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zondag 5 augustus 2012

Khloe Kardashian 'would love X Factor USA hosting role'

Khloe Kardashian has revealed that she would love to host The X Factor USA.

The reality star was first linked to a role in the Fox show last month and has now admitted that she is a "big fan" of the series.

"I've always wanted to do hosting or talk show hosting, so it's definitely something that I would love to do and would be honoured to do," she told E! Online.

"To be on such a huge show like that with those judges, I would have so much fun doing that."

Kardashian also praised the show's judge Simon Cowell, admitting that she thinks he is "amazing".

"I love personalities like that because I'm someone who is very straightforward and I tell it like it is," she said. "That's what he's doing. He just doesn't want to blow smoke up people's asses."

Stacy Keibler, Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts and Terrence J are among the other stars who have been linked to the hosting jobs on The X Factor.

Rolling Stones documentary to air on HBO

A documentary on The Rolling Stones' 50-year career is to air on HBO.

Director Brett Morgen's project was announced earlier this year and is to feature never-before-seen footage of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from the 1960s and 1970s.

Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones arrive for the UK Film Premiere of Shine a Light at the Odeon West End Cinema

HBO has now announced that the network will broadcast the film this fall, but schedulers have not yet set an exact airdate.

Michael Lombardo – HBO's president of programming – said the cable channel is honoured to help celebrate the band's golden anniversary.

Lombardo commented: "This documentary has the full involvement of the four current band members – Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ron – as well as the former band members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.

"We'll follow the band from their early club days through their arrival as the greatest band in the world."

Rolling Stones guitarists Ron Wood, left, and Keith Richards perform at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium Thursday, October 23, 1997

Filmmaker Morgen promised in March that his film will present "the original, bold, sexy and dangerous flavour" of the 'Start Me Up' band.

Richards confirmed in July that the Rolling Stones have begun rehearsing for possible 50th anniversary concerts.

"We're playing around with the idea and had a couple of rehearsals - we've got together lately and it feels so good. I think, soon! I think it's definitely happening. But when? I can't say yet," the guitarist teased.

The Rolling Stones played their first-ever gig on July 12, 1962 at London's Marquee Club on Oxford Street.

London 2012 Olympics continues to trounce competition for NBC

The Olympics continued its easy dominance in the ratings on Thursday night for NBC.

The network's coverage climbed to an 18-49 demo rating of 11.2 and 35.69 million viewers on average between 8-11pm.

The figures are 8% higher than the equivalent night of Beijing's Olympics in 2008, while the London Games are 7% higher overall.

CBS's Big Brother dropped three tenths from last week to 1.9 (5.38m) at 9pm.

ABC's Wipeout fell to a new series low of 1.3 (3.83m) at 9pm.

While the Olympics remains on air, the rest of the evening continues to be dominated by repeats.

The highest ratings out of the re-runs went to The Big Bang Theory on CBS at 8pm (1.4/5.5m).

Ryan Seacrest: 'Mariah Carey will fit right in on American Idol'

Ryan Seacrest has predicted that Mariah Carey will be a hit as the new American Idol judge.

The 'We Belong Together' singer officially signed on for Idol last week after reportedly agreeing to a $17m salary.

Host Seacrest discussed how Carey will change the Fox show's dynamic in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"I think that Mariah will fit right in. She knows the rhythms of this kind of thing," he said.

Seacrest also discussed how Carey will compare to Jennifer Lopez, who has exited American Idol after two seasons.

"Jennifer had watched a lot of Idol; I'm not sure how much Mariah has watched," he explained.

"Certainly, she's watched less of the show, which I think is fine. She's pretty open, and she doesn't sugarcoat much, at least in my experience with her."

Brad Paisley has also been linked to the judging panel. Nick Jonas and Pharrell Williams are apparently being considered as well.

Snoop Dogg expressed an interest in judging American Idol on Thursday (August 2), vowing to clean up his act if he is hired.

American Idol returns to Fox in 2013, with open auditions currently under way across the US.

'American Idol's Paul McDonald to make acting debut in 'Parenthood'

Paul McDonald is set to make his acting debut in the upcoming fourth season of Parenthood.

