January return for TNT cop show

No Comments 27 August 2011

Criminally* underrated cop show Southland will return to US screens in January, giving New TV Shows cause for celebration. We like to see the underdog win every now and again, especially when it means a show as accomplished as Southland gets given a second chance to find its audience.

The show, which previously saw its 13-episode second season slashed to six before ultimately being given the axe by NBC, was picked up by current network TNT in 2009. Following the airing of a relatively well-received third season, the network confirmed back in March that Southland, which follows the lives of a selection of LAPD officers, would be back for a fourth.

The specifics of the show’s return were finally revealed this week, so if you’re one of the few with excellent taste in TV then mark off January 17, 2012 on your calendar — that’s when the first of 10 new episodes will premiere.

The network also announced that the new season will see series regulars Regina King, Shawn Hatosy, Michael Cudlitz and Ben McKenzie joined by recurring guest star Lucy Liu, who will play a previously unseen member of the LAPD.

Other TNT shows returning during the Autumn/Winter schedule include The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles and Leverage — all of which will resume their current seasons at the end of November.

*Ha! Get it? Cop show/criminally underrated! We really are very funny.
Breaking In


Breaking In back from the dead?

No Comments 24 August 2011

The fate of Breaking In, the Fox sitcom set in a digital security firm, seemed certain. Despite the pilot episode being well received, the network initially passed on the show, only to later change its mind and order a seven-episode batch to be used as a midseason replacement.

Back in May, the final nail in the coffin seemed to have been driven home as Fox declared that Breaking In would not be renewed for a second season. But, as reports, Fox executives have finally scrabbled around for a claw hammer, ripped the nails from the casket and delivered the kiss of life to the ailing comedy.

The show, which stars Christian Slater, Bret Harrison and Odette Annable — who will return despite signing on as a regular on the new season of House — looks likely to return later this year with a 13-episode midseason run.

The Vampire Diaries - New TV Shows


TV on DVD: This week’s releases

No Comments 23 August 2011

This week’s round-up of DVD and Blu-ray releases featuring TV shows past and present, featuring a couple of must-haves and more than a few must-never-soil-my-DVD-player-withs.


The Vampire Diaries – Season 2 [DVD] – buy it from
The Vampire Diaries – Season 2 [Blu-ray] – buy it from

The second season of The CW‘s smash hit supernatural drama hits both DVD and Blu-ray this week. One of the creative forces behind the show is Kevin Williamson, who has extensive experience in bringing teen horror to the small and big screens with the likes of Scream, I know What You Did Last Summer and Dawson’s Creek. The latter was a different type of teen horror, granted — but I still have nightmares.


The Vampire Diaries – Seasons 1-2 Complete [DVD] – buy it from
The Vampire Diaries – Seasons 1-2 Complete [Blu-ray] – buy it from

If you’re new to The Vampire Diaries and fancy giving it a whirl, your best value option is to buy the newly-released Season 1 & 2 collection, which bundles all 44 episodes together in one neat package — along with a bunch of extras. It’s significantly cheaper than buying the two separately, so if you’re up for taking the plunge, this is the one to go for.


Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show [DVD] – buy it from

Lowest common denominator ‘humour’ written and performed by — and tailored to — single-digit braincell morons. It’s a BBC Three comedy; what more did you expect?


NCIS: Los Angeles – Season 2 [DVD] – buy it from

We’ve spoken recently of our desire for some new spin-off shows but NCIS: Los Angeles is noteworthy for taking it one step further; it’s a spin-off of a spin-off. The LA strain is an offshoot from the original NCIS series, which itself was spawned from legal drama JAG. If you’ve never come across the NCIS franchise, the words behind the acronym — Naval Criminal Investigative Service — should give you an idea what to expect.


Lewis – Series 1-5 Complete [DVD] – buy it from

ITV hit upon the winning murder mystery formula with Inspector Morse, to the extent that sidekick Lewis, played by Kevin Wheatley, was deemed strong enough to sustain a spin-off show of his own following the killing off of the Morse character. The gamble paid off, with five successful series completed to date, all of which are collected in this box set.


Who Do You Think You Are? Complete Series 1-7 [DVD] – buy it from

A string of celebrities trace their family history with frequently moving results. The first seven series of the popular BBC geneaology show are collected here, along with the first season of the US version of the show. The show’s producers generally carry out initial research of around double the number of subjects they plan to film for each series, meaning that only the most interesting cases make it into the show.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People Double Pack [DVD] – buy it from

Classic BBC adaptations of  John le Carré’s celebrated spy novels, featuring an outstanding turn from Sir Alec Guiness as George Smiley, a retired intelligence expert drawn back into service in order to weed out a Soviet mole. That’s a mole as in an undercover agent rather than, you know, an actual mole. That would have been a very different story.


