Jul 25 2013

Keanu Reeves Stars in Crazy ’47 Ronin’ Trailer

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:58 am

Delayed for over a year, and plagued by news of production troubles suggesting that it’s director had been ejected from the editing room, 47 Ronin has finally released its first trailer.

Based on an oft-adapted Japanese folk tale about a band of 47 disgraced Samurai who enter a quest to avenge the death of their master, this new film looks to be using the story as a mere jumping-off point. Keanu Reeves plays a half-Japanese warrior who is enlisted to help the titular Ronin take up arms against witches and monsters and the like.

If we’re being totally honest, this film looks completely bonkers. Off-the-wall cuckoo crazy. But maybe in a good way: it’s less like Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai and more like Zack Snyder’s 300, which could end up working in its favour.

47 Ronin is scheduled for a Boxing Day release, which is totally weird as well.

Jul 24 2013

Review: The Wolverine

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 1:17 pm

Since the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has taken to living in the cold Canadian wilderness, completely cut off from society. A tortured soul, his dreams are still haunted by the memory of Jean Gray (Famke Janssen), the woman he once loved and was forced to kill.

Having vowed to never hurt anyone ever again, he almost reneges on this promise when he’s confronted by a group of boorish hunters in a local tavern. About to tear these guys a new one, he’s whisked away by Yukio, a young Japanese mutant with some serious fight skills. As it turns out, she works for Japan’s most powerful inventor and industrialist: a man whose life Wolverine saved in Nagasaki back in 1945.

No sooner than he arrives in Tokyo, Logan finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue that involves corporate politics, family feuds and the Yakuza. Remember that promise he made not to hurt anyone? Well, that goes out the window pretty quickly. Taking it upon himself to protect the beautiful young heiress to the company, he ends up mowing down dozens of gangsters and ninjas in a series of (pretty thrilling) action sequences.

Learning from the feature-length mistake that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, director James Mangold and his writers have avoided packing this film with tonnes and tonnes of super-powered villains and comic book cameos. They keep the focus of the story squarely on Jackman and the action and as a result, the 2-hour runtime just flies by. There’s absolutely no question that this is a quantum improvement over the last Wolverine adventure.

There’s a nagging thought that been hanging around the back of my mind ever since I saw this film: the only thing that really stops this from becoming a really good movie is the title character himself.

In concept, Wolverine is the coolest, most interesting characters in the Marvel stable of superheroes: He’s a brooding soldier with a past; part-lonesome cowboy and part-guardian angel. He can dispose of twenty enemies at once and toss out a quick line like he was James Bond. He is really pretty awesome!

Then why isn’t he a better leading character?

Could it be that we’ve finally become tired of his gossamer thin back-story. Yes, we know he’s been roaming the Earth for centuries like God’s lonely man. Sure, we understand that he was captured by the government and brainwashed. But after four films where his character arc has been exactly the same, I can’t help but think they’ve mined the character for for everything it has.

Or maybe he’s suffering from Jack Sparrow Syndrome. Johnny Depp was never better as Captain Jack than in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, where he was a supporting character. By putting Captain Jack front-and-centre for all the sequels, they de-mystified him, overused him and made him kind of boring.

Using another classic example: Han Solo is by far the best character in Star Wars, right? But a Han Solo movie where they go into his back story and examine his personal pains would blow space chunks. With that logic, I’m not sure that a Wolverine film could ever be great.

When the credits roll for The Wolverine, be sure to stick around for the now-perfunctory credit sequence which teases next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Jackman’s signed up and it’s currently in production but we can only hope that it doesn’t linger too much on Wolverine’s personal journey. I think I’ve seen enough of that.

Verdict: A very solid summer blockbuster that erases the memory of the 2008 X-Men Origins debacle. Go and see it.

The Wolverine is in cinemas now

Jul 24 2013

Try TV on US: ‘Arrow’ Introduces Another Dark Knight

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:45 am

With Try TV on Us, you can easily check out the first episodes of 28 TV shows without any risk. Today we’re having a look at one of the year’s most popular new shows: Arrow.

He wanders through the city, hiding in shadows and bringing justice to those who prey on the weak. Compelled by the death of his father to help to good citizens of his city, he has trained himself in martial arts, gymnastics and the art of detection. Billionaire playboy by day; masked vigilante by night. He’s not Batman, though – he’s Oliver Queen, the lead character in the latest TV superhero series Arrow.

