started growing up. As you can see from  our last few episodes, Badger and Skinny Pete are still the same dumb, goofy guys who aren’t affected at all by any of it. It’s a good reason to have us there.

Do you and Matt Jones get along as well as you do off-screen as you do on-screen?

Yeah, we get along great. We see each other a lot more now, because I’ve just moved to Los Angeles from Texas. So I go see some of his shows and he’s a really great guy. He’s a lot busier than I am! He’s on a show on CBS and, also, has a live show that he does in LA which is an improvisational musical and it’s hilarious. He’s got a great singing voice, so I go and check out his shows when I can.

What was it like off-stage when you and Badger were filming? Most of your scenes were pretty hilarious.

Yeah, the whole cast and crew loved our jobs so much and nobody took it too seriously. Whenever Bryan and Aaron were off-camera they were having fun and joking and as soon as the cameras started rolling, they would  become the brilliant and dramatic actors that they are. All of us just joked around and had fun while we were on-set. It was like a working vacation for me!

What was your favourite episode?

To film, it was the one where Badger and I were discussing Nazi zombies at the beginning of Season 4. That was a lot of fun. It seemed as though we were making it up as we went along because the writers write so well! We understood the material so well, that we just went with it. We had to do it so many different times from so many different angles, that it became more and more fun as it went on.

Do you watch the show yourself, or are you one of those actors who can’t watch themselves?

Oh, I love watching the show! I’ve been a huge fan since the beginning. I’m really not like Skinny Pete at all and so I can disassociate myself from the character I play on-screen and just enjoy it like the rest of the fans.

As you’ve said, you’re obviously not like your character. But, do you share any similarities with him?

I try not to be like him in my everyday life; I have 2 kids and 2 adult children and I don’t want them to act like that, so don’t want them to see me being like it!

Do you know how the show ends?

I don’t, I know nothing! I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. I saw some of the script for the final episode, but only just a tiny little bit and the rest of it was blacked out. The crew, on the last episode, did a lot of joking around with the cast about how it ended and kept making up different endings so anybody who wasn’t involved really has no idea.

What do you think happens. or what do you want to happen?

bb2Wow, I’m kind of trying to avoid making up anything because I don’t want to be disappointed when something I want to happen doesn’t. The writers are just so good that you could never guess, and anything that you say will probably not be right. I saw it in the season that ended with the two aeroplanes crashing and they teased it in the season by showing the teddy bear in the pool, and the early cold openings of the show. At the end, after those aeroplanes crashed and everyone realised what that was about, so many people had their own ideas about what was happening that they actually got mad about what happened. A lot of them, after a while, thought “Yeah that was cool, I was just mad because I wanted it to be this…” you know? It’s not my show, let the storytellers tell it and let’s see what happens.

Did you expect Breaking Bad to win the Outstanding Drama award at the Emmys?

*Laughs* You know what, I did. The amount of love and attention this show has been getting lately. It had been passed up for Best Drama for years since we started so I think this was a way of saying, “Hey thanks for making the best show on television.” The writers definitely deserved it.

I have a question for you that someone posted on Facebook: Do you think if the present Walt could go back in time and tell Walt in the past what happens if he makes meth, do you still think he’d do it?

That’s a good question. I think because of his ego, I think he would have tried to make different choices but he still would have ended up in the same predicament. A lot of his choices, even though he kept saying, “This is for my family” you could almost see that it was more to do with his ego. Anytime somebody talked down to him or talked about him being a nice, smart, sweet guy, didn’t acknowledge him as being someone special, he somehow always brought himself back. When Hank thought that he caught Heisenberg in an earlier season and Walt was like, “Well..what if he’s still out there?” That was his ego talking and I think that’s what’s driving him. Even if he knew what was going to happen, he would try and change things and do it this time.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a new show for NBC called The Blacklist and stars James Spader. I play a character named Grey who is James Spader’s confidante and driver. It’s a really neat role for me; he’s the complete opposite of Skinny Pete. He dresses nice, he’s articulate, he’s well-groomed and he’s a positive help for James Spader’s character. It’s a really fun role and a great show.

We’d like to thank Charles for his time and hope he enjoys the final episode as much as we do this very evening as it airs on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9/8c on AMC.

We’ll leave you with one of our favourite recent scenes as Badger explains his Star Trek script idea to Skinny Pete.

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TV Interview: Jonathan Banks Pays His Respect to Breaking Bad

Jonathan-Banks-seguira-Breaking-Bad_TINIMA20130211_0959_5

cast-and-characters-of-breaking-bad-2023301676-aug-10-2012-1-600x400Jonathan Banks’ 40-something-year career has been varied to say the least, but he’s never had such a great role.

He’s gone from drama to comedy. He’s played good guys (particularly memorable was his portrayal of FBI Agent Frank McPike in Wiseguy) and felons. But the 66 year young actor has never taken on such a role as nuanced or as stirring as Mike Ehrmantraut, the dead-eyed hitman who protects other bad guys for a living in the hit show, Breaking Bad.

With the show just days away from reaching its climax we spoke to Jonathan as he pays his respect to both his character and the show.

[Warning: the odd SPOILER may be found below if you haven’t seen some of the most recent episodes]

So, how did you first get involved with Breaking Bad?

Basically they brought me in to do a job, you know? They needed someone to play a cleaner to come in and I did, and I thought that I was just going to be in it for one show and then leave. But apparently they liked what I did and I ended up staying on!

Did you expect the show to be the big hit that it is now?

Nope, I had absolutely no idea it was going to be anything like it turned out.

What did you think of your fellow actors on the show?

Well, looking back after finishing my stint it was just such an enjoyable experience. In the beginning, when I came home I said to my wife “You know, I’m working with this kid [Aaron Paul] and I think he’s going to be really great.” And indeed I was correct.

