Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Our team wishes you in advance all the best for 2018.


The body of a young woman is found in the swimming pool of a luxury hotel in Saint-Paul de Vence. The local gendarmerie investigates but Captain Marie Jourdan, a police detective from Lyon, abruptly invites herself on the case for a very personal reason.

Directed by Emmanuel Rigaut, Le prix de la vérité (1) is a TV movie (and possible backdoor pilot?) which will air on French pubcaster France 3 on January 13, 2018. Mimie Mathy, who usually stars in the long-running TF1 hit Joséphine, ange gardien, plays the tenacious and quick-witted Captain Marie Jourdan.

Le prix de la vérité is written by crime drama expert scriptwriter Laurent Mondy (Commissaire Magellan, Les Cordier, juge et flic). On the whole, it's well crafted and it looks that Mimie Mathy enjoyed this opportunity to get away from her guardian angel character with a more dramatic role. Most fortunately, considering the first two episodes of the recent Crime parfaits (also on France 3), Capitaine Jourdan isn't a Capitaine Marleau copycat.

Fans of the channel's crime dramas will certainly want more of this new detective. Captain Marie Jourdan would definitely be a pleasant addition to France 3's  popular crime/mystery line-up. Also starring Mathieu Delarive (Paul Danceny), Philippe Caroit (Daniel Caron), Charles Clément (Luc Langevin), Selma Kouchy (Yasmine Labri), Cécile Pallas, Catherine Zavlav, etc. Produced by Episode Productions (JLA Groupe) with France Télévisions. Music by Fabien Nataf.

(1) Formerly Liens de sang.

[Update - January 10, 2018] Spoiler-free review here:

Thursday, 21 December 2017


[Spoiler-free] It's Christmas time. Commissaire Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) complains that there's no crime until he investigates the murder of... Santa Claus. And he must protect a very special witness.

Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) returns to a sinister place.

On a Christmas market, Alice and Marlène Leroy (Élodie Frenck) meet a strange man dressed as Santa Claus who distributes banknotes. Two children, Louison Sauvage and her brother Baptiste, escape from the Sainte-Cécile orphanage during the night. In the empty market, the generous "Santa" appears in front of the kids when he's suddenly shot dead. Baptiste disappears while Laurence, Avril and Marlène find Louison in the street. The little girl stays at Swan's appartment for her own safety, much to the commissaire's annoyance. 

Regrettably for the love of singing (and for ears in general), Marlène is the member of a choir. Alice knows Sainte-Cécile too well and when she investigates inside the orphanage, disguised as a teacher, bad memories surface. Written by Thierry Debroux and directed by Rodolphe Tissot, Le Crime de Noël is the first Christmas special of the French hit series Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie. It's also the first time that the script is not based on a book of the famous English author. Though not a firework, this honorable Christmas celebration (tomorrow on France 2) is in line with the quality standards of the popular crime comedy-drama.

Samuel Labarthe gets once again the best of the episode, including great dialogues. Marlène's renditions of Douce nuit, sainte nuit and Mon beau sapin will stay as anthological moments thanks to the irresistible Élodie Frenck. And Cyril Gueï proves that the character of Timothée Glissant is one of the best things that happened to Les petits meurtres in recent years. Dominique Thomas (Tricard) has not much to do, not even Santa in the end. Although similar tricks were used in the past, Alice's encounter in the orphanage is a bit far-fetched. Le Crime de Noël lacks the sparks of the previous episode written by Debroux (L'homme au complet marron) but it's still a good Christmas treat. 

The excellent Christiane Millet plays Madame Hautin, the orphanage director who makes Roald Dahl's Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) look like an amateur. Also with Elina Solomon (Louison), Julien Bouanich (Gaston), Franck Andrieux (Max), Loïc Legendre (Geoffroy Dopagne), Zoé Schellenberg (Mireille Dopagne), Julien Ledet (Baptiste Sauvage), Merlin Delarivière (Rudy), Mathieu Maricau (Bouboule), Soizic Naeyaert (La petite fille), etc. Éric Beauchamp plays Agent Martin. Fans' favourite Bubulle (Marlène's goldfish) is mentioned in the end credits. Co-produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France.