The setup is somewhat familiar: the wastrel son of a wealthy industrialist is rescued after years of being stranded on a deserted island. We discover that he was in a shipwreck with his father (or more accurately, it was a luxury yacht-wreck). Before Daddy Warbucks dies on the life raft however, he tells his boy how he squandered his success and completely failed the city that he always intended to protect. He gave Oliver a list of names: each name is someone who has found success preying on the weak and poor people of Starling City.

Based on the long-running DC comic Green Arrow, this new series certainly isn’t the first TV show to be based on a graphic novel: but it does set itself apart from its predecessors by using Christopher Nolan’s grounded and gritty Dark Knight Trilogy as a template.

The series doesn’t even make much of an effort to hide its debt to Nolan, going so far as to lift part of his Batman backstory that sees our tortured boy-billionaire hero spend years training in a remote part of Asia. When he returns to his home city, he even discovers that his childhood friend/love interest has become an altruistic lawyer à la Rachel Dawes from Batman Begins!

In balancing action with the soap opera elements like family intrigue and corporate power-struggles, Arrow feels like a more propulsive series than the superhero TV shows that came before. In Smallville, a show that had plenty of its own merits, viewers were often frustrated by the need to make sure Clark Kent never actually became Superman: or else it would just become a different show. In Arrow, we see our main man in full superhero mode right from the very first episode: jumping over buildings with his parkour skills, taking on henchmen in hand-to-hand combat and pumping gangsters full of arrows. In fact, it features some of the best-choreographed action on TV:

Even Bruce Wayne was never cold enough to just go around snapping necks! And in case you hadn’t noticed: Arrow is somewhat of a beefcake. In just the first few episodes alone, the show contrives a ridiculous number of scenes in which Stephen Amell has to peel his shirt off and show off his freakish torso:

This isn’t The Wire or Breaking Bad or anything like that — but it doesn’t try to be either. Depending on how you want to phrase it, it’s either a guilty pleasure or the TV equivalent of comfort food: you know it’s not good for you, but you just can’t help yourself.

Watch the first episode of Arrow with our Try TV on Us offer!


Jul 24 2013

WATCH: New ‘Gravity’ Clip from Comic-Con with Clooney and Bullock

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:41 am

Lost amongst all the announcements of superhero films during this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego was a panel for a little upcoming film from director Alfonso Cuarón.

Just a month or so back, we saw the first trailer for Gravity in which astronauts George Clooney and Sandra Bullock get caught up in an orbital catastrophe and their efforts to survive afterwards. The piece of footage Warner Bros. showed to the convention crowd was from the same early sequence of the film but was tellingly free from loud explosions, which were added into the original trailer in an effort not to put audiences off.

It’s tough to recall the last major science-fiction film that didn’t defy the basic laws of physics by having loud bangs echoing through the void of space. Could it be as far back as 2001: A Space Odyssey?

In any case, Cuarón hasn’t release a film since 2006′s incredible Children of Men which was, for our money, the best sci-fi film of the decade. You can only imagine our excitement. If we were only allowed to watch one new film for the rest of the year, it might actually be this one.

Gravity is in cinemas 18 October


Jul 23 2013

NEWS: Is J.J. Abrams Abandoning ‘Star Wars’?

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:39 pm

Short answer: probably not.

However, that didn’t stop the merciless churning of the rumour mill over the last 24 hours. The story started yesterday when a blogger for Badass Digest (‘The world’s #1 source for all terrible butt news’) posted a story allegedly sourced from ‘several’ Abrams insiders.

The scuttlebutt suggested that the Super 8 director was on the verge of leaving Star Wars Episode VII on the grounds that he didn’t want to move away to London, where the majority of production is slated to take place next year.

There could be a crumb of truth to this, however.

Speaking at a conference in June, Abrams voiced his reluctance to make the move: “When I came into it,” he said, “there was already a prearranged thing for them to be shooting in England which, really does make me insane… There’s a whole lot of stuff happening at home. It’s not an easy thing.”

By the “whole lot of stuff”, he probably means his vast media empire that includes serving as Executive Producer on four network dramas, developing a number of films and overseeing the next Star Trek sequel. Abrams is, it would seem, a very busy man.

When reached for a comment by IGN, a LucasFilm representative responded briefly but definitively: “There is no truth to the rumour. JJ is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.”

Disaster averted, everyone! Let’s go back to work!

[via IGN]

Jul 23 2013

Try TV on Us: The Essential Beginners Guide to ‘The Wire’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:48 pm

If you’ve ever had a conversation in the pub about your favourite TV dramas, there are dozens of candidates that could easily be floated. We’re living in a time when American cable dramas are so richly written, beautifully shot and wonderfully performed that you’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite out of the current crop, let alone from the history of the medium.

