TV Shows »Ann Rule’s Everything She Ever Wanted

20091123-IMG_0614Lifetime Movie Network Gold

Well, hello there sugar. You in the mood for the kind of scenery chewing actin’ that the lil’ old Lifetime Movie Network was made for? You just itchin’ for the kind of yarn that’s hotter than a junebug on Georgia asphalt? Well, then pull up a chair and grab yourself a glass of sweet tea (something that I’ve learned from both this miniseries and NBC’s To Catch a Predator is always a trap) and settle in for Ann Rule’s Everything She Ever Wanted – a series that begins with a genuine Gone With the Wind-themed weddin’.

Gina Gershon smacks her lips around the role of real life sociopathic southern belle Patricia Allanson (who in reality bears very little resemblance to Gershon) like some sexed up, large titted dog might around a badly written bone. It makes for a much better viewing experience than Ann Rule’s other recent Lifetime event, Too Late to Say Goodbye, where Rob Lowe plays a seemingly perfect husband, but is actually a wife killer.

So imagine my surprise and horror when, after watching for two hours (gathering as many screen shots as possible), the show ended with Gina injecting an old woman in the mouth with poison followed by a “To be continued…” message – and I didn’t record the second half! Lifetime, shame on you for not re-airing this glorious heap of camp and trash. What do we pay you for?! If you think it’s just for the Reba re-runs (now airing in the morning) and decades-old Tracey Gold amnesia dramas (The Perfect Daughter, aired Wed 25th at 2:00), you are sorely mistaken.

Click here for the rest of Ann Rule’s Everything She Ever Wanted

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Posted on November 29, 2009

TV Shows »The Last Enemy

last enemywritten by Peter Berry (2008)

I wrongly assumed this available-on-Netflix-instant BBC miniseries would be boring and dry, but The Last Enemy is a taut thriller set in a slightly altered modern day where surveillance in the name of protection has become sci-fi-ishly all encompassing.

While the reluctant hero is such a cliche at this point, the archetype is masterfully written and played by Benedict Cumberpatch (a British name if I ever heard one) as an uptight, anti-social germaphobe – perhaps the least likely person to become embroiled in the political mess that his recently killed brother has left behind.

Small mysteries lead to larger ones, and while the series has a bit of a hard time making all the answers satisfying and sustaining the suspense of the first part, it’s over all a truly smart and compelling piece with layers of surprises and intrigue. It’s quite long, so it works perfectly for a hung over Sunday, so long as you have the brain power to follow the action and plot twists.

Click here for the rest of The Last Enemy

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Posted on November 15, 2009

TV Shows »Trial and Retribution

Even with the prestigious name of Lynda La Plante attached to Trial and Retribution (she is behind the absolutely amazing Helen Mirren series Prime Suspect), I didn't know if I could expect much more than a Law and Order with accents. I was so wrong. Each episode is about four hours long and explores the emotions, investigation and the prosecution of a single crime exhaustively. Compellingly, you're never quite one hundred percent positive of the suspect's guilt or innocence until the end.

So far we've only seen the first series, starring Danny Deckchair (AKA Rhys Ifans) as a drunken weirdo who quickly becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a young girl. The violence both implied and shown is a bit much for the weak-stomached, but it doesn't feel gratuitous; though the recurring split screen technique kind of does at times. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't add anything to the story.

As with most BBC shows, the acting is great and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this intelligent series.

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Posted on October 19, 2009

TV Shows »Henry VIII

henry VIII ray winstoneYou may not think it, from his hoodlum roles past,?but Ray Winstone makes a brilliant Henry VIII in this most entertaining television miniseries from a few years back. It's an oft told and adapted tale, but this production which also features a great performance from Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn is the best I have seen.

Angry reviewers, and there always will be angry reviewers online cry with outrage at the lack of historical correctness, on which I can't comment, but if you are not using this as a history lesson and merely want to be entertained, enjoy.

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Posted on September 14, 2009

TV Shows »The Dark Ages

dark agesThe concept of the Dark Ages, a time when mankind actually reverted – forgetting the advances of one of the most advances civilizations in history, has always been fascinating and mystifying to me.

Sadly, most History Channel series that I've tried to watch fail to quench my curiosity regarding historical events, but The Dark Ages was not disappointing. Neither dry nor too jazzed up and hip-ified, their collection of experts and recreations offer an insightful exposition on the time of plagues and superstition.

The series is available on netflix on demand.

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Posted on July 27, 2009

TV Shows »Tipping the Velvet

tipping the velvetIt's been years since I've seen Tipping the Velvet, but this lush and lusty saga is pretty unforgettable. Based on the debut novel by Sarah Waters of the same name, the BBC adaptation is in the capable hands of adaptation king Andrew Davies. Set in Victorian England, the story is a rambling and expansive look at lesbian life during the era.

Nan, a spirited young woman goes from poor oyster house wench to stage performer to kinky rent “boy”, to kept woman and more. She's played by Rachael Stirling, who may be better known to you as the lovely daughter of Diana Rigg.

Lots of great costumes and settings abound and an entire world that rarely makes it to the big or little screen comes alive in this acclaimed series that is available on DVD.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

TV Shows »I, Claudius

I, Claudius Widely considered one of the best miniseries ever made. The cast is amazing, including John Hurt as Caligula (that alone should entice you to watch). Jim and I watched all thirteen episodes in one weekend. Shot without locations on sound stages, all on video no less, it still puts HBO's extremely expensive Rome to shame. This page has a ton of clips.

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Posted on December 26, 2005