Produced with the participation of TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. Laurent Chiomento exec produces. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. Bertrand Mouly is the cinematographer. Production designed by Moundji Couture. Costumes by Sophie Dussaud. Cédric Le Maoût is the assistant director in charge of the children. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Like in Drame en trois actes, the end credits are accompanied by behind-the-scenes images. Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) 

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Crime pays, crime sells. French television fiction is a huge police station, particularly on pubcaster France 3. People die more in their dramas than in Midsomer County. Anyway, France 3 airs Midsomer Murders

After Meurtres à... (the answer of the channel to Germany's Tatort) or Crime à, France 3 launches next tuesday a new collection called Crimes parfaits.

The bottom line: The France 3 Tuesday Mystery Movie.

In Crimes parfaits, which consists for now of 6 x 52-minute episodes, a murderer known from the beginning thinks he has committed the perfect crime. The detective on the case (different in every couple of episodes) proves the criminal wrong. It's an inverted detective story, a concept popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. France 3 happens to be the home of megahit Capitaine Marleau, starring Corinne Masiero as an offbeat, sharp-minded and quick-witted sleuth without a first name but with a chapka and a parka. Columbo is one of the acknowledged influences of the character.

Coincidentally (or not) Crimes parfaits starts on a very familiar territory. In its first two episodes, Isabelle Gélinas plays Agnès, an unconventional police captain dressed like Janis Joplin and wearing a "Nuclear Power? No Thanks" button. Agnès hates the GPS, cell phones, as well as high tech. She shares her life between two sympathetic men (perfectly aware of the situation). Just in case viewers didn't notice Captain Obvious, Agnès has an uptight and by-the-book sidekick named Thibaud, a kind of cousin of Marleau's Adjudant Brière. He's played by Arthur Mazet, who does the job very well.

In Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort, the first episode, special guest star Gérard Darmon plays Frank Lopsis, a music producer whose glory days are way behind him. His only chance to re-emerge is Jibé (the excellent Elliot Jenicot of la Comédie-Française), a singer who made a new album with him. Except that Jibé wants to end their partnership, so Lopsis decides to murder him and he makes his crime look as a suicide. The second episode (Aux innocents les mains pleines) guest stars Frédéric Diefenthal as Nathan Joliez. The man viciously murders his business associate, who lives with his ex-wife.

Overall, the two cases of Capitaine Agnès burst with cliches and terrible dialogues. Aux innocents les mains pleines manages to be a little better than Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort thanks to a (minor) plot twist and Frédéric Diefenthal's performance. Also starring Franck Adrien (Philippe), Laurent Fernandez (Micha), Thomas Walch (Max), etc. Written by Didier Le Pêcheur, who also directs, and Delphine Labouret. Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort and Aux innocents les mains pleines are co-produced by Éléphant Story and France Télévisions, with R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge), RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) and TV5 Monde

Produced by Guillaume Renouil, who exec produces with Gaëlle Cholet. Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain are the associate producers. Filmed on location in Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur with its support.  Music by Jean-Pierre TaïebHopefully, the next four episodes will be more interesting. In one of them, Antoine Duléry plays the detective vs Samuel Labarthe, his successor in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie.

[Update - October 2, 2020] Crimes parfaits will be available at the end of this month in the United States on the SVOD service MHZ Choice as Perfect Murders.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Al Dorsey is a private eye from Tahiti, where he thinks nothing serious ever happens. Until a priest  goes into his office.

The bottom line: Ted's Excellent Adventure.

« Al Dorsey, comme le musicien de jazz des années 50. Détective privé. »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is a 6 x 52-minute detective series from Polynésie française (French Polynesia) commissioned by the Outre-Mer 1ère French overseas public network. It is based on the first two Al Dorsey books written by lyricist and novelist Patrice Guirao: Crois-le! (2009) and Lyao-Ly (2011) (1). Alban Casterman plays Tahiti private investigator Al Dorsey, whose real name is Édouard Tudieu de la Valière. Always anxious, Al hates adventure and chose that job just because he found it "classe" when he watched movies of the 1950s. Anyway, the bumbling young man doesn't look like Humphrey Bogart. He drives a Renault 4L and he's frequently disturbed by his Vivaldi ringtone (Spring).

