Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e03 Dead Man’s Folly (2013) – 4/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Nick Dear
James Anderson: Michael Weyman
Rosalind Ayres: Mrs. Warburton
Sinéad Cusack aka Sinead Cusack: Mrs. Folliat
Tom Ellis: Detective Inspector Bland
Rebecca Front: Miss Brewis
Emma Hamilton: Sally Legge
Martin Jarvis: Captain Warburton
Sam Kelly: John Merdell
Stephanie Leonidas: Hattie Stubbs
Sean Pertwee: Sir George Stubbs
Daniel Weyman: Alec Legge
Nicholas Woodeson: Detective Sergeant Hoskins
Ariadne Oliver: Zoë Wanamaker aka Zoe Wanamaker
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Tom Vaughan

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e03 Dead Man’s Folly (2013)

Ariadne Oliver has been hired to organise a murder hunt for a fete being hosted by Sir George Stubbs but she has a nasty, niggling feeling that real crime is in the air and calls upon the services of Hercule Poirot to bristle his moustache in evil’s general direction. Certainly not to prevent any murders, good heavens, no.

4/10

Taking nearly half its running time to get to the first murder, this adaptation suffers, as so many of the feature-length Poirot‘s by choosing not to be interesting, fun or informative. The second half has trouble maintaining interest as there aren’t enough clues to construct a theorem and, somehow, there aren’t any suspects; reeling from the shock of seeing a black man in a Christie adaptation, they just send him to the gallows and congratulate themselves on a job well done. When Poirot reveals the solution, it turns out most of the information he gives is brand new and not derived from the clues supplied. In a nice touch, this was filmed on location at Greenway in Devon: Agatha Christie’s home.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains violence

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013) – 4/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Guy Andrews
Orla Brady: Countess Rossakoff
Simon Callow: Dr. Lutz
Morven Christie: Elsie Clayton
Rupert Evans: Harold Waring
Nigel Lindsay: Francesco
Sandy McDade: Mrs. Rice
Fiona O’Shaughnessy: Katrina
Eleanor Tomlinson: Alice Cunningham
Tom Wlaschiha: Schwartz
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Andy Wilson

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013)

After a case goes horribly wrong, a depressed Poirot takes a long car ride with a young man who bursts into tears and runs away and then tells him about a lost love and Poirot goes to Switzerland to find this lost love and, unpredictably, there is a connection to the case that went horribly wrong and a chance for redemption and a character arc and there’s a twist and it’s all WRITTEN BY CHILDREN.

4/10

"They say Poirot is so intelligent, he is scarcely human, but, you know, he does not listen to this ‘they’" – Poirot

Once more eschewing any recognisable humanity or warmth or fun, this feature-length episode suffers from a complete lack of atmosphere, a surprisingly offensive pot-pourri of accents, the baffling insistence on making everything unspeakably serious and a weak central mystery (where the identity of the killer is immediate from the moment they appear largely because it obviously isn’t anyone else; it is inexplicably changed from the original short story). It also might contain the single most embarrassing scene in the entire series (not involving Zoe Wanamaker) when a young man is supposed to burst into tears and run away from a car. Christie’s stories are largely fun, generally very well-paced and these feature-length episodes are not. And I miss Hastings. It will be interesting to see if his return in the next and last ever episode of Poirot will make good use of him.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains gory scene, adult dialogue

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The Mentalist S05E01 The Red Glass Bead (2012) – 4/10 crime detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
Actor and Producer Patrick Jane: Simon Baker
Robin Tunney: Teresa Lisbon
Tim Kang: Kendall Cho
Owain Yeoman: Wayne Rigsby
Amanda Righetti: Grace Van Pelt
Polly Walker: Alexa Schultz
Amanda Detmer:
Michael Gaston: Gale Bertram
Jim O’Heir:
Drew Powell:
Ivan Sergei:
Emmanuelle Chriqui:
Producer: Matthew Carlisle
Writer and Executive Producer: Bruno Heller
Director: Randy Zisk

The Mentalist S05E01 The Red Glass Bead (2012)

After being a wanted fugitive for six months, pretending to murder Lisbon and leading his team members to abandon all due process and break the law themselves, Patrick Jane finds himself in prison for the rest of his life and concocts an elaborate fantasy to regress into where he and the team are relieved from suspension, escape punishment and are allowed to continue solving murder-of-the-weeks while following all leads to the identity of Red John.

