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Remote Patrol: Keeping a watch on TV

By , US TV Correspondent
Bruce Fretts
Digital Spy presents Remote Patrol - a new weekly column from New York-based TV critic Bruce Fretts, taking a look at what's hot right now in US television.

Fretts is a veteran of both Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide Magazine, where he penned the wildly popular 'Cheers & Jeers' column for 10 years.

VEEP AND SILICON VALLEY: A WINNING TICKET

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in Veep

© HBO


HBO knows there's something inherently hilarious about company towns: places where everyone is obsessed with one thing most people outside of that locale don't really care much about. In the past, the cable network has mainly explored this rich comic terrain in Hollywood, via the narcissistic denizens of The Larry Sanders Show, Entourage, The Comeback and other showbiz satires. Meanwhile, on the other coast, Sex and the City and Girls have explored themes of interest solely to people who live in certain New York City neighbourhoods.

Now HBO has expanded its comedic map beyond the Big Apple and La La Land. Entering its third season, Veep has succeeded in finding a fresh take on the down-and-dirty doings in Washington, D.C., something the estimable duo of George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh failed to do on HBO's short-lived K Street a decade ago. It probably helps that Veep was created by a total outsider - Brit wit Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In the Loop) - who could bring a new perspective to the oft-explored U.S. capital. (In a similar way, transplanting the British miniseries House of Cards across the pond breathed new life into the D.C. drama genre.)

Silicon Valley

© HBO


The cable network has also found the perfect partner for Veep: Silicon Valley, the new sitcom from Office Space mastermind Mike Judge. This time, he's mining laughs from the new California tech-industry gold rush. Like D.C., S.V. is filled with socially awkward people - in this case, an "incubator" of young developers overseen by bullying twit Erlich (the explosively funny T.J. Miller) - who are suddenly given huge amounts of power and have no idea what to do with it.

They convince themselves they're changing the world in a positive way - "I believe we can only achieve greatness if we can first achieve goodness," blathers a software billionaire brilliantly embodied by Big Love's Matt Ross. But all they're really doing is creating apps like Nip Alert, which gives users the location of the nearest woman with erect nipples. "It's what the people want!" Erlich declares.

"Your whole life you've been an ugly chick," Erlich adds, succinctly summing up S.V.'s fertile premise. "Now all of a sudden you're a hot chick with big tits and little nipples." Among his other nuggets of would-be wisdom to his followers: "Stop being a pussy and start being an asshole!"

That could be the mantra of Vice-President Selina Meyer (the sublime Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her minions as she kicks off her presidential campaign in Veep's sharper-than-ever new season. As it opens, she's out on a book tour promoting her empty tome Some New Beginnings: Our American Journey - "it's so full of s**t, there's a colon in the middle," aide Ben Caffrey (True Detective's indispensable Kevin Dunn) notes. Other Colbert-worthy titles considered were Red, White and You and The Hands of Our Children ("it sounds like a massacre or something," Selina observes).

Tony Hale as Gary Walsh, Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock and Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer in Veep

© HBO


While most of Selina's staff is at the wedding of hapless press secretary Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh) to a nosy reporter (Kathy Najimy), news leaks that the President won't be seeking re-election, opening the door for the veep's campaign. It also results in lanky pipsqueak Jonah (Timothy Simons) being shown the door at the White House, after he's exposed as blogger WestWingMan ("I run a gossiptainment site, and this is very gossiptaining!" he exclaims).

"This is some seriously butterknife-dull s**t," wannabe campaign manager Dan (Reid Scott) taunts Jonah, but the same certainly can't be said of Veep. It's more like how Ben so beautifully puts it: "Politics in a nut sack."

Silicon Valley encapsulates its turf just as expertly. It's the land of swanky parties with instant zillionaires who casually drop Barack Obama's name like he's their homie, $200 spoonfuls of Wylie Dufresne-created liquid shrimp, and guest lists including Kid Rock ("the poorest person here") and Google CEO Eric Schmidt (in an uproariously wordless cameo as himself).