« Comment tu fais pour supporter ça?
-  Ben j'ai fait une école pour faire flic. Et toi t'as loué un local après avoir vu Dick Tracy. »

Desperately idle, Al Dorsey worries for the money he needs to marry his fiancee Lyao-Li (Chloé Folliot de Fierville). A shark ate her right forearm when she was 6 but she became a supermodel in demand. Dorsey's laid-back best friend Sandona "Sando" Philibert (Guillaume Ducreux) is a recently promoted commissaire de police who decided to convert to Judaism for his girlfriend of the moment. He likes to make stupid puns about the name "Al" (« Al... ouette, gentille alouette. ») Mamie Gyani (Dadou Paille) is Al's protective mother and an iconic figure of the island. "Doudou", as she calls her son, ignores most of her past. The building where Al Dorsey has his office belongs to the amazing Toti (Jean-Marc Leille), an old chinese self-made millionaire who lives as a tramp.

« Si tu les vendais tu serais le Chinois le plus riche de Tahiti.
- Je suis déjà... »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique. It was filmed in Tahiti and Moorea from June to August 2016 with the support of the Ministère de la Polynésie Française and the participation of France Télévisions. More than 200 persons from Polynesia worked in the cast and crew. Written by Sydélia Guirao & Nassim Ben Allal and directed by Thierry Bouteiller (RIS Police Scientifique), the first detective drama "made in Tahiti" aired on Polynésie 1ère each week from September to October 2017 and started in metropolitan France on December 5 on France Ô. Episodes 1 to 3 (each ends on a cliffhanger) are adapted from Crois-le!, the first Al Dorsey novel. Alas, France Ô showed them the same night.

Father Levret, a priest, asks Al Dorsey to find the owner of a briefcase he caught in the Tatakoto lagoon while fishing. Inside there's a draft notebook with "Help" written on the cover, a gold coin, a chain bracelet and a handkerchief. Al also discovers 5 million dollars hidden in the briefcase's false bottom! Later, Sando tells him a priest has been murdered. The office of the detective is robbed (« Oh, on dirait chez Toti. Copieur! »), his home is ransacked, one of his friends is assaulted and Lyao-Ly is in danger. Someone will stop at nothing to get the 5 millions back in this investigation with too many priests, some anarchists, gangsters, Bobby Ewing (well, not quite...) and an eye in a box.

« Bon, il arrête de jouer sur les mots Don Camillo! »

Past some minor defects (the inevitable split screens, surreal sequences), Al Dorsey, détective privé is a nice and fun pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre which gradually builds its own identity. A good cast gives life to the engaging characters created by Patrice Guirao (2). Hopefully there will be more of the local culture in the next three episodes. Produced by Thierry Bruant, Gilbert Di Nino, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Mehdi Sabbar, Clara Laplace and Frank Courvoisier. Hervé Boitelle exec produces. Olivia Delplace is the assistant director. Laurent Dhainaut is the cinematographer. Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont are the associate producers.

Song Terehe by Sabrina Laughlin. No composer is credited (unless we're mistaken) for the musical ambience between Trip hop, Jazz and the BBC series Hustle. Also starring Christophe Perrin (Lucien Levret), Christophe Cozet (Monseigneur Ibrahim Borenberg), Rarahu Raoulx (Julie), André Sablon (Secrétaire de l'évéché), Aito Pambrun (Vetea), Jean-Yves Jestin (Noël Levret), Gérald Mingo (Duchalier), Léonore Caneri (Toinette), Manuarii Bonnefin (Hiro), etc. French popular singer, navigator and traveler Antoine has a hilarious cameo in the second episode.

