Monday, 31 December 2018


Our team wishes you in advance all the best for 2019.

Thursday, 13 December 2018


Former London PR queen turned amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin returns to Carsely, a picturesque village in the Costwolds region. Soon she faces a hair problem and, of course, a murder case.

Agatha Raisin first appeared in a series of mystery novels written by M.C. Beaton (the pseudonym of Marion Chesney), who's also the author of the Hamish Macbeth books. Penelope Keith played the character for BBC Radio 4 from 2004 to 2006. In 2014, Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Extras) starred in the title role of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, a fun, fast-paced and charming Christmas special aired on Sky 1. Following the success of The Quiche of Death, Sky commissioned a 8 X 60-minute series aired from June to July 2016. In France, Agatha Raisin was shown by pubcaster France 3.

Sky 1 chose not to commission a second series but streaming service Acorn TV ordered three 90-minute episodes, based on the novels The Wizard of Evesham, The Fairies of Fryham and The Case of the Curious Curate. Written by Julia Gilbert (Midsomer Murders) and directed by Roberto Bangura, The Wizard of Evesham premiered on November 19. Agatha Raisin is back from Cyprus where everything went wrong for her and James Lacey. She founds the Carsely Single Ladies Society with Gemma Simpson (Katy Wix) and Roy Silver (Mathew Horne). When the obnoxious Deirdra Darry (Caroline Loncq) mocks her hairdo, Aggie turns to Jonny Shawpart (James Lance).

The ladies praise this new stylist in the nearby village of Evesham but who blackmails some of Jonny's clients? Carsely's Miss Marple investigates when death strikes at Salon JS. Sarah Bloxby (Lucy Liemann) goes undercover, Sir Charles (Jason Merrells) becomes a "violent psycho" for Agatha and DCI Wilkes (Jason Barnett) has a stroke of genius. Though this second series is also available as six 45-minute installments, the TV movie format suits better to Agatha Raisin. Hilarious moments and a talented cast make The Wizard of Evesham great, even with a predictable plot. Ashley Jensen and Mathew Horne are a wonderful duo and Jason Barnett's Wilkes is definitely one the best British TV comedy cops ever.

Also with Matt McCooey (DC Bill Wong), Marcia Warren (Mrs Boggle), Kate Lamb (Liza Friendly), Andrea Lowe (Eve Pembery), Asan N'jie (Gaz Towler), etc. Produced by Free@Last TV and Company Pictures (an all3media company). Co-produced by Acorn Media Enterprises (a division of RLJ Entertainment, Inc.). Barry Ryan and David A. Walton exec produce for Free@Last TV. Michele Buck exec produces for Company Pictures. Shane Murphy exec produces for Acorn Media Enterprises. Produced by Guy Hescott (Midsomer Murders). Ian Strachan is the line producer. Music composed by Evan Jolly. Theme composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Cinematography by Al Beech.

The new series is distributed by all3media International, except for English-speaking territories, which are handled by Acorn Media International. Sky bought Series 2 for the U.K. and Ireland. The Fairies of Fryfam will debut on December 24 and The Curious Curate will be released in January 2019.
[Update - June 19, 2019] 

A review of Episodes 2 and 3:

Friday, 9 November 2018




- Crimes parfaits: Marché de dupes/Bain de minuit (Episodes 7 & 8, France 3):

- Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (BBC One/France 4):

- Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie: Ding Dingue Dong (France 2):

We are currently preparing our necessary relocation, which has obviously an impact on this little blog. Thank you for your comprehension, your patience and your trust.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018


France 3's detective "semi-anthology" Crimes parfaits returns with two new 52-minute episodes. A murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime until a detective (different in every couple of episodes) proves him/her wrong.

It's the concept of the inverted detective story, popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. 

The crime dramas of France 3 are a fully-fledged genre, recognizable from the regional locations, some postcard drone shots and even actors jumping from one to another. The pubcaster's long string of hits includes collections like Meurtres à..., Crime à or Crimes parfaits (launched last year). And series such as Mongeville, Commissaire Magellan or the ratings juggernaut Capitaine Marleau. This pop culture phenomenon created by novelist and scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau stars 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), some distant cousins to the eccentric female sleuth regularly pop up on the channel. Elsa Marpeau herself wrote a pilot called Alexandra Ehle, with Julie Depardieu as a free-spirited and whimsical pathologist. Its success spawned a (not yet aired) series. Before that, the first two Crimes parfaits were centered on a Marleau-esque police captain played by Isabelle Gélinas. Their ratings prompted a return of the character in episodes 9 & 10. In the meantime, Marché de dupes and Bain de minuit (the 7th and 8th episodes) introduce Marleau's newest relative: Police captain Louise Bonne, played by actress and humorist Julie Ferrier.

