The return of Blade to TV screens?

Blade TV series

At the sharp end – the cast of Blade

ALTHOUGH WE usually prefer to cover crime TV series that are rooted in the here and now, one of our favourite fantasy crime series looks like it could be making a comeback.

This is because Marvel have reportedly regained the rights to the Blade franchise. Already the internet is awash with rumours that the vampire-hunting crime drama could be making a return to our screens.

Blade: The Series originally ran on the Spike TV network for just 13 episodes in 2006. It wasn’t perfect, but it did provide a new aesthetic for our television screens with the desolate backdrop of Detroit providing a template for future TV hits such as The Walking Dead.

Wesley Snipes

Flagging audience numbers were the main reason why the network decided not to renew the series. It had always faced a struggle as it followed on from the trilogy of Blade movies that saw Wesley Snipes making the role of half-blood vampire hunter his own.

And while the casting of Kirk ‘Sticky Fingaz’ Jones, from the hip-hop group Onyx, may have been a bold move, there were plenty of critics who blamed his uninspired acting as one of the reasons for the TV series’ failure.

Despite the demise of Blade: The Series, there’s been an endless range of vampiric themes in popular culture that suggest the time could be ripe for the show’s rebirth.

The Vampire Diaries

The wildly successful The Vampire Diaries has been one of the biggest hits for teen audiences of recent times. And when you realise that the Bloodsuckers slots game at the MrSmithCasino website has revealed the public has an unfailing fascination for these ghoulish creatures, it seems as though the time could be right for a return of the Blade TV series. [Read more…]

2016 Crime Drama Poll

The Night Manager: Corkoran (Tom Hollander), Burr (Olivia Colman), Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), Roper (Hugh Laurie) - (C) The Ink Factory - Photographer: Mitch Jenkins
The Night Manager

Vote for your favourite crime drama of 2016

So, what had you on the edge of your sofa this year? There were quite a few high-quality dramas around in 2016, from new series such as The Night Manager and the fantastic Icelandic saga Trapped, to returning favourites like The Fall. If any of the 10 below gripped you, go ahead and vote for it…

What was your favourite crime drama/thriller in 2016?

  • Line of Duty 3 (BBC2) (27%, 75 Votes)
  • The Night Manager (BBC1) (23%, 63 Votes)
  • Trapped (BBC4) (16%, 43 Votes)
  • The Night of (Sky Atlantic) (10%, 28 Votes)
  • Marcella (ITV) (8%, 21 Votes)
  • The Fall 3 (BBC2) (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Narcos 2 (Netflix) (4%, 11 Votes)
  • The People v OJ Simpson (BBC2) (4%, 11 Votes)
  • The Level (ITV) (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Maigret (ITV) (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 274

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KARLA crome (Nancy Devlin) and LAURA HADDOCK (Hayley) For further information contact Patrick Smith patrick.smith@itv.com 0207 157 3044 ©ITV This photograph is the ©ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: PATRICK SMITH
The Level

Harlan Coben’s The Five, Sky1

The Five Episode 01 Danny (O-T Fagbenle). Ben Blackall 2015 for © RED PRODUCTION COMPANY LIMITED

One of The Five – Danny (O-T Fagbenle)

Twists galore await in this original Harlan Coben thriller from Sky1

★★★½ Sky1, Friday, 15 April, 9pm

HARLAN COBEN is highly rated as one of the best thriller novelists around today. A lot of my colleagues at crime-fiction site Shotsmag can’t wait for his latest book.

His award-winning mysteries often involve secrets from the past resurfacing and multiple twists. Perhaps best known of his books is Tell No One, which was turned into the 2006 French film Ne le dis à personne.

The Five Episode 01 Mark (Tom Cullen) hugs Pru (Sarah Solemani), Slade (Lee Ingleby) and Danny (O-T Fagbenle) look on. Ben Blackall 2015 for © RED PRODUCTION COMPANY LIMITED

Reunited – Mark hugs Pru as Slade and Danny look on

The surprising thing is that more of his multi-million-selling books have not had screen makeovers. There have been occasional reports that books such as Gone for Good were being worked on by the likes of NBC, but little has surfaced to date.

An original thriller from Harlan Coben

Which makes Sky1’s new series all the more exciting for Coben fans and thriller devotees. The Five is based on an idea Coben had planned to turn into a novel, but instead the author worked with top scriptwriter Danny Brocklehurst (The Driver, Accused, Shameless) to give Sky1 an exclusive and fresh 10-part thriller.

