In November last year the BBC quietly announced plans to adapt Susanna Clarke’s multi-award winning novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, as a mini-series of 6 hour long episodes. The BBC broke the news so quietly in fact that we missed the announcement of what could well be a television highlight of 2014.
In the run up to the premiere of Season Three of Game of Thrones on 31 March 2013, HBO has begun the publicity campaign with a two minute in-production video. The featurette provides a glimpse behind the scenes of the forthcoming season and includes enthusiastic sound-bites from writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss (“This is the season that Dan and I have been anticipating from the very beginning”), interviews with established cast members, glimpses of new cast members, and a look at old and new locations.
The first season of the BBC's modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson, was one of the TV highlights of 2010. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes stories have never looked so good. Season two came to a close last year with a very tense cliffhanger, so it's good to know that a third season is definitely on its way. The bad news is that we will have to wait until September 2013 to watch it. While I didn't think the episodes that made up Season 2 were as good as the first, we're still talking about amazing television and excellent performances.
If you are a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, you may also be a fan of the opening theme music composed by Ramin Djawadi. I consider it to be one of the best (if not the best) piece of theme music ever composed for a science fiction or fantasy TV show - it’s even better than the upgraded Battlestar Galactic’s opening credits theme music.
Season Two of HBO’s Game of Thrones has come and gone, and a third season is on the way in 2013. This time last year I was fully hooked, got by GoT you could say, and my enthusiasm for the series knew no bounds.
Broadly speaking there are three categories of change introduced in Season Two of HBO’s Game of Thrones. For the sake of brevity in an already overly long article, I'll restrict myself to a few examples, but many more could be provided.
Although it should come as no surprise to those of us hooked on HBO’s Game of Thrones, there will be a collective sigh of relief no doubt with news that a third season of this stellar series has been officially confirmed. The quality of George R.R. Martin’s story-telling, David Benioff and Dan Weiss’s adaptation, the production and cast of Game of Thrones should always have assured the longevity of the series, but given the sad history of quality series being axed before their time, there's never a guarantee that studios and networks will stay the course.
BBC AMERICA announced today (New York - Monday, March 26, 2012) that award-winning and critically-acclaimed Supernatural Saturday series, Being Human, written and created by Toby Whithouse (Doctor Who, Torchwood), will return for a fifth season. The unconventional trio of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost will live on as six more episodes have been commissioned for BBC AMERICA and BBC Three in the UK next year. Being Human is produced by Touchpaper Wales, a Zodiak Media Company, for BBC Cymru Wales and BBC AMERICA. The fourth season is currently premiering as part of the channel’s Supernatural Saturday programming block.
With little over three weeks until Season Two of HBO's Game of Thrones premiers on April 1, Season One of this extraordinary series was finally released on DVD and Blu-ray. HBO certainly kept us waiting for the complete first season on disc, but I'm sure few will feel that the wait has not been worth it.
Richard Carpenter's BAFTA award-winning series Robin of Sherwood first aired some 28 years ago in the UK, and while it only ran for three seasons, it remains for many of us who watched it then, and for many more who have seen it since, the pre-eminent version of the Robin Hood legend yet to grace our screens.
The clock is ticking down to the release of Game of Thrones Season One on Blu-ray and DVD (5 March in the UK and 6 March in the US) and the premier of Season Two on 1 April.
Season Four of Merlin has come and gone in the UK and those of us who have seen it will probably agree that this latest season exceeded what came before. The same could be said of the third and second seasons as Merlin improves with each passing year. Filming of the fifth season is due to commence in March and we can expect a September / October air date in the UK and a January 2013 broadcast in the US. Season Four just kicked off in the US a few weeks ago, coinciding with BBC America’s release of Season Three on DVD and Blu-ray, and while it’s been some time since I first watched it, this was as good a reason as any to revisit it.
If you’ve not already committed the date to memory, take note now: the second season of HBO’s extraordinary Game of Thrones kicks off on 1 April! Without any shadow of doubt, Season One was the television highlight of 2011. Every aspect of production came together with perfection in a demonstration of how to handle complex and sophisticated SF and fantasy fiction, in particular those weighty tomes and sprawling series beloved by the SF and fantasy readership.
When we reported back in May 2011 that the superb British series Being Human was returning for a fourth season featuring new characters and an epic new story line, we failed to appreciate that the new characters wouldn’t be supplementing the established cast so much as replacing them. Between Series Three and Four, three of the four central characters have left the show.
I love an urban fantasy, especially one set in that multifaceted gem of a city that is London. This was the city of my childhood so perhaps my perception is skewed, but to my mind no other city is quite so magical and yet mundane, benign and yet sinister, slipping from one state to another in the blink of an eye. This is a place of contrast and contradiction, a place in constant phase transition, both solid and in flux, where fashion and novelty come but never go, simply layered over what came before, becoming part of the background.
Over the years we've had cause to mention Richard Carpenter's BAFTA award-winning series Robin of Sherwood on a number of occasions, typically to recall in passing what an outstanding piece of television it is. As it first aired in the UK in the '80s and we struggle to keep up with new material, there's been little opportunity for us to write any more about it. Until now,  that is, and the fortuitous arrival of a review copy of Seasons One and Two on Blu-ray. Happy days!
I’ve said this before and I’m not too proud to repeat myself: Game of Thrones is seriously good television, a sophisticated adaptation of a complex, sprawling and intelligent work of fantasy for an adult audience. The direction and production are superb, the cast is remarkably strong and the adaptation itself, penned by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, is inspired.
Nine episodes into HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and the timing could hardly be better for an announcement about HBO’s plans to adapt Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
If you liked the BBC’s pilot episode for Dirk Gently, the TV show based on Douglas Adams' comic fantasy novels, you’ll be glad to hear that more episodes are on the way. Adams of course is most famous for his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, but also wrote two and a half Dirk Gently books before his unfortunate early death. Dirk Gently books include Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and the incomplete The Salmon of Doubt.
Fans of the UK version of the fantasy TV show Being Human (the original and best) will be pleased to hear that Being Human season 4 is definitely happening. According to the BBC’s press site, Being Human season 4 will feature new characters and an epic new story line. The season 3 Being Human finale was watched by over 1.1 million viewers in the UK, and the next series will follow directly on from the finale’s cliff hanger, which may see the show take a radical new direction (I’ll won’t write anymore in case some of you haven’t watched it yet...).