The American Idol alum has been cast in a recurring role as a musician who uses a recording space owned by brothers Adam and Crosby Braverman (Peter Krause and Dax Shepard), reports TVLine.

While using the recording space, McDonald's character catches the eye of the studio's new assistant Amber (Mae Whitman).

Parenthood will return on Tuesday, September 11 on NBC.

McDonald is married to Twilight star Nikki Reed, tying the knot in October 2011.

Reed has been open about their marriage, admitting that they're not ready to start their own family due to their busy careers.

TV Tonight 5th of August 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    Aqua Teen Hunger Force S09E07: "Fightan Titan"
    Arcana Famiglia S01E06: "TBA"
    Army Wives S06E19: "100th Episode: Centennial"
    Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes S02E15: "Assault on 42"
    Bar Rescue S02E03: "Murphy's Mess"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E111: "Olympic Games - 111"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E115: "Olympic Games - 115"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E119: "Olympic Games - 119"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E110: "Olympic Games - 110"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E114: "Olympic Games - 114"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E118: "Olympic Games - 118"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E122: "Olympic Sportsday"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E113: "Olympic Games - 113"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E117: "Olympic Games - 117"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E121: "Olympics Tonight"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E112: "Olympic Games - 112"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E116: "Olympic Games - 116"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E120: "Olympic Games - 120"
    Big Ang S01E05: "Big Bust"
    Big Brother (UK) S14E66: "BB 13, Episode 66"
    Big Brother (US) S14E11: "Episode 11 - Nominations #4"
    Big Brother After Dark S07E25: "Season 7, Episode 25"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S04E62: "Series 4, Show 62"
    Black Dynamite S01E04
    Breaking Bad S05E04: "Fifty-One"
    Bridezillas S09E09: "Michelle & Tasha"
    Call of the Wildman S02E12: "Sawmill Slasher"
    Cardfight!! Vanguard S02E18: "TBA"
    Chopped S12E12: "Grill Masters (3)"
    Combat Pawn S01E04: "Warhorse Knife"
    Come Dine With Me S19E44: "Series 19, Come Dine With Me"
    Continuum S01E10: "End Times"
    Cupcake Wars S06E12: "WildAid Save the Elephants"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E307: "Episode 1987"
    Drop Dead Diva S04E09: "Ashes To Ashes"
    Empire Girls: Julissa & Adrienne S01E09: "This Baby Stuff Is Scary"
    Episodes S02E06: "Season 2, Episode 6"
    Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition S02E06: "Jonathan"
    Falling Skies S02E08: "Death March"
    Flip Men S02E01: "Jacked By Thieves"
    Flip Men S02E02: "Drive Through Meth Lab"
    Hillbilly Handfishin' S02E02: "Mud-luvin Ballroom Dancers"
    Hoarding: Buried Alive S04E05: "Just Tear it Down"
    Hunter X Hunter Remake S01E42: "Defend x And x Attack"
    I Survived S06E33: "Terri/Walter/James"
    Ice Road Truckers S06E10: "Stacking the Deck"
    Insane Coaster Wars S01E06: "Speed Demons"
    Iron Chef America S09E41: "Forgione vs. McClain"
    Jerseylicious S04E21: "Reunion Show, Part 1"
    Keeping Up with the Kardashians S07E13: "Mothers & Daughters"
    Kidou Senshi Gundam Age S01E43: "Episode 43"
    Klusjesmannen, De S02E05: "Season 2, Episode 5"
    Kokoro Connect S01E05: "A Confession and a Death..."
    Kuroko no Basuke S01E18: "No!!"
    Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon S02E05: "Episode 5"
    Leverage S05E03: "The First Contact Job"
    Longmire S01E09: "Dogs, Horses, and Indians"
    Masterchef Australia S05E07: "All Stars - 7"
    Mob Wives: Chicago S01E09: "Shift Happens"
    My First Place S22E18
    NFL Thursday Night Football S07E01
    Nightmare Next Door S02E20: "Death Down on the Farm"
    Omar S01E17: "Season 1, Episode 17"
    On The Case With Paula Zahn S06E09: "Innocent Witness"
    One Piece (JP) S06E42: "Episode 42"
    Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle S02E18: "Episode 18"
    Political Animals S01E04: "Lost Boys"
    Rinne no Lagrange S02E05: "Episode 5"
    Secret Millionaire S03E06: "Marcus Lemonis: Miami, Fl"
    Shake It Up S02E27: "Surprise It Up"
    Shark Wranglers S01E06: "Shark Alley"
    Sinbad S01E05: "Episode 5"
    Small Town Security S01E04: "Christa Pissta, P.I."
    Snapped S09E16: "Rennie Pratt"
    Storage Hunters S02E09: "Now You See It No You Don't"
    Strange Sex S03E08: "Ms. Orgasm & Excruciating Ecstasy"
    Strange Sex S03E07: "The Inseminator"
    Sunday Best (2007) S05E07
    Tari Tari S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    The 2012 Summer Olympics S01E10: "Season 1, Episode 10"
    The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World S01E02: "Amazon Flooded Forests"
    The Fairly OddParents S09E01: "TBA"
    The Glades S03E09: "Islandia"
    The Great Escape S01E06: "Escape From Los Angeles"
    The Newsroom (2012) S01E07: "5/1"
    The Only Way Is Essex S06E05: "Series 6, Episode 5"
    The Project S04E185: "Season 4, Episode 185"
    The Real Housewives of New Jersey S04E15: "Season 4, Episode 15"
    The Zoo (UK) S02E02: "Series 2, Episode 2"
    Thelma's Gypsy Girls S01E05: "Episode 5"
    Toriko S02E18: "Episode 18"
    True Blood S05E09: "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"
    Uchuu Kyoudai S01E19: "Episode 19"
    Ultimate Spider-Man S01E17: "Snow Day"
    Watch What Happens: Live S07E31
    Weeds S08E06: "Allosaurus Crush Castle"
    Xtreme Waterparks S01E06: "Getting Wet in Jersey"

