Saturday, 30 May 2009


May the great Nikki Finke forgive me this not so humble use of her legendary "Toldja!" but I cannot resist (1): the fantastic dance group Diversity wins Britain's Got Talent 2009. On May 26, I wrote: « Dance group Diversity has the artistic and even the sociological relevance to win the series ».

Congratulations to Diversity and thank you to the wonderful Susan Boyle (

Update (May 31): 19,2 million viewers peak for the final! ( Highest ever peak for a reality TV programme in the UK. Simon Cowell should consider launching his own tv channel...

Please see also:

(1) Just for tonight, I swear!

Friday, 29 May 2009


The name of the new assistant of the Doctor in Doctor Who has been revealed ( Scottish actress Karen Gillan, aged 21, will be alongside the 11th Doctor Matt Smith (26), in the fifth series of the modern Doctor Who, helmed by the great Steven Moffat.

Well, without any kind of disrespect to Ms Gillan, it's obvious now that the targeted demographics of the new series is clearly younger than those of previous years. In this era of "reboot mania" and triumphant "bold, beautiful, young and restless" vampire/human love stories, we cannot get rid of the impression that, after all, old fans of 20th century franchises can always view their DVDs (don't even mention VHS) in the common room of their nursing home.

We trust "the Moff" enough to believe that Doctor Who will not get the CW treatment. Matt Smith is able to deliver a dashing Doctor and we've not seen enough of Karen Gillan to have an opinion. But the pressure on the production team and on the newcomers will now be higher than ever. Remember what happened when the Beeb tried to mix Skins with Spooks. Try to remember...

Update: Read the interesting reactions on Digital Spy ( One reader, Jerry, asks if the BBC is trying to create their version of Edward and Bella from Twilight. Twilight, again...


Let's face it: Series three of Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent is more exciting and entertaining than the Hollywoodland sequel factory avatars of this spring (or even summer), than the upcoming US fall television season, than this fictional version of Animals do the funniest things that is Primeval current series (with Ben Miller as Stephen Mulhern). Or than the Doctor Who RTD/David Tennant Farewell tour.

Why? Because BGT 3 has it all: variety, music, dance, eccentricity, talent, humour, drama, action, annoying, pathetic, spectacular, suspense, etc... And of course the true stars of the talent show: the judges (Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan) and the hosts - Ant & Dec. Plus "the lady with something extra", Susan Boyle, who gave the 2009 edition a global impact which must already give headaches to the production teams of the foreign versions of the franchise.

Some can discuss ad nauseam, if they wish, of the singing merits of Ms Boyle but the fact is that her first appearance during the auditions of BGT was pure wonder and a truce in the continuing mediocrity of these recession times. And her second appearance, during the first semi-final, was enjoyable. Whatever the result of saturday may be (personally my favourite is dance group Diversity), regarding her talent and the life she had until now, she deserves to get something from her passion. The rest is the usual insignificance of la société du spectacle, and thanks to Mr Piers Morgan - a class act and a gentleman - for bringing a little balance in this craziness (1)

Honestly, the ghost of Geraldine McQueen (Peter Kay's character in Britain’s Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Superstar Strictly On Ice) was flying over Semi-Finals 3 and 4 but the fourth semi-final gave us really great moments. Saxophonist Julian Smith ( and the charming duo 2 Grand (, with a grandfather and his granddaughter, won their tickets to the final with brilliance. Normally your humble servant prefers when kids go to school rather than chasing celebrity dreams but I must admit Callum Francis ( is born for West End productions (2).

BGT is the ultimate remedy against tv boredom. And Susan Boyle is not leaving (, but who could really believe she would anyway?

Update: Piers Morgan vs Craig Revel Horwood ( Morgan has my Yes.

Please see also:

(1) +

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Season 3 of Britain's Got Talent has set new standards for Simon Cowell's Got Talent franchise in the country where the format originated (America's Got Talent being the first to emerge for motives external to the format itself). And now the makers of the US or of the French version will be obliged to deliver as good without copycatting this season's British lineup.

