Category Archives: TV

Coincoin and the Extra-Humans (Bruno Dumont, 2018)

After helming some of the most austere, polarising films in French arthouse cinema, writer-director Bruno Dumont made a surprise swerve into the world of TV in 2014 with P’tit Quinquin, a miniseries that premiered at Cannes in a (still long) film version later released in UK cinemas.

A blackly comic murder mystery, the show starts off as a macabre riff on police procedurals like Midsomer Murders, crossed with kids-up-to-mischief comedies like The Little Rascals, as Van Der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost), a bumbling detective and his deputy, Carpentier (Philippe Jore), try to solve a series of grisly deaths while a group of youths, led by the eponymous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), watch. What is gradually revealed about the rural southern France setting is the deep prejudices of its residents, particularly towards Arab or African Muslim immigrants, some of whom end up being murder victims. Even the initially ‘good’ leads, the arguable points of identification for the audience, turn out to be belligerent bigots.

Given all of the above, you may be wondering why the sequel miniseries, Coincoin and the Extra-Humans, set years later, is being covered by a genre magazine. One word: aliens…

Full review for SciFiNow

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‘American Gods’ Season 2

It’s been almost two full years since the first season of American Gods wrapped up, with major behind-the-scenes overhauls making the news with relative frequency. Firstly, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green departed after supposed creative disputes, including disagreements with co-executive producer Neil Gaiman, author of the show’s source novel. Then, a couple of key actors from the first season – specifically, two previous Fuller collaborators in Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth – opted not to return in solidarity with the departing showrunner. Thirdly, replacement showrunner Jesse Alexander, who had worked on Fuller’s Hannibal as a writer-producer, was reportedly relieved of duty late in the production of Season 2, not allowed to oversee the show to completion despite not being officially fired.

Fans of the first season, or even fans of the book who didn’t like the first season, would be right to be worried about the end result of this fraught return to the screen. That said, some may find this clash between conflicting visions of the future strangely appropriate for the narrative’s battle of wits and woe between gods of the old ways and deities of the new ones…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Maniac (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2018)

Netflix miniseries Maniac, from Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), is an enticing prospect even before taking the stacked cast into account. Led by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, it also has Sally Field, Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno (Ex Machina) supporting, with the likes of Gabriel Byrne and Hank Azaria regularly popping up…

Full review for SciFiNow

‘Maniac’ creator Patrick Somerville on making you question reality and normalcy

Based on a Norwegian show of the same name, Netflix’s limited series Maniac reunites Superbad stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, alongside a formidable ensemble cast that features Justin Theroux, Sally Field, Sonoya Mizuno, Billy Magnussen, Julia Garner, Jemima Kirke and Gabriel Byrne in recurring roles. Directed in full by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), the dystopia-tinged dark comedy sees two strangers drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, for mind-repairing pills sold as being able to solve all of a test subject’s problems permanently. What they experience is hallucinations of different worlds and realities.

Ahead of Maniac’s arrival on Netflix, we spoke to writer, executive producer, and the man with the ‘Created by’ credit on the show, Patrick Somerville. Also an author, his previous writing and producing work in television includes fellow Scandinavian series adaptation The Bridge and The Leftovers, the latter also starring Justin Theroux…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Marianna Palka on ‘Bitch’, ‘GLOW’ & feminist films

The Skinny is chatting to Marianna Palka, the Scottish writer, director and actor, who’s fresh off the close of the Sundance London film festival where her latest directorial effort, Bitch, has just played. Glasgow-born though largely US-based since her teens, Palka has her “finger in both pies”, as she describes it, regarding filmmaking in her two home countries. “I’m always working on getting stuff done in Scotland and getting stuff done in America at the same time,” she says, “so it’s kind of like whatever happens first happens. But there’s many plans to do many things here that are really exciting…

Full interview for The Skinny

American Gods – Episode 8

Considering their show is so much about taking a leap of faith, it’s appropriate that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green took their own one in ending the first season of American Gods on a cliffhanger before they even knew for certain that a second season was to be greenlit (spoiler: it has been). It’s a pretty satisfying one, too, thanks to the quality of the rest of the episode. Some non-book readers may be wondering when the heck anyone is going to get to Wisconsin, but, for the most part, viewers will have their faith rewarded…

Full review for VODzilla.co

American Gods – Episode 7

One of the greatest assets of this first season of American Gods has been the breathing space it allows its various subplots, as well as its breaking away from traditional episodic structure, be it devoting an entire instalment to a flashback or lavishing a lot of attention on the various side vignettes of Neil Gaiman’s source novel. It’s an enjoyably weird show, one that prefers to luxuriate in a particular mood, before actually explaining what it’s just shown you.

Unfortunately, there can be a breaking point regarding a show’s otherwise pleasing qualities, and Episode 7, “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”, hits it. That’s not necessarily down to the instalment being bad per se, nor its storytelling quirk (the ‘Coming to America’ prologue device becoming the focus of an entire episode) being inherently objectionable. The direction (from Adam Kane) and performances continue to be very engaging, and Pablo Schreiber and Emily Browning would be wise to submit this episode for any Emmy consideration, in light of the dual turns they get to play with (and play well)…

Full review for VODzilla.co