But if you were to ask 100 TV savvy viewers what they thought the best show of all time was, we have no doubts that the winner in that contest would be The Wire. And thanks to blinkbox’s new Try TV on Us offer, you can now watch the very first episode on us.

Created by David Simon, a former writer for the Baltimore Sun and ex-Baltimore Police Detective Ed Burns, The Wire is a cop show unlike any other. The characters are based on actual criminals and cops from Simon and Burns’ years on the job. The episodes filled with the kind of thrilling details that regular cop shows would never think of including.


The first season sees a detail of Baltimore Police detectives tasked with prosecuting a West Baltimore street gang headed up by the mysterious Avon Barksdale. In order to learn more about the structure of the organisation and collect evidence, the cops have to monitor the pay phones and pagers used by the gang to communicate with each other. This phone-tap is better known as ‘The Wire’.

One of the most common things you’ll ever hear about show is how seemingly difficult it is to get into. Down to the sheer number of characters we’re introduced to in the first few episodes, it can be tough to keep track of who everyone is. It has a steeper learning curve than other shows but the little effort you put into the first few episodes will pay off with some of the most satisfying, absorbing and intelligent TV you will have ever seen.

If you’re ever having trouble remembering who is who and what they do, just take a glance at the character guide we’ve prepped below. Trust us: it will come in handy.

NOTE: This Character Guide is designed not to spoil any significant plot points.

The Barksdale Organisation

Avon-Barksdale Avon Barksdale: The Police have little background information on Avon Barksdale. They don’t even have a current photograph of him. But everyone on the streets knows that he controls the drug trade in the towers and low-rises of West Baltimore
Stringer-Bell Stringer Bell: Barksdale’s second-in-command, Stringer Bell is an intelligent lieutenant, charged with handling the economic side of the organisation. He’s ruthless, ambitious and always the Smartest Guy in the Room.
Stinkum Stinkum: One of the primary enforcers in the Barksdale organisation, his responsibilities include re-upping (resupplying) the dealers in the Pit.
Wee-Bey Wee Bey:  Perhaps Barksdale’s most trusted soldier.
‘Pit’ Crew
D-Angelo D’Angelo Barksdale: Avon’s nephew and a Barksdale Organisation crew chief. After narrowly avoiding a murder conviction, D’Angelo is relegated from a position a highly profitable ‘tower’ to working the ‘Pit’: a West Baltimore low-rise.
Bodie Bodie Broadus: 16 year dealer, working under D’Angelo Barksdale. He’s the de facto second-in-command of the Pit crew.
Poot-Wallace Poot & Wallace: Bodie’s teenage friends, the other dealers working in ‘The Pit’.

The Police

The Detail
McNulty Det. Jimmy McNulty: A veteran of the Homicide division, McNulty is good police. Disillusioned, yet idealistic: he’s also a divorced, alcoholic womaniser with all sorts of trouble on his plate.
Bunk Det. William “Bunk” Moreland: Having worked in Homicide with McNulty for years, The Bunk is a similarly competent and moral cop. The only difference is his slightly healthier attitude towards the chain of command and his own position within the department.
Daniels Lt. Cedric Daniels: The principled, yet ambitious Narcotics lieutenant is the man lumped with the unenviable task of leading the investigation against Barksdale.
Kima-Greggs Det. Kima Greggs: Well-respected in the Narcotics Division, Greggs has managed to excel in her department by cultivating a number of ground-level informants who provide her with critical tip-offs. Even higher ranking cops know better than to step on Kima’s toes.
Hauk-Ellis Det. Thomas ‘Herc’ Hauk & Det. Ellis Carver: Working the Narcotics Division alongside Greggs, their style of policing is best defined as ‘shoot first and ask questions never’.
Prezbo Det. Roland ‘Prez’ Pryzbylewski: Prez come with a reputation of vast incompetence, having been transferred by department after department looking to get rid of him. He’s kept his job this long only thanks to his his father-in-law, the commander of the Southeastern district.
Lester-Freamon Det. Lester Freamon: This veteran police comes to the detail from the pawnshop department, the most dead-end of desk jobs. But don’t let his granddad glasses and jumpers fool you: he’s natural police. Freamon can often be seen working on his doll furniture, which turns out to be a lucrative side-business. No joke.
Dep-Com-Burrell Deputy Commissioner Burrell: A high-ranking police bureaucrat with eyes on the big job, Deputy Commissioner Burrell cares more about reducing crime statistics than reducing actual crime. When Judge Phelan leans on him about Avon Barksdale, he assigns Daniels the case but ensures he gives him the fewest resources possible.
Maj-Rawls Maj. William Rawls: Commanding Officer of the Homicide Unit. Career-oriented to the max, he doesn’t like loose cannons blotting his ledger and ruining his case-clearance statistics.
Phelan Judge Phelan: While presiding over D’Angelo Barksdale’s murder trail, Phelan sees the case evaporate when a key witness recants her statement. When McNulty explains that it’s the handy work of D’Angelo’s Uncle Avon, Phelan sees an opportunity to build a reputation as an anti-drug judge. He pressures the Deputy Commissioner into setting up a police detail to investigate.
Rhonda-Pearlman Assistant District’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman:
Public Attorney assigned to prosecute the Barksdale Organisation.