'Once Upon a Time' casts Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook

Colin O'Donoghue has joined the cast of Once Upon a Time.

The former Tudors actor will play Captain Hook in the ABC fantasy comedy-drama.

Hook will be a recurring character in the upcoming second season.

Creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis had previously teased that Captain Hook may join the series at the show's Comic-Con panel.

The Irish actor returns to ABC after he previously played the lead role in the pilot episode of drama Identity in 2011.

He also played Emmet Fitzgerald in Irish soap Fair City and medical drama The Clinic.

O'Donoghue made his big-screen debut in last year's The Rite opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Once Upon a Time will return to ABC on September 30.

'Coronation Street' Ryan Thomas backs Katherine Kelly return

Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas has revealed that he would like Katherine Kelly to return.

The actor, who plays Jason Grimshaw in the ITV1 soap, said he would love her character Becky McDonald to make a cameo appearance on the Cobbles.

"I'd like to see Becky's return some time, I miss that character very much and I miss the person very much, Katherine, I think if she ever came back as a guest appearance it would make my day," Thomas told MSN.

He also told the website that he has a great relationship with co-star Sue Cleaver, who plays his on-screen mum Eileen.

"We're quite protective over each other and we look after each other. She brought me up in a way," he said. "It's been great to have such a great mum on and off screen."

Speaking of younger brother Adam, who stars in Emmerdale as Adam Barton, Thomas added: "I'm very proud of him. It's great that me and Adam are both working in soaps. To see him doing it as well is great.

"There's never any rivalry between any of the soaps. We're all doing the same job, we're all very close and get on quite well. I've got a lot of friends from different soaps."

Kelly quit Coronation Street last year to pursue other projects. Her final scenes aired in early 2012.

'EastEnders': Truth behind Linda Henry 'break' rumours

Rumours have been rife online today (August 4) that Linda Henry (Shirley Carter) could be taking a break from EastEnders.

The speculation began after a new interview with Henry's on-screen partner Steve McFadden (Phil) indicated that the actress would be taking "time out" from the soap.

After looking into it, though, we can confirm that Shirley fans needn't worry. The "time out" in question ties in with the ongoing Heather storyline, and Shirley will only be off screen very briefly.

An EastEnders spokesperson told Digital Spy: "As part of the upcoming storyline where Shirley discovers the devastating truth behind Heather's murder, Shirley will be departing Walford for a very short period."

