Lie To Me 2.09 Fold Equity (2009, Mystery Drama) – 3/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Tim Roth: Dr. Cal Lightman
Kelli Williams: Dr. Gillian Foster
Brendan Hines: Eli Loker
Monica Raymund: Ria Torres
Hayley McFarland: Emily Lightman
Mekhi Phifer: FBI Agent Ben Reynolds
Creator: Samuel Baum
Abby Brammell: Poppy Wells
Todd Stashwick: Hugh Ellis
Jose Pablo Cantillo: Amadeo Valadez
Gene Farber: Vas Belanov
Ricky Jay: Mason Brock
Executive Producer: Samuel Baum
Writer: Sarah Fain
Writer: Elizabeth Craft
Director: Elodie Keene

Lie To Me 2.09 Fold Equity (2009)

Lightman tries to find a missing finalist for the Poker World Championship on behalf on the man who had him permanently barred from Las Vegas.


Another poor episode sees Lightman return to Vegas to investigate a missing player from the final table of the Poker World Championship but, as with all of this season, it’s tremendously unconvincing with a plot that does sort-of make sense but not with his character motivating proceedings.


Agatha Christie Marple 4.02 Murder is Easy (2009, Mystery TV) – 3/10 review

Julia McKenzie: Miss Marple
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Camilla Arfwedson: Rose Humbleby
Tim Brooke-Taylor: Dr Edward Humbleby
Anna Chancellor: Lydia Horton
Benedict Cumberbatch: Luke Fitzwilliam
David Haig: Major Hugh Horton
Shirley Henderson: Honoria Waynflete
James Lance: Dr Geoffrey Thomas
Lyndsey Marshal: Amy Gibbs
Steve Pemberton: Henry Wake
Jemma Redgrave: Jessie Humbleby
Hugo Speer: James Abbot
Margo Stilley: Bridget Conway
Sylvia Syms: Lavinia Pinkerton
Russell Tovey: PC Terence Reed
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen Churchett
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Hettie MacDonald
Stephen Churchett: Coroner

Agatha Christie: Marple 4.02 Murder Is Easy (2009)

Miss Pinkerton shares a train carriage with Miss Marple and excitedly tells her that she is on her way to Scotland Yard. Before Miss Pinkerton can arrive, however, she is pushed down an escalator which, to the audience’s great surprise, kills her. Miss Marple wonders why Miss Pinkerton wasn’t pushed in front of a car and decides to go to Wychwood to investigate.


Murder might be easy (there are a whopping six squeezed in here) but generating convincing dialogue, situations and atmosphere is something that ITV is still finding very difficult. As the book’s original hero (Luke Fitzwilliam) is drawn into the story by chance, there is no problem with dropping Miss Marple into the story via the same mechanism but, unlike Agatha Christie, the director and writer don’t cover up the clunkiness with charm, wit, characterisation, insight or intelligence. Additionally, they change the motive of the murderer (not enough SPOILER incestuous rape in Christie’s novel), undermine the meaning of the title, remove the challenge of battling the perfect murderer and make SPOILER Miss Pinkerton’s murder needlessly unlikely. If you’re going to change something, change it for the better. Please. P.S.: Because of the (added) political campaigning elements, it reminds me an awful lot of, I think, a Midsomer Murders episode but I don’t know which one.

This Agatha Christie: Marple episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes.


Smallville 8.14 Requiem (2009, TV) – 3/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Chris Gauthier: Winslow Scott
Writer: Holly Henderson
Writer: Don Whitehead
Director: Michael Rohl

Smallville 8.14 Requiem (2009)

Oliver Queen reveals a previously unsuspected bomb-proof-ness when he is the only survivor of a blast at a LuthorCorp board meeting where he was announcing his hostile takeover. He knows who the bomber probably is but strongly suspects that Lex is behind the attack and uses the bomber to lead him to Lex so that he can kill him. Meanwhile, Clark and Lana enjoy some super-sex (dang, another bed broken) but Lex has plans for them also.


Chloe shocks us to our very core by knocking on Clark’s door before walking in immediately anyway. It’s not like Clark and Lana were in the middle of super-sex. Oh. Anyway, the reason for last week’s eye-bulging Super Lana storyline is partially justified this week with a meaty moral dilemma. However, so broken is the chemistry between Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling and so mechanical their performances (you can actually see him thinking about which eyebrow to move) that we simply couldn’t care less about the moral dilemma and subsequent drama for these two characters. The Michael Rosenbaum look-alike and sound-alike (two different actors) are very close but I can’t remember why Lex is in the state he is. Aside from the writers having to remove Lex from all active plot duty.


Minder 11.01 Better the Devil You Know (2009, TV) – 3/10 review

Shane Richie: Archie Daley
Lex Shrapnel: Jamie Cartwright
Writer: Tim Loane
Writer (Series’ Creator): Leon Griffiths
Producer: Sean O’Connor
Director: David Innes Edwards

Minder 11.01 Better the Devil You Know (2009)

Taxi driver Jamie Cartwright is about to have life turned upside-down when he meets local mover-and-shaker Archie Daley who is, as usual, up to armpits in trouble.


