Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Top Five of 2010

Here's are the top five up-and-coming Brit TV shows I'm looking forward to this year. Ironically, most of them will be showing in the next month!

5. Sherlock Holmes

Steven Moffat and Mark Gattiss, writers and Dr. Who geeks.

Broadcast Date: TBC, BBC

Who's in it? Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Okay, what have we got to look forward to? Everyone's favourite detective has been updated for the 21st century, by none other than Dr. Who stalwarts Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis, both of whom have admirable geek credentials. The new Sherlock has been described as a "dynamic superhero" figure, which seems about right considering the current craze for contemparary spins on classic literary figures (a la the sci-fi channel shows Tin Man and Alice). Whatever the resulting product, the writing team alone is enough to make me excited.

4. The Prisoner


Broadcast Date: TBC April, ITV

Who's in it? Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen.

What's the story? A man wakes up in a strange community known as the Village, where people have numbers instead of names. The man - known as No. 6 - struggles to discover the truth and, more importantly, how to escape.

Okay, what have we got to look forward to? I love the original Prisoner. Love, love, love it. I could happily watch Living in Harmony indefinitely, and am sure I'd always be able to take something new from it. However, that's all besides the point. I was virtually foaming at the mouth when I heard The Prisoner was going to be remade, especially with an American lead, but as more news about the project filtered through I found myself getting curious. The issues of surveillance and paranoia that feature so strongly in the original series are just as applicable today, and I could appreciate the relavence of the story. Curiosity changed to anticipation when I saw that Ian McKellan had been cast as No. 2, and that the production team had had the imagination to choose Nambia (see photo) for the location filming. Although remakes usually fill me with dread, this one looks like it might have something fresh to say.

It was broadcast in America last autumn, but it still has yet to be shown here. Although I've read that many viewers found it unbearably slow, I for one look forward to it.

3. Going Postal

Claire Foy and Richard Coyle in Going Postal.

Broadcast Date: the end of April, SKY.

Who's in it? Richard Coyle, David Suchet, Charles Dance and Claire Foy.

What's the story? Con-artist Moist von Lipwig is given a choice: die, or become postmaster of Ankh-Morpork's decidedly run down Postal Service. This mini-seires is based off Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel of the same name.

Okay, what have we got to look forward to? Although Sky's previous two Pratchett adaptations have been, to say the least, uneven, that does not diminish my excitement for this take on Sir Terry's tale of the chronically deceitful Moist von Lipwig. Even though Hogfather and The Colour of Magic had a tendency to be ponderous, both featured moments of great colour and imagination that I look forward to seeing again in Going Postal. This also has a highly talented cast, and I am especially looking forward to Claire Foy's (who played the title role in Little Dorrit) take on Adora Belle Dearheart, a chain-smoking cynic who couldn't be more diffirent from Dickens' lovable orphan.

2. Doctor Who

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in Doctor Who.

Broadcast Date: 2 April, BBC

Who's in it? Matt Smith and Karen Gillan.

What's the story? The newly regenerated Doctor and his Scottish companion Amy Pond explore time and space, battling alien forces along the way.

Okay, what have we got to look forward to? Well, new Doctor Who for a start! It's been over a year since we've had a full run of Doctor Who episodes, prompting something decidedly like withdrawal symptons in many fans. But April will see the Doctor return complete with a new body and a new companion, ready to right wrongs and embark on great adventures once again. This series has been likened to a "dark fairytale" and there appears to be a lot of "timey-wimey" stuff to boot, both developments that please me greatly.

1. Ashes to Ashes

Keeley Hawes in her 'ruby slippers.'

Broadcast Date: 3 April, BBC.

Who's in it? Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes.

What's the story? DI Alex Drake returns to 1983 after waking up from a coma-induced fantasy that she is back in the present day, and quickly learns she has to work out whether Gene Hunt is friend of foe.

Okay, what have we got to look forward to? I will readily state that I prefer Ashes to Life on Mars. I will also admit that I am of the opinion this is because I am female. I like what is known in fan circles as GALEX (Gene 'n' Alex sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G), and love the emphasis on dreams and psychology. I love the fashions, the music, the freaky David Bowie look-a-like from the first series, Alex's off-the-shoulder tops and her explosive perm. This series, she has a mullet. Sure, it will take some getting used to, but I'm sure it will grow on me; all of the hairstyles have. This is the final series and the writers have promised that all the key questions that have tantalized viewers since 2006 will be resolved. It will be a sad day when it ends, but I for one can't wait.

And did I mention we also have this to look forward to...?



  1. Can't fault your choice of TV there, some great stuff indeed to get enthusiastic about. I'd like to hear your thoughts about TV as an art form, lasting to posterity, rather than being seen as disposable trash; see once, then forget it. The popularity of box sets of TV series imho reflects TV as an art form, and my bookshelves contain TV box sets that can sit next to beautifully bound 'classics' without shame. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Thanks for the comment, SS. I do think there are several brilliant TV shows out there deserving of being kept for posterirty - such as Twin Peaks, The Prisoner, Dr Who, Sapphire and Steel and Ashes - however there's a great deal of dross out there as well. Brainless TV like Celebrity Wrestling tends to give the rest a bad name, which is sometimes undeserved. I do think programmes like the expensive, high-octane series in America - Man Men, The Wire and Lost as examples - are going a long way towards giving TV a better reputation. There will always be a prejudice (see the title of this blog!) but I do think things are changing, albeit slowly.