This task will be particularly hard for the French edition, which changes its name from Incroyable talent (Incredible talent) to La France a un incroyable talent (France's Got [Incredible] Talent) for its fourth season. Tip to the French producers: don't try the Susan Boyle clone - after the first appearance of the wonderful Ms Boyle your humble servant immediately had in mind that one or two of the overseas edition of GT would certainly try to xerox the BGT sensation of this season.

The winners of Britain's Got Talent second semi-final are dance group Flawless (chosen by the public) and singer Shaun Smith. Piers Morgan, a wise man, raised an interesting point (1) during the jury's choice - between Smith and excellent ventriloquist Gareth Oliver: the show is a variety show and Morgan considered Oliver had a place in the final, whereas Simon Cowell, first asked by hosts Ant & Dec, voted for Shaun Smith.

If a singer, especially Smith, wins this year what will distinguish Britain's Got Talent from the other Cowell properties, such as The X Factor or American Idol? In the UK there is for the genre a before and an after Britain’s Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Superstar Strictly On Ice (, comedian Peter Kay's spoof of Reality tv shows. Even Simon Cowell admitted Kay's 2008 special for Channel 4 was "clever" (2).

Dance group Diversity has the artistic and even the sociological relevance to win the series but semi-finals go on this week on ITV1 before the final on saturday. Five has shown a documentary about Simon Cowell but ITV will eventually fund a statue of the man.

Shaun Smith:
Gareth Oliver:

Update (May 27): Semi-final 3 winners... Stavros Flatley - choice of the Great British Public ( and Shaheen Jafargholi ( My favourite act of the evening: Floral Highnotes (

Please see also:


Monday, 25 May 2009


Tristan Harvey (1) is an extremely gifted French-speaking dubbing actor from the Province of Quebec, where he is the voice of Seth Rogen (Zack and Miri make a porno), Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) or of British comedy God Ricky Gervais.

You can now hear his work on his website ( through a very well done demo. All the dubbed clips are excellent but I particularly appreciate Tristan's rendition of Gervais.



Sunday 24 was a big day for the competitors of the Can... Oops, sorry... for the competitors of the 2009 edition of Britain's Got Talent ( with the first semi-final of what is definitely the best version of the Got Talent franchise (even if America's Got Talent has The Hoff).

And the winners of the semi-final are: your humble servant's favourite, dance group Diversity, and the wonderful Susan Boyle. Whatever happens next saturday on ITV1, Diversity should become a scene phenomenon close to Blue Man Group (without the Fantomas faces) as they are so original, innovative and funny.

Susan Boyle:

Please see also:

Friday, 22 May 2009


This month, Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily ( gave us a most complete coverage of what will be the 2009-2010 Primetime network television season in Nikki's aptly titled Primetime Pilot Panic series. And nailed the coffin with a presentation of the network skeds.

Tuesday is Time Tunnel Day for the CW with the 90210 revival and now the revival of the original 90210 spin-off: Melrose Place (I hope you're not losing me). What is tragic in some way is that the original Melrose Place was the epitome of the "guilty pleasure" and a GP doesn't have to be particularly good to be appreciated. So if the new Melrose is as camp as the original the hopes are high and if the all "Young, bold, beautiful and restless" - hey, it's the CW - cast fails they can bring back iconic Heather Locklear to save the show. But Michael and Sydney return! I'm excited by a Melrose Place revival on the CW, just shoot me! I don't care about 90210, I didn't care about the original, but count me in for Melrose (

Also on tuesday, on CBS, the NCIS spin-off: NCIS: Los Angeles ( Well, er, if the show is a hit we'll have NCIS: Miami, NCIS: New York, NCIS: Paris, and NCIS UK (with Freema Agyeman). But we'll give this one a try because of Chris O'Donnell and because the original is pure fun. CBS again, as the network finally picked the two medical shows: Three Rivers ( AND Miami Trauma ( At least CBS shows a lot of coherence, with all these crime shows on the network their medical personnel should have a lot to do. I want a Chicago Hope revival but lock Mandy Patinkin with a ten-year contract before.