After lead geek Richard (Thomas Middleditch) disses Steve Jobs as a poser ("he didn't even write his own code!"), Erlich dresses him down thusly: "You just disappeared up your own asshole." Silicon Valley and Veep dare to take us up its hysterically self-unaware characters' assholes - and beyond.
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Tube Talk

New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, The 100: Tube Talk Q&A

By , TV Editor and , Showbiz Editor
The internet is awash with TV listings, spoilers and scoop and it can be a right 'mare trying to decipher the whole darn lot.

Thank goodness then for the crack Tube Talk Q&A team - here to deliver you the most pressing bits of telly gossip in bite-sized chunks each week.

We don't need thanks - our work is our reward, so do keep flinging those queries in our direction, peeps!

Any news on when E4 will air The 100?

Eliza Taylor as Clarke in 'The 100'

© The CW / Cate Cameron

Read More...
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This Week's Must-See TV: 5 Shows You Shouldn't Miss

By , Showbiz Editor
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead season 4 episode 11: 'Claimed'

© AMC / Gene Page

Want to make sure you don't miss anything great on the telly in the next seven days? Never fear, because Tube Talk has done all the hard work for you and smushed all of this week's must-see TV into one snappy rundown. Check out what you should be checking out below...

The Walking Dead: Monday (March 3) at 9pm on Fox
The Walking Dead is already known for its twists and turns and suddenly bringing the axe down on its most popular characters, so when the team behind it tell us to prepare for a "shock" end to season four, goodness knows what might happen.

All these warnings are even more intriguing when it appears going into the finale that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his clan are finally on easy street as they reach the fabled Terminus. But the survivors have already learned with the prison that there's no such thing as a safe haven in this world - is all hell about to break loose?

Watch a promo for The Walking Dead finale below:


About a Boy: Monday (March 3) at 9.30pm on Sky 1
The title of 'this week's show we're most intrigued/anxious about' goes to About A Boy, a US TV remake of the classic 2002 Brit flick, itself based on a novel by Nick Hornby.

Things rarely go well when yanks get their hands on something cherished by us lot, and Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult are so well known as the man/boy odd couple that we're not sure if viewers will take to David Walton (recently seen as Zooey Deschanel's love interest in New Girl) and his own teeny-weeny co-star.

But we're willing to give About A Boy a go - it has, after all, got an A-list stamp of approval in the shape of Minnie Driver, who stars as the mother of the titular 'boy' and the new neighbour of David's immature, sex-crazed character. And, hey, if it's rubbish, we can always dig out our DVD of the movie.

Watch a clip from About a Boy below:


New Worlds: Tuesday (April 1) at 9pm on Channel 4
Before he cracks out the blindfolds and whips to play a certain Mr Gray, Jamie Dornan features as part of an all-star cast, including Skins favourites Joe Dempsie and Freya Mavor, in this dramatic, sweeping sequel to 2008's The Devil's Whore.

It's 1680 and on both sides of the Atlantic, the world is changing. In England, there's upheaval as the restored monarchy of Charles II represses the liberties that the people died for in the Civil War, while in Massachusetts, colonists attempt to distance themselves from the tyranny of home while at the same time shedding much Native American blood. New Worlds is not just epic and beautiful, it's a powerful account of the battles fought long ago for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Watch the trailer for New Worlds below:


The Trip to Italy: Friday (April 4) at 10pm on BBC Two
Even though the original Trip was basically just Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon being Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, performing endless impressions over gourmet meals you couldn't possibly afford, there was a prickly knowingness to it that made it a bit of a dry comedy gem.

So we're thrilled that the veteran comedians have once again teamed up with Michael Winterbottom for another restaurant crawl, this time over in sunkissed Italy. With the vino flowing, we anticipate exchanges that are more scathing and impersonations that are more exuberant to be showcased in The Trip to Italy... although Brydon's Bane poses no competition for BaneCat.

Watch a preview of The Trip to Italy below:


The Voice UK: Saturday (April 5) at 7pm on BBC One
We started off screaming "PUSH THE BUTTON!!" in the Blind Auditions, then went on to throw our hands up at the questionable decisions in the Battles, wondered what the heck is the point of the Knockouts and finally got the chance to phone in our support for our favourite singers in the Live Shows.

