The True Crime genre love that has been drawing in viewers for some time now from Making a Murderer to The Keepers and The Staircase among others, has a new must-watch show featuring one of the most bizarre cases ever documented. Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist recently dropped on Netflix and the four part documentary has enough of all the right genre ingredients for it to be binged in a single sit and leave us wanting more.
At the very base of this case is the town of Eerie, Pennsylvania and a pizza delivery driver named Brian Wells who robs a bank with a working walking cane gun (it’s literally something out of James Bond), a note demanding $250,000 – and a collar bomb around his neck.
After obtaining less than $9000, Wells leaves the bank, is apprehended and while waiting for the bomb squad to arrive, dies when said collar bomb explodes in one very graphic and horrific scene that has traumatized me since viewing. Moments after Well’s shocking death, it’s discovered he was on a scavenger hunt, following a map and instructions in order to defuse the Saw like collar bomb.
The web of this case begins to expand when one of Well’s co-workers mysteriously dies only days later and two people – Bill Rothstein and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong – enter the fray with a third dead body sitting frozen in Rothstien’s chest freezer.
This fascinating case features master mind criminals, red herrings, crazy theories and law enforcement bungles – just as others in the genre have – but unlike those, the focus on the judicial system is just a haze as the unusual circumstances within this case are just too outlandish to not be put front and centre.
Of the two criminals in this case, Diehl-Armstrong is the only one still alive and the only one to actively communicate with director Trey Borzillieri about Well’s case and the ever expanding landscape that surrounds it.
Check out the trailer below:
Evil Genius is streaming now on Netflix Australia/New Zealand.
p.s – for fans of the genre’, the compelling The Staircase is coming to Netflix along with three all-new episodes starting on June 8th!
A mix of new dramas both locally and overseas made, a reality show juggernaut spin-off and documentaries are all coming our way in 2015 as channel 7 announces it’s line-up for the new ratings season.
Sadly though, it seems with some of the imported US content, Australian viewers will be quite some episodes and by the looks of it, even over half a season behind American audiences. No fast-tracking programs here.
So just what programs did channel 7 reveal?
How to get Away With Murder: This new US drama is easily one of the best to come out of the new US season. Oscar winner Viola Davis stars as a high profile defense lawyer slash college law professor who finds herself caught up in a murder investigation along with some of her students. Comes from Shonda Rhimes – she of Greys Anatomy and Scandal.
State of Affairs: Starting November 17th in the US, this Katherine Heigl vehicle has a mix of Madam Secretary and Homeland and see’s Heigl as a CIA agent working closely with the US President.
Aquarius: 1960’s based homicide drama see’s David Duchovny working with an undercover detective trying to solve a missing persons case that leads them to Charles Manson.
Winter: Spin-off series from this years “The Killing Field” telemovie with Rebecca Gibney and Peter O’Brien back in the pursuit of a killer.
Restaurant Revolution: Another spin-off from the My Kitchen Rules juggernaut taking ‘inspiration’ from My Returant Rules, which will see contestants attempt to run their very own restaurant.
800 Words: New Aussie drama starring Packed to the Rafters favorite Erik Thomson who plays a a widowed father, who moves overseas with his two teenagers, then takes on the job of writing a weekly newspaper column.
House Rules: The home renovation show is back for 2015 and just like The Block, is offering up two seasons in the new year.
Catching Milat: Underbelly-stylized drama around the Ivan Milat murders.
What Really Happens in Thailand: First it was Bali, now it’s Thailand – or a heightened version of what actually happens. This series is focused more on the emergency rooms, cosmetic surgeons and party hot spots.
Programs returning for 2015 include The X Factor, My Kitchen Rules, Winners & Losers, Border Security, The Force and Better Homes & Gardens while The Big Adventure, Bringing Sexy Back and The Amazing Race were not on announced as returning for the network in 2015.
Well I don’t know about you, but by the time the final awards were announced, my Emmy’s 2014 score card was looking pretty dire. Of the main categories this year, Breaking Bad and Modern Family went home winners claiming 9 trophies between the two shows. Breaking Bad deservedly with it’s incredible final season while a few were surprised with Modern Family’s continued award show strength even after 5 seasons…
I don't care enough about #emmys2014 to watch, but felt this wave of angry disgust over the embarrassingly undeserved #modernfamily win.
While Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Parsons have become expected winners, there were a few surprise names called out with BBC series Sherlock and it’s stars Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch taking out the top awards for mini-series and 5 time previous winner Alison Janney winning best supporting actress for the very horrible comedy Mom
It’s bigger, it’s better, it’s more ballsier and it’s back with a bang! The quirky sleeper cult hit Orange is the new Black (OITNB) returned for it’s second season via Netflix this month (the entire season released in one hit) and is due to hit Australian screens July 16th and thankfully, the show does not suffer from second season disappointment (Dexter anyone?).
With the foundations laid for the main characters during season one, season two brings us Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) loosing some of her spotlight to the supporting characters that have now been beefed up and brought to us front and center. Characters including Big Boo (Lea DeLaria), Leanne Taylor (Emma Myles), Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) and Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) – among others, are given more time to shine, grow and allow us to learn more about them – making OITNB less of a show about Piper Chapman’s foray into prison and more of a wonderfully dark, funny and touching ensemble.
So with the focus less on Piper and more on the inmates, the prison staff and on Piper’s friends and family, one need not worry about the show changing too much and straying away from what made us love the show in the first place. There’s a new character joining the prison in Vee Parker (great casting of Lorraine Toussaint), a returning inmate with past connections to Red (Kate Mulgrew) and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) and who plays a major part in this second season shake-up that brings race wars to the forefront between the black, Hispanic and white groups and leaving Red (Kate Mulgrew) trying to keep herself afloat in the bid to be top dog. The suspicions of Fig (Alysia Reiner) and her penchant to spend prison money on personal items come to light along with prison guard John (Matt McGorry) and inmate Diaz’s (Dascha Polanco) pregnancy woes plus we get to learn a little more about Morello (Yael Stone) and her mystery fiancee Christopher.
The incredibly diverse roster of characters – from race to religious beliefs and sexuality, so varied it is, is only viable due to the shows setting yet each identifiable trait is given just the perfect amount of vibrancy and life.
If there was one thing that I was disappointed by – it would be the under-use of Taryn Manning as Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett who (no real surprise) survived her beating by Piper in the season one finale. Pennsatucky played such a major part in season one – right until the season finale that seeing her being ‘muted’ down in this second season was a let down. Don’t get me wrong, Pennsatucky still has some killer scenes and one liners and getting to see her struggle with identity is a fresh angle for the character but it’s nothing on what we were offered in season one.
While the closing scenes of this second season are in no way as brutal or shocking as it’s lead-in, we are left with some clean slates and some minor loose ends that lead the way for an exciting third season.
Orange is the New Black starts Wednesday July 16th 8:30pm on Showcase for FOXTEL.
Now that all of the main networks (CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC) and some cable networks (TBS) have given us their new pick-ups for the 2014 Fall season, I’ve trawled through all the trailers (that were available…come on CBS, pull your socks up!) and complied a list of what I think could be ratings hits (like last years The Blacklist) and what could be cult sleepers (Orphan Black anyone?)
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
The question begs…is this a comedy or is it a drama? I don’t think NBC really know either hence the somewhat confusing trailer offered up but that said, this Debra Messing led dramedy could have something going for it if you look at it like it could be ‘had Miss Congeniality had a husband and children’ type of way.
Secrets and Lies (ABC)
If you recently watched an Aussie show with the same title, then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. This Secrets and Lies is based right off our very own production with Ryan Phillippe stepping into Martin Henderson’s shoes playing Ben, a man who finds the body of a little boy and suddenly becomes suspect number one. Added bonus – a very toned down Juliette Lewis playing cop.
How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
This will be the fourth major program by Shonda Rhimes to make it’s way to ABC – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice plus How to get Away With Murder and the trailer already looks a whole lot more interesting than the 6 seasons of Private Practice that was given to us. There’s sex, blackmail, murder and Viola Davis..it’s an easy win.
CSI: Cyber (CBS)
There’s no trailer yet but for those who caught Patricia Arquette’s recent guest gig on CSI will have already gotten a taste of what to expect. Yes, it’s another CSI spin-off but this time, it’s all about cyber crime which is very current and ‘hip’ and we all like Patricia Arquette right?
