Tag Archives: TV

Introducing ‘Run’ star Marli Siu – Scotland’s brightest new acting talent

Among the creative industries, the coronavirus pandemic has had a particularly big impact on movies and theatre, with cinemas and stages closed – and filming halted mid-production. For Scottish rising star Marli Siu, whose big screen debut was in cult horror musical Anna and the Apocalypse, there’s been an effect on multiple music-heavy projects.

Firstly, her indie film Run opened in March during growing uncertainty, lasting just five days before lockdown scuppered attendance (it’s out on digital this week). Inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen and starring Game of Thrones’ Mark Stanley, the thrifty 76-minute drama follows an existentially frustrated father in the Scottish town of Fraserburgh, who swipes his son’s car for a late night drag race.

Later this year, Siu will also feature in Our Ladies, the long-awaited adaptation of Alan Warner’s beloved 1998 novel The Sopranos (no mafia connection), which had its planned multiplex release in April pushed back to September. The Derry Girls-ish film follows five riotous teenagers from the Highlands running wild in mid-’90s Edinburgh for an afternoon of debauchery. But before that, you’ll see her on the small screen in Prime Video’s new series Alex Rider, based on Anthony Horowitz’s bestselling spy novels and also starring national treasure Vicky McClure.

Basically, Marli’s got a lot going for her right now. So, we dropped her a line to find out why she’s suddenly such a big deal…

Full interview for NME

30 essential ‘Simpsons’ episodes to watch on Disney+

Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of the 20th Century Fox back catalogue, one of the big selling points of Disney+ is access to the entire library of The Simpsons. Well, almost. The Michael Jackson-featuring Season 3 opener, “Stark Raving Dad”, was pulled from circulation in 2019 – you can currently only get that episode legally on the existing DVD box set of that season.

Additionally, most of The Simpsons’ 30-plus seasons are currently presented on Disney+ in an incorrect, cropped aspect ratio, something that is reportedly going to be amended in the next few months. But any easy access to The Simpsons is good access, even if conventional wisdom is that only an increasingly small fraction of the output is worth accessing…

Full feature for VODzilla.co

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

‘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