Omar Omar Little: The Robin Hood of Baltimore. Omar only steals from drug dealers, making sure not to harm anyone who’s not “in the game”. It doesn’t necessarily make great business sense, but a man’s got to have a code.
Bubbles Bubbles: One of Det. Gregg’s most reliable informants. He’s an addict with a ‘entrepreneurial’ streak which has gotten him into trouble more than once. His value to the police lies in his incredible memory for faces and his willingness to do anything for twenty bucks.

Watch the first episode of The Wire on us. It will almost certainly be the smartest thing you’ll do all week.

Jul 23 2013

Comic-Con 2013: What Went Down in San Diego This Year

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:48 pm

Last weekend saw the culmination of the annual Comic-Con International in Southern California, in which millions of fans descended upon San Diego. With an attendance that topped 130,000 visitors in 2012, this year’s event was undoubtedly the single biggest pop-culture convention. Ever.

With all the big name events taking place in the enormous Hall H, fans lined up for hours in the baking California sun just to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars at panels scheduled throughout the day. Some fans were even rewarded in a big way: those who turned up to the Agents of SHIELD panel were shown the entire first episode of Joss Whedon‘s upcoming TV series!
It’s been no secret that the studios spend millions each year just flying their biggest stars into San Diego — if only to make a 10 minute appearance and introduce new footage to their most vocal (and tech-savvy) fans. And this year was no exception, with fresh trailers dropping left, right and centre, setting Twitter alight every time.

Slated for a November release, fans saw an all-new trailer for Catching Fire, the sequel to last year’s teen hit The Hunger Games:

Professional grump Harrison Ford was also on hand to present Ender’s Game, a Sci-Fi adventure in which he plays old man who obviously doesn’t give a damn:

At the Marvel Studios presentation, studio head Kevin Feige found himself unceremoniously ‘interrupted’ by a mystery guest:

The Marvel panel was brought to a rousing close by Nerd-King Joss Whedon, who made waves by announcing the official title of his Avengers sequel — Avengers: Age of Ultron! But if you live in the UK, you will likely see it released as Marvel Avengers Assemble: The General Time Period of The Being Known Commonly as Ultron.

Over at the DC panel, director Zack Snyder took to the stage with actor Harry Lennix to officially announce his next film: a Superman sequel that features the only man to ever defeat the Man of Steel
Needless to say, this piece of news almost literally brought the house down.

Elsewhere at the convention center, fans were slowly making their way around the floor between merchandise stalls, artists’ booths and promotional areas. But more importantly, the floor was where fans could meet with like-minded enthusiasts and show off some awesomely intricate costumes:

Bane and Batman duke it out on the Xbox.

A Simon Pegg fan gets a bit of red on him.

The Star Trek universe, as seen through the eyes of Hugh Hefner.

A Napoleonic-era Admiral Ackbar

Before heading over to Hall H for the big Breaking Bad panel, star Bryan Cranston found time to wander the convention floor… disguised as Walter White!
Cranston’s head, on display

Comic-Con International takes place next year from 24 July – 27 July. See you there!

Jul 23 2013

‘Try TV on Us’ and Discover Your New Favourite Show

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:32 am


**Note, the Try TV on Us offer has now expired. However, feel free to check out the first episodes for these great shows. You’ll only have to pay for them now.**
With blinkbox’s new Try TV on Us offer, we’re giving you a chance to watch the first episodes of 28 TV series on us. That means that you can finally take a punt on that show everyone’s been telling you about!

But with this many great shows on offer, which should you check out first? Are you looking for something to make you laugh? Something to keep you on the edge of your seat? Maybe something that will set your heart a-flutter?

We’ve broken down every single show from our Try TV on Us promotion to help you make your choice.