Granted, I’ve never really been exposed to much of Maggie Q’s work and the premise of her character as being a sort of freelance anti-stalker specialist who knows some hand-to-hand combat skills is a little off but the trailer offered up by CBS actually adds suspense and intrigue of what’s to come. Ignore Dylan McDermott here, he’s always annoying to begin with and usually takes some warming up to.
Madam Secretary (CBS)
Why CBS chose to give us a trailer that looks like it gives us the entire first episode in the space of five minutes I’ll never understand. I was excited by this right from Tea’ Leoni’s addition to the cast and while it’s different to see her in such a serious light, the political theme is working well for shows like Scandal and The Good Wife.
State of Affairs (NBC)
I’m wondering if we’ve had enough time to actually like Katherine Heigl again? I’m still in that mid-swing where i’m starting to come around again and if there are others like me, then hopefully this show will bring us competently back. Apparently this will have a Blacklist-cum-Homeland-cum-Zero Dark Thirty feel to it (there’s the depiction of Middle Eastern descendants as terrorists – of course) and Alfre Woodward plays the President of the USA.
American Crime (ABC)
Desperate Housewives Alum Felicity Huffman makes her return to series television along with Timothy Hutton in this dark and racially charged legal drama that follows those involved and affected by a murder and ensuing murder trial.
The last time FOX attempted a series based off a mogul and his ’empire’ they gave us SKIN (2003) which only lasted 3 episodes before being cancelled. Here, instead of porn, Empire gives us music and what i could only assume to be a nod to Lil’ Kim and starring Terrence Howard. Could Chris Lilley’s S’Mouse fit in here? Probably, but at least it looks better than Skin ever did.
Fresh off the Boat (ABC)
Yes, the title is a bit…..Cougar Town/Trophy Wife (and possibly racist though it depends who you ask) but Fresh Off the Boat looks like the funniest of the new stuff coming our way and while the show is a focus on a Taiwanese family making the adjustment to living the American Dream, clearly Constance Wu (as mum Jessica) is the one to watch for.
The Odd Couple (CBS)
It’s been a tough run for Matthew Perry the last few years. His last handful of projects (Studio 60, Mr. Sunshine and Go On) all tanked and the only thing people really watched him in recently was his guest gig on Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town but now, his fourth attempt at a show could be his lucky gig. It’s a TV remake of the classic movies (Jack Lemon and Walter Matthou or Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and see’s Perry teaming up with Thomas Lennon who we last saw in the terribly horrible Sean Saves the World. I can only assume this will be better than Sean failing to save the world.
It’s a little bit Seinfeld, it’s a little bit Friends, it’s a little bit of a 90’s comedy throwback. Mulaney is an ensemble comedy about a stand-up comedian and the “friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around” including Martin Short. Here’s hoping Short contains his zany like Robin Williams did in The Crazy Ones – but then again, that didn’t turn out so good for him.
The Whispers (ABC)
I was so enamored by Lily Rabe as the Stevie Nicks loving swamp witch Misty Day in AHS Coven that seeing her all professional and business suits is a little shocking but here is in this creepy new paranormal-esque show with creepy kids that clearly see something the adults can’t.
Based off the DC Comics Hellblazer series, Constantine follows a supernatural detective who finds himself defending the world from dark and eerie forces. It’s a little bit Supernatural meets True Blood meets Penny Dreadful.
The Flash (CW)
Spin-off from the cult-ish Arrow and another DC comics star, The Flash get’s his own show and judging by the trailer, die hard comic fans will be pleased with the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of legendary bad guy ‘Reverse Flash’ plus there’s the addition of The Flash’s alter-ego Barry Allen’s love interest Iris West.
I’ve already talked about Halle’s new sci-fi drama but now Extant has officially been picked up to series by CBS, they’ve given us an extended trailer which also fills us in more on her creepy prophetic child. A woman on a 13 month solo space mission returns to earth and finds she’s pregnant – impossible right? Not in space!
So what takes your fancy? Is there something you’ve seen which I’ve not added to the list – and if you mention the new shyte by TBS…I will shoot you.
Having not been attracted to watching Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mom, How I Met Your Mother or any other filmed-in-front-of-a-live-audience comedy (nothing since Friends and Will & Grace has taken my fancy), I was somewhat cautious about checking out Friends With Better Lives (or FWBL).