In Marché de dupes, Mathieu Dubreuil, a dentist, throws his young female assistant from the last floor of the building where they both live. His wife Ève is convinced that Mathieu was in bed with her while he committed this cold-blooded murder and he managed to find an ideal suspect. Capitaine Bonne investigates with her deputy, protégé and cook Fatou (Wendy Nieto). Of course, Louise Bonne is a tad eccentric and has a wry (i.e. labored) sense of humour. Otherwise, she's separated from her architect husband and has a teenage daughter, Zoé (Juliette Petiot), who wants a tatoo. The episode is a catastrophic catalogue of clichés and Louise's reenactment of the crime is rather tedious.

Guest starring actor, director and ex-cop Olivier Marchal as Mathieu. Also with Noémie Kocher (Ève), Marlène Veyriras (Clémence), Alexiane Torres (Daniela), etc. Bain de minuit is much better, mainly because of guest star Sam Karmann's performance as Roland Barnier, the concierge of a luxury hotel. Roland murders Clarisse, a human resources coach, and frames the profit-minded young manager of the establishment. With Stéphanie Mathieu (Yolande), Guillaume Faure (Lambert), Julie Meunier (Clarisse), etc. Nelly Antignac plays La procureure in both episodes. Sophie de la Rochefoucauld is very funny as the ill-named Gracieuse, the pathologist.

Written by Marie-Anne Le Pezennec. Directed by Julien Zidi. Developed with Toma de Matteis. Produced by Caroline Lassa for Salsa Productions. Co-produced by France.tvstudio (formerly MFP) and France Télévisions with Be-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge). With the participation of TV5 Monde, 13ème Rue  (NBC Universal) and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Music composed and performed by Danish composer Flemming Nordkrog. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Filmed with the support of Département de la Charente-Maritime.

[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, 12 October 2018


Special thanks to Nicole Loutan.

It's a new world. With new enemies. And new threats. But you can still depend on one man woman.

The bottom line: You Know The Name. You Know The Number.

Written by new Doctor Who supremo Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch, Torchwood) and helmed by Jamie Childs, The Woman Who Fell to Earth takes place soon after the latest regeneration of the Doctor from a "white-haired Scotsman" (Peter Capaldi) to... Jodie Whittaker. The gender swap sparked a frantic debate when the casting of this talented English actress, who worked with Chibnall on Broadchurch, was announced. Even if fans were prepared to the idea with Missy (Michelle Gomez), the Mary Poppinesque regeneration of the Master previously played by John Simm.

Before that, The Doctor's Wife (Series 6, Episode 4) stated that Time Lords could change genders. The legendary Joanna Lumley was briefly the character in the non-canonical Doctor Who: The Curse of The Fatal Death (1999) for Comic Relief. Regardless of the heated comments about the gender question, the star of Doctor Who has never been a problem. The role of the Doctor is always cast with utmost care. Jodie Whittaker was great right from her short appearance at the end of Twice Upon a Time, the 2017 Christmas special. Unsurprisingly, The Woman Who Fell to Earth confirms that she was aptly chosen.

« Why are you calling me "madam"?
- Because you're a woman.
- Am I? Does it suit me? »

Weird events occur in Sheffield and its surroundings. Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), a young man who suffers from dyspraxia, involuntarily triggered them. Police officer Yasmin "Yaz" Khan (Mandip Gill), Ryan's gran Grace O'Brien (Sharon D. Clarke) and her second husband Graham (Bradley Walsh) are also involved. Torchwood being unavailable, the Doctor literally drops by to help against a cousin of the Predator named Tim Shaw... sorry, T'zim Sha. The Woman Who Fell to Earth is quite chatty (to fill 63 minutes) and very nocturnal but it's an enjoyable series premiere, reminiscent of the 1996 TV movie. Whatever Chris Chibnall's motives, the absence of intro is most regrettable. That's like no Gunbarrel in a James Bond.

Bradley Walsh is a fantastic addition to Doctor Who. What happens to one of the Doctor's new friends is unfortunate in many respects. The new version of the iconic theme by composer Segun Akinola is excellent. French pubcaster France 4 airs Series 11 on Thursdays with subtitles, only four days after BBC One. This tour de force is impressive, especially when you remember that French fans of the classic series weren't so lucky (1). Also starring Samuel Oatley (Tim Shaw), Jonny Dixon (Karl), Amit Shah (Rahul), etc. Produced by BBC Studios Cymru Wales. Nikki Wilson is the series producer. Matt Strevens and Chris Chibnall exec produce. French subtitles by Blandine Ménard (Game of Thrones) for Dubbing Brothers.