Cheap, worthless attempt to relaunch the series with all new characters. While Shane Richie seems to have all the right words, he simply doesn’t have the right attitude or charisma that made George Cole’s Arthur Daley an instant icon. Lex Shrapnel has absolutely no charisma and a silly walk to boot. It also looks like it was put together for a fiver and filmed on (an admittedly high-end) camcorder but it’s the all-pervasive blandness that is the critical element. There is absolutely no reason to watch or make any more of this.

This Minder episode contains violence.

Black Bart (1975, TV) – 3/10

Louis Gossett: Black Bart
Millie Slavin: Belle Buzzer
Noble Willingham: Fern Malaga
Steve Landesberg: Reb Jordan
Developer for Television: Michael Elias
Developer for Television: Frank Shaw
Writer (Series’ Creator): Andrew Bergman
Writer: Michael Elias
Writer: Frank Shaw
Director: Robert Butler
Executive Producer: Mark Tuttle
Producer: Michael Elias
Producer: Frank Shaw
Producer: Robert Butler

Black Bart (1975)

Black Bart is the highest-paid black Sheriff in the country. Well, he’s the only one but he’s struggling to ingratiate himself with the townsfolk, especially the Mayor and his errant son Curly.


Curious unaired footnote to comedy classic Blazing Saddles. Someone, perhaps understandably, thought a small-screen spin-off would be a sure thing but that same person overlooked the fact that Blazing Saddles was funny. Lou Gossett is not known for his comedic brilliance but it doesn’t help that he’s given a script without gags and, to be fair, he, uniquely among the cast, shows useful charisma. Aside from that, this is awful. And is it just me, or does Millie Slavin look like a dude?

This television contains adult dialogue and violence.

Smallville 8.01 Odyssey (2008, TV) – 3/10

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Phil Morris: Martian Manhunter
Alaina Huffman: Dinah Lance / Black Canary
Alan Ritchson: Arthur Curry / Aquaman
Ari Cohen:
Writer (Screenplay): Todd Slavkin
Writer (Screenplay): Darren Swimmer
Writer (Story): Brian Peterson
Writer (Story): Kelly Souders
Director: Kevin G. Fair

Smallville 8.01 Odyssey (2008)

Lex, now power-less Clark and Chloe are all missing but all have teams looking for them. Lois is looking for Chloe, new LuthorCorp CEO Tess Mercer is looking for Lex and Oliver Queen, Black Canary and Aquaman are looking for Clark.


Typical for the opening show of a Smallville season, this resets everything back to normal inside forty minutes without much care or thought. The more you think about it, the worse it becomes. The producers tick off another sexy outfit for Erica Durance to wear (French maid) but it’s a lone high-, well, high-ish-point. Chloe’s new power (super-IQ) does make begrudging sense given the character’s history but that doesn’t stop it being indelicately dropped into the show. Surprisingly, Smallville bedrock Tom Welling looks entirely unconvinced throughout but let’s hope that, now he has his powers back, he starts to enjoy himself in what is reported to be the final season.

This Smallville episode contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.


Smallville 7.16 Descent (2007, TV) – 3/10

Smallville 7.16 Descent (2007)

Lex takes drastic steps to recover Lionel’s key.


Smallville is like the opposite of Nintendo DS’s Brain Training. This week sees yet more hilariously impossible computer work as Chloe magics photo detail out of nowhere because she has “mad CPU skillz.” That is an actual quote. However, it looks like we might have seen the end of the rubbishness of the Lionel / Jor-El story thread and that is good news. Clark and Lex get a good scene and while it is good that the show has decided on a definite direction for Lex this season (down, if you were wondering), it’s not terribly convincing. Michael Rosenbaum has looked bored all season and the spark and charisma he has brought to Lex is, perhaps appropriately, no longer there.

This Smallville episode contains extremely unpleasant fantasy scene.

Smallville 7.09 Gemini (2007, TV) – 3/10

Smallville 7.09 Gemini (2007)

Lex secretly gets Lois to write an ‘exposé’ on him, against Grant Gabriel’s wishes, but Lois finds herself the target of a mad bomber (he’s wired Chloe to blow) who wants to genuinely expose Lex. Clark returns from the fortress and has seriously changed his tune about Lex and wants to join up with Lana to put him behind bars.


The cast on the bomb-on-a-Chloe storyline do try their best but it’s in vain; that thread is shocking despite the interesting cloning angle and Jimmy Olsen furiously pondering why Chloe calls Clark in their emergency: “Is he going to dismantle the bomb with his great hair?” Clark and Lana get to follow the gloop, perhaps Milton Fine trying to regenerate, but that story doesn’t work any better. In fact, not a lot works in this episode including a ‘twist’ in the tale which makes no sense.

This Smallville episode contains unpleasant scenes and sensuality.