(1) Followed by Si tu nous regardes (2013) and Tu vois (to be released in January 2018).
(2) Toti is definitely our favourite.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) (Trailer) (The books)

Friday, 1 December 2017



Julie Depardieu is La légiste for France 3:

 Al Dorsey on France Ô in December:

Mongeville and Magellan: another crossover (France 3):

- Capitaine Marleau on French Region 2 DVD (LCJ Éditions):

- Darkman - Édition Ultime (L'Atelier d'images): (Review ASAP)

- Frankie Drake Mysteries (CBC): (Including a "mini review)


- L'Intégrale des Minichroniques de Goscinny (French Region 2 DVD):

- Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie: Drame en trois actes (France 2):

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Another eccentric sleuth on France 3 in the wake of its megahit Capitaine Marleau?
Julie Depardieu is currently filming the pilot of La légiste for the French pubcaster. In this TV movie, written by Elsa Marpeau (the creator of Capitaine Marleau), she plays a brilliant and whimsical pathologist (1) who conducts her own investigations in Bordeaux. Xavier Guelfi and Bernard Yerlès co-star. Sara Martins (Death in Paradise) is amongst the guest cast.

Both Martins and Julie Depardieu guest starred in Capitaine Marleau (but not together). Interestingly, Depardieu played an improbable deputy of Marleau in the episode À ciel ouvert. Her father Gérard Depardieu was the special guest star of Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir (2015), the series pilot. Directed by Nicolas Guicheteau (L'Art du crime, La vengeance aux yeux clairs), La légiste is produced by Carma Films (JLA Groupe) and Étoile Rouge Productions.

(1) "Brillante, fantasque, et libre" says the press release.

[Update - April 4, 2018]

Review of Alexandra Ehle (ex-La légiste): 

Monday, 27 November 2017


Al Dorsey, whose real name is Édouard Tudieu de la Valière, is a private eye from Tahiti but nothing exciting ever happens to him. Anyway, he chose that job just because it's "classe". 

Until a priest goes into his office.

Al Dorsey, détective privé is a 6 x 52-minute detective series from Polynésie française (French Polynesia) commissioned by the Outre-Mer 1ère French overseas public network. It is based on the books by lyricist and novelist Patrice Guirao. Al Dorsey is played by Alban Casterman. Also starring Chloé Folliot de Fierville as Lyao-Li (the detective's girlfriend), Guillaume Ducreux as Dorsey's cop best friend Sando, Dadou Paille as Al's mother Mamie Gyani and Jean-Marc Leille (Toti).

Written by Sydélia Guirao & Nassim Ben Allal and directed by Thierry Bouteiller (RIS Police Scientifique), Al Dorsey, détective privé first aired on Polynésie 1ère each week from September to October 2017. The series will be shown in metropolitan France from December 5 on France Ô (three episodes per evening!) Produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique. Filmed in Polynésie with the support of the Ministère de la Polynésie Française and the participation of France Télévisions.

This little blog is waiting for Al Dorsey, détective privé with the highest interest. (Trailer) (The books)

[Update - December 6]    

Past some minor defects, Al Dorsey, détective privé is a nice and fun pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre.

[Update - December 8]     

Review of Episodes 1 to 3 here:

Friday, 24 November 2017


Aired on  TF1 between 1976 and 1978, Minichronique (aka Les Minichroniques) is a 26 x 13-minute comedy/social satire series written by French comics editor and writer René Goscinny, the co-creator of Astérix, and directed by Jean-Marie Coldefy

It is available since October on French Region 2 DVD, in a restored version, thanks to L'Atelier d'images (as L'Intégrale des Minichroniques de Goscinny).

Produced by TF1 (then a public broadcaster), Minichronique/Les Minichroniques stars Jean-Claude Arnaud of the Comédie-Française as Georges Bouchard, the quintessential "average Frenchman". The episodes, independent from one another, show his everyday life in humorous and often surreal situations built around a theme: advertisement, business lunches, Murphy's Law, ridicule, anxiety, etc. Bouchard's wife Jocelyne is performed by Jocelyne Darche. Duvallon, his boss, is played by Yves Brainville and Nono Zammit plays Émile, Georges' best friend.

Familiar faces of the era, like Jacques Monod, Paul Mercey, humorist Pierre Desproges or Swiss actor/comedian Fernand Berset pop up in these little gems reminiscent of Les Dingodossiers by Marcel Gottlib and Goscinny, or even the sitcom Les Saintes chéries. Attentive viewers and movie buffs will spot the participation of the late Ronny Coutteure (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) or the presence of character actor Philippe du Janerand. TV journalist Jean-Claude Narcy and television announcer Jacqueline Huet have cameos.