Is the 2009-2010 season summed up by a single word: trauma? NBC's Trauma ( looks like a blockbuster version of a Glen A. Larson show. I'll have a look at the pilot but can the network afford this every week? Talking about what you can afford, where the hell is Alyssa Milano when you need her? Eastwick - on ABC ( - is Charmed revisited with a touch of Desperate Housewives. The only item of interest for your humble servant is that Darryl Van Horne is played by supremely talented Canadian actor Paul Gross (Due South). I didn't recognize him at first but it's always a pleasure to see him.

For The 2200 aka ABC's remake of V - Kenneth Johnson's monument (, see what I wrote in my last Ingrid (1). So long, and thanks for the fish... Replace lizards by traders and maybe I'll watch it. Glee, on Fox (, is fresh air in this rather bleak coming network season. The trailer and clips recall The Kids from Fame with plenty of humor, singing and musical talent, and rythm. I had recently the privilege to receive news from Stephen Tobolowsky (guest-starring in the pilot) and he's very enthusiastic and truly supportive of the show.

Let's stay on Fox with Human Target ( I was really expecting a lot of the idea of a new adaptation of the DC comic book (after the one with Rick Springfield in the nineties) and from what I see I'm afraid I'm gonna show some reserve for the moment as the result owes more to Walker Texas Ranger. I was not personally a fan of Walker but the post-series tv movie was very good and deserved a sequel. Mark Valley is charismatic and more than credible as Christopher Chance, the hero of this new Human Target - he served during the Gulf War.

The more I get old the more I enjoy (good) Reality tv. Thank God, there's still US cable and British television.

See also:


Thursday, 21 May 2009


« And I've seen it before
And I'll see it again
Yes I've seen it before
Just little bits of History repeating »
(Dame Shirley Bassey)

The blog of Lee Goldberg, screenwriter, author, producer, tv historian and expert, teacher, francophile, and God knows what more (is he fluent in Japanese like Christopher Chance?), has a British flavour this week as Lee is in London for a business trip. Maybe they'll ask him to produce something around the Tube strike, who knows... Seriously, this multi-talented man would be perfect for the US Primeval if this American spin-off sees the light.

Anyway, Lee Goldberg mentions us an article of Variety ( about the announcement by legendary producer Robert Evans that his company is developing with ITV Global Entertainment a movie based on the ITC television series UFO (1970-1973). And Paramount will have a first-look at the project (

Produced by Gerry Anderson, UFO was set in 1980 (!) SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization), a top secret organization, fought an alien race that has been kidnapping and killing humans for decades for their body parts. SHADO headquarters was hidden under the Harlington-Straker movie studio, and the studio boss, Ed Straker, was actually the commander of SHADO.

The series is renowned today for his outrageous so seventies visual style ( and its overdose of techno-babble but remains a classic, with great special effects, a good cast, and top-notch adult oriented SF scripts. UFO is wrongfully underrated, and even Lee qualifies the show of "cheesy" and "silly". May I respectfully beg to differ, please watch again Identified, A Question of priorities, and Confetti Check A-O.K. UFO is far above Space: 1999, whose first season was all style over substance - not to mention the infamous second season which exploded the notions of "Silly" and "Cheesy" beyond your imagination.

Now with Paramount linked to a movie remake of UFO we can expect "Star Trek meets Transformers". Because J.J. Abrams's Star Trek is a worldwide box office hit, I bet every studio is searching into their catalogues to find something with a bit of outer space in it. Remember what happened to Universal's movie adaptation of Thunderbirds (another classic by Gerry Anderson) but it won't be long before Space 2099 - The Movie, the return of Buck Rogers, or Babylon 5 - The Motion picture. And Germans could make a big budget comedy of Raumpatrouille Orion. Talking about "cheesiness" I want a Star Maidens movie remake and a reboot of Pigs in Space.