And now the rollercoaster journey that is The Voice UK comes to a close as Emma Willis and Marvin Humes announce who you've chosen as the winner of this revitalising third series. Coaches Kylie Minogue, Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am and Ricky Wilson will each be hoping that their act comes out on top, while we'll just be crossing our fingers that Kylie decides not to quit.

Watch The Voice UK's final 12 speak to Digital Spy below:


What are you looking forward to watching this week? Leave your comments below!
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2

Tube Talk

Remote Patrol: Keeping a watch on TV

By , US TV Correspondent
Bruce Fretts
Digital Spy presents Remote Patrol - a new weekly column from New York-based TV critic Bruce Fretts, taking a look at what's hot right now in US television.

Fretts is a veteran of both Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide Magazine, where he penned the wildly popular 'Cheers & Jeers' column for 10 years.

PSYCH OUT! IS THE MENTALIST NEXT?

USA network's show Psych

Way back in 2006, USA Network unveiled Psych, the story of a fake psychic who solves crimes in California. Two years later, CBS debuted The Mentalist, the story of a former fake psychic who solves crimes in California. The resemblance between the two shows wasn't lost on the makers of Psych, who have taken several not-so-veiled shots at its rival series over the years.

For example, James Roday's Shawn Spencer once claimed that Simon Baker had stolen his signature putting-his-fingers-to-his-temples move, and after private-investigating partner Burton Guster (Dulé Hill) corrected him - "Simon Baker doesn't do that!" - Shawn quipped: "Well, at least we have that."

This week, Psych signed off after eight seasons, and it appears The Mentalist won't be far behind; it was notably missing from the list of 18 series CBS recently renewed. It appears these shows will remain inextricably linked to the end, and we can finally say with near-psychic certainty - Psych is way better.

That's because USA's caper consistently maintained its tricky tone - a mix of quirky pop-culture in-jokes, classic crime-dramedy casework and genuine romance (not to mention bromance) - despite episodes that parodied genres as wide-ranging as horror films and lavish musicals.

The Mentalist, meanwhile, has been all over the map - literally, in the case of the current season (wishfully subtitled 'A New Beginning'), in which Baker's Patrick Jane and several of his California Bureau of Investigation colleagues have relocated to Austin, Texas to work for the FBI.

The Mentalist S05E08: 'Red John'

© Warner Bros. / Colleen Hayes


Even worse, the show has never set a steady mood. The Saul Bass-inspired opening titles promise a light romp, yet too often the storylines got bogged down in the depressingly dark ongoing-and-going-and-going storyline of Jane's desire to get revenge on the elusive "Red John", who murdered his wife and daughter.

After a seemingly satisfying ending in which Bradley Whitford was cast as the arch-nemesis, The Mentalist revealed that had been a deception, and dragged out the plot even further. Note to the producers: Fans don't like it when you brazenly defy their expectations, as the makers of The Killing can no doubt testify - their ratings never really recovered after the loose-ended season one finale.

When Red John was revealed earlier this season to be a minor figure played by Xander Berkeley, it felt spectacularly anticlimactic. A flash-forward and a cadre of new characters failed to infuse the show with new blood creatively or commercially.

This week's episode brought back fan faves Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and dangled the prospect of the duo returning to the crime-busting team full-time, only to snatch it away at episode's end. Clearly, The Mentalist hasn't learned its lesson about messing with people's minds.

USA network's show Psych

Psych, on the other hand, knows just what its insanely fervent fans - dubbed "Psych-O's" - want, and gave it to them in spades with a series finale that was just as optimistic and fulfilling as True Detective's upbeat closer. BFF's Shawn and Gus both relocated from Santa Barbara to San Francisco so Shawn could marry his one true love, Juliet (the winsome Maggie Lawson, Roday's real-life squeeze).

The proposal scene was both touchingly heartfelt and typically irreverent - "I'll marry the crap out of you!" was Juliet's answer. As my besties, 17-year-old Jed and 12-year-old Olive, and I watched the endearing trio of Shawn, Juliet and Gus literally drive off into the sunset, my son captured the moment perfectly when he said, "I'm crying and laughing at the same time - I'm craffing!"

Other craff-worthy moments in the sendoff included a surprise cameo by oft-mentioned Val Kilmer, a winking nod to USA predecessor Monk (the SFPD was said to employ a detective who was alphabetising the spice cabinet at a crime scene) and one last spotting of the pineapples that popped up in the periphery of every episode.

