Public Service Announcement 34 of 2013: The Almighty Johnsons, The Newsroom

71101_129727233723021_1621907149_n[1]This time last year, it looked like the second season of The Almighty Johnsons was going to be the last. But – ta-dah! – we got our miracle: a third season was commissioned and the world’s best brothers-cum-Norse-gods are back.


Just a couple of months after it began in New Zealand, then, season 3 starts in the UK tonight (Wednesday) on Syfy at 10pm, picking up right where season 2 left off with that insanely AWESOME cliffhanger. Even more good news is that Dean O’Gorman is now back from Middle Earth so there’s plenty of Anders (I ADORE Anders) to go around – WOOT again!

I know I’ve said this before, but TAJ is just so good: brilliantly clever, riotously funny, unashamedly honest, surprisingly poignant and generally just a total delight – why more people haven’t cottoned on to this is both a mystery and an injustice, but if you haven’t seen the first couple of seasons yet, trust me: you should. And then spread the word.

Those of you who’ve already met the Johnsons will know what I’m talking about, though, and you guys will not be disappointed in season 3. It is glorious. Check in with the boys, then check out the episode reviews at friend-of-unpopcult kiwigods’ fantastic blog , endorsed by no less than Mikkel Johnson himself, and deservedly so. Comments are also welcome on this thread, as usual, since the Johnsons are one of my favourite subjects too – let’s enjoy them while we can.

“Enjoyment” is a slightly less straightforward business when it comes to Aaron Sorkin’s frustrating but addictive The Newsroom, however.  We’ll do another reminder about it (and all our problems with it – Hi Maggie and Mac!) next week,  when it returns to UK TV proper, then regular reviews after that, but meantime the first episode of season 2 is currently available On Demand if you want to get in ahead of the game.

Public Service Announcement 41 of 2012: The Almighty Johnsons, True Blood

TV is ridiculously unfair sometimes.

Monday night (17th Sept) at 10pm sees the return of two fantasy tv shows, completely different in both quality and fate, to UK tv.  The first, The Almighty Johnsons, is one of the best shows, genre or otherwise, I’ve seen in years – it’s about a young New Zealand man who discovers on his 21st birthday that he’s a Norse god, as are his three big brothers, and they’re not the only ones.  It’s about growing up, family, friendship, love – all the good stuff – and it’s also, a teeny bit, about superpowers.  Most of all, though it’s bawdy, clever, big-hearted and wildly, wildly funny.  

Season 2 premieres in the UK this week and while the first few episodes really miss Dean O’Gorman’s Anders (like every other tv actor I’ve ever loved, O’Gorman was off filming The Hobbit, so his screen time is significantly reduced), the season is still an absolute delight.  A delight tinged with sadness, however, because, despite it being fresh and fabulous, and ending on a fantastic cliffhanger, barring some sort of miracle TAJ is not coming back.

Jed and I have been writing about tv for a few years now and we’ve been talking about it for a lot longer, so we’ve seen scores of shows come and go, but I don’t think a cancellation has ever made me quite as upset as this one did.  The show was at its peak, creatively, the story had taken a spectacular turn, the writers didn’t get a chance to finish it off, and I will genuinely miss the characters.  I’m gutted that I won’t get to see it again, because I watched it and I adored it.  And – as long as you don’t mind a fair amount of skin and swearing – you should too.  Don’t let the cancellation put you off, tune in anyway at 10pm, Syfy, on Monday night for the next ten weeks and watch a superb show’s last hurrah.  And then head along to friend-of-unpopcult kiwigods’s excellent blog for brilliant reviews of each episode.  Meantime, I’ll be back here, with tea and a big box of tissues, if you feel like a good cry about how much it sucks that we won’t get to hang out with Axl, Mike, Ty and my beloved Anders any more.

Sigh.  Of course, as one show is cruelly cut down in its prime, another limps along begging to be put out of its misery.  Yes, I’m talking about True Blood, back for season 5, despite the ludicrous mess that was seasons 3 and 4.  Regular readers will know I have a real soft spot for vampire-related shenanigans, and I stuck with True Blood for a long time, but I just can’t take it any more.  Like the similarly over-hyped Glee, it’s now so over-stuffed with annoying characters, stupid storylines, and ideas that no doubt sounded good in the writers room but are disastrous on screen, that it’s completely unbearable. 

I made it through season 4 by fast-forwarding large parts of every episode, but even my love for Alexander Skarsgård’s Eric isn’t enough to bring me back for more.  I doubt HBO are losing any sleep over my defection however; a sixth season has been ordered, regardless.  So if you’re still a fan of the show, rejoice, and get your next dose of faeries and fangbangers on FX UK from Monday night.  Like I said, at 1opm, the same time as TAJ.  Just to rub it in.

PS – Oh yeah, there’s also another season of something called Downton Abbey on Sunday night on ITV1, apparently.  Can’t imagine anyone’s heard of that….