Have you ever wanted to know what it was be a young celebrity living in Hollywood? Well, look no further. Adrian Grenier plays a young movie star from New York who moves to LA to live the high life with a small group of buddies from the old neighbourhood. When they’re not going to fashion shows and glamorous after-parties, they’re chilling out and hitting on real-life celebrities and adult film stars! Based on the real-life experiences of Executive Producer Mark WahlbergEntourage is as fun and breezy as an April afternoon in Malibu. Breakout star Jeremy Piven is priceless as Ari Gold, the fast-talking agent you can’t help but love.

Initially pitched as an American version of the BBC political comedy The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci’s HBO show plays like a farcical antidote to The West Wing. Starring Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus and a strong ensemble of comic actors,  the show depicts the office of the US Vice President as one of the least influential positions in Washington politics. Each episode builds to a fever pitch as her staffers furiously put out PR fires whilst trying to promote a (near-meaningless) piece of legislation. Made by many of the same writers as The Thick of It, the silliness and sheer density of jokes makes Veep one of the funniest shows on TV right now.

The Big Bang Theory
Making its debut back in 2007, no-one ever imagined that a studio sitcom about a bunch of physicists would go on to become America’s top-rated show six seasons later! The central joke of a small-town blonde living with geek-speaking geniuses is repeated an awful lot, but the super-reliable cast are capable of turning occasionally inert material into gold isotopes. Like a lot of shows, The Big Bang Theory picks up more momentum in its later series, adding great comic actors like Blossom’s Mayim Bialik to its all-star roster.

2 Broke Girls
Thor’s Kat Dennings stars in this multi-camera studio sitcom about two girls working in a New York diner. One of them is a street-smart working class girl, the other’s a spoiled rich girl whose family lost everything in the financial crisis: together they’re a modern day Odd Couple, only sexier!

Co-created by Sex and the City’s Michael Patrick King, 2 Broke Girls is quite often un-PC (and at times actually racist) in its depiction of its minority characters but there’s a definite chemistry between Dennings and co-star Beth Behrs. Plus, it bears mentioning that this was the most popular new sitcom in America last year. So make of that what you will.

Modern Family
A family sitcom for the 21st Century, this bona fide hit follows the various parts of a modern extended family. Claire and Phil Dunphy have three kids and live in the suburbs: Claire is highly strung and Phil is Homer Simpson made flesh; Claire’s father (Married with Children’s Ed O’Neill) is remarried to a fiery Columbian woman decades younger than him; her gay brother Mitchell lives with his partner Cameron and their adopted daughter. It’s a long way away from the My Family model of suburban life but Modern Family manages to retain the heart and sentiment found in old classic sitcoms.

It also happens to be one of the most consistently hilarious shows on TV, which never hurts.

The Big C
If there’s one indication that modern television is superior to mainstream film-making, it’s the fact that there are so many great programmes now with female leads. Laura Linney plays an uptight suburban mother and teacher whose outlook on life changes when she’s diagnosed with melanoma. Determined to live the rest of her life to the fullest, she lets her hair down in a big way and decides not to take crap from anyone anymore. While it sure doesn’t sound like the basis of a feel-good comedy, Linney’s lead performance is thoroughly joyous. If you like your humour pitch black, then you may have found your new favourite show.

Plus, the show also answers the question: whatever happened to Gabourey Sidibe from Precious?

Flying in under the radar over here in the UK, Community had already built itself a reputation Stateside as the smartest, most ambitious comedy on TV. Set in a suburban community college, it revolves around a rag-tag group of students who form a regular study group. Now, bear in mind that the previous sentence doesn’t do the show justice at all and just believe us when we say that it’s super funny.

Filled with film and TV references, genre spoofs, intricate running gags and flashes of out-right silliness, this is the television show of choice for hardcore comedy fans everywhere.  The show has regularly featured on critics’ ‘best of’ lists over the past few years, much to the delight of Community’s devoted and vocal fan-base. Not since Arrested Development has a TV comedy inspired such a passionate online following.

Men at Work
A quintessential hang-out comedy, Men at Work is a studio sitcom about four best friends who happen to work at a magazine together. Milo (That 70s Show’s Danny Masterson) has just broken up with his girlfriend and is readjusting to life as a bachelor, Neal is the buttoned-up one in a solid relationship, while Tyler and Gibbs are their cool-dude pals who have much to teach them in the ways of being a modern man.

Imagine a season of Friends where Monica, Phoebe and Rachel are curiously absent and you’ve got something a lot like Men at Work!