Creator Steve Franks has more-than-hinted that he'd like to Kickstart a movie in the vein of Veronica Mars, but unless and until that happens, Psych-O's can take comfort in a truly grand finale. Well, at least we have that.
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Tube Talk

Friday Night Dinner, Scandal, Glee: Tube Talk Q&A

By , TV Editor and , Showbiz Editor
The second that a telly question from you pops through our virtual postbox, the heat is on. Calls are made, doors are banged on, high speed pursuits through alleyways...admittedly do not happen, but the point is, we don't rest until we've got some juicy nuggets from hit shows to serve up to you on Thursday afternoon.

Read on for this week's edition of the Q&A, featuring Friday Night Dinner, Scandal and more...

Any news on when Friday Night Dinner will be back?

'Friday Night Dinner' still

© Channel 4


Good news, Pusface! It's looking like the Goodman clan will be heading back to our screens in the summer - around July - though as ever, nothing is fixed, dates can change, yadda yadda yadda.

The third series sounds like a cracker too, as Adam gains a new female admirer - an 11-year old girl, Jonny gets the world's worst tattoo, Dad gives the boys a graphic lecture on sex education, Grandma goes back out with the terrifying Mr Morris and Jim accidentally swallows Wilson's sleeping pills.

Belly laughs are guaranteed... oh, and sorry about that "Pusface" thing, Steve Knight.

Think I'll try asking about Scandal season 3 again.

Olivia and Harrison in Scandal

Ask and ye shall receive, Buster Cassidy - well, sort of...

Y'see, we did enquire about the fate of Scandal on UK telly, but all we could get out of our Channel 4 peeps was that Olivia Pope's return to our screens is yet to be scheduled.

It's looking like late 2014 then, before we'll see the Gladiators back fighting injustice on More 4.

Any news on when the second half of Glee season five will be on Sky 1?

Sam (Chord Overstreet), Artie (Kevin McHale), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Blaine (Darren Criss) in Glee S05E11: 'City of Angels'

© Fox / Adam Rose


Never fear, Gleeks, we have a small update on the future of New Directions and the New York gang, who haven't been seen in the UK since that weird Christmas special with the slutty Santa.

Sky have told us that season five, part two will commence sometime "later this year", which isn't particularly helpful, but at least it's reassurance that they haven't cruelly ditched the show mid-season. The channel has yet to confirm whether Glee will return here before the entire season wraps in the US on May 13, but it's not listed in super secretive highlights packages for April or May, so that could very well be the case.

Who knows - Gwyneth and Chris might even be back together by the time we get to see her comeback in the 100th episode!

Any news on Plebs series two?

Plebs - Episode 1, Season 1: Joel Fry as Stylax, Tom Rosenthal as Marcus and Ryan Sampson as Grumio.

© Rise TV


You betcha! Plebs - or as we at Tube Talk prefer to call it, The Inbetweeners in Ancient Rome - will be returning to screens for its long-awaited second series in the autumn, according to a lovely man from ITV2.

What can we expect from the award-winning show's sophomore run? Well, if lead actor Tom Rosenthal (of the aforementioned Friday Night Dinner) has his way, there'll be a lot less nudity.

Speaking about the Plebs scene where Danny Dyer stripped off in front of him, Tom told Digital Spy: "Hopefully we won't get any more well-endowed stars to share nude scenes with me in series two. Let's not get anyone with a massive d**k to wave in my face". Your move, Plebs.

I just watched the trailer for Derek series 2, but when does it start?

'Derek' S02E01: Ricky Gervais

© Channel 4


Wednesday, April 23 on Channel 4 - how's that for service?

Series two of Ricky Gervais's warm-hearted sitcom will see Derek (Gervais) looking to find love via online dating and also marks the arrival of Him & Her comic Joe Wilkinson as the equally uncouth brother of David Earl's foul-mouthed lout Kev.

Do you have any questions for the Tube Talk Q&A? Post them in the box below!
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Tube Talk

24: Live Another Day - Everything we know about Jack Bauer's comeback

By , TV Editor
Details of Jack Bauer's triumphant return to television were first divulged in May 2013 and the gap between that first announcement and now has been - to paraphrase the man himself - the longest 10 months of our lives.