Ben 10: Ultimate Alien – Vol. 2 [DVD] – buy it from

Listen and understand. The Ben 10 franchise is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you’ve emptied your wallet or purse for merchandising just to shut your brat kid up for 10 minutes.


Andrew Marr’s Megacities [DVD] – buy it from

Andrew Marr may look like the older, thinner brother of Vincent D’Onofrio’s character in Men in Black but he knows how to front a decent documentary, as this BBC series shows. Marr visits London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Shanghai and Dhaka, interviewing some of the people who work hard to help those cities tick.


99-1 – The Complete Second Series [DVD] – buy it from

Confession time: as much as we like to give the impression that we here at New TV Shows watch every programme available, there are only so many hours in the day — we have to draw the line somewhere. Our line is drawn well before ITV drama vehicles for Leslie Grantham.


Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volume 2 [DVD] – buy it from

An animated take on Marvel’s superhero superteam, featuring the likes of The Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Ant-Man. Spot the weak link in that lot. Draw up a list of your dream superpowers; being able to shrink to the size of a particularly small insect probably isn’t too near the top.


Batman – The Brave And The Bold Vol. 6 [DVD] – buy it from

More animated action, this time an adaptation of the DC Comics series that sees different superhero pairings (or sometimes teams) join forces to fight evil. The best thing about this is that Diedrich Baber supplies the voice of The Dark Knight — and as anybody who has seen Office Space or Napoleon Dynamite will attest to, Diedrich Baber is excellent.


The Cuckoo Waltz – The Complete Fourth Series [DVD] – buy it from

The fourth and final series of the ITV sitcom revolving around a hard-up couple who decide toopen their Manchester home to a lodger in order to earn a little extra cash. Lewis Collins, who played the original long-term house guest in the first three series, was replaced here by Ian Saynor.


Ax Men Season 1 and Season 2 Collector’s Edition [DVD] – buy it from

The latest documentary series from ‘men with pretty dangerous jobs’ specialist Original Productions, Ax Men follows a number of different American logging crews and the issues they’re faced with on a day-to-day basis. Originally aired on The History Channel, the show follows in the footsteps of the likes of Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers.


Michael Bentine’s Potty Time – The Complete Third Series [DVD] – buy it from

Potty Time was a long-running 1970s  children’s show which featured bearded puppets acting out scenes from history. It was once voted as the 71st best kids’ TV show of all time by Channel 4 viewers — high praise indeed.


Underworld At War: The Complete ITV Series [DVD] – buy it from

ITV documentary series looking back at the unique opportunity given to nefarious sorts during the Second World War; while bomb sites were a tragedy for those who once lived there, they offered murderers the perfect place to hide dead bodies. ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser offers an insight into some of the goings on he witnessed — and took part in — between 1939 and 1945.


The Upchat Collection – The Complete Series [DVD] – buy it from

Playful ITV sitcom with a twist — homless protagonist Mike Upchat is played by two different actors depending on the scenario. This double DVD collection covers original series The Upchat Line and follow-up show The Upchat Connection.


Dennis & Gnasher: Special Agent Dennis & 25 More Crazy Adventures [DVD] – buy it from

Bumper DVD pack collecting the first two series of the animated CBBC series featuring Beano cover star Dennis the Menace and  his trusty dog Gnasher. The set also features plenty of extras including a number of other Beano characters, including Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids.


Complete Victorian Farm Collection






The Complete Victorian Farm Collection Boxed Set [DVD] – buy it from

This set collects the original BBC documentary series Victorian Farm and all of its subsequent spin-offs, including Victorian Farm Christmas, Tales From The Green Valley, Victorian Pharmacy and Edwardian Farm. Just the thing for history buffs.


New FX show for retro gamers?

No Comments 21 August 2011

When New TV Shows first heard that the creative forces behind Nip/Tuck and Glee were developing a new show in the horror genre, our indifference was palpable. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck may have come up with a cultural phenomenon with their spiritual successor to the High School Musical films, but neither that or Nip/Tuck before it have ever bothered the top of our must-watch list.