Funnily enough, the show, starring James Van Der Beek (fresh of a stellar turn in Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23) was funny, entertaining and highly engaging. Sure the humor was somewhat crude – but not to the level of 2 Broke Girls, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the first three episodes I watched and naturally assumed if people are watching the horribly unfunny Mom (sadly starring the talented Anna Faris) then people were watching FWBL.
Guess I was wrong, so needless to say, when CBS threw out their list of cancellations, I was shocked to see FWBL sitting on that list.
Another notable entry on their cancelled shows list was the Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Geller comedy The Crazy Ones. Now, this show was the highest rated comedy debut of the 2012/2013 season in the US (15+ million viewers) but upon airing it’s season finale, only 5 million viewers were tuning in.
Also cancelled: Toni Collette drama Hostages, Kristin Davis comedy Bad Teacher (only after 4 episodes!) and the awful Intelligence starring LOST expat Josh Holloway and CSI Maven Marg Helgenberger.
The much hyped How I Met Your Mother spin-off How I Met Your Dad was also a no show on the list of pick-ups.
So what did CBS pick-up to series order? Battle Creek by Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and starring Josh Duhamel, The Tea’ Leoni led drama Madam Secretary plus another new CSI spin-off, CSI: New Orleans starring Scott Bakula.
In the way of comedy, Matthew Perry will be given another shot at a new series with The Odd Couple with Lindsay Sloane while New Kids on the Block singer Joe McIntyre plus ex Roseanne star Laurie Metcalf are headlining The McCarthys.
And finally, The Mentalist fans will be happy to hear the drama was given a last minute series renewal, though i’d expect this one to be it’s last.
What are your thoughts on the axings, cancellations and pick-ups?
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about ‘binge TV viewing’ lately and it seems, every list, is as different from the other. We all have our favorites, those we recommend to others and those we keep to ourselves as guilty pleasures. With quite a few shows now on hiatus or heading into break, you may need something to keep your eyes on the screen so here’s my choice picks for ‘binge worthy television shows’.
Breaking Bad: Without a doubt, Breaking Bad makes every binge worthy list. It should. It’s ridiculously good. I never watched Walter White and Jesse Pinkman when Breaking Bad originally aired….yes I know that makes me a bad television blogger, but it was one of those shows I had to be talked into watching…and watch I did. I binged on the entire series of Breaking Bad over the space of 2 months and am somewhat glad I was able to take in the entire story-line in one sitting. Made me appreciate what was on offer and experience the build-up to that last season without beak.
Stars: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn
Seasons 1-5 available on DVD
The Comeback: Lisa Kudrow (post Friends) as a faded and jaded actress named Valerie Cherish who has allowed cameras follow her and her journey to reclaim her former spotlight. A show that was well before it’s time and only really appreciated after it’s demise. Great to hear talk of a possible comeback for The Comeback!
Stars: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Ackerman and Kellan Lutz
Series one available on DVD
Melrose Place 2.0: The beauty here is that fans of the original series like to claim this re-boot never happened but for those new to the series, we’ve got an 18 episode single season that follows a who-dun-it murder mystery of Melrose’s junkie landlord Sydney Andrews. Everyone is a suspect and it’s great to watch while playing drinking games (that mostly involve guzzling your wine anytime Ashlee Simpson appears to act or whenever a character from the original series pops up!)
Stars: Laura Leighton, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Calabro and Ashlee Simpson.
Series One available on DVD (from Amazon or eBay)
The Chicago Code: Jennifer Beals post The L Word as tough as nails Teresa Colvin, Chicago’s first female police superintendent who plans to bring to light the mass of political corruption currently polluting the town. There’s connections to the Irish Mob, undercover cops, and this accents all-round.
Stars: Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria
Availability: None as yet 😦
EYES: Tim Daly as a smarmy and cocky Harlan Judd, who is the head of J.R Investigations, a risk management firm that will bend all aspects of the law to get results. His company is in financial crisis, his competitor wants to buy him out, there’s a mole within the company, his staff have secrets of their own and his love interest is a do-good lawyer who has issues looking the other way. ABC shamefully only ever aired 5 episodes of this 12 episode first series back in 2005.