But now there's just six weeks to go until Jack is unleashed onto London's streets - Union Jack, as some have dubbed it. The clock is ticking, so here's everything you need to know about 24: Live Another Day.

When is Jack back?

24: Live Another Day

© Fox


24: Live Another Day will get its world premiere on US network Fox on Monday, May 5 - launching with a double-bill. The remaining 10 episodes will then air over subsequent weeks on Mondays at 9/8c.

Sky1 - the show's UK home back in the day - has confirmed that it will also air the new limited series, though hasn't firmed up an air-date yet, other than to reassure Bauer's Brit fans that they'll also get to see the new episodes at some point in May.

But wait, isn't Jack a fugitive now?

'24: Live Another Day' trailer screencap

© Fox


Yes, for those of you who don't recall how 24 originally ended its run in 2010, Kiefer Sutherland's government agent Bauer came into conflict with both the US and Russian governments. There was fault on both sides, but ultimately Jack was forced to flee his home country and go on the run.

Live Another Day sees the ex-CTU operative rock up in London, but, as Bauer's bad luck would have it, the US President - his old sparring partner James Heller - is also visiting England's capital and it's not long before Jack uncovers a plot to assassinate the Commander-in-Chief on foreign soil.

Who else from the classic series is on board?

'24: Live Another Day' trailer screencap

© Fox


Along with Sutherland and William Devane as Heller, Live Another Day will also reintroduce Kim Raver as Audrey - Heller's daughter and Jack's old love interest, last seen in a near-comatose state in season 6 after being kidnapped and tortured by Chinese agents.

Audrey's doing considerably better now, having landed herself a husband, who's also her father's Chief of Staff - relationships are never straightforward in the 24 universe.

The final returnee is, of course, Chloe O'Brian - Mary Lynn Rajskub's snarky hacker who was first introduced to 24 in its third season and has since become as indispensable to the show as Bauer himself.

Chloe, it seems, has been on a reverse trajectory to Audrey. She's "damaged", having lost her young son in mysterious circumstances, has turned against the government she once served and is expressing her new world view via a punky new look that's got more than a little of the Lisbeth Salander about it.

That's apparently your lot for returnees. Trusty old Aaron Pierce (Glenn Morshower) will likely be absent, as will Carlos Bernard's Tony Almeida, so no huskily-whispered Alrights or Yahs for 24 fans this time round.

Who are the new guys?

'24: Live Another Day' trailer screencap

© Fox


Filling out the cast list for 24: Live Another Day is an impressive roster of stars including Yvonne Strahovski, Benjamin Bratt, Tate Donovan, Michelle Fairley, Colin Salmon and - incredibly - Stephen Fry.

Chuck star Strahovski is Kate Morgan, a CIA agent based in London who is tasked with capturing Jack, while Bratt is her clean-cut boss Steve Navarro.

Damages actor Donovan plays Audrey's new beau Mark Boudreau, while recent Game of Thrones departee Fairley has been cast as Margot, the widow of a notorious terrorist.

Salmon could cause trouble for Jack as the fierce, uncompromising General Coburn, while national treasure Fry is the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Did we mention how incredible Fry's casting is?

Is this a final farewell to Jack Bauer?

24: Live Another Day

© Fox


Perhaps not. It would be a tragedy to lose Jack again having only just got him back and, with Live Another Day sure to hit big on both sides of the Atlantic, further 24 outings seem like a near certainty - though what form the show's third coming would take is less certain.

Howard Gordon, exec producer on the original show and the revival, has claimed that a second limited series - likely spanning another 12 episodes - is the most likely option. The show's star though is still pushing for Jack to make the leap to the big screen.

"There's always an opportunity to do that," Sutherland said of the much-discussed 24 movie earlier this year - bless 'im, Kiefer will still be pitching that feature film when's Jack's pursuing terrorists with the aid of a walking stick and replacement hip.

24: Live Another Day to be preceded by comic book

Watch the trailer for 24: Live Another Day below:


Are you as pumped as we are for the new 24? Share your excitement for Union Jack below!
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1

Tube Talk

This Week's Must-See TV: 5 Shows You Shouldn't Miss

By , Showbiz Editor
Adam from Rev.

