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.


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


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.


"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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.