Stars: Tim Daly, AJ Langer, Laura Leighton and Natalie Zea
Series One is not available on DVD but can be found on YouTube.
ORPHAN BLACK: Fast paced sci-fi thriller that looks into the world of human cloning and accelerated human evolution through the eyes of young mother Sarah who’s world comes crashing down when she discovers she’s not as unique as she originally thought. Edge of your seat stuff that keeps knocking out reveals and epic scenes.
Stars: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Garvais and Dylan Bruce
Season one now available on DVD.
Miranda: Britt comedy at it’s best, Miranda Hart is an unlucky in love, bumbling and fumbling joke shop owner/operator who manages to give the crazy that goes on inside her head a life all it’s own and spreads it among those around her including her highly posh and overbearing mother, her vertically challenged best friend and co-worker and the man of her dreams who works down the road.
Stars: Miranda Hart and Tom Ellis
Seasons 1-3 available on DVD
Dawson’s Creek: You can’t have a binge list that doesn’t include Dawson’s Creek. It’s the mega 90’s teen drama that gave us James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams. Joey has feelings for Dawson but Dawson is too interested in his movies to notice Joey, that is until new girl Jen Lindley comes along while Pacey is having secret meetings with his teacher. Drama, ugly crying, teen sex…this has got it all.
Stars: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson.
Seasons 1-6 available on DVD
Nip/Tuck: Christian loves drugs, money, women and sex. His professional partner Sean McNamara loves his son, his wife and his professional career. It’s the lives of two plastic surgeons trying to rule the roost, deal with their inner demons and still come out on top regardless of who they end up hurting. One of the greats to come out of the 90’s/00’s period.
Stars: Julian McMahon, Dylan Walsh and Joely Richardson.
Seasons 1-6 Now available on DVD.
Cougar Town: Bad title, good comedy says it all. Cougar Town feels very Scrubs with it’s humor (created by the same team) and as you watch through the seasons, you’ll see this great show evolve from it’s ‘cougar’ story line into a very tight and funny comedy around friends and family. Don’t judge this show by it’s title!
Stars: Courteney Cox, Busy Phillipps, Christa Miller and Dan Byrd.
Wanting to know when and where season 2 of our sadistic serial killer Hannibal can be found? You’re not alone. After Channel 7 aired the first season of the twisted crime thriller, all was quiet on the programming front as to where it was on their schedule, especially seeing Season 2 began airing in America back on Feb 28th.
It’s recently been revealed that Foxtel’s FOX8 channel has secured the rights to air the second season and after advertising a start date of March 27th, we all began to get worried when it wasn’t showing up on any guide.
Turns out, ‘scheduling changes’ saw the scrapping of the original air date and now FOX8 will not be showing any part of season two until May 25th – 2 days after the USA airing of the season two final episode.
So at least we now have a date and a location for this eagerly awaited second season!
FX have released a first look trailer for their up-coming new series Fargo, inspired by the 1996 Cohen Brothers movie of the same name and it’s filled with as much ice, crime and accents as the movie.
Billy Bob Thornton (from the original Fargo movie), Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Kate Walsh (Private Practice), Colin Hanks (Dexter) and Adam Goldberg (NYC 22) give us a look at whats in store for the new 10 episode series.
Fargo will take place in the same small and awkwardly polite town the movie was set in though with different (though some-what familiar) characters and story lines. Martin Freeman as a putzy salesman named Lester Nygaard, Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a vaguely threatening out-of-towner with bad hair, Kate Walsh as a merry widow, Allison Tolman as the polite, upstanding police officer and Adam Goldberg as a criminal element with a taste for gas station snacks.
Though Fargo currently looks like it will be a one off season (10 episodes), if it does take off and find an audience, there is a chance Fargo may go the way of American Horror Story or True Detective and become an anthology series.
Just a day after American network CBS renewed The Big Bang Theory for another three years, the network went ahead and renewed a whole bunch of their other shows currently on air.
Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment released a statement and said, “The best way to launch new shows in the fall and throughout the season is to surround them with a strong and stable lineup of successful series. The shows we’re picking up today cut across every night of the week and feature genre leaders, time period winners and the most-watched shows on broadcast television.”