© BBC

Want to make sure you don't miss anything great on the telly in the next seven days? Never fear, because Tube Talk has done all the hard work for you and smushed all of this week's must-see TV into one snappy rundown. Check out what you should be checking out below...

Rev: Monday (March 24) at 10pm on BBC Two
The kind-hearted sitcom returns for a third series with Tom Hollander's Reverend Adam Smallbone and his wife Alex (Olivia Colman) becoming parents (yay!) just as St Saviour's Church comes under threat in a parish shake-up (boo!)

The Facejacker himself, Kayvan Novak, pops up as a local imam who Tom joins forces with in an effort to improve a dreary kids' playground. Ah, see, that's nice isn't it?

Watch a clip from the new series of Rev below:


Believe: Thursday (March 27) at 9pm on Watch
Believe has been dreamt up by the brilliant creative mind of powerhouse exec JJ Abrams, who then handed directorial duties to Oscar-winning Gravity filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. Basically, it's difficult to imagine this being anything other than incredible television.

Warrior and In The Valley of Elah star Jake McLaughlin takes the lead as Tate, an innocent man on death row who's broken out in order to protect a 10-year-old orphan girl with supernatural powers from a menacing suit played by Kyle MacLachlan, who has sinister intentions for the youngster. Ticking all the necessary Abrams boxes - the paranormal, gifted children, gruff anti-heroes, shady organisations - Believe will more than satisfy existing fans of the producer, and who knows, may even convert a few more.

Watch the trailer for Believe below:


Klondike: Thursday (March 27) at 9pm on Discovery Channel
Oh, hello Discovery Channel - look at you playing with the big boys this week! Yes, the home of countless hours of programming about giraffes galloping around and whatnot has unleashed its first-ever scripted series - and it's only gone and secured Game of Thrones favourite Richard Madden as its lead!

Klondike is a dramatic retelling of the 1890s gold rush that saw many attempt to dig for their fortune over the Alaskan border - mostly without success. The show follows two intrepid adventurers - played by Madden and Kick-Ass 2's Augustus Prew - as they pick up their pick axes and claw their way up the mountains, determined to change their lives or die trying. It's a bit stiff and distractingly educational at times, but, look - it's got Robb Stark wielding pistols, obviously it's worth a watch!

Watch the trailer for Klondike below:


Person of Interest: Thursday (March 27) at 10pm on Channel 5
Jim Caviezel and that smart alec crime-predicting machine are ready to spring into action again as Person of Interest returns from its mid-season break.

In our first new episode since before Christmas (blimey, it's been a long wait), Reese (Caviezel) must protect a woman who is trying to expose the truth after she is fired from a charity for war vets over false accusations of stealing. If that sounds a tad dull, don't worry - some action scenes and loud bangs get worked in to the plot as the FBI close the net on Reese.

Watch Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson chat to DS about Person of Interest's second season below:


Joanna Lumley Meets will.i.am: Friday (March 28) at 10.35pm on BBC One
By far the most ridiculous thing in the schedules this week, Joanna Lumley Meets will.i.am has the potential to be absolute TV gold, as the plum-voiced national treasure hangs out with the dope Twitter-loving, nonsense-spewing Black Eyed Pea in order to learn about his upbringing and the people who influenced him.

Some people may ask, 'Why the heck is this happening?', but we suggest you just appreciate that it is. With scenes like the one where will drives Joanna around Los Angeles in his tricked-out supercar, you could be forgiven for mistaking this for a Sport Relief sketch that somehow got delayed, but no - it's real, and bafflingly brilliant.

Watch the trailer for Joanna Lumley Meets will.i.am below:



What are you looking forward to watching this week? Leave your comments below!
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11

Tube Talk

Remote Patrol: Keeping a watch on TV

By , US TV Correspondent
Bruce Fretts
Digital Spy presents Remote Patrol - a new weekly column from New York-based TV critic Bruce Fretts, taking a look at what's hot right now in US television.

Fretts is a veteran of both Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide Magazine, where he penned the wildly popular 'Cheers & Jeers' column for 10 years.

