Netflix With planet Earth not exactly enjoying a vintage year, Away – in which Hilary Swank’s NASA astronaut blasts off on a three-year mission to Mars – ought to feel like a timely proposition. So it’s a shame that Netflix’s big-budget drama struggles to achieve escape velocity. Swank plays Emma Green, an ex-Navy pilot tasked with commandingContinue reading “Away”

All Creatures Great & Small

Channel 5 / My5 Channel 5 may seem an unlikely home for a reboot of one of the BBC’s most beloved dramas but, having recently given us The Yorkshire Steam Railway, Our Yorkshire Farm, Made in Yorkshire and, tellingly, The Yorkshire Vet, it was probably only a matter of time until James Herriot popped up over a dry-stone wall. OfContinue reading “All Creatures Great & Small”

Lovecraft Country

Sky Atlantic / NOW TV The premise of Lovecraft Country – HBO’s timely new creature feature from super-producers Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams – is certainly bold.  As its title suggests, it’s inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft, whose lurid ‘cosmic horror’ stories gifted the world such monstrosities as the giant, octopoid ‘Cthulu’. He was also,Continue reading “Lovecraft Country”

Muppets Now

Disney+ People love the Muppets, don’t they? Not kids, particularly – they don’t seem that fussed. I’m talking about grownups of a certain age: the ones who insist that The Muppets Christmas Carol is better than the Alistair Sim or Albert Finney versions, and possibly even better than Dickens’ version (which is something of a disappointment inContinue reading “Muppets Now”

Little Birds

Sky Atlantic / NOW TV Depending on which critics you read, Anaïs Nin was either a spirited pioneer of female sexual empowerment, or a self-absorbed narcissist dressing up her mucky fantasies as ‘art’. In Little Birds, writer Sophia Al Maria has taken Nin’s posthumous collection of erotic short stories as the (very loose) inspiration for a steamy sagaContinue reading “Little Birds”

A Suitable Boy

BBC One / iPlayer The BBC’s adaptation of A Suitable Boy arrived trailing a mild controversy in its wake: namely, is Andrew Davies, a white Welshman, really the most… well, suitable candidate to adapt Vikram Seth’s epic saga of post-partition India? What Davies does have, of course, is experience in wrestling mammoth historical doorstops onto the screen,Continue reading “A Suitable Boy”

Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm

BBC FOUR / iPLAYER  A Welsh pig and dairy farm may sound like an unlikely rock and roll mecca – or, indeed, a fitting subject for a 90-minute TV tribute. But as this absolute gem of a rock-doc demonstrated, Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire has been the location for some fairly seismic moments in the historyContinue reading “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm”

Imagine… This House is Full of Music

BBC One / iPLAYER Two years ago, Sheku Kanneh-Mason was performing at a royal wedding in Windsor Castle, watched by a global audience in the hundreds of millions. This summer, he’s playing his cello in the front hallway of his family’s Nottingham home, with occasional interruptions from the Amazon delivery man. Welcome to planet EarthContinue reading “Imagine… This House is Full of Music”

Talking Heads

BBC ONE / iPLAYER While the impetus for remaking Alan Bennett’s classic TV monologues may have been a practical one (they’re easy to film with minimal cast and crew), (re)watching these stories of loneliness and isolation, it’s striking how thematically in tune with the times they are. Which I suppose might be slightly depressing, ifContinue reading “Talking Heads”