4/10

The problem with this-changes-everything season finalés is that a successful show can’t change everything, it needs to keep on doing what made it successful. So the challenge becomes unchanging-everything. It is a challenge that has rarely been met in television history (Star Trek: The Next Generation managed it once or twice, and that’s about it) and The Mentalist Season Five adds itself to the list of miserable failures at restoring the status quo convincingly or logically.

This The Mentalist episode contains adult dialogue and violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sensuality.

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Columbo: A Bird in the Hand… (1992) – 4/10 Columbo crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
Tyne Daly: Dolores
Greg Evigan: Harold McCain
Frank McRae: Lt. Robertson
Don S. Davis: Bertie
Leon Singer: Fernando
Michael Gregory: Mr. Hacker
Steve Forrest: Big Fred
Producer: Christopher Seiter
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link
Writer: Jackson Gillis
Director: Vincent McEveety
Executive Producer: Peter Falk

Columbo A Bird In The Hand… (1992)

When Big Fred – the wealthy owner of a football team – is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Columbo is called in because of his notoriety just to make sure there was no foul play and suspects nothing but then the gardener is blown to smithereens when he attempts to move Big Fred’s Rolls Royce.

4/10

This a classic case of wasted potential. The setup is highly intriguing as a murder victim gets accidentally killed before the murderer’s bomb plot can be completed and the story goes on to be agreeably tidy. However, Vincent McEveety’s trademark listless direction, a total lack of Columbo characterisations, unconvincingly wobbly Tyne Daly’s distracting eye-bulging and a broken clue or two (bomber being left-handed due to bizarre boxes on underside of car, sweaty damp socks, what!) undo Jackson Gillis’ entertaining plot.

This Columbo episode contains mild swear words and unpleasant scenes and references.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Doctor Who 33.03 The Curse of the Black Spot (2011) – 4/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steve Thompson
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Jeremy Webb
Hugh Bonneville: Henry Avery
Lily Cole: The Siren

Doctor Who 33.03 Curse of the Black Spot, The (2011)

The Doctor and his crew respond to a distress signal from a pirate ship where a siren has been abducting seamen with even the smallest injury.

4/10

Taking inspiration from the title of the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and the mermaids of On Stranger Tides, this shows that even the Doctor is not beyond the curse that pirates usually bring to all entertainment they touch, i.e., they destroy them. Despite a quality turn from Hugh Bonneville, this is easily a contender for the worst Doctor Who episode of the modern era thanks to a completely broken plot and too many actors welling up or bursting into tears unjustifiably. As we are not involved emotionally, that’s just comes across as over-acting as does Murray Gold’s music which is completely over-the-top for a disinterested audience.

This Doctor Who episode contains unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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T.J. Hooker 3.19 Death Strip (1984, Police Action Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: Officer Vince Romano
Heather Locklear: Officer Stacy Sheridan
James Darren: Jim Corrigan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Rick Husky
Thom Christopher: Paul Gavin
Nicholas Campbell: Toby Clark
Thalmus Rasulala: Lt. Craig Arkin
Joey Aresco: Sid Beamer
Sam Anderson: Leo Santee
Supervising Producer: Rick Husky
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Writer: Patrick Mathews
Director: Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.
Executive Producer: Aaron Spelling
Executive Producer: Leonard Goldberg

T.J. Hooker 3.19 Death Strip (1984)

As yet another narcotics bust goes wrong, this time with an informant getting killed, Hooker and his "brass band" go after the murderer, a man who wants to become a major player in drug trafficking and will stop at nothing.

4/10

Below par Hooker which reaches its lowest point when a stuntperson’s brown wig falls off during a stunt to expose long, flowing blond locks! Romano also gets in on the random skill reveal when, aside from being a stripper (which he does great until his trousers come off), he starts talking in sign language. Not be outdone, of course, Hooker starts talking in sign language later as well.