JUSTIFIED: THE PERFECT TRUE DETECTIVE METHADONE

Martin Hart and Rust Cohle in True Detective

If you're like me, you got hooked on True Detective - hard. HBO's Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson serial thriller provided a quick, potent high. But after only eight episodes (and a supremely satisfying finale), it was gone, never to return, at least in this form.

Freshly minted Oscar winner McConaughey has said he'll be back only as an executive producer for a second season featuring a different cast of characters, although like American Horror Story, some of the ensemble could reappear in other roles.

Speculation about new leads has run wild, with Brad Pitt the latest name to be added to fans' wish list. In the meantime, what are the millions of addicts craving a fix of finger-lickin'-good crime drama to do?

Easy. Switch over to FX's Justified, which has been serving up the same kind of darkly intoxicating Dixieland exploits for the past five years. It's currently in the midst of its strongest run since its sophomore season, when it received four richly deserved Emmy nominations for acting, including a best supporting actress victory for Margo Martindale as murderous moonshine magnate Mags Bennett.

Justified season 3 DVD promo

Still need more proof that Timothy Olyphant's Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens can fill the Rust Cohle-shaped hole in your heart? Here are five reasons why.

1. Both shows are twisted bromances. The tension between McConaughey's Rust and Harrelson's Marty Hart was at least as riveting as the ritual-murder case they were investigating. And just as I'd happily spend an hour watching those two banter in the front seat of a police cruiser, the same holds true for Olyphant's Raylan and his lifelong frenemy Boyd Crowder (the electrifying Walton Goggins).

As the series winds down to its final episode next season, a showdown looms between Raylan and his old running buddy, who long ago crossed the law-abiding line the Marshal tiptoes so unsteadily across.

2. They each have literary pedigrees. Much ink was spilled over the fact that True Detective was penned solely by Nic Pizzolatto, an ex-literature professor who's published a novel and a collection of short stories. But he's a footnote compared to the late literary legend Elmore Leonard, whose short story "Fire in the Hole" inspired Justified's pilot.

Showrunner Graham Yost and his staff of scribes have nailed Leonard's tricky voice, which mixes tart comic dialogue with random acts of violence, a concoction rarely perfected in the myriad movie versions of his work. For every Get Shorty, there are 52 52 Pick-Up's.

Justified season 3 DVD promo

3. They treat Southerners like human beings. Sure, both True Detective and Justified have their share of toothless morons and snake handlers; the Crowe family - Raylan's primary nemeses this season - are mostly a flock of birdbrains.

But just as Rust and Hart were able to conduct deep philosophical conversations about time being a flat circle, Raylan regularly matches wits with numerous intellectual heavyweights, from the cunning Boyd to the wily US Marshals Service boss Art Mullen (the invaluable Nick Searcy). Put it this way: Both shows are a hell of a long way from Mayberry, RFD.

4. The women are at least as smart as the men. Michelle Monaghan's Maggie Hart was nobody's doormat; when Marty cheated on her with any number of floozies, she got revenge by seducing Cohle, instigating a year-long rift (not to mention a fistfight) between the partners.

The ladies of Justified are even more resourceful: Would-be lawyer Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt) has somehow kept her miscreant relatives out of jail, and Joelle Carter's Ava Crowder - Boyd's fiancée and one of Raylan's many exes - has survived on her own in a tough women's prison this season. And let's not forget how Mags Bennett outsmarted Raylan down to her very last drop of poisoned apple-pie hooch.

Michelle Monaghan as Maggie Hart in True Detective

© HBO


5. Both shows are character actors' paradises. The True Detective ensemble boasted everybody from HBO's go-to guys Kevin Dunn (Luck, Veep) and Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire - plus, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and Non-Stop) to seasoned thespians Tess Harper and Ann Dowd (who deserves an Emmy nod for her profoundly disturbing turn in the finale).

Justified offers an embarrassment of riches: This season alone has included stellar work from comedians (Dave Foley, Will Sasso, David Koechner - all following in Patton Oswalt's path from last year), cult figures (Eric Roberts, Alan Tudyk), Breaking Bad alums (Jere Burns, Dale Dickey), and real-life brothers (The Wire's Wood Harris and Friday Night Lights' Steve Harris). And this week's episode saw the surprise return of Jeremy Davies, who won an Emmy in 2012 as sole surviving Bennett family member Dickie and the addition of Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen as a crime boss' widow.