Each episode is introduced by René Goscinny himself in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He does the washing up, must wear a bib in a restaurant or darns his socks. Sadly, this true genius died in November 1977, only aged 51, before the start of the second season of Minichronique on TF1. Music composed by Gérard Calvi and arranged by Mickey Nicolas. The 4-Disc "Digibook" DVD set of L'Intégrale des Minichroniques de Goscinny contains the 26 episodes, plus an interesting 20-page booklet and an interview of Jean-Claude Arnaud. The two 13-episode seasons are on two discs each.

- Season 1 (December 1976-January 1977) 

La Fable publicitaire, Les Déjeuners d'affaires, La Méchanceté des choses, La Vie au cinéma, Le Ridicule, L'Angoisse, Les Ennemis, Les Gaffes, Crème et châtiment, Moments de gloire, Le Célibataire, Les Embarras, Les Rêves d'enfants.

- Season 2 (December 1977-January 1978)

Attachez vos ceintures, Bruits et chuchotements, La Croisière, Statistiques, Le Bricolage, Cherchez la femme, L'itinéraire, Le Bon Bol d'air, Les Petites Lâchetés, Les Touristes, Les Cauchemars, Les Mauvaises Soirées, Le Petit Cinéma.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


Following the success of a previous crossover last year, Mongeville and Commissaire Magellan, two of the star sleuths of French pubcaster France 3, will reunite again.

The crossover is a "rare bird" in the History of French television fiction: the sitcoms produced for TF1 by AB Productions in the 1990s, an encounter between crime drama PJ (1997-2009) and legal drama Avocats et Associés (1998-2010) on France 2 in 2007, and then nothing until November 2016 with Magellan et Mongeville. Created by Laurent Mondy, Commissaire Magellan started on France 3 in 2009. Produced by JLA Productions and set in the fictional town of Saignac (in the north of France), it stars Jacques Spiesser as Commissaire Simon Magellan.

Launched in 2013, Mongeville is a production from Son & Lumière created by Jacques Santamaria and starring Francis Perrin as Antoine Mongeville. Mongeville is a retired juge d'instruction who regularly assists police captain Valentine Duteil (played by Gaëlle Bona) in Bordeaux. The two series, very well done, are part of the popular French detective/crime drama line-up of France 3. In Magellan et Mongeville, Commissaire Magellan investigates a deadly hit-and-run whose suspect is a former protégé of Mongeville. Written by Céline Guyot & Martin Guyot and directed by Étienne Dhaene, this very pleasant special episode caught 4.508.000 viewers (19.8%).

In their second case together, currently filmed until the end of next month, Antoine Mongeville and Simon Magellan investigate in Bordeaux. Meanwhile, TF1 goes on working on a crossover between the long-running Joséphine, ange gardien (launched in 1997) and Camping Paradis (aired since 2006 and produced by JLA). The event was announced this summer.

Magellan et Mongeville:

See also:

[Update - May 21, 2018] 

Review of Mongeville et Magellan: Un amour de jeunesse (Crossover #2):

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


[Spoiler-free] It's summer holidays and Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) enrolls in the Macha Semenoff acting class. Her teacher, Herbert Michel, happens to be a lookalike of Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe).

When one of the students is murdered, Avril becomes the main suspect. Marlène Leroy (Élodie Frenck) and Herbert fall in love and decide to marry.

« Il a une tête d'assassin.
-  Mais c'est la vôtre de tête, Laurence... En plus jeune. »

Written by Sylvie Simon, Drame en trois actes is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel Three Act Tragedy. It's the second of the two episodes of the French hit series Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie directed by Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss (Candice Renoir, Nicolas Le Floch) between May and July 2017. Swiss TV channel RTS Un aired it yesterday ahead of French pubcaster France 2. Someone wants to drive the heavy drinking Macha Semenoff (Dominique Reymond) insane. Laurence is annoyed because everybody thinks that Herbert Michel is his doppelgänger. Swan's irritation is getting worse when Marlène, his charming secretary, resigns and is replaced by the very different Arlette Carmouille (Marie Berto). Tricard (Dominique Thomas) arrests Alice Avril, who's jailed in pajamas.