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T.J. Hooker 3.16 Hooker’s Run (1984, Police Action Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: [Officer Vince Romano]
Heather Locklear: [Officer Stacy Sheridan]
James Darren: Jim Corrigan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Rick Husky
Shanna Reed: [Angie Quine]
Kaleena Kiff: [Mary Quine]
Alex Rocco: [Frank Dio]
Tom Atkins: [Phil Parker]
Supervising Producer: Rick Husky
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Co-Producer: Simon Muntner
Writer: Simon Muntner
Director: Cliff Bole
Executive Producer: Aaron Spelling
Executive Producer: Leonard Goldberg

T.J. Hooker 3.16 Hooker’s Run (1984)

A murderer’s former girlfriend could send him to prison with her testimony, but her death has been ordered and there is a leak in the department. Hooker knows he can trust Vince, Stacy and Jim but everyone else, including ex-army buddy and Detective in Charge Phil Parker, must be under suspicion.

4/10

Badly plotted and unenthusiastically, though pacily, directed. Asking James Darren to do more acting is always a bad idea as he consistently comes across as creepy, inappropriate or unconvincing. Brilliantly, he even suggests that another character get “personality lessons.” Still, his role moves aside after a while and the action is pretty tidy. There’s a good staircase chase and rooftop battle, a very good high fall, Hooker gets through another squad car and there’s an A-Team-inspired climax.

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T.J. Hooker 2.09 A Cry for Help (1982, Police Action Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: [Officer Vince Romano]
Heather Locklear: [Officer Stacy Sheridan]
Richard Herd: Captain Sheridan
Henry Darrow:
Panchito Gomez: Danny Perez
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Creator: Rick Husky
Writer: Jack V. Fogarty
Director: Cliff Bole

T.J. Hooker 2.09 Cry for Help, A (1982)

When a juvenile gang member is set up to take the blame for the murder of a drug supplier, Hooker gets personally involved.

4/10

Seriously cheesy episode as Hooker arranges an ear operation! Director Cliff Bole keeps the pace up and also delivers a nice stunt sequence with Hooker on a plane wing and dodging propellers (it’s also used in the title sequence).

This T.J. Hooker episode contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Lie To Me 2.07 Black Friday (2009, Mystery Drama) – 4/10 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
Nick Searcy: Mr. Donnelly
Shashawnee Hall: Larry Bernardo
Jackie Debatin: Cheyenne
Lisa Waltz: Mrs. Roland
Daniel Owen Ross: Max
Executive Producer: Daniel Sackheim
Executive Producer: Samuel Baum
Writer: Ethan Drogin
Writer: Heather Thomason
Director: Daniel Sackheim

Lie To Me 2.07 Black Friday (2009)

Lightman is somewhat surprised to find a random teenage boy wander into his house and insist he confirm that the boy’s parents are lying to him when they tell him that they are his parents. Locher and Torres investigate a Black Friday stampede that resulted in the death of two people as the store seeks to reduce compensation payout by proving that they were not at fault.

4/10

Even by the standards of this season, this is a staggeringly unconvincing episode and it seems so unnecessary. Surely someone with the reputation of Lightman would get legitimate cases through normal means not through people randomly approaching him. Surely people wouldn’t tell Lightman and Foster deep personal secrets within two minutes just because he calls them on a lie or shouts at them. Surely Lightman’s abilities and research are just an indicator not the absolute be-all-and-end-all. Surely this show should be better.

Links

T.J. Hooker 3.01 The Return (1983, Police Action Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: Officer Vince Romano
Heather Locklear: Officer Stacy Sheridan
James Darren: Jim Corrigan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Rick Husky
William Lucking: Jack Clayton
Laurie Prange: Elma Ford Prentiss
James Sutorius: Freddie Hamilton
Troas Hayes:
Marine Jahan: Evelyn West
Richard Herd: Captain Dennis Sheridan
Supervising Producer: Rick Husky
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Writer: Mark Rodgers
Director: Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.

T.J. Hooker 3.01 Return, The (1983)

Five years after his detective partner was killed during an armed bank robbery, Hooker realises that the man responsible has returned (a one-handed man would you believe) and vows to get him while he can.

4/10

Mighty silly episode that takes itself way too seriously, though the chase sequences are helped no end by some energetic music.

This T.J. Hooker episode contains gun violence.