And now we can be sure that modern Doctor Who will get his movie treatment as well. Space, the final box office frontier...


Where Ingrid returns not orange but green. Ingrid... The Grinch Edition.

THE 2200

Let's call that the Bernie Lomax Syndrome, old tv shows can't rest in peace. Of course, remakes allow new generations to discover a character or a concept ( Without remakes the only on-screen Batman ever would be Lewis Wilson in the 1943 serial and the 2005 version of Doctor Who would not be the best series in the History of television (until Voyage of the Damned at least).

And the worst thing than the remake of an old show is the remake of a British contemporary show for the US market. We could hope that the demises of Life on Mars US and of the remake of Eleventh hour ( will vaccine American television executives but there's a Warner Brothers Primeval movie coming and even a US Primeval spin-off series(

But now Hollywoodland doesn't just remake old shows, it "re-imagines" them, "reinvents" them, thanks to the success of Casino Royale - the 2006 James Bourne movie. And I suspect "reinvention" will be seen as the golden access pass to Penny Lane now that the new Star Trek is a worldwide phenom. The latest tv classic to be "reinvented" is V, the 1983 miniseries by Kenneth Johnson. The remake, produced by Scott Peters (The 4400), is due to be shown on ABC during the 2009-2010 season (1) and we can have a first look at the show through clips (

The original V was a political metaphor, It can't happen here or Jean-Paul Sartre's choice with lizards in orange mechanic outfits, and Brecht or Rod Serling in the shadows. A television event too: at the time the most expensive miniseries ever made, with stunning special effects, magnificent actors, an incredible soundtrack, the talent of Kenneth Johnson - one of the most brilliant television authors of his time ( - and some effective scenes still terrifying a whole generation by their single evocation. Sorry, but from what I see of the new V we're very (very) far from that. Monuments should stay untouched, and if the new V succeeds expect Alien Nation 2010 but experience shows that it's not a good idea to try V without Johnson.


We all make mistakes sometimes. May I please suggest that comedy genius Matt Lucas (of Little Britain fame) has made one with his "impersonation" of Britain's Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle for Heat Magazine (

Think what you want of producer Simon Cowell and his programmes (I personally believes he knows how to pack entertaining shows) but this was not funny at all and far from the standards of Lucas's duo with David Walliams. Susan Boyle may or may not win BGT (dance group Diversity is my favourite) but her first appearance on the show was really wonderful.


Your humble servant is always amazed by your growing interest about this little blog and I was recently intrigued by the sudden affluence of visitors from a forum about the American version of Life on Mars ( I had to register to learn more and discovered that my use of the adjective "Unnecessary" to qualify their favourite show raised a honest, open-minded, fair, balanced and interesting four-page discussion.

No hard feelings for the Dead Pool quote as I often use it myself in private (preceded by "As a great philosopher of the 20th century once said") and the site administrator is a gentleman. The forum is also a "think tank" for a campaign to bring back Life on Mars US ( so I mention it as some of you, faithful readers, are true fans of this version.


Saturday, 16 May 2009


It's Saturday and Britain's Got Talent on ITV1. With a revelation this evening: who knew Simon Cowell was a Disco king? Well, sort of...

They call themselves Faces of Disco and it's a "Dance act with something a little bit different" ( Hilarious. Have a look also at this nice grandfather and granddaughter duo (

Besides the talent show, journalist and tv personality Piers Morgan - one of the three judges of the BGT panel - has a blog on his official website ( where he writes "Daily Rants" about what makes news ("Celebs, Politics, Life" says the tagline of the blog). Latest of his "Rants":

Please see also:


If Is this way to Amarillo? is probably the most remembered hit from iconic singer Tony Christie, thanks to the great comedian Peter Kay - who used it in his wonderful monument of comedy and poetry called Phoenix Nights (2001-2002), and his cult 2005 video for Comic Relief (, Avenues and Alleyways comes certainly in second position for many fans of Christie. Avenues was written by Mitch Murray and Pete Callender and performed by Tony Christie as an end title song for The Protectors (1972-1973), the ITC television series starring Robert Vaughn.

