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October 21, 2014

British TV

Which British Reality Shows Should the CW Re-Air?

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 24th 2010 5:30PM
raymond_blanc_last_restaurant_standing_bbcaSome of the best reality shows on American television are based on ideas from other countries. That's not big news; it's a fact. This, however, is news: The CW is thinking about broadcasting a couple of British reality shows this summer instead of new programming. As Deadline.com reports, the network is not looking to do their version of the UK shows. They're simply going to re-run the shows as they aired in England.

For a network that's struggling for ratings, like the CW has all year long, this is a wise idea. And if they're smart enough to pick the right Brit shows, they could turn a tidy profit -- which is the point for the bean counters after all. From our point of view, there are at least six excellent British imports CW could re-air without altering a thing. Here are our choices:

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Behold the Unrelenting Horror of (Gulp!) McG's 'Spaced' Remake

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 23rd 2010 11:03AM
Simon Pegg, Julia Deakin and Jessica Hynes on the BBC sitcom
There are very few moments in American history when the unrepresented and disenfranchised masses of society manage to muster together enough courage and strength to topple the high watermark of oppression. They seem to come along once in a millennium, but when they do, they give you this warm and fuzzy feeling inside that maybe life doesn't suck as much as you thought it did and everything, like the movies, may actually turn out alright in the end, closing credits, fade-to-black.

The early days of the American colonies saw the uprising of the Boston Tea Party in which angry settlers grew tired of unreasonable taxation. The mid 20th century saw the sluggish but eventual snowballing steamroll of the Civil Rights Movement. And I like to think that the new millennium's moment of triumph goes to the total destruction and annihilation of Fox's 'Spaced' remake. Granted, I'm not setting the bar very high, but it's only been ten years. Baby steps.

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Top Gear Getting Into Video Games

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 10th 2010 8:03PM
Ever wanted to strap a Scion to two thermal rocket boosters and launch the bastard into the stratosphere or fill a car to the brim with water and drive it into general traffic just to see the reaction of the others drivers on the road? Do you still like having a clean driving record and car insurance that doesn't require the blood of your first born child?

BBC has got the solution for gearheads like you and me: an official 'Top Gear' video game! The broadcasting giant is taking the world's greatest car show and bringing it to a a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS or iPhone near you, news that doubly good to me because I'm a huge 'Top Gear' fan and I called for it to be turned into a video game right here at TV Squad! Who says dreams don't come true now, Mom?

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Captain Jack coming to Wisteria Lane

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 30th 2010 1:00PM
john_barrowman_torchwood_headshotRemember way back in July 2009? Of course you don't, but thank goodness for search engines. You see, on July 31st of last year, Bob wrote about a Torchwood character going to Wisteria Lane. Now, it's happening. John Barrowman will be appearing on Desperate Housewives. Captain Jack Harkness will be playing a villain, stirring up trouble for the ladies of the neighborhood.

Barrowman is expected to leave England in March to come to Los Angeles to begin filming. He'll appear on screen in April, and he's there for a mini-arc, at least five episodes. And he will be playing a malevolent man, i.e. a villain.

Ausiello reports that he's going to be involved with Angie's story. How will he impact on the Bolens, who are already brimming with angst and drama? Doesn't sound like it will be a positive impact.

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Doctor Who: Dreamland coming to DVD this May

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 28th 2010 9:00AM
A 3D animated David Tennant stars in Dreamland.David Tennant's last appearance of the The Doctor to arrive on a Doctor Who DVD will arrive this spring with the animated Dreamland.

According to a BBC America news release, the CG-animated adventure will arrive in U.S. stores on May 4 for $24.98. Voiced by Tennant, The Doctor visits Dry Springs, Nev. in 1958 in an environment deliberately reminiscent of Roswell and the would-be New Mexico UFO crash.