(1) See the very interesting article by Alain Carrazé in Doctor Who Magazine Special: The World of Doctor Who. (An interview of Blandine Ménard about Game of Thrones

See also:

Tuesday, 9 October 2018


In which Marlène Leroy  (Élodie Frenck) feels bad and Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) goes nuts. Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) eats lobster and becomes a nurse.

Written by Sylvie Simon, Ding Dingue Dong is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel Evil Under The Sun. Marlène is severely depressed, much to the dismay of Commissaire Laurence. He's obliged to leave her with Alice as he's called urgently to the Clinique des Lilas, a mental clinic. Anatole Bouvier, a patient, has been found hanged in his room. Clarisse, wife of the clinic's owner Dr. Rodier, happens to have an affair with Swan.

The commissaire sends his faithful secretary to be treated at the establishment. Rodier introduces her to his colleagues: head nurse Dominique Lebrun, Dr. Nathan Steiner and his jealous wife Marie, a yoga teacher. Marlène also meets the other patients, including cocaine addict Felix Jacquel. Rodier's teenage daughter Adèle has some personal issues. Soon Laurence must investigate another death around the clinic but he has to cope with ex-police secretary Arlette Carmouille (Drame en trois actes), back in uniform! 

Dingue Dingue Dong reminds of both Jeux de glaces (the first Laurence/Avril/Marlène) and the Larosière/Lampion era. The return of "Cramouille", played by Marie Berto, and the unnecessary stay of Laurence at the Clinique des Lilas stretch the suspension of disbelief. Élodie Frenck steals the 90 minutes sans Marlène's makeup and accessories. The dialogues are great (of course) and there are some nods to previous episodes. The guest cast is excellent, particularly Berenice Baôo (very Morgan Fairchild) as Clarisse, Kevin Garnichat (Steiner) and Emmanuel Bordier (Felix).

With Dominique Thomas (Tricard) and Cyril Gueï (Tim Glissant). Also starring Arnaud Binard (Louis Rodier), Chloé Chaudoye (Marie Steiner), Maïra Schmitt (Adèle Rodier), Barbara Monin (Dominique Lebrun), Karim Rouabah (Anatole Bouvier), Philippe Capelle (Père André), Nicolette Picheral (Marguerite Michel), David-Alexandre Berthier (Philippe Angles), Serge Dubois (Man with the poodle) and Bubulle. 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, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. Télévision Belge. 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. Edited by Céline Cloarec. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Directed by Christophe Campos, Dingue Dingue Dong will be shown on France 2 in 2019.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review)

Monday, 1 October 2018

Friday, 28 September 2018


Marcus Borg, the son-in-law of motor racing legend Irène Denan, is murdered. Capitaine Marleau (Corinne Masiero) investigates amongst Irène's family.

Written by Marc-Antoine Laurent and Jean-Marc Taba with Elsa Marpeau (who created Capitaine Marleau), Les roseaux noirs is helmed as usual by director and series co-producer Josée Dayan. It's a return to quality for France 3's crime drama after the disappointing Le jeune homme et la mort and the odd Double jeu, with a good whodunit around a racing track, effective dialogues and Corinne Masiero at her best.

The guest cast is excellent, starting with Nicole Garcia as the strong-minded Irène Denan. Four years ago, the renowned French actress co-starred in Entre vents et marées, Josée Dayan's miniseries where Corinne Masiero first appeared as Marleau (then a secondary character). Hippolyte Girardot is Irène's friend Pierre Claudel. Christine Delfino is played by the talented Élodie Frenck, far from Marlène of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie. Marc Barbé plays her husband Luigi Delfino. Maxence Vandevelde does a good job as Lieutenant Weber, the Brière (1) of the day.

Also with Raphaëlle Agogué (Lella Borg), Lubna Gourion (Nolwenn), Jules Houplain (Anthony Crozier), Arnaud Lechien (Marcus Borg), Jérôme Huguet (Lionel Odran), etc. A co-production Passionfilms and Gaspard & Co. Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. François Bennaceur is the associate producer. Produced with France Télévisions, Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). Filmed with the support of Région Grand Est and Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Cinematography by Stefan Ivanov. Editing by Yves Langlois

(1) The captain's most popular deputy, played by Aymeric Demarigny in several episodes.