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T.J. Hooker: 2.22 Lady in Blue (1983, Police Action Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: Officer Vince Romano
Heather Locklear: Officer Stacy Sheridan
Richard Herd: Captain Sheridan
James Darren: Jim Corrigan
Anne-Marie Martin: Officer Karen Hall
Leo Rossi: Tate
Justin Lord:
Roger Newman:
Percy Rodrigues: Jason
Supervising Producer: Rick Husky
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Writer (Series’ Creator): Rick Husky
Writer: Rick Husky
Director: William Shatner

T.J. Hooker 2.22 Lady in Blue (1983)

When Hooker’s gung-ho method of policing is imitated by a new female recruit, she is shot and badly injured (she loses a leg). Hooker blames himself and determines to get the maggots responsible.

4/10

Despite Shatner delivering a whole stack of "maggot" and "scum" speeches (a good thing), this is a horribly dated and rather unbalanced episode. Star Shatner can probably only blame himself: he directed this one.

This T.J. Hooker episode contains violence.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

House M.D. 6.07 Teamwork (2009, Medical Black Comedy Drama) – 4/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Hugh Laurie: Dr. Gregory House
Lisa Edelstein: Dr. Lisa Cuddy
Omar Epps: Dr. Eric Foreman
Robert Sean Leonard: Dr. James Wilson
Jennifer Morrison: Dr. Allison Cameron
Jesse Spencer: Dr. Robert Chase
Creator: David Shore
Peter Jacobson: Dr. Chris Taub
Olivia Wilde: Thirteen
Michael Weston: Lucas Douglas
Jolene Blalock: Lexa
Troy Garity: Hank Hardwick
Producer: Marcy G. Kaplan
Producer: Sara Hess
Co-Executive Producer: Eli Attie
Executive Producer: Hugh Laurie
Executive Producer: David Shore
Writer: Eli Attie
Director: David Straiton

House M.D. 6.07 Teamwork (2009)

Patient-of-the-week is a porn star who collapses on the job. House gets his medical licence back but loses most of his team when Chase and Cameron announce they are going to leave.

4/10

House’s games this week feel extremely unconvincing as the writers settle things down for the remainder of the season. The patient-of-the-week is also given short thrift as House, apparently, knows what’s wrong with him early on but withholds the true diagnosis and treatment to tempt Taub and Thirteen back into the fold. The problem comes in that House’s games feel cruel and misleading as opposed to cunning and revealing. Cameron’s exit from the show is extraordinarily unconvincing but I have commented before that I don’t think the writers like Jennifer Morrison as her character has frequently borne the brunt of major character inconsistencies and half-hearted writing.

This House M.D. episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes and inferred sex scenes.

Links

Lie to Me 2.04 Honey (2009, Mystery Drama) – 4/10 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
Garret Dillahunt: Eric Matheson
Billy Smith: Mike Zancanelli
Consulting Producer: Matt Olmstead
Executive Producer: Samuel Baum
Writer: Matt Olmstead
Director: Timothy Busfield

Lie To Me 2.04 Honey (2009)

A week after Lightman left his Macbook on a Mexican bar top and it didn’t get stolen, Torres is somewhat less lucky when she leaves a Lightman Group dossier on a seat in her unlocked car and gets taken hostage by a gun-toting wife-murderer.

4/10

Despite committed and good quality acting from everyone, this episode cannot escape the weakness of the plot and strained dramatics of having someone come in to the Lightman offices waving a gun around.

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The Mentalist 2.04 Red Menace (2009, Light Crime Drama TV) – 4/10 review

Creator: Bruno Heller
Simon Baker: Patrick Jane
Robin Tunney: Teresa Lisbon
Tim Kang: Kendall Cho
Owain Yeoman: Wayne Rigsby
Amanda Righetti: Grace Van Pelt
Abby Brammell:
Mac Brandt:
Julia Campbell:
Jesse James:
Mark Pellegrino:
Molly Price:
Consulting Producer: Leonard Dick
Producer: Charlie Goldstein
Writer: Leonard Dick
Director: Norberto Barba
Executive Producer: Bruno Heller

Mentalist, The 2.04 Red Menace (2009)

A defence lawyer for a biker gang is found beaten to death.

4/10

‘A lie gets heavy, real quick.’ This worthwhile observation is, along with the genial tone, the only redeeming feature of this poorly written episode. It makes little sense as it goes along, is unconvincing in the interaction with the bikers and it ends with Jane SPOILER arranging, at best, someone’s beating up, possibly their death which is all kinds of wrong.

This Mentalist, The episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes, violence.

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