« Il ne souffre plus. Un café? »

Pathologist Timothée Glissant (Cyril Gueï) and the commissaire plot to prevent Herbert and Marlène's wedding. Drame en trois actes is a patchy episode with a rather unsatisfactory ending but some good moments, a handful of nice lines, and great performances by Samuel Labarthe (as both Laurence and Herbert) and guest star Nicolas Marié (Les hommes de l'ombre) as Macha's gay patron. The cast, excellent as always, also includes Tristan Robin (Grégoire), Alexandre Philip (Vestiaires, Lazy Company) as Léon Verneuil, Samira Mameche (an actress who deserves attention) as Monique, Alban Casterman (Al Dorsey, next month on France Ô), etc. Éric Beauchamp plays Agent Martin. Co-produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France.

« Vous n'avez pas de coeur.
-  Uniquement quand j'ai le temps. »

Produced with the participation of TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. Laurent Chiomento exec produces. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. Bertrand Mouly is the cinematographer. Production designed by Moundji Couture. Costumes by Sophie Dussaud. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Titles by Bruno Dianesco and Romain Provenzano. The end credits are accompanied by behind-the-scenes images. The next brand new episode aired by France 2 will be Le crime de Noël, a Christmas special. Drame en trois actes will surface in France on a later date. Agatha Christie's Criminal Games is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice.

« Ca n'existe pas les vaches roses. »

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review)


Capitaine Marleau, the hugely popular French crime drama aired by pubcaster France 3, is now available here on DVD thanks to LCJ Éditions.

The amazing Corinne Masiero stars as Capitaine Marleau (no first name), an offbeat, sharp-minded and quick-witted sleuth of the Gendarme nationale. Marleau's parka and her chapka are now as known in France as Columbo's raincoat (the lieutenant is often referred to). Some of her dialogues are already cult.

Episodes 1 (Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir, the pilot) to 6 and Entre vents et marées, the 2014 miniseries where Marleau first appeared, are in the "Capitaine Marleau - L'intégrale de la saison 1" 4-disc DVD set from LCJ. Created by novelist and scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau, Capitaine Marleau is helmed by Josée Dayan and produced by her with Gaspard de Chavagnac.

Marleau is a favourite of this little blog since even before France 3 aired the pilot.

Our spoiler-free reviews of Episodes 1 to 9: (Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir)
(Le domaine des soeurs Meyer
(Les mystères de la foi )
(Brouillard en thalasso) 
(En trompe l'oeil 
(La Nuit de la Lune Rousse
( À ciel ouvert)
(Chambre avec vue)
(La mémoire enfouie)

Friday, 17 November 2017


[Spoiler-free "Mini review"] An unlikely cop/consultant duo (another one), a lecture about Leonardo da Vinci, surreal sequences, split screens and name-dropping in art and philosophy are some of the ingredients of L'Art du crime.

This new 6-episode crime drama from Gaumont Télévision started tonight on France 2 with a two-parter directed by Charlotte Brandström.

Created by Angèle Herry-Leclerc and Pierre-Yves Mora, L'Art du crime stars Nicolas Gob as Antoine Verlay and Éléonore Gosset-Bernheim as Florence Chassagne. Verlay is a grumpy cop reluctantly working for the OCBC (Office central de lutte contre le trafic des biens culturels). Ignorant about art, he's forced to team up with Florence Chassagne, an art historian who's far too much imaginative (amongst other issues). The young woman could be a distant cousin of Chloé Saint-Laurent (Profilage) or the French niece of Professor T. Though Florence is definitely not related to Lovejoy (Lovejoy, 1986-1994) despite some humoristic efforts in this premiere. And while we're at it, the duo is not Laurence and Avril from Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie. However, they try hard.

This slow-paced and cliche-ridden opener has two legendary guest stars: Venantino Venantini as... Leonardo da Vinci (seriously) and Miou Miou as a character who looks inspired by a very well-known rich French woman. Philippe Duclos (Spiral) plays Pierre Chassagne, Florence's father. His lines are terrible but most of the cast gets its share so there's no jealous. On the positive side, the butler is well-played by Stéphan Wojtowicz, the music by Frans Bak (Doctor Foster, The Killing) is excellent and the locations are beautiful. Anyway, TV crimes sell well globally.

