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Television

BBC's 'Fleabag' and the Inescapable Awkward Family

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag forces viewers to sit down at the dinner table with "the family", which is a game of conversational hot potato -- and nobody wants the f*cking potato.

Recent
Television

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

Television

'Thirteen' Forces You to Confront Your Own Lazy Habits of Thought

Marnie Dickens' BBC mini-series, Thirteen, forgoes simple solutions and easy payoffs in favor of ambiguity and complexity.

Music

Mogwai Explores the Nuclear Age's Benefits and Disasters on 'Atomic'

Mogwai finds ways to balance their music to their political stance -- complete nuclear disarmament of all countries in possession of weapons of mass destruction -- with a strong emphasis of dynamics to match the themes of annihilation, despair, and hope, albeit bleak.

Stephan Wyatt
Music

Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Pond Scum

To have Johnny Cash perform any song of yours early in your career indicates a pinnacle moment paramount to reaching Mt. Everest or being the first musician in space.

Television

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Time-bending Gothic Murder Mystery

Although some may emphasize the “abominable” in the controversial Sherlock special, “The Abominable Bride”, the marriage of the Victorian and the modern is a match made in heaven.

Lynnette Porter
Internet

If We Lose BBC Three, Will We Lose Our Sense of Humor, Too?

With the apparently inevitable closure of BBC Three, comedy lovers will mourn the loss of an important television ally. Will the Internet save it?

Television

'The Crimson Field' Addresses War and the Changing Roles of Women

The Crimson Field may not completely enthrall but it is consistently interesting. For a show without grand ambition, you can say much worse.

Reviews

A Sherlock Holmes Fit for a King

In an excellent series of TV adaptations, the noble and striking Douglas Wilmer offers a portrayal of Holmes that is perhaps closest to the great writer's original character.

Reviews

'Inside No. 9' Is a Bit Like a Box of Chocolates, Albeit One Full of Dark, Bitter Sweets

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton turn down the grotesque but amp up the insidious mixture of morbid comedy and genuine creepiness for this series of stand-alone tales.

Reviews

'Ripper Street' Is a Smart, Witty and Humane Drama

Ripper Street's greatest strength is to avoid direct reference to the killings as an investigative project and to treat them as traumatic events from which its characters are trying to recover.

Television

The Funniest Man Who (N)ever Lived: Alan Partridge

For over 20 years, Alan Partridge has shared his life with the British public and fans have embraced him, warts and all. Now, his first feature film is coming to America. Back of the net!

Reviews

'Sherlock' and the Case of the Changing, Challenging Identities

The third season of Sherlock becomes much more meta and challenges the very concept of who Sherlock Holmes is, and suggests change is indeed in the (east) wind.

Reviews

'Peaky Blinders' Offers Violent Reminders of England's Forgotten Midland

Like Jimmy Darmody, his Boardwalk Empire counterpart, Tommy Shelby has grown up to find all Gods dead and all faiths in man shaken -- but not quite all wars fought.

Reviews

A Love Triangle Unraveling Against the Backdrop of Societal Upheaval: 'Parade's End'

Parade’s End (1964) juxtaposes conservative aristocrat Christopher Tietjens’ domestic warfare with the sociopolitical turmoil of the First World War. It also introduces us to young Judi Dench as a beguiling Valentine in the story’s love triangle.

Reviews

The (Un)Making of the English Aristocracy: 'Downton Abbey: Season 3'

Downton Abbey might not necessarily represent a perfect world, but it does assert a knowable one, and this provides refuge from the uncertainties that plague us in our everyday lives.

Games

Mods and Mellotrons: The Zombies at Abbey Road

The Zombies had arrived at Abbey Road Studios in June of 1967. Fortunately, the Beatles had left some things behind.

Politics

Would No More 'Have I Got News for You' Be Good News?

BBC's satirical news show has taken viewers on a long and bumpy ride. Now in its 44th series, has it reached the end of the road?

Film

Stone Me, What a Life: Tony Hancock's Lasting Impact on Comedy

Tony Hancock played an Every Man with the lovable charm and the infuriating selfishness of a know-nothing know-it-all. Like his character, most of us want what we don't have and the rest of the world, we believe, is responsible for our dissatisfaction.

Television

In Defense of the UK Version of 'The Office' Being Better Than the US Version

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's crowning achievement has aged with grace, in part because of its short run, but mostly because of its originality.

Reviews

Ace in the Who: 'Doctor Who: Dragonfire'

So much of the setup feels like Saved By the Bell-in-space, though that may just be an effect of Ace’s late '80s clothes.

Reviews

Robot Rules: 'Doctor Who: The Robots of Death'

Leela could help us see robots through another perspective, one that, despite her recent trip on a time machine, might seem mystical or magical.

Reviews

Paradise Who? 'Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Eden'

The story's anti-drug message pops up from time to time, but thankfully, it never devolves into a shot of the Doctor sitting on a stool and addressing the viewers at home.

Reviews

Finding Resolution to 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

Writer Gwyneth Hughes gallantly strives to solve the biggest mystery of Charles Dickens' Edwin Drood: how it ends.

Reviews

Brainy is the New Sexy: 'Sherlock Season Two'

Irene Adler aptly deduces that “Brainy is the new sexy.” Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes and the second season of Sherlock are just that--as well as increasingly popular around the world.

Reviews

What if the Gods of the Ancients were Actually Space Aliens? 'Doctor Who: The Face of Evil'

The Doctor knows Xoanon isn't a god, but he's still in awe of the power of creation. That middle ground seems a likely place for someone who knows the ins and outs of time and space.

Television

For Your Smoking Pleasure

Love and hate. Success and failure. Life and death. Cigarettes. You could get addicted to Brian Dooley's The Smoking Room.

Reviews

'Torchwood: Miracle Day': Wherein Life without Death Becomes Unbearable

The Torchwood crew is back with a bigger budget and even more star-power -- it's just a shame that budget's not applied towards a story that's worthwhile.

Reviews

That Great Intriguing Mulatto: 'Brazil: An Inconvenient History'

Yes, Brazil has lovely beaches, an incomparably rich musical heritage, and an attractive populace. It also has a particularly shameful past as the foundation of the most extensive forced migration in human history.

Reviews

The Magnificent 'Coast'

Coast is a celebration of the British Isles, its neighbors, its peoples, their connections, and their relationships to the land and sea that shapes them.

Books

The World's Favourite Parlour Game: The Quite Interesting Brilliance of 'QI'

We rarely equate television game shows with admirable life philosophies, but the BBC's QI with host Stephen Fry pulls it off by making us think as well as laugh.

Reviews

'Diana Rigg at the BBC': A Worthy, Albeit Partial, Tribute to a Worthy Actor

Beyond Emma Peel: A new BBC collection highlights Diana Rigg's performances in everything from sketch comedy to the plays of Henrik Ibsen.

Media

BBC Radio: Tune in for a Grin

The BBC has recognised that its mission statement "to inform, educate and entertain" must, simply must, include radio comedy.

Reviews
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