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New Escapist Column! On How “The Fallen Sun” Puts “Luther” in “Skyfall”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Luther: The Fallen Sun in theatres this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to discuss the feature film adaptation of Britain’s favourite trenchcoated detective.

For over a decade, there have been rumours that Idris Elba was a prime candidate to take over the role of James Bond from Daniel Craig, to the point that the actor has spent years talking about his shifting attitude towards the possibility in the press. Part of what’s so interesting about The Fallen Sun is that the movie feels like Neil Cross’ attempt to construct a James Bond movie around his leading man. More than that, to build a very specific James Bond movie: Skyfall, starring John Luther.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Luther” as a Superhero Show Without Superheroes…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the looming release of Luther: The Fallen Sun, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about the show. In particular, the interesting space that it occupies as a police procedural that arguably owes more to comic books than anything else.

Luther is a fascinating show. It is ostensibly something similiar to Law & Order or CSI, the story of a detective who works grim and sensationalist crimes to their conclusions. In practice, however, Luther is something altogether more heightened. It occasionally veers over into outright horror, and Luther himself often seems to face characters more like comic book supervillains than ordinary criminals. The result is fascinating, a show that arguably feels closer to a certain strand of comic book storytelling than any of the actual comic book shows out there.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Doctor Who: The Rings Of Akhaten (Review)

The Rings of Akhaten is a visual feast. Both the Mill and Millennium FX deserve a tremendous amount for realising the eponymous environment, which stands out as the perhaps the most impressively alien landscape to appear on Doctor Who since the show began broadcasting in high definition. It’s a solid demonstration that Doctor Who has come a long way since the eighties, and that the show is well able to keep pace with its American competitors. However, it also makes the news that the Mill has been forced to shut down all the more depressing – especially since that shut-down was partially due to the reduced number of Doctor Who episodes being produced each year.

In fact, a lot of the bigger problems with The Rings of Akhaten can be traced back to the decision to structure this seventh season of the revived show, split over two different years instead of across a single year. Most obviously, there’s the fact that we are half-way through this season of Doctor Who, and The Rings of Akhaten feels like the second or third episode of a given season. So much time is taken up with matters and concerns associated with the first half of a given season that The Rings of Akhaten ultimately feels quite light and almost insubstantial.

Burn with me...

Burn with me…

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Non-Review Review: The Warriors (1979)

The Warriors remains something of a curiosity. Its cult stature has only grown in the three decades since its original release, and the sense of young urban disenfranchisement that director Walter Hill tapped into remains as potent as it ever it was. That said, the film remains a bit of puzzle, and it is never quite sure what to make of its protagonists. Does the movie want us to root for the wayward Warriors as they navigate the urban jungle in a quest to get back to Coney Island, or does it instead remain passively amoral amid all the violence and nihilism? It’s hard to really say, but it remains a potent piece of cinema.

“Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals…”

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Luther: Series 2 (Review)

I loved the first series of Luther. I genuinely adored it. It was a wonderful six-episode arc following the perils of DCI John Luther as he walked a thin line between, as Ripley remarks here, “being dirty and being willing to get your hands dirty”, all of which culminated in a rather fantastic final two episodes that explored the implications of that sort moral corruption in law enforcement. So the follow-up season had a lot to live up to, and – while it’s still well-written, well-acted and solidly entertaining – it can’t help but feel a little disappointing. While there are other considerations, the most damning one is this: two two-part episodes don’t given enough room for a season-long arc.

Putting it all together...

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Luther: Series 1 (Review)

You know, when I wonder why Irish television can’t produce quality drama, I am not looking across the pond towards our American cousins. I realise the sheer scale of the economy and the entertainment industry over there means that any possible point of comparison is just absurd. While the Great Britain is considerably larger, I look at the BBC and wonder why Irish television can’t even be nearly as good as that. After all, we have produced more than our fair share of Nobel laureates for literature, produce great artists, writers and actors in numbers quite disproportionate to our side. And I can’t point to a single Irish television show that is any way iconic – but perhaps that’s too much to expect.

Why can’t we even have something half as good as Luther?

I think he just copped it...

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