thu 19/01/2017

TV drama

Taboo, BBC One

The arrival of this oppressively atmospheric 19th-century historical drama is being trailed as the BBC's bold attempt to break the Saturday night stranglehold of soaps and talent shows. No doubt they were encouraged by the success of all those...

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Unforgotten, Series 2, ITV

Historic unsolved murders have become their own mini-genre, with the likes of Cold Case lurking in the small print of the schedules and Silent Witness still going strong in its 20th series. A hit the first time out in 2015, Unforgotten is back with...

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Best of 2016: TV

If there's one big question hanging over the television industry, it's "how long can the old broadcast networks survive in the new era of subscription and downloading services?" No doubt there will be a variety of answers, with different hybrid...

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Call the Midwife: 2016 Christmas Special, BBC One

While Miranda Hart's Chummy is no more and Jessica Raine (who played Jenny Lee) has long since departed to perish in Line of Duty and pout crossly in Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife has evolved into a sort of Heartbeat with nuns, featuring antique pop...

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The Missing, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Anyone hoping for a few laughs and a nice bit of catharsis after enduring the eight unstintingly miserable episodes of The Missing would have got none of the former and hardly any of the latter. Writers Jack and Harry Williams had sprung most of...

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Close to the Enemy, BBC Two / Paranoid, Series Finale, ITV

We last encountered Stephen Poliakoff on TV in 2013's Dancing on the Edge, which provoked mixed reactions (not least on theartsdesk). That was the story of a black jazz band in 1930s London, who played gigs at swanky hotels. Close to the Enemy (★)...

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Poldark, Series 2 Finale / Planet Earth II, BBC One

So, a rough tally. We’ve had a trial, a near suicide, a punch-up, death by drowning, a near bankruptcy, a tin rush, another punch-up, a baby, a probable rape, a riot, another baby, and another one on the way, possibly a product of that probable rape...

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The Missing, Series 2, BBC One

It seems morbid, and perhaps even in dubious taste, to create a TV drama franchise focusing on the hideous fate of abducted children and the repercussions this has on their family and friends. Still, ratings are their own reward, and the first...

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Westworld, Sky Atlantic

Michael Crichton's 1973 movie Westworld became a paradigm of fears about technology running amok and turning violently against its human creators. HBO's new series, executive produced by JJ Abrams and written by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, looks as...

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Preacher, Amazon Prime Video

If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the first two series in Netflix’s supremely realised and blood-spattered depiction of Marvel Comic’s Hell’s Kitchen, it’s as well to do it with conviction. By hosting Preacher, based...

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The Living and the Dead, BBC One

This new series by Ashley Pharoah is dramatically different from his previous efforts in Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars, though he still likes travelling though time. His method here was to saw off chunks of Far From the Madding Crowd, stir in some...

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The Good Wife, Series 7 Finale, More4

It's amazing that they've managed to sustain The Good Wife over seven series and 156 episodes which have, by and large, maintained a standard of writing and acting which can stand toe to toe with anything else on TV. Apparently it's now being dubbed...

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