Viewers can look forward to Ben's guilt being revealed in the week commencing August 13, which also features Sharon's return as EastEnders makes the move back to BBC One.

As revealed earlier in the week, Shirley's daughter Carly will be heading back to Albert Square for two episodes in September.

Prince William, Prince Harry 'knew nothing of Queen, James Bond film'

Princes William and Harry have said that they had no idea that the Queen would star alongside James Bond in a film for the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The clip, which was shown to audiences across the world during the event last week (July 27), saw Her Majesty escorted out of Buckingham Palace by Bond, played by Daniel Craig, before seeming to 'parachute' out of Bond's helicopter to enter Olympic Stadium.

A parachutist pretending to be the Queen at the Olympic Stadium during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

Talking to the BBC's Sue Barker yesterday (August 3) about the film, Prince William denied any prior knowledge of his grandmother's cameo, saying: "We were kept completely in the dark about it."

However, William remarked that the Queen had since been asked to continue her acting career, admitting: "But now, as she did such a good performance, she's been asked to star in the next Bond film - I'm thrilled for her."

Prince Harry added: "Both of us were slightly surprised with our grandmother's secret hobby - parachuting. It went down unbelievably well."

Parachutist Gary Connery, who acted as a stunt double for the Queen during the Opening Ceremony, revealed that he "thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as Queenie".

Both Princes William and Harry, as well as William's wife the Duchess of Cambridge, have been seen attending Olympic events in the past few days.

Olympics ratings boosted by athletics: 11.8m watch women's 10,000m

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis is in high spirits as the Women's Heptathlon gets underway.

The BBC's Olympics coverage peaked last night for the women's 10,000m, the latest overnight data shows.

Some 11.8m - approximately 50% of the viewing audience - were fixed to the running event involving the British duo of Jo Pavey and Julia Bleasdale at 10pm.

Despite setting new personal bests, Pavey and Bleasdale finished seventh and eighth respectively as Tirunesh Dibaba retained her title.

The figures, which combine BBC One and BBC Olympics HD, do not account for crowds watching in pubs and on big screens.

Rebecca Adlington's swimming bronze had a peak audience of 11.3m earlier on in the evening.

BBC One's star-studded evening coverage, featuring the likes of Jessica Ennis, never dropped below 8 million between 6.55pm and 10.05pm.

Tennis/Ski Channel Founder Now Launches a Surf Channel

Steve Bellamy, founder of the Tennis Channel and the Ski Channel, is looking to make some waves with his next venture.

Bellamy announced Friday that he's launching a third outlet, the Surf Channel, that will devote itself to beach, water and board sports.

The new endeavor, which launches in mid-September, will offer original shows, events, films, series and short-form programming.

Appropriately enough, the Surf Channel will kick off with the classic 1966 surfing documentary "The Endless Summer."

Bellamy said in a statement  that the Surf Channel will encompass not just the sport of surfing but the lifestyle as well.

“Surf, its lifestyle and environment, create an unparalleled canvas for a television network,” Bellamy said. “The Surf Channel will be a sports channel, travel channel and lifestyle channel all in one. Viewers will go on the most expensive vacation of their lives, to the most remote and exotic destinations the planet has to offer. They will get to see some of the most incredible athletes pushing the human spirit and the boundaries of human capability to the furthest of limits.”

The channel will launch to 20 million households via distribution deals with Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish, and YouTube, with which it has a preferred channel partnership. Further distribution deals will be announced in the near future.

"The Surf Channel is going to be one of the best things to ever happen to our industry," said "Endless Summer" filmmaker Bruce Brown in a statement. "Giving tens of millions of people living room access to the sport and culture of surfing is something we have never had before. I stand with the rest of the surf ambassadors to do everything to help this channel be successful!"

Why geeks should celebrate The CW, ABC Family, and MTV

One thing we all learnt (or re-learnt) from the recent Emmy nominations announcement was that awards and accolades don’t always reflect public opinion. Fantasy and sci-fi on television has never been more popular and accepted, and the lack of show for genre series on the nominations list highlights a major imbalance amongst the so-called ‘cultural elite’. Game of Thrones aside, things were firmly geared towards reality-driven shows like Modern Family, with more off-the-wall and creative sitcoms such as Community being shunned in favour of another nomination for Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory.