The premise is based on a tragedy from the childhoods of four friends. When they were 12 years old, Mark, Pru, Danny and Slade abandoned Mark’s five-year-old brother, Jesse, in the woods. The lad was never seen again.

In adulthood, Danny, now a detective, gets involved in a murder case. At the scene of the crime, Jesse’s DNA is found. So, is he still alive? If so, is he a murderer? [Read more…]

Vote for CrimeTimePreview!

votenow_odeon_twitter

THE UK Blog Awards are looming next month and CrimeTimePreview.com is in the mix. However, we need the support of our readers and followers to get into the finals.

So, if you can spare a minute, could I ask that you vote for us here.

CrimeTimePreview editor Robin with start of The Killing Sofie Gråbøl

CrimeTimePreview editor Robin with star of The Killing Sofie Gråbøl

CrimeTimePreview.com has been covering the best new crime series and thrillers from broadcasters around the world for five years.

In that time we’ve previewed everything from the new wave of Nordic Noir with The Killing – which is still the post that received our biggest ever response – to Sherlock, True Detective and many more. We’ve also interviewed many of the most brilliant crime writers around, from Ian Rankin (Rebus) to Ann Cleeves (Shetland and Vera).

Vote now for CrimeTimePreview.com and help us to continue the crime wave, and celebrate our first five years in style.

Many thanks.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — Killer TV No 27

BBC2, 1979

‘I’ve got a story to tell you and it’s all about spies, and if it’s true – and I think it is – you boys are going to need a whole new organisation.’ – Ricki Tarr

Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell, Sian Phillips, Patrick Stewart, Hywell Bennett, Ian Bannen, Beryl Reid, Josh Ackland

Identikit: George Smiley, watchful, middle-aged, cuckolded intelligence officer, is asked out of enforced retirement to track down a mole at the heart of the British Secret Intelligence Service.


logosTHE SOMBRE pace makes this dramatisation of John Le Carré’s classic spy story feel a little dated, but the fine cast and multi-layered story definitely draws you in. Humiliated and forced to retire, George Smiley is called back to work because of his outsider status, to dig for a mole at the heart of the British intelligence service. Inspired by Le Carré’s own experience as an intelligence officer, and with a masterclass in understated acting from Guinness – who barely moves or reacts or acts at all – this is a fascinating timepiece of intrigue. Where the 2011 movie was a costume drama, this BBC seven-parter was of the Cold War period, and perfectly captures the drizzly dowdiness of a time when Western and Soviet spies were earnest in this grim tango of loyalty, honour and betrayal. There’s something about this craggy generation of actors playing these oddballs and stuffed shirts that give this series a feel of verisimilitude. Actors just don’t look like this any more. Whether it’s Smiley drying his feet by an electric fire or the gents standing in their three-pieced suits exchanging barbed pleasantries, it looks and feels real. Control sends agent Jim Prideaux to Czechoslovakia to get the name of a high-ranking mole in the Circus, the top echelon of British intelligence. Control gives the top five men, one of whom is the traitor, codenames according to the nursery rhyme – George Smiley’s is Beggar Man. Tinker-Tailor-DVD239Control instructs Jim to simply give him the code name of the ‘maggot’ in the Circus. It’s a trap, and Control and his deputy, Smiley, are forced to retire. Smiley is asked back to investigate without his successors at the Circus knowing what he is up to. The scenes are droll, smart and very wordy, but if you get into its groove it is a rich story, full of trickery, personal agendas and grim loyalties. ‘Every one has a loyalty somewhere,’ says Smiley at one point, but they’re rarely lodged where you expect them. It was a huge critical success, won Baftas, including one for Alec Guinness. Smiley’s People followed in 1982.

Classic episode: In episode four there is a flashback during which Smiley meets Mr Guestman – actually his arch-rival Karla – in 1941, when the British had him in irons in a Delhi jail. It’s a fine scene between Patrick Stewart and Alec Guinness, during which Karla doesn’t say a word, but we sense it is the Soviet agent – facing a firing squad back home – who still outmanoeuvres the Brit trying to turn him.

Theme music: End credit music was Nunc dimittis by Geoffrey Burgon.