I’m Alan Partridge
One of British comedy’s most enduring creations, Steve Coogan’s chat-happy alter ego is hitting the big screen in a few weeks with his first theatrical film. But before that happens, let’s rewind to 1997: TV chat show host Alan Partridge has been exiled to presenting local radio after punching out a BBC commissioner on live telly; he lives in a travel tavern and his only remaining acquaintances are his put-upon assistant Lynn and Michael, an unintelligible Geordie who works in the hotel. In other words, he’s in a pretty bad place in his life. Co-created by Armando Iannucci, I’m Alan Partridge has remained one of BBC Comedy’s all-time high water marks: its 12 episodes have endured for almost two decades and are still quoted in pubs all over the country.

Foot on a Spike! White Toblerones! Monkey Tennis! Dan!

If you have no idea what any of that means, you are in for a treat: watch the first episode on us today!


True Blood
Thanks to the Japanese invention of a synthetic blood that keeps their hungers at bay, vampires are finally ‘coming out of the coffin’ and integrating with human society. In the sleepy Southern town of Bon Temps, telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) falls head-over-heels when a 173 year-old vampire rolls into town, bringing with him a whole heap of strange. Based on the popular novels by Charlaine Harris and developed by Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball, the show has proven incredibly popular with women in their 20s and 30s. It’s a bit reductive to suggest that its success is down to the cavalcade of attractive men populating the cast: great writing and a fascinating mythology makes this show unusually addictive. Give it a nibble and we’re confident you’ll be back for a bigger bite.

Oliver Queen, the wastrel son of a wealthy industrialist is rescued after years of being stranded on a deserted island. We discover that he was in a shipwreck with his father (or more accurately, it was a luxury yacht-wreck). Before Daddy Warbucks dies on the life raft however, he tells his boy how he squandered his success and completely failed the city that he always intended to protect. He gave Oliver a list of names: each name is someone who has found success preying on the weak and poor people of Starling City. A bit like The Dark Knight with a bow and arrow, the creators of Arrow have taken a page out of the Christopher Nolan playbook, delivering one of the best actions shows on TV.

The Vampire Diaries
High school student Elena Gilbert is having a hard time dealing with the death of her parents until a mysterious new boy arrives at her school. She develops an instant attraction to him, a romance that complicates once she discovers that he’s actually a 160 year-old vampire whose malevolent older brother has returned to wreak havoc on her small town!

Sure, it all sounds a little Twilighty and perhaps a wee bit True Bloody as well; but when you’re dealing with such an attractive cast and scripts by Kevin Williamson (creator of the Scream films and Dawson’s Creek) you know you’re in for quality teen drama with a healthy dose of horror!

Sam and Dean Winchester are a pair of supernaturally good-looking brothers who travel through America hunting down evil demons, many of whom form the basis of local urban legends. Dean has been following in his father’s footsteps for many years, tracking and eliminating paranormal beings, while Sam is forced to join him after their father disappears in the middle of a ‘hunting trip’. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have an easy charm that makes this show very watchable. On top of that, the writing is incredibly strong for a show that’s aimed at a younger demographic! Even if you’re a fan of serious cable fare like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the pilot episode of Supernatural.

A young mute boy in New York City is obsessed by a seemingly random series of numbers that occur around him. His widowed father (Keifer Sutherland) doesn’t know how to help him and the woman from Child Protection Services is convinced that he should be institutionalised. But as they learn one day, the numbers all mean something. Playing on the idea that an action on one side of the world has a knock-on effect continents away, the very first episode deals with a sprawling mystery that involves a 9/11 firefighter, a pub singer in the UK and a young boy getting into trouble in Baghdad. There’s a bit of science-fiction, a lick of pop-spiritualism and a nebulous central mystery: elements which really reminds us of Lost. And really, that’s no bad thing.

On a side note, this is the first time since 2001 that Sutherland’s played a man on TV who isn’t Jack Bauer – so it may take some time to get used to him not torturing all his problems away.

American Horror Story
Connie Britton (Nashville) and Dylan McDermott (The Practice) are a married couple whose relationship is on the rocks. Moving from Boston to LA, they make a very critical error by taking up the lease on a Haunted Mansion. Their next door neighbour is a very creepy Jessica Lange, who steals the show by acting a LOT MORE than her co-stars.

In these little synopses, we’re supposed to give everything a positive spin but American Horror Story’s first season is incredibly patchy. Critical opinion picked up for Season 2, resulting in an astounding 17 Emmy nominations last week. That’s more than any other show on TV this year.

But frankly, after watching the pilot episode, you might not want to persevere.

Lost Girl
A sexy drifter with the power to influence the desires of men (and feed on their life-force) discovers that she is ‘fae’, belonging to a race of paranormal beings who live in secret among us. As she learns to control her abilities, she ends up helping people and finding out more about her past. In the first episode, she saves Kenzi, a young woman who encourages her to use her powers to become a private investigator. Together they’ll track down missing people, uncover con-artists and bust-up vampire cartels in an unnamed North American city that is obviously Toronto. A fun, sexy time is had by all!