If you had to describe your character, Mike in 3 words, what would they be?

Dangerous, lost soul.

We don’t really know much about Mike’s background even though it’s slightly hinted at. Did you ever imagine what his story was?

Well, I’m still doing that actually. All the actors thought about what Mike’s back story might be. Even if I could define him, I just would not express him because I really like the way the character was left. I liked the decision to just leave all that mystery surrounding his back story.

Are you glad that Mike had a “decent” death? It was quite a serene moment.

It was a very tragic death. It was a wonderful scene, it really was.

What was it like shooting your final scene?

The day that my character, Mike died on set everyone on set wore black armbands. It was a very emotional day because I love that show so much. I love those people and I knew that something like the wonder of Breaking Bad only comes along maybe once in a life time. I was well aware of that, so that will give you an idea of the intensity of the emotion on that day.

What was your favourite episode?

As far as just ‘fun’ goes, it’s when Aaron (Jesse Pinkman) and I are riding around in the desert because we laughed all day long.

Do you watch the show yourself?

Well, since my character was killed I didn’t want to know what happened on the last 8 shows, so I am watching it as an audience member as it comes to an end.

So you don’t know how it all ends?

I do not so there’s no spoilers coming from me.

What do you think happens?

I’m not sure. I always like it when, and I don’t mean this to be coy, I truly enjoy it when the writers surprise me. I think it’s great.

I think how they’ve left it, anything could happen.

I haven’t seen the most recent episode because I was at the Emmy Awards, so I have it recorded and can’t wait to see.

An article online criticised Breaking Bad for its unrealistic time frame. It was said that too much happens in too short an amount of time. What do you think about this?

*Laughs* It’s a story, what can I tell you? There are going to be holes in it, if that is indeed a hole. I think the story is told incredibly well in a wonderful time frame. I don’t think that’s a problem at all.

Are you going to feature in the spin-off show Better Call Saul?

I have no idea, nobody has spoken to me about anything yet.

Would you be interested in being involved in the project?

Well it would depends on what it is. It would depends on how it is written and what they intend to do.

559837_10151912155142722_1002143359_nHow was it going up against Aaron Paul for the Best Supporting Actor award?

I love Aaron Paul like a son. If anything, it’s humorous. Aaron couldn’t be pulling any harder for me to win it and I always wanted the best for him. So, if either one of us had won we would have been happy. Do you want to win? Sure, you want to win! But, is it a big deal if the other guy wins? No, I could have only been happy for him.

Were you surprised that neither of you picked up the award?

Well, Bobby Cannavale is a wonderful, wonderful actor and so deserving. So good for him and congratulations to him.

Did you expect Breaking Bad to win the Outstanding Drama Series award?

I don’t know if I was expecting it, but I definitely thought that it should.

Do you think Emma Gunn (Skylar White) was a worthy winner for Best Supporting Actress?

Anna is so good and so wonderful. She was so happy to have it. We had a great cast. I’ve done this professionally for 46 years and 35 in Hollywood, and this is as good as it gets. The actors, producers, the writers and the studio at AMC, all those wonderful people. We were all on the same page. We enjoyed each other and we had a great time. I will tell you this, that is a very rare commodity.

What are you going to be doing now that the show is over? Almost, anyway.

I’m doing the last season of a situation comedy called Community. I think I do 11 shows for them and that runs up to December 12th. It’s a comedy, so it’s a change of pace and it’s great fun. I have no idea what’s next. You know, I’m a journeyman character actor so I never know where the next job’s coming.

Well, that sounds exciting!

It’s also stressful at times, but yes, it’s certainly exciting.

We’d like to thank Jonathan and hope he enjoys the final episode as much as we do this very weekend when it airs on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9/8c on AMC.

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TV News

First Thoughts: Channel 4’s London Irish

London Irish

Now, it may have been the Guinness on the go in the foyer, or the fact that I’m an ex-pat ‘norn’ Irish’ living in London, or just the bloody brilliant writing, but London Irish is a cracking piece of telly.

Written by Lisa McGee, known more for drama than comedy (Being Human, Raw, The White Queen) it is set in London. The plot follows a core group of 4 Northern Irish friends as they, literally, sway through the typical ‘having a ball living the dream in London but really living in a damp hovel and drinking too much and confused about their existence’ coming of age yarn.

Written with, at the writer’s own omission, influence from her own friendship circle, it is tough and spiky, wrought with the harsh intricacies of Northern Irish dialect, but it retains heart and remains endearing. The quick paced dialogue and heavy, let’s say, smattering of quite possibly every swear word known to man, including the elusive ‘C’ word, is an honest depiction of a very particular group of mates. This is the key. It would be easy to play the stereotype card; Irish youths, drinking, swearing and generally getting into bother. Those who do will conveniently be forgetting the remaining spectrum of characters that become embroiled in the shenanigans throughout the series.

It may come under the category of ‘edgy’ comedy for some, which is what the powers at be at Channel 4 want. It’s their ethos for late night comedy; this airs at 10pm. But there’s something charming about this rough bunch, whose passion for the mundane and self-referential treatment of traditionally taboo topics (terrorism, racism, necrophilia and, dare I say it, rape…) excuse the behavior. There’s a contextualized acceptance, perhaps due to the Irish brogue, which will be relatable to many.

The performances are individual and strong, showcasing some fresh comedy talents on the rise including Kerr Logan, Sinead Keenan, Peter Campion, Kat Reagan, as well as Ardal O’Hanlon and Tracy Lynch. With such a strong cast and a vehicle such as this one, I think Channel 4 are on to a winner.

London Irish starts tonight, Tuesday 24th September at 10pm on Channel 4 and we’ll leave you with a tasty trailer.

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