This week, François Justamand - cinema journalist and chief editor of website La Gazette du doublage (the most important website about French-speaking dubbing), writes about the dubbing of The Protectors on the blog of La Gazette in a brilliant article called Dans les rues et dans les avenues ( - In French). Dans les rues et dans les avenues is actually the title of the French version of the title song, recorded by Christie for the French dubbing of The Protectors (Poigne de fer et séduction in French) - made by a company called SOFI (quasi-exclusive dubbing contractor of ITC at the time).

The most interesting part of François Justamand's piece comes at the end as we learn that there's a litigation over the rights of the French lyrics of the song, written by Marcel Stellman. And according to La Gazette du doublage this is probably why there's no rerun of The Protectors on French television since many years.

By the way, please have a look to this fantastic video of Avenues and Alleyways mentioned to me by François Justamand: A classy tribute to Maurice Binder's work for James Bond and to shows like The Professionals. And Tony Christie rules!

Thursday, 14 May 2009


In March, we reacted to the list of 36 pilots published by Den of Geek ( and called that (sorry for the self-quote) « the less attractive pilot lineup of the decade ». Since last month, She Who Must be Read aka Nikki Finke, of Deadline Hollywood Daily, gives us real time what will stay of this lineup for the 2009-2010 network season.

Juliana Margulies stars in The Good Wife for CBS. « A female driven legal drama starring Juliana Margulies to replace the last female driven legal drama starring Juliana Margulies that failed on Fox last year » writes our Canadian friend, Entertainment specialist, blogger, author, homme de culture et de goût, Furious D ( - remembering Canterbury's Law. « Still looks like a lock » writes Nikki on her blog. Will stock and barrel come later? Was Geena Davis unavailable? Do it with the great Miriam Margolyes and perhaps I'll have a look.

CBS again. The network is hesitating between two medical dramas: Miami Trauma and Three Rivers. Oh God, puh-lease! Miami Trauma is about a group of trauma surgeons in Miami, it's produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (the CSI franchise) and I'm anxious to learn what song of The Who will be used as a title theme. Three Rivers is, according to Den of Geek, "Organ transplants, told from the POV of the doctor, recipient and donor". At least the first one looks glamourous enough for network television and with Dexter Morgan and Michael Westen around, the Miami surgeons will have enough to do. Move Three Rivers from Pittsburgh to Miami, I'm sure that Dex and Mike can double shift for the transplant guys.

Come on along with ABC? FlashForward, the next Lost, is on the schedule. A glitch during a scientific experiment accidentally allows everybody to have glimpses of their lives in the future. Computer says nooo... Empire State, described as « Romeo and Juliet in modern Manhattan » is "in the mix" says Nikki. Does the genre died with Aaron Spelling? Well, the CW seems to believe that this is not the case, as there's a Melrose Place revival evoked as a companion to the 90210 revival. Ready for a Models Inc. revival, anyone?

Human Target, adapted from a DC comic book, and starring Mark Valley, is on the Fox schedule. I like the comic book, I liked the first adaptation with Rick Springfield in the nineties and I like the concept (a mysterious security freelancer assumes the identities of those in danger, becoming a "human target" for his clients). But perhaps I'm too nostalgic of shows like Stingray (from Stephen J. Cannell, not the series with puppets) or The Equalizer. Someday NBC-Universal will remake The Equalizer with one of the Glenister brothers. Talking about NBC, some say Trauma is the new ER but the concept sounds like an old Glen A. Larson show ("ambulance drivers and emergency medical response personnel at the sharp end of a 911 call" writes Den of Geek).

