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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKS3E2OwQII (Trailer)
http://www.auventdesiles.pf/al-dorsey/ (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:

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2015/09/capitaine-marleau-philippe-muir-france-3.html (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.