The West Wing
One of the most-beloved television shows in recent memory: if you haven’t seen The West Wing yet, you’re about to embark on one of the best viewing experiences of your life. Following the professional lives of White House staffers, writer Aaron Sorkin uses the show to examine a wide spectrum of ideas and topics. The characters often find themselves dealing with anything from proctecting freedom of speech, fighting religious intolerance or simply struggling with their father-daughter relationship. The uniformly awesome cast is anchored by Martin Sheen in a career-defining performance as Jed Bartlet, the Commander-in-Chief that everyone wished for during the Bush years!

The Wire
In the eternal struggle between police and the drug dealers of Baltimore, the line between right and wrong has never been hazier.  Sprawling in its scope, precise in its detail and rich in its characterisation, The Wire is some of the most essential television ever made. Over its 5 seasons, the show focuses on the failures of City Hall, the Unions, the school system and The Press — painting a portrait of American institutional failure. Most shows are lucky to have at least one stand-out character but The Wire has enough depth to its cast to populate 10 great shows!

Once you’re hooked on The Wire, you can never turn back.

The Newsroom
Having created the cult favourite Sports Night and the somewhat disappointing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin’s considerable talents return once more to the subject of television. This time, he zeros in on the ethically dubious world of primetime network news.

The show opens with veteran news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), who commits a journalistic taboo by airing his incendiary political views during a panel. As a form of atonement, he’s forced to start again with a new production staff led by Emily Mortimer, a bolshie English firebrand who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend. This being an Aaron Sorkin joint, you can expect highly intelligent characters spitting clever dialogue at 100 miles an hour. Nobody writes smart characters better than Sorkin and fans of great TV are really in for another treat with The Newsroom.

The Americans
Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) are just an average American couple: with their jobs, picket fences and their two perfect children. The only thing that sets them apart from their neighbours is the fact that they’re both Soviet spies, deep undercover for over 15 years. Set in the 80s with a period appropriate soundtrack, the show’s heart and soul come from their conflict of ideals: while Elizabeth still believes in the Motherland, Phillip has begun to fall in love with his ‘fake’ family and his American way of life. It’s the strongest new drama of the year; a show that has quickly become a favourite of ours!

Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant is Raylan Givens: a US Marshal whose bad-ass demeanour and reluctance to keep his gun holstered has marked him out as a maverick. When he shoots a Miami mobster in a quick-draw duel, he’s transferred back to Kentucky and the life he left behind. Returning to a hometown infested by white supremacists, drug dealers, the Dixie Mafia and his criminal father, Givens finds new meaning in the idea that ‘you can never go home’.

Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, the show manages to strike a nice balance between telling one-off stories and continuing a weekly narrative. Watch out, Breaking Bad: when this show gets firing on all cylinders, it’s as good anything else on TV.

The Tudors
Gosh: that Henry VIII was all fat and ugly, right? Wrong! As played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the pickiest of all British monarchs is now a sexy beast with a tidy beard! Over the course of 4 seasons, his reign is tested by a series of historically accurate-ish diplomatic incidents. At the same time, his faith and fidelity are also brought into question as he puts a series of wives to the sword (both literally and figuratively).

Replete with steamy historical romances and political back-stabbing, fans of historical fiction will lap this up like a salty lamprey broth (or some other period-appropriate soup).

In the world of TV lawyers, there are attorneys who will do anything to win the case: ones who will fight tooth and nail for their clients, putting in long hours and sacrificing their personal lives. There are those lawyers, and then there’s Patty Hewes. As played by Oscar-nominee Glenn Close, she’s one of the great TV antiheroes: a powerful, uncompromising and (perhaps literally) cut-throat professional.

Each season follows a single case, but the sheer number of twist and turns in every episode ensures that the pace never flags. Close is surrounded by a killer supporting cast that (in the first season, at least) includes Bridesmaids Rose Byrne and Ted Danson. It’s a dark, gripping, legal thriller of the highest order.

Carrie Wells is a New York police detective with a medical condition that allows her to remember virtually everything. While this makes her just about the most effective homicide police on the force, it also means she can’t forget the tragedy of her sister’s murder.

Just about every TV detective has a hook these days: they’re either magicians, scientists or best-selling authors. Carrie’s abilities to step back into her memories and re-analyse everything she’s ever seen is a pretty cool central conceit for a cop show.