See also:

Monday, 24 September 2018


Capitaine Marleau (Corinne Masiero) is called by an ex-colleague because of a corpse found off the coast. The dead woman, Bénédicte Dalvet, is a perfect lookalike of Marleau

Bénedicte was the captain's twin sister but the detective didn't even know her existence. Marleau decides to impersonate her in order to investigate.

The bottom line: And Now for Something Completely Different.

Double jeu is a first for France 3's ratings juggernaut crime drama Capitaine Marleau. Written by series creator Elsa Marpeau, the episode is based on the novel Le sosie de la morgue by Claude Luxel (pseudonym of Lucien Riffard). Published in 1935, the book was adapted for the first time in 1949 as Entre onze heures et minuit. This  film, directed by Henri Decoin, was written by Marcel Rivet and Decoin with Henri Jeanson. Louis Jouvet portrayed a Parisian cop, Commissaire Carrel, who takes advantage of his striking resemblance with a murdered mobster to investigate as the victim. Madeleine Robinson played the mobster's mistress. 

Director Josée Dayan, who helms and co-produces Capitaine Marleau (with her company Passionfilms), wanted to film her own adaptation of Le sosie de la morgue in 2015 with Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant but the movie wasn't made. The same year, Depardieu became the special guest star of Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir (the series pilot). Regrettably, Double jeu is both an unsatisfactory substitute to Josée Dayan's film project and a rather odd departure from the format of Capitaine Marleau. Not unlike when Columbo, one of the inspirations of Marleau, tried to adapt a couple of Ed McBain books with unfortunate results.

Marleau clumsily goes undercover amongst the family and professional entourage of Bénédicte Dalvet in a plot where France's favourite detective and her origin story feel shoehorned. Pierre-François Martin-Laval's performance as Paul Dalvet is quite touching. Producer and former talent agent Dominique Besnehard drops by as a private investigator. Jacky Berroyer plays Dr. Aboumehri and French singer Pierre Perret appears as Mr. Pellisson, a character linked to Marleau's past. Fans' favourites Aymeric Demarigny (Brière, the captain's most popular deputy) and Jean-Claude Drouot (Pathologist Léopold Salaun) are back.

Also with Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet (Gabriel Dalvet), Christopher Thompson (Charles Castillon), Michel Hermon (Jean-Philippe Dalvet), Émilie Chesnais (Laurence Dalvet), Dinara Droukarova (Lou Antelme), Julia Duchaussoy (Marie), etc. Co-produced by Gaspard de Chavagnac for Gaspard & Co. François Bennaceur is the associate producer. Produced with France Télévisions and Radio Télévision Suisse. Filmed between November and December 2017 on l'Ile de Ré with the support of Département de la Charente-Maritime and Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Cinematography by Stefan Ivanov. Editing by Yves Langlois.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


In which Marlène Leroy and Alice Avril discover that the record industry can be deadly. And Commissaire Laurence has a haunting problem.

« Que fait cette vision d'horreur dans mon triple homicide? »

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie returned on pubcaster France 2 at the end of August with Drame en trois actes, followed on September 7 by Meurtres en solde. Written by Jennifer Have & Anne Peyrègne and directed by Christophe Campos, Mélodie mortelle is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel The Sittaford Mystery. Marlène Leroy (Élodie Frenck) is not only the secretary of Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe). She's also the number one fan of female singer Nicky. Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) must interview the teenage idol but Mike, Nicky's guitarist, is murdered.

Nicky is shocked and soon Franck Soler, her producer, replaces his protégé with "Shirley", who's none other than... Alice. Meanwhile, Swan can't forget the memory of Dr. Euphrasie Maillol. Mélodie mortelle is almost excellent, apart from the surreal return of the character played by Natacha Lindinger. The dialogues are fabulous and the original songs, between "Yé-yé" and the sitcoms from AB productions, are very ingenious. Blandine Bellavoir, who has great comedy moments, looks like she had fun singing (she also sung in Le crime ne paie pas). Élodie Frenck and Dominique Thomas (Tricard) are particularly brilliant. Amongst the guest cast, David Ayala (Soler) reminds of the legendary Paul Mercey.