Sequel: Smiley’s People, 1982

Watercooler fact: Before filming, Alec Guinness, who based many of his performances on the observation of real people, asked John Le Carré to introduce him to a real spy. The author took him to lunch with Sir Maurice Oldfield, the former Chief of British Intelligence.

The Last Panthers, Sky Atlantic, Samantha Morton

Tahar Rahim as Khalil

Panther hunter – Tahar Rahim as Khalil

A gritty, riveting Euro-drama with a blockbuster cast and superb writing, direction and production 

★★★★½ Sky Atlantic, Thursday, 12 November, 9pm

WHILE we Brits prepare for the referendum to decide whether to go it alone outside of the EU, Sky Atlantic has embraced the Continent with this bold and ambitious Euro co-production.

It’s a big, complex tale about the real-life Pink Panthers gang of jewel thieves, the Balkan-based network of ex-servicemen and criminals who carried audacious and spectacular gem raids throughout Europe. At the same time, it offers a glimpse of the pan-European crime scene and the fallout from the breakdowns of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

It’s also a far more sophisticated drama than mainstream whodunits of the sort set around Oxford and Midsomer. And finally, with a terrific script and direction, knockout cast and title music from David Bowie, it must be the best series Sky has ever made.

The Pink Panthers hit Marseille

First, the story. Episode one kicks off with a heart-pounding heist in a marble-clad jewellery store in Marseille. This is being carried out by members of the spectacularly successful gang dubbed the Pink Panthers by the media.

The Last Panthers, Sky Atlantic

Samantha Morton as Naomi

However, as Milan Novak (Goran Bogdan) and his team flee the scene, the robbery goes badly wrong and an innocent girl is shot dead. English insurance company loss adjustor Naomi (Samantha Morton) is ordered to Belgrade, where the gang has its base, by her boss Tom (John Hurt) to recover the gems.

While her involvement annoys French detective Khalil (Tahar Rahim), Naomi’s return to the Balkans revives bad memories of her time in the military when she served there on behalf of the UN during the mid-90s conflict.

[Read more…]

Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil

CareerOfEvil_230I DID A COUPLE of rather cryptic  #makemeadetective tweets last week and it’s time to clear up the mystery of what they were all about.
I’ve teamed up with the ingenious folks at Sphere to recruit some dazzling new detectives, to launch the latest addition to the Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) series: Career Of Evil, which is on shelves on the 20th October.
Some of the lucky people who participated in my challenge will be invited to the famous London escape rooms on the 21st October to participate in some Galbraith-themed challenges. Lucky them!

Beck, BBC4, with Peter Haber

BECK Buried Alive Channels: BBC FourMartin Beck (PETER HABER), Gunvald Larsson (MIKAEL PERSBRANDT) (L-R)

Good cop, impulsive cop: Beck (Peter Haber) and Larsson (Mikael Persbrandt)

The latest Swedish crime series to hit BBC4 is based on a classic series of books

★★★½ BBC4, starts Saturday, 12 September, 9pm

BECK is the latest Scandi-noir series to fill BBC4’s Saturday-night slot. Since The Killing alerted the channel’s viewers to the distinctive mood and quality of Nordic TV dramas five years ago now, a new audience has been cultivated for death with subtitles in a cold climate.

Martin Beck (PETER HABER), Lena Klingström (STINA RAUTELIN), Gunvald Larsson (MIKAEL PERSBRANDT), Oskar Bergman (MÅNS NATHANAELSON)

Team work: Beck, Klingstrom, Larsson and Bergman

Martin Beck is, of course, the character featured in the groundbreaking Swedish crime novels written by husband-and-wife Marxists Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö back in the 1960s. These two crime-writing pioneers wrote a superb series of novels that often delved into society’s sore points, such as police corruption, while following Beck’s investigations.

The books are well worth exploring and this new series, set in the present day, is a polished adaptation, with Peter Haber – who starred in the Swedish version of The Girl with Dragon Tattoo – playing Beck. Mikael Persbrandt co-stars as Beck’s rough, tough colleague Larsson, a guy who, on taking out a biker in an alley fight, says, ‘Sometimes you have to make your mark.’

Beck’s on the trail of a serial killer

The first story, Buried Alive, starts with the discovery by a child of a crate buried in her playground’s sandpit. Her mother thinks she can hear a noise from inside and Beck and Larsson are soon on the scene. The crate contains the body of a prosecutor who’s been investigating a criminal biker gang. [Read more…]

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