Two pilots which don't need emergency medical response anymore: Eva Adams, the remake of Lalola - an Argentinian format - and the new attempt to make a US version of Absolutely Fabulous, both rejected by Fox. « Absolutely Fabulous was hot, hot hot. But then Fox execs wondered if it was really for their audience. In other words, too femme? » asks Nikki Finke ( Huh? How did they pitch that to the network: "Sex and the City on booze"? Please Lee Goldberg, write us another opus of your Unsold Television Pilots. The material is hot and waiting...

Full coverage in style and in details by Nikki Finke on DHD. Nikki is like The Shadow, Nikki knows!

Previous Things to Watch in Hollywoodland... :

Monday, 11 May 2009


On May 19 US network Fox will show a special preview of Glee, the new one-hour musical comedy series from Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck), right after American Idol. Glee will start officially during the fall season, 13 episodes have been ordered ( .

Last november Stephen Tobolowsky, an actor and a person we appreciate and respect very much (, told us that he just shot the pilot of Glee ( And now he has accepted very nicely to tell us a few words about his participation: « I am very excited about Glee. It is based in a high school Glee club and I play the old glee club teacher who is fired for touching the boys. I am replaced by Matthew Morrison (huge voice and Broadway star who was one of the leads on Broadway in the recent production of South Pacific).

The show is basically a comedy with great singing and dancing. Our choreographers did the movie Hairspray, major talents. Ryan Murphy, creator of Nip/Tuck is at the helm writing and producing and occasionally directing. All of the songs exist within the context of the plot so it is not like High School Musical where people are breaking into song. The music is great, edgy fun.

I end up blackmailing my way back into the school as Dean of the Arts and who knows what else... I am definitely one of the villains of the show with Jane Lynch. Very funny... Fingers crossed that it all works. I have heard that it does but I have not seen the show.»

Perhaps Simon Cowell will like it...

Extended trailer: (Official website of Glee) (Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party)

(C) Thierry Attard

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Frank Collins offers us a great review of the Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams, on his Cathode Ray Tube blog( A blog I absolutely adore and I would have a lot of difficulties to deny it as... Well, you'll see (thanks again for that, Frank).

Personally, I've been a little puzzled - to say the least - by some declarations of Abrams ( or or by the "This is not your father's Star Trek". But as the man is responsible of what I consider one of the best action thrillers ever, Mission Impossible III (the most faithful to the 1966 television series), my vote will be of confidence - I've not seen the new Trek yet.

The choice to introduce the franchise to a new and younger audience with the highest respect to the original movies seems to pay at the box office, according to the analysis of Nikki Finke in Deadline Hollywood Daily ( - read Nikki for the updates. Now we can imagine that rival studios will greenlight similar projects: a reboot of Lost In Space with a RSC actor as Doctor Smith, a Forbidden Planet remake with the cast of Chuck (tagline: "It's not your grandfather's Forbidden Planet"), Andromeda - The Movie, or 007 could go to space... er, no, already done. Someday a lemming will fly.

As I'm a father and as I appreciate Star Trek, please allow me to mention my 2005 interview of Mr Nicholas Meyer, author of the two best movies of the Trek franchise ( But the only reboot my daughter can consider at the moment is the new Noddy series.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


There's many good commercials on British television at the moment: the Specsavers Thunderbirds advert (°), the Privilege Car Insurance advert with Nigel Havers (, but we particularly love this one.

It's called The Great Escape, it's for Anchor Butter, it's directed by Tony Mines and it's produced by Lynn Hollowell at Tandem ( for the agency CHI & Partners (

Yes, the reference to The Great Escape movie has been done a gazillion times but imagine Ermintrude on a motorbike in a South Park episode. Brilliant!

Friday, 8 May 2009


Out of a minor health problem. TA2 will be back soon.

Thanks for your fidelity, your trust and your patience.

Update (May 8): Just finished my review of French DVD Region 2 set of The State Within ( I don't write English versions for French editions of the Press material I receive but I mention it just in case, as some of you use often use web translators for French only articles of this humble blog.

Coming attractions: an American actor talks to us about his role in the upcoming pilot of a new show.