But another awards show took place last week – The Teen Choice Awards. Rather than favouring whichever cable show is most acceptable right now, the youth-orientated awards chose to recognise shows like Bones, Pretty Little Liars, Supernatural, Chuck, and, most significantly, Fringe. The Fox show is regarded as the big omission of the 2012 Emmys, its last chance before bowing out later this year, and a deserving nominee in any kind of awards list. What did the TCA see in it that the Emmys couldn’t? The only thing ‘teen’ about it, after all, is the inclusion of Dawson’s Creek star Joshua Jackson, and the actor has long escaped from under Pacey Witter’s shadow.

What’s always been true – since the 90s anyway – is that a lot of good stuff comes out of the supposedly ‘teen’ networks. Who didn’t fall in love with at least one WB series back in the day? It’s a tricky situation as it stands right now, with respectable cable networks like HBO, AMC and Showtime including an increasingly heavy load of genre-inflected shows in their line-ups each season, and the split seems to have widened more than ever. The current attitude seems to split things up into what was once referred to as ‘water-cooler television’, and the guilty pleasures you’re not supposed to publicly like.

But why should we feel guilty about liking something primarily aimed at a young audience? One of the most celebrated fantasy series of all time, and one that opened as many doors for genre television as The X-Files or Lost or Game of Thrones, was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With so much stacked against it back in 1996 (who wanted to revive a failed teen movie for television?) it took the small and developing WB network, which formed a mutually beneficial relationship with the ass-kicking high schooler, to take on Joss Whedon’s little experiment, and the story has been well documented ever since.

Buffy was, and has continued to be, a significant milestone in television history. While it didn’t create the teen genre as such, it was the first to so successfully combine genre elements with the high school-set trend that Fox had previously owned with Beverly Hills 90210. After finding such critical and commercial success with the series, the network modelled its entire business plan around youth-orientated programming, and paved the way for the flurry of teen shows that have been cropping up ever since. Coming up this season are The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf, all with a genre slant that might never have existed.

The WB continued to create Buffy-esque programming, some of which remain cult favourites and fine examples of great television. Including Charmed, Smallville, Roswell, Angel, Supernatural, and Gilmore Girls, their track record was great, but their ratings were not. The teen drama boom created by Dawson’s Creek and its fellows had waned, and both the WB and its rival, UPN (home of Veronica Mars), were struggling. They continued to wage war for a short time, with UPN picking up both Roswell and Buffy after WB was forced to cancel the low-rated shows (but declining to do the same for Angel and Firefly), but eventually decided to merge together, forming the CW network we know today.

Now, many won’t give a toss about these teen dramas, preferring their televisual diet to come with grown-up characters, but others will be well aware of a ‘guilty pleasure’ of the past or present they continue to adore in secret. The current favourite, taking over from The Vampire Diaries, is Teen Wolf, a great little gem of a fantasy/horror that just gets better and better in time. And, while ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars hasn’t quite permeated geek culture as yet, it uses horror conventions mixed with Veronica Mars-sleuthing and soapy drama to create the ultimate hybrid series.

And ABC Family has been snapping at the heels of the CW for some time. If Buffy made the WB what it was, then Kyle XY did the same for its brand new rival. The network’s name has a long and strange history – now contractually obligated to include the word ‘family’ or else lose rights to shows, and the very existence of the channel – but I can’t help but think that the name is at the expense of a slightly wider audience. Sci-fi series Kyle XY, which did actually feature a family when they adopted the mysterious Kyle, set the bar high from the start, and has allowed the network to push harder and harder at the family-viewing constraints inherent to its original remit.

To compete for the audience tuning in to the CW every night, they would have to raise their game even further. Despite the unprecedented success of Kyle XY, the channel instead opted for less genre output, and more The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but did find another little gem in The Nine Lives of Chloe King, which they swiftly cancelled. What has begun happening, however, is the re-emergence of celebrated showrunners from the past, such as Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) with this summer’s Bunheads and Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life) with the criminally under-seen (and cancelled) Huge.