Convinced? Consider my case truly Justified.
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28

Tube Talk

Drifters, Karl Pilkington, Agents of SHIELD: Tube Talk Q&A

By , Showbiz Editor and , TV Editor
Like twerking, 'Blurred Lines' and the Harlem Shake, poring over the pages of listings magazines in a desperate search for confirmed UK air-dates and plot scoop is so last year.

All the cool kids know the place to be is the Tube Talk Q&A - hang out with us hip cats for all the latest on Drifters, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and more...

So happy that Marvel's Agents of SHIELD is back on Channel 4 - do you have any teasers for what's coming up?

Ian Hart as Dr. Franklin Hall in 'Agents of SHIELD' S01E03: 'The Asset'

© Channel 4


Us too - it felt like Coulson and co were gone for an age, but thanks to a similar hiatus on the other side of the pond, we're actually only a few episodes behind our US cousins! As for teasers, remember Dr Franklin Hall (Ian Hart), the physicist who suffered a nasty accident back in 'The Asset'...?

Well, we have it on good authority that Hall - who in the original Marvel comics becomes the super-villain Graviton - is expected to return for at least two more episodes, though said reappearance could happen either later this season or early on in a potential second run. Exciting!

Please answer if The Moaning of Life is coming back for series two!

Karl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life Episode 1 'Marriage'

© Sky / Freddie Claire


Well, this is an interesting one. When we asked Sky whether round-headed buffoon (Ricky Gervais's words, not ours) Karl Pilkington would be off on another worldwide quest for knowledge in a second series of The Moaning of Life, they told us the following: "We're talking to Karl about his next project for Sky1 and we will confirm details as soon as we can."

We're just taking an educated guess here, but that sounds very much like Karl will be ditching the Meaning of Life format for something brand new with the broadcaster - and we're practically salivating at all the possibilities. Would an entire series dedicated to Monkey News be out of the question?

Is Drifters on E4 coming back for series two?

The cast of E4's 'Drifters'

© Channel 4


Still no official word on the future of E4's Drifters we're afraid - the bawdy female-led sitcom is yet to be officially recommissioned, while its star and creator Jessica Knappett has headed to Hollywood, where she'll be starring in a US pilot opposite none other than Friends legend David Schwimmer.

When we checked in with Channel 4's commissioning team, they informed us that while they're "aware" of Miss Knappett's new commitment, "it shouldn't impact on the future of Drifters here" - so for right now, no news is good news!

When will Give Out Girls with Diana Vickers start on Sky?

Diana Vickers, Wireless Festival pre-party

© WENN


Never mind Cheryl Cole returning to the panel, the big X Factor TV appearance we're desperate to see this year is Diana Vickers on Sky Living's new comedy Give Out Girls, which focuses on the apparently "hilarious" world of promotions.

We've still to fix down an exact airdate for the show, which also features Him & Her actress Kerry Howard and ex-EastEnders star Tracy-Ann Oberman, but we do have a more specific ETA.

Sky Living has narrowed down the original 'early 2014' slot and told us this week that Give Out Girls will air in the summer. So, D-Vicks won't be watching herself on the box yet, but we're sure Diana's too busy celebrating her play The Duck House being nominated for an Olivier Award to get antsy.

Can't believe Sky has dropped Supernatural - will another channel pick it up?

Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padalecki as Sam in Supernatural S08E20: 'Pac-Man Fever'

© The CW / Diyah Pera


Yes, ICYMI, Sky Living has confirmed that it will not be airing the ninth season of Supernatural leaving the Winchester boys without a home in the UK.

It's too soon to confirm if another channel will pick up the series, but to give some insight into Sky's decision, the broadcaster is looking to invest less in US imports and more in its own original content.

Living still has plenty of Yank series on its books - including Chicago Fire, Hannibal, Elementary, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Bones and Dracula - so regrettably dropping Supernatural from its packed schedules does make a kind of sense, even if ratings were still reasonably strong.

Do you have any questions for the Tube Talk Q&A? Post them in the box below!
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