All that said, the newly released teaser trailer for American Horror Story has upped our interest considerably — purely because it looks less like a TV show and more like an FMV-heavy PC adventure game from the 1990s. Seriously. Look:


See what we mean? If someone sent us a link to that video and declared that it was a sequel to The 7th Guest or Phantasmagoria then we’d be totally on board, so it’s only fair that we give AHS a chance. As far as we can see, it’s got three things going for it right now:

  • As mentioned, the promotional material makes it look like a modern-day follow up to Mega CD perv-em-up Night Trap, meaning it could well turn out to be simultaneously both the best and worst TV show ever
  • It stars the fabulous Connie Britton, who’s coming off the back of great work on Friday Night Lights
  • It’s going to be on FX, which tends to have a better hit to miss ratio than many of its competitors

Judge for yourself on October 5th, when American Horror Story makes its debut.

Paulie Walnuts - spin-off shows we demand to see


Five spin-offs we demand to see

2 Comments 19 August 2011

Spin-off shows are a strange beast. Attempting to ride the wave of what once made an existing programme so popular while simultaneously striving to put their own spin on proceedings, the writing and production staff responsible have an incredibly tough juggling act to maintain.

And it shows. For every Frasier or The Colbert Report that strides triumphantly out from the shadow of its cherished big brother, there are countless others in the mould of Joey, Baywatch Nights or *shivers* Sesame Tree. Done right, the spin-off show can be spectaular — but it’s rare to come across an example that finds a truly original voice rather than simply going through the motions to cynically cash in on the name of an old favourite.

Whatever your view on the quality of the shows, the unstoppable juggernaut that is the CSI franchise shows that spin-offs are an entirely viable proposition if the demand is there, so we think it’s high time we saw some new TV shows featuring favourite characters from existing shows.

We wanted to make a ‘One and a Half Men’ gag here, featuring Bronn and ‘The Imp’ Tyrion Lannister from HBO’s Game of Thrones — but it turns out somebody’s only gone and done it already, in a much, much more inventive way than we would have done:



So, with our best idea down the toilet, we’ll have to make do with a bunch of ideas cobbled together loosely around some horrible pun-based titles. Like these:


Dutch Courage

The Shield’s Holland ‘Dutch’ Wagenbach is shot in the line of duty when protecting an informant from his former Los Mags associates. Forced to take early retirment, Dutch Boy is awarded some kind of bravery medal or something so as to justify the show’s title. Finding life without a badge hard to come to terms with, Wagenbach sets up as a private investigator and for convoluted reasons is forced to take on Steve Billings — he of the patented ‘Billings Bare Minimum’ work ethic — as his partner. Odd Couple-style hilarity inevitably ensues. Think Midnight Run but with more cat strangulation.


Walnuts In May

Former Soprano family captain Paulie Walnuts (real name Peter Paul Gualtieri) is diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure, which his doctor advises is likely linked to the stresses of mob life. The prescription? A relaxing summer of care-free living in the form of an extended camping holiday away from the  cut and thrust of organised crime. But when a series of ruffians pitch up next to his tent and proceed to transform the peaceful retreat into a rowdy party zone, it’s only a matter of time before Paulie reaches for the concrete boots.


Beaten To The Bunch

Animated farce following the adventures of Mr Bananagrabber, the lisping cartoon mascot dreamed up by Arrested Development’s G.O.B. Bluth to promote the family’s frozen banana stand. With his best banana-grabbing days way behind him, Mr B finds himself  frequently outwitted by a younger, fitter fruit pilferer by the name of Phillip J. Yellowskin — but he’s got a plan to take him down once and for all. Okay, so it’s not particularly high concept but that’s a pretty good title, no? COME ON!


Saul In A Day’s Work

Filmed in a mockumentary style, this light-hearted drama follows Breaking Bad’s morally bankrupt attorney Saul Goodman and the cases he takes on when he’s not saving Walter White’s skin. The pilot episode features cameos from Badger and Skinny Pete, as well as that massive security guard from the opening episode of Season 4. You know, the one that’s built like a wall (an incredibly overweight wall, granted) and breathes louder than any regular person speaks. Essentially, anything with Bob Odenkirk in it is automatically better than 95% of the guff pumped through our TV screens so this is an automatic winner.


Banned Meeting

With Bret and Jemaine deported and the Crazy Dogggz outed as song stealers, Flight of the Conchords’ former manager Murray Hewitt sets out to find his next hit act. But when his strict new supervisor puts a stop to the auditions being held in Murray’s office at the New Zealand consulate, old Ginger Balls decides it’s time to leave the comfort of his desk job and set up his dream business: Murray’s Interesting Building Tours. You know, band rotundas — that kind of thing.

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