The most important thing about this is that these series are often very good, entertaining, and high quality, and are too frequently ignored solely because of their home networks. Aimed primarily at 18-34-year-old women there’s also a lively gender debate that could be raised, but I’m not touching that. MTV, the third corner to the teen triangle that has emerged, is a network traditionally aimed at male viewers, but has expanded its scripted drama department in recent years. Now home to Teen Wolf and Awkward, two great series, they’ve shown increasing faith with a double-sized third-season renewal for both. It looks as if they’re ready to take on the big guys, and next season should be interesting.

I’m not trying to say that series like The Vampire Diaries or Smallville could compete with cable heavyweights like Dexter or The Walking Dead, but there’s definitely a somewhat exaggerated prejudice that sees anything airing on the three youth networks put straight in the ‘shouldn’t-like-it-but-I-do’ box. Since when was good television determined by where it airs? Sure, the networks have quirks, like blatant product placement and irritating chick-rock soundtracks, but how much worse is this really from HBO’s insistence on gratuitous nudity? If anything, it’s often the case that the more restrictions put upon a show, the harder the writers have to push for quality, not blessed with the positive reputation of their network.

But with the CW’s continual support of Supernatural, and a new gritty superhero show in Arrow on its way, there’s a chance the network could be trying to distance itself from the tween reputation that’s plagued it for so long. It hardly matters, as the ratings for the CW have been dismal for a while, and ABC Family looks primed to swipe its crown. Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game are dark and noir-inflected teen shows that many cite as the cream of the current crop of youth-targeted television, and probably deserve to be winning the war.

But, nonetheless, with some of the best and most influential television of all time having been set in a high school classroom, isn’t it about time we gave the networks a second chance? The CW, ABC Family and MTV may create light-hearted entertainment, but we should never feel guilty about enjoying them.

M. Night Shyamalan pilot coming to SyFy

The Sixth Sense’s M. Night Shyamalan and Buffy’s Marti Noxon are to collaborate on Proof, a series about life after death…

Heading in the opposite direction to the current raft of TV writers and producers moving into film (Matthew Weiner, Seth MacFarlane, Josh Schwartz,  Ryan Murphy…), M. Night Shyamalan is making his TV debut with a SyFy pilot: Proof.

Based on an original idea by Shyamalan, Proof is the story of the orphaned son of billionaire parents (think someone’s been to their local bat-multiplex of late?) who offers a reward to anyone who can present proof of life after death.

It’s fair to say that few of the director’s recent cinematic efforts have earned him critical praise, the cumulative Rotten Tomatoes score of his last four of his feature films (Devil, The Last Airbender, The Happening, Lady In The Water) not even breaking the 100 mark. New sci-fi venture After Earth starring Will and Jayden Smith may well break that trend, but if not, perhaps TV will be a welcome home for his trademark high concept twists.

Working with Shyamalan on the Proof pilot is veteran TV writer and producer Marti Noxon (Buffy, Angel, Mad Men, Glee), and past collaborator Ashwin Rajan.

The Following: spoiler-free pilot review

Fox's new psychological thriller series, The Following, starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, has a great deal to recommend it. Here's a spoiler-free review of the pilot...

In Hall 20 on preview night of ComicCon The Following pilot aired sandwiched between the by-the-numbers superhero vehicle Arrow and so-far disappointing sci-fi road-trip Revolution. I'll admit to having been biased in The Following's favour when I sat down. I'd seen the amazing trailer before leaving for San Diego (if you haven’t seen it, see it here here – run, don't walk) and I'm a fan of pretty much everyone it features, the stars James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon just for a start. Needless to say, I had hopes, though low expectations. Decades of having your heart broken by "could've been good" TV will do that.

My hopes for The Following were simple. I wanted what I always want out of a basic cable drama – decent writing of solid-enough characters. Give great actors those two things and typically they can elevate them into something I can give my attention or maybe even my heart to. What I got was a filmed world which opened in medias res with a quietly bloody prison break, dragged me in, and never let me come back.

Beginning with a deceptively simple story about a serial killer who breaks out of prison and the cop who caught him the last time, The Following is actually much more complex. Without giving anything away, I can say that one of the main things that sets this pilot apart is the combination of excellent writing and acting.

The protagonist is a familiar trope in former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy played by Kevin Bacon. Bacon's Hardy is cast by those around him as the hard-boiled ex-cop persona but the more we learn the less he fits into that mold. His isn't the most interesting character but Bacon plays him well and the contrasts give him a lot of potential.