See also:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017


French fans of Darkman (1990), Sam Raimi's cult superhero film, are spoiled today with the release of Darkman - Édition Ultime ("Darkman - Ultimate Edition"), thanks to L'Atelier d'images.

This limited edition (2 Blu-Ray discs + 1 DVD) contains Darkman and its two direct-to-video sequels, Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995) and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996). But also the comic book Darkman Vs. Army of Darkness (for the first time in French) and more than 3 ½ hours of bonus material.

Darkman - Édition Ultime was born with the support of a crowdfunding campaign.

Review ASAP.

Monday, 6 November 2017


From Shaftesbury, the company behind Murdoch Mysteries, comes Frankie Drake Mysteries, a new 11-episode Canadian detective drama which premieres today.

Starring Lauren Lee Smith and Chantel Riley and set in 1920s Toronto, the series is centered on Frankie Drake (Smith) and Trudy Clarke (Riley), the city’s only female private detectives.

Created by Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, and produced for CBC by Shaftesbury (in association with CBC and UKTV), Frankie Drake Mysteries looked like a Canadian counterpart of Australian detective series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries right from the announcement of the project. Anyway, it will certainly please both fans of Phryne Fisher and Murdoch, two favourites of French pubcaster France 3's sunday night sleuth slot.

Will Frankie Drake Mysteries join Miss Fisher enquête and Les enquêtes de Murdoch on France 3 as "Frankie Drake enquête" or "Les enquêtes de Frankie Drake"? Frankie Drake Mysteries is distributed by Kew Media Group. 

[Update - November 7, 2017]  

Mother of Pearl, the series premiere, is stylish, expensive looking and competently packed comfort zone TV. Frankie Drake Mysteries could easily fill the void left by the end of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on global markets. The cast is talented but it's actually guest star Wendy Crewson who steals the episode.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Cornwall in 1783. Captain Ross Poldark returns from the American War of Independence to discover that his father has died, his estate is in ruins and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth is now engaged to his cousin, Francis. His uncle Charles wants him away and is ready to pay him to make a fresh start elsewhere.

Ross stubbornly refuses, determined to rebuild his family estate. With only the help of his father’s useless servants, Jud and Prudie, he takes on a new kitchen maid, Demelza, after rescuing her from a beating. The first series of Poldark (2015) is now available on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films.

Written by English novelist Winston Graham, the 12 books of the Poldark saga were published between 1945 and 2002. A hugely popular adaptation from BBC Television and London Films Productions, starring Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark and Angharad Rees as Demelza, ran for 29 episodes from 1975 to 1977. The eighth Poldark novel, The Stranger from the Sea was adapted by HTV for ITV in 1996 without the original Ross and Demelza. This latest version, launched in March 2015 on BBC One, was adapted by Debbie Horsfield (All the Small Things) from the first two novels: Ross Poldark (1945) and Demelza (1946). Ed Bazalgette directed episodes 1 to 4 of this first series, William McGregor helmed the remaining four.

The aptly cast Aidan Turner (The Hobbit, Being Human) leads a talented regular cast as Ross Poldark, a rebellious and dashing gentleman with a social conscience. Ross rebuilds Nampara, his estate, then reopens his father's mine in a depressed local economy with his hesitant cousin Francis (Kyle Soller). Francis Poldark is a good man who regrettably has many weaknesses, starting with his jealousy about Ross and Elizabeth (Heida Reed). Ross takes risks on all fronts when he challenges class prejudices by taking sides for the underprivileged against the elite and marrying his maid Demelza Carne. Eleanor Tomlinson (Death comes to Pemberley) plays the smart and adaptive young woman. Demelza helps Verity (Ruby Bentall), the cousin of Ross, to reunite with her lover, Captain Andrew Blamey (Richard Harrington).