« Laurence, j'ai une info de première bourre.
- Laissez moi deviner. Vous infiltrez une école maternelle? »

With Cyril Gueï (Tim Glissant) and Éric Beauchamp (Agent Martin). Also starring Roxane Bret (Nicky), Pascal Vannson (Tony), Clément Moreau (Marlon), Arthur Defays (Mike), Nicolas Cornille (Jeff), Camille Hersant (Ray), Laure Josnin (Chantal Lavigne), Frédéric Lampire (Presenter), Bernard Debreyne (Bouncer) and Bubulle. Songs C'était l'été, C'est comme ça, La poupée qui dit oui, Blue Eyes, Ce sera mieux demain, Talk To Me, Dancing Shoes, Passing By, Drops Of Gold, When We Twist, You're Not for Me, Leaving California and Morphine (the titles alone deserve to be all mentioned) composed and performed by Laurent Avenard, Moïra Conrath and Ludwig Gorhan.

C'était l'été sung by Roxane Bret and later by Blandine Bellavoir. C'est comme ça and La poupée qui dit oui sung by Blandine Bellavoir. Morphine performed by Laurent Avenard. 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, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. Télévision Belge. 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. Edited by Bertrand Nail. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud (Laurent Avenard and Ludwig Gorhan)

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


[Favourite of the Month] Man from Atlantis, the US sci-fi television series aired on NBC in 1977-1978, is now available on DVD in France thanks to LCJ Éditions. This set contains the 90-minute pilot and the three TV movies which preceded 13 one-hour episodes.
Patrick Duffy, before becoming famous with Dallas, stars in his first major role. He plays a humanoid with webbed hands who can breath underwater and swim very fast (amongst many abilities). Amnesiac but believed to be the last citizen of Atlantis, he's named "Mark Harris". Mark  works with Dr. Elizabeth Merrill of the Foundation for Oceanic Research to learn about humans while she tries to discover more about him. The foundation investigates strange aquatic phenomenona with a sophisticated submarine called the Cetacean.

Belinda J. Montgomery co-stars as Dr. Merrill. She later portrayed Sonny Crockett's ex-wife in Miami Vice and Katherine Howser in Doogie Howser, M.D. Mark Harris looks like a not too distant cousin of comic book superheroes Aquaman and Sub-Mariner. Man from Atlantis also bears similarities with the original Star Trek series. Herbert F. Solow, creator of MFA with Mayo Simon (1), was the senior executive in charge of Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Mannix for Lucille Ball's studio Desilu. Following the success of a pilot shown by NBC in March 1977, the network ordered three TV movies aired between May and June of the same year. Solow exec produced Man from Atlantis for his own Solow Production Company

- Man from Atlantis (Pilot): Written by Mayo Simon and directed by Lee H. Katzin (Space: 1999, Mission: Impossible). Mark Harris is confronted with the wealthy Mr. Schubert, who has lured scientists into his secret base beneath the sea. The extraordinary Victor Buono, whose résumé includes villains King Tut in the Batman 1966 series and Count Manzeppi in The Wild Wild West, steals the movie as Schubert.

- Man from Atlantis II - The Death Scouts: Penned by Robert Lewin and directed by Marc Daniels (another Star Trek veteran). Mysterious creatures possess the bodies of two scuba divers. Mark Harris is convinced they hold answers about his identity. Kenneth Tigar (Dr. Miller Simon) and Alan Fudge (C.W. Crawford) join the regular cast of the TV movies. Only the latter returned in the weekly series.

- Man from Atlantis III - Killer Spores: Alien spores take over Mark's body in order to find a way to return home. Fred Beir plays the captain of the Cetacean. Written by John D.F. Black (Shaft, Hawaii Five O). Directed by Reza Badiyi.

- Man from Atlantis IV - The Disappearances: Elizabeth and other scientists are kidnapped and brainwashed by Dr. Mary Smith. She uses them for a very special space project. Written by Luther Murdoch & Jerry Sohl and directed by Charles Dubin.

The Man from Atlantis one-hour series aired on NBC from September 1977 to June 1978. Victor Buono came back in five episodes. In France, the TV movies and the series arrived in 1979 on TF1 as L'homme qui venait de l'Atlantide (2). In 1980, MFA was one of the first two American dramas broadcast in China (with Garrrison's Gorillas). The 4-disc DVD set from LCJ consists in the pilot and the three TV films remastered, in French or English (with subtitles). They're enjoyable and full of familiar faces: Burr DeBenning, James B. Sikking (Hill Street Blues, Doogy Howser, M.D.), Darleen Carr (The Streets of San Francisco), Dennis Redfield (Dallas), etc. The music composed by Fred Karlin is absolutely superb.

(1) Daniel B. Rosenthal devised the format.
(2) It became L'homme de l'Atlantide for repeats.