In the one-off episode, The Doctor befriends a young waitress, Cassie, and her friend, Jimmy. When the Doctor examines an extraterrestrial artifact, he draws the attention of a mysterious man in black, an alien warrior and Colonel Stark, commander of "Dreamland" (the military base also known as Area 51).

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BBC's The Choir turns reporters into singers

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 18th 2010 9:03AM
Gareth Malone stars in BBC America's The Choir.The star of the upcoming BBC America reality series, The Choir pulled a fast one on the assembled reporters gathered for the network's press conference during the TCA proceedings this weekend.

The reality show features choirmaster Gareth Malone (right) as he attempts to forge a top-notch choir in England's cash-strapped schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. The 13-episode series will run this coming spring on BBC America.

So, Malone showed up in Pasadena this weekend to promote the show to the assembled TCA throng. After the standard clips and Q&A were winding down, Malone ducked out of the quick and easy farewell and invited the reporters to come up on stage and form their own flash choir.

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Top Gear revs for new season with DVD giveaway

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 14th 2010 11:00AM
Top Gear Seasons 11 and 12 are now available on DVD.A new season of Top Gear, one of this particular gear head's favorite shows, is headed to BBC America on January 25. And, to build buzz for the show's upcoming 13th season, BBC America is giving away DVDs for the new releases of Top Gear Season 11 and Season 12.

One of the modern stalwarts of British TV, Top Gear is a popular import to the U.S. with its mix of super cars, stunts and less than politically correct humor. For viewers like me, it's fantasy fulfillment and as close to some mammothly powerful cars as we'll ever come.

We're a season behind here in the U.S., as U.K. fans already worked their way through Season 14. But, the show's ongoing success on U.S. screens means this franchise should drive on a little farther.

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David Tennant's Doctor Who swan song comes to DVD

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 13th 2010 7:32PM
Doctor Who: The Speicla features David Tennant's last episodes of Doctor Who.Doctor Who went from regular production to sporadic specials last year to freshen up the show and to give former lead David Tennant a shot at playing Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The end results of that year of specials are headed your way on DVD in a five disc set.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials features what proved to be a mixed bag of special episodes that became a sort of de facto fifth mini-season for Tennant. While you're not going to find a bad piece of television anywhere on this disc (or anywhere in Doctor Who's 21st century rebirth), last year's programs got weaker as they marched toward Tennant's regeneration.

The line-up includes The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars and The End of Time, Parts One and Two. The first two stand alone, but the last three create a sort of trilogy documenting the 10th Doctor's final days.

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Sci-fi comedy cult classic Red Dwarf lands at iTunes

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 12th 2010 6:00PM
Viewers have a chance to ctach up on Red Dwarf on iTunes.While American TV viewers are aware of major British TV imports like Doctor Who, Top Gear or Monty Python, it's uncertain how well the sci-fi/comedy cult classic Red Dwarf made the overseas jump. But, you have a chance to sample the funny adventure series at the iTunes Store.

The show features a blue collar loser trapped aboard a massive ship -- lost in space with an android, an uppity hologram and other assorted defective folks.

It ran for eight series on BBC2 between 1988 and 1999 before returning for a one-off Easter special in 2009 (Red Dwarf: Back to Earth).

The show ran on PBS affiliates and briefly on BBC America. Now, all eight seasons are available on iTunes. If you dig The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Blake's 7 and The Mighty Boosh, give Red Dwarf a try and see if its quirky sci-fi sitcom style stick with you.

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Jonathan Ross says bye-bye to the BBC

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 7th 2010 6:02PM
While Americans were wondering whether or not they are about to lose their familiar late night face, Great Britain said goodbye to theirs.

Jonathan Ross, the host of the BBC's and BBC America's late night chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, has announced he won't renew his contract with the broadcasting giant.

The talker released a statemen
t that said his decision to leave was not motivated by money and contained "other considerations." He reiterated his kind sentiments towards the network met with reporters at his home as he brought them some tea.

Any idea who might make for a good replacement once his contract runs out?