Beatie Edney and Phil Davis (Whitechapel) are fabulous as Poldark's couple of servants Prudie and Jud Paynter. The actions of Ross Poldark are under scrutiny of the Warleggans, a wealthy familly who rised from poverty to become powerful bankers and industrialists. Frustrated by Ross' rejection of his friendship, the cynical and scheming George Warleggan (Jack Farthing, excellent) becomes his enemy. Warren Clarke (Dalziel and Pascoe, In the Red, A Clockwork Orange), who portrays Charles Poldark, died in November 2014. The first episode was dedicated to this great actor at the time of its transmission. Pip Torrens (Cary Warleggan), Caroline Blakiston (Aunt Agatha) and Luke Norris (Dr. Dwight Enys) are amongst the other regulars.

The 2015 Poldark is ideal for period drama lovers and those who enjoy quality dramas in general. The production values are top-notch, the scenery is magnificent, the required romance, intrigue and action are there. Everybody in the crew and cast did a superb job to deliver an instant classic. This first series of Poldark is an invitation to read the books, watch the 1975 series, and visit Cornwall of course. Bonus material of the three-disc DVD set from Koba Films is comprised of three featurettes: Poldark, un personnage iconique (Poldark - The Man), Poldark et les femmes (Poldark's Women) and Les coulisses (Poldark - Behind the Scenes). The episodes are in French or English (with optional subtitles).

Poldark (Series 1) is a Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece co-production for the BBC and PBS. Poldark is produced by Eliza Mellor (Death comes to Pemberley). The executive producers are Debbie Horsfield, Karen Thrussell and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Polly Hill for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Anne Dudley composed the beautiful music. ITV Studios distributes Poldark globally. Robin Ellis, the 1975 Ross Poldark, appears as Reverend Halse.

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Monday, 16 October 2017


Television series are watched all over the world. They are adored, hated and reviewed. Everybody has an opinion on them, including those who don't watch them... or pretend that they don't. This opinion is often based on perception rather than facts. In France, some circles forget that television is the 8th art and are still prejudiced against television fiction vs cinema (le 7ème art).

French journalists Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita are both acknowledged experts on TV series. In their new book Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté (published by Fantask), they generously share this expertise and their passion to explain with clarity, intelligence, but also a bit of humour, how series are made and shown.

From the conception of a television series to its broadcast or release (on SVOD and DVD), Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté covers the subject in all its aspects: creative and artistic (the showrunner, the writers, the formats, the actors), historical (how Lucille Ball revolutionized the TV industry), geographic (where series are filmed), technical (film or video, HD, special effects, etc...) and economic (financing and budgets, promotion, the US, the UK and French markets). Instructive and absorbing, the impressive work of Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita rely on their tremendous erudition and a long experience of the television business. Their book is astutely structured around 19 clichés/stereotypes arising from the so-called inferiority of TV compared to cinema, or particularly active these days.

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté reminds that television fiction knows the auteur since Reginald Rose, Paddy Chayefsky and Rod Serling (before he created The Twilight Zone). Film adaptations of series didn't start in 1993 with The Fugitive. Actually, TV characters jump to the big screen since the 1950s. Long before the movie versions of Baywatch (2017) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Quatermass Experiment, Dragnet, Doctor Who and many more preceded them. "Franchises" existed in the 1970s and 1980s (The Muppets, Star Trek). Remakes, reboots, and sequels are not a "new trend". There is more than one "Golden Age of TV series". In France subsists a confusion about the distinction between daytime soaps, primetime soaps and sitcoms. And a series doesn't land on a broadcaster by chance.

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté is punctuated with practical cases in the form of interviews (such as Betsy Beers, Frank Spotnitz or Greg Nicotero), analysis (David Milch, how Baywatch was saved after being cancelled by NBC) and immersions on filmings (The Sopranos, Friends, Game of Thrones, A French village), in a press junket and on the L.A. Screenings. Comprehensive, the book can be read from beginning to end or consulted by chapter. Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté is essential reading for series fans, regular or casual viewers, journalists, academics, or simply people who have questions on this theme. It's one of the most important recent books on television fiction with Les nouveaux feuilletonistes, an anthology of Alain Carrazé's interviews of the greatest series creators, writers, producers, actors and directors (Fantask, 2016).

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté
by Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita
483 pages
25 € 
Cover illustrated by Matt Cunningham

See also: (Les nouveaux feuilletonistes)