More important than our hero is the villain around whom Hardy inexorably orbits. Dr. Joe Carroll – former literature professor, ex-husband, father, and crazy-as-a-box-of-cats serial killer – is portrayed by James Purefoy, perhaps best known on TV for his role as Marc Antony in HBO's Rome. Carroll is, according to Purefoy "one of the scariest serial killers I have ever seen in my life."

Not only does his character commit atrocities on human bodies, he also exerts a terrible influence over others' actions. In a scene glimpsed in the trailer, a young woman strips and her body is covered in words and the audience is reminded of infamous trial footage of the women of the Manson family. Where Manson’s girls sat outside the courthouse singing songs with crosses gouged into their forehead, Carroll's "follower" is in a police station waiting room coated in Poe verse and chanting the morbid wordsmith's supposed last words. In the context of the pilot, her actions act as a grizzly and poetic catalyst to the rising action of the rest of the episode. She is a message from Carroll but as the show soon proves, everything is a message. Our villain is a man of words, from how he interacts with Hardy down to his first herald whose very body is covered in them.

One of the faults one could accuse the show of is the use of flashbacks, which is a device I've never been a fan of but so far it doesn’t seem to over-done. Hopefully they won't abuse it. Another is that Purefoy has a tendency to chew the scenery but then, it's clear that the scenery is in fact edible. Every glorious step Carroll takes is hyperaware of its audience and is out to tell a dramatic story. Therefore, within the world of The Following, the melodrama fits. His character is so aware of the meta in his own life that he revels in it, which gives Purefoy a great deal of license. 

For all that? The Following never once treats the viewer as if they are anything less than as intelligent as the officers tracking the case. No, we can't be expected to be at Carroll's level but it's refreshing, for a network crime show not to talk to us like we’re stupid (and yes I am looking at you every version of CSI). This self-awareness isn't treated as a blunt object with which the audience is beaten over the head. It's obvious, true, but only as yet another part of the mind-game that Carroll is playing with his nemesis and nothing more.

He can see from a great height, while Bacon's Hardy is still on a ground with only what is in front, back and beside him in his scope. Our cognizance of this gives the villain a sense of dramatic irony that would be a pure pleasure to watch if his motives weren’t so evil – so instead the pleasure is a bit blackened at the edges. Carroll knows more than the FBI, more than Ryan.  He knows more than his ex-wife, the victims, his followers, and he certainly knows more than we the audience do.

The Following is brilliant for so many reasons, some of which I've mentioned, some I can't in a spoiler-free review. An obvious passion project for Kevin Williamson of the Scream franchise, the pilot is ripe with potential. The solid writing, a strong and diverse cast, actual surprises that had me jumping and cursing in my seat the screening, and a new twist on an old story are just a few.

For me, however, the real stroke of genius that sets The Following a step above is that for the first time, we the viewer are that we are faced with a villain who, from the word go, is aware that he is playing the part. Carroll knows that he's creating a story but despite this, The Following promises to be anything but by the book.

Doctor Who: a celebration of henchmen

It's all very well for villains. They get to stand there, leather gloves pressed against freshly creased suits, all manner of fey foibles acceptable just because they've welded Kent to the Moon. They get to do the maniacal laugh at the cliffhanger, and they get to press the big red buttons and wield stubby lasers that go 'Vreeee' at people. All in all, it's pretty sweet being a villain.

Spare a thought, then, for their henchpeople. The ones who put the actual work in. Spare a thought too for the admin that must go into such endeavours. Doctor Who is not a show that concerns itself in the presumably large amount of paperwork such schemes must accrue. However, the clerical teams of Atlantis, Global Chemicals, Iceworld and the Pandorica Alliance must go without celebration for now.  Let’s talk henching.

It is often said that the Doctor's companion is an audience identification figure, someone to give the viewer a way in to the show. The same is often true of henchmen. They are the ones who give some recognisably human reaction to the insane schemes, who are swept along by the charismatic mad'un. Take Bloodaxe from The Time Warrior, loyal henchman to the warrior Irongron. If you look at his eyes you can see the exact moment he realises that sitting next to Irongron at squire practice all those years ago was clearly a colossal mistake, but it's now far, far too late to extricate himself.