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Sherlock's movie success harks back to Brett's glory days

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 7th 2010 4:01PM
To many, Jeremy Brett played the perfect Sherlock Holmes.The new action-oriented reboot of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. is making a killing at the box office -- and rightfully so. It stays true enough to its source material while injecting just enough quirky energy into Holmes' world to update the franchise.

But, here's hoping the movie's success leads some folks back to rediscover the single greatest production of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories -- the Granada and PBS Sherlock Holmes series of the 80s.

To most Holmes fans, Jeremy Brett (right) was the perfect actor playing the role he was born to fill. He had the look, the voice and the mannerisms most readers envisioned when reading "The Red Headed League" or "The Speckled Band."

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Give thanks that Davies' Doctor Who finally regenerated

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 7th 2010 10:02AM
Doctor Who can look forward to a new life under Steven Moffat.The Gallifreyan dust cleared by now on the final episode of the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who. And, after watching and digesting the final episodes of the David Tennant era, Davies couldn't move on fast enough for me.

The two-part story, "The End of Time," was watched by 10 million in the UK -- flirting with a 50 ratings share. So, it's an undeniable success. It was also an undeniable mess of a story that proved unworthy of Tennant's swan song.

Davies forever deserves credit for taking the street credit his successful work on series like Queer as Folk gave him and investing it in one shot from the BBC to bring back the network's crown jewel, Doctor Who. And he deserves credit for increasing the nerdy guy-friendly show's popularity with women by introducing "Buffy-ized" romance and humor.

But, the hard truth is Davies isn't a gifted sci-fi genre writer. And it showed in "The End of Time."

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All Danny wants for Festivus

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 24th 2009 5:02PM
I love Christmas. It is the best holiday. If all of the holidays grew asses, Christmas could kick every other holiday's ass by ripping off their ass and beating them to death with said ass.

It's perfect on every conceivable level. It aims to achieve total peace and tranquility of the human spirit and singularity of the soul through the selfless act of giving. Of course, in order for that to work, someone has to be on the receiving end and I'm more than willing to have my every dream fulfilled in the name of calming the cosmic waves.

So here's my wish list to Santa or Jesus or Buddha or whomever holds the universe in balance for things to suck less until the next holiday.

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Is Top Gear about to run out of road?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 24th 2009 3:50PM
Top Gear is one of those shows that feels like it could go on forever. It's been on for a long time, yet still manages to retain a rare youthful exuberance that makes it feel fresh and forever young. It's the Dick Clark of the British television world.

But nothing lasts forever and producer Andy Wilman told The Guardian that Top Gear, like all great shows, is headed towards a finale.

And there is no bigger critic of the show than Wilman. He said they were "too rushed and too knackered to get everything right" and were just wanting to get to the end of the latest season running in the UK. He even described the presents as caricatures of themselves with "Jezza (Jeremy Clarkson) the walking nuclear bomb, Richard (Hammond) the daft Norman Wisdom, and James (May) the bumbling professor."

Does this put you off of the new season coming to the States in January? It sure does for me.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: Susan Boyle

by Nick Zaino, posted Dec 24th 2009 11:03AM
Susan Boyle on Britain's Got TalentSusan Boyle was a feel good story almost from the first minute she took the stage on Britain's Got Talent. She walked on as frumpy contestant 4321, which turned out to be just the countdown to the first nationally televised standing ovation of her career.

It was clear she had, as they say, spunk, then the judges asked her age and she rolled her hips and said, "I am 47. And that's just one side 'o me." It was clear she had ambition and a theatrical bent when Simon Cowell asked her whose success she'd like to mimic, and she named English theater star and singer Elaine Paige. And when she said she was going to sing "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables, it was clear to the audience that she was delusional. That is, until she opened up her mouth to sing.

Boyle didn't finish the first verse, barely finished the first line, before the judges raised their eyebrows in surprise and the audience started cheering and getting to their feet.

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