Star Poppy Montgomery has a tough time concealing her native Australian accent but that’s only a problem if you let it get in the way of the fun. Much like TV’s The Mentalist, Unforgettable is distinguished by the way in which it makes murder investigations fun again!

Rizzoli & Isles
And speaking of fun murder investigations: TV sisters are doing it for themselves!

Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a tough Boston cop who leads with her gut instead of her head. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) is a police medical examiner who leads with her head before her heart. Together, they’re super best friends who work together to stop the murderers that seem to crop up every week. In the wake of ‘bromances’ like Superbad and I Love You Man which celebrated male bonding, Rizzoli & Isles has been described as a ‘womance’, which is exactly what it sounds like. Following on in the style of Cagney and Lacey, the great chemistry between the two leads has led to this show to become one of the highest rated cable programmes in America, not to mention the inspiration for some of the most gently creepy fan art on the internet.

Pan Am
Head on a trip back to 1963: to when men drank whisky, women wore corsets and air travel still held a modicum of romance in the public imagination. Following a crew of Pan Am stewardesses, we take a look into the ins and outs of their jet set lives: from an idealistic purser (Christina Ricci) to a cabin attendant who doubles as a Cold War spy, each one of them has a secret from their past. The first episode alone packs in a whole lot of backstory, giving a lot of space for characters and plot arcs to develop over the series!

Accused by some critics of trying to muscle in on Mad Men territory, Pan Am quickly distinguishes itself as a wonderfully lush piece of television escapism.

The Following
Alright, Bacons! We’re going to television!”   –   ‘A Few Good Men’ Bacon

For his first soiree into the world of TV drama, Kevin Bacon plays a tortured former FBI investigator, called back into the service when a notorious serial killer (James Purefoy) escapes from death row. As the man who caught him back in 2003, Bacon is perhaps the killer’s only psychological and intellectual match. Okay, there’s very little point in hiding the fact that this is directly inspired by Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lector novels, specifically Red Dragon. But hey, accepting that there are no new ideas, this is still a very appealing show for fans of the thriller genre.

But just beware, The Following gets quite brave when it comes to showing gore: definitely not a show for the faint of heart!

So now that you’ve got an idea of all the shows we have on offer, head over to our Try TV on Us page and get started on your new favourite show.

Jul 22 2013

Comic-Con Exclusive: ‘Catching Fire’ Trailer

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 1:49 pm

With the dozens of film franchises and TV programmes hosting panels and showing off new footage at the San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend, it’s easy to let something big slip by. Prime example: this full trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire.

That’s right, it’s a teen-oriented action film starring the current winner of the Best Actress Oscar! Set one year after the events of the first film, it sees Jennifer Lawrence‘s character being thrown back into another Hunger Games as punishment for her actions in the first film. The rub, as they say, is that she’ll be facing off against previous winners of the game: all of whom are deadlier than anyone she’s ever faced before.

The trailer also shows a brief glimpse of the man who’s already generating more buzz than anyone else in this sequel: teen crush Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays some stud named ‘Plutarch Heavensbee’.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is due to set cinemas alight this autumn, 22 November

Jul 22 2013

LOOK: 12 ‘Girls’ GIFs for Every Occasion!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:14 am

If you’re a card-carrying member of The Millennials like we are, you’ll know that our primary way of communicating emotions is through animated images and pop-culture references.

So thank glob for the Tumblr site What Shall We Call Girls!

Apparently set up by HBO, WSWCG allows its users to submit GIFs taken from the hit show Girls and share them with fans around the world! These short, silent clips last no more than a few seconds and thanks to hordes of fans using this site there are literally like, a billion of them.

Here are some of the ones you might find most useful:

1. Are you in your 20s and eminently unemployable thanks to your literature/philosophy degree?

2. If you really need to communicate your disdain and you can’t be bothered tweeting a bitchy remark, this’ll do:

3. If you find yourself having a case of the Mondays:

4. For when you find yourself in the same room as The Queen or some other foreign dignitary:
Stand up

5. If you’re a hot mess and you’re trying to tell someone you fancy them:

6. If you’re looking to initiate that ‘on-line hookup’ everyone’s talking about these days:

7 – 12. …and for those times when you just want to dance:
HannahDance HannahDance2 HannahDance3 HannahDance4

For find just about every single moment of HBO’s Girls assembled in random order, head over to What Should We Call Girls. Bear in mind that it’s only for grown-ups and almost certainly NSFW

Or if you want to watch the show like a total square, in sequential order and in bursts of longer than 3 seconds, check out Seasons 1 and 2 of HBO’s Girls, both now available at blinkbox!