So, as a salute to men such as Bloodaxe, we at Den of Geek have compiled a list of the top five henchpeople ever to appear in Doctor Who. Unfortunately for those who think our list is somehow wrong, I'm afraid our word is final, and we will brook no disagreement.

5. Tamsin Drew (Niky Wardley), The Eighth Doctor Adventures Series 4

Tamsin's personality isn't what sets her apart from other henchpeople, it's the way she's a catalyst for events. At the start of the fourth series of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, Tamsin was the brand new companion about to embark on thrilling adventures. In the middle of the series she was disgusted by the Doctor's morality and left with the Meddling Monk (a renegade Time Lord), becoming his companion/henchlady. By the end of the series, the Monk's meddling had devastating consequences, and Tamsin had been exterminated.

Which, let's be honest, is one hell of a journey. It is worth seeking out the final series of the Eighth Doctor Adventures to hear a meticulously plotted, all-guns-blazing finale, complete with breathtaking action and sci-fi concepts along the way. While the writers and actors deserve credit (Jonathan Morris plays a blinder), special mention must go to Nicholas Briggs and Alan Barnes for devising the whole thing.

4. Stotz (Maurice Roeves), The Caves of Androzani

Stotz is massively gitty. Although he does have really warm hands, if his dice are anything to go by. A gun-runner by trade, a duplicitous and grinning sadist by nature; it's a mark of genre-stalwart Roeves' charisma that you almost feel impressed when he bids his fellow smugglers (henchlings? The unterhench?) adieu, then walks back in through the door and guns them all down.

Stotz currently remains the only person to use the word 'slut' in a Doctor Who telly programme. I like to think that his first name is Tim, and that he spent his childhood calling himself 'Tim Henchman'.

I'll get my coat.

3. Bok (Stanley Mason), The Daemons

When you have introduced an animated gargoyle as a henchthing for a giant demonic alien and the Master, it's only polite that you should name it after the sound of someone being hit on the head with a with a cricket ball.

Maybe it's the glowing red eyes. Maybe it's the way he sticks his tongue out, the little teaser. Mayhap it's the nonchalance with which he reaches out a hand and disintegrates a UNIT redshirt in a puff of smoke. Maybe it's the way he runs - is it because Stanley Mason is trying to evoke a sense of a stone creature so unused to movement, or is it because he can't see what the hell he is doing and he's got giant jabolite feet to contend with?

Most likely it's because he is, as he e'er will be, the 'chap with the wings'.

2. Nyder (Peter Miles), Genesis of the Daleks/I, Davros: Guilt

Nyder is terrifying. He is the mind and body of a school swimming instructor somehow born into a world where he could become a Lieutenant in the Kaled Military Elite, and from there gain the position of Davros' henchman. Born into the endless war between the Kaleds and the Thals that ultimately leads to the creation of the Daleks, he flourishes in the hostile environs of mutually assured destruction.

When Davros tells Nyder his plans for the genocide of not only the Thal race, but also the Kaleds, Nyder responds to the destruction of his own people with the question 'The whole of the Kaled would go that far?'

'Did you ever doubt that I would?' replies Davros.

'No,' says Nyder. And then he goes and carries out the order.

Seriously. Nyder is terrifying.

1. Packer (Peter Halliday), The Invasion

Ah, Packer. The uberhench.

There are many reasons that Packer is supreme.

It's partly because his violent urges are frequently curtailed by his own incompetence. It's partly because he is constantly thwarted and exasperated by the demands of his boss, Tobias Vaughn. When your supervillain is a cybernetically augmented version of Alan Sugar - only one who has decided to conquer the world, rather than mess about with gameshows - it's obviously going to be a demanding task. It's partly because Packer manages to be both a credible threat and an endearingly inept oaf. When he does get a chance to inflict pain, he generally takes it with malicious glee. Maybe that's it.

Mostly, though, I think it's the way Kevin Stoney pronounces the word 'Packer'. It's so arch it could be used to support man-made bodies of water. And for this tenuous and highly subjective reason alone, he's the obvious choice for the position of 'Best Henchman in Doctor Who (So Far) Ever'.