So, by now, the whole world (well, almost) has had the opportunity to gaze upon the first episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, the fourth series of the Doctor Who spin-off from writer Russell T Davies.
Some programmes thrive on constantly treading the line between funny and serious without ever truly identifying which they are – Shameless did it for years before toppling over the edge – while others are content to nail their comedic or dramatic flags to the mast from the outset.
There are only a few reasons why television remakes are commissioned, but the ways in which they can fail are as plentiful as there are fans to castigate a production company for daring to make such horrendous sows’ ears out of the silk purse originals.
‘This is the NHS,’ a podgy pathologist points out to Detective Sergeants Brooks and Devlin at the beginning of the episode, ‘not CSI.’ – and there’s no mistaking the warmer, more down-to-earth British cousin of the long-running, long-faced American franchise for anything more transatlantic.
After a fair bit of scheduling problems in America, The Kennedys finally arrive at the BBC. Back in the US, the show was pulled by the History network; apparently because, according to some critics, its version of real-life events wasn’t anybody’s idea of history.
Stolen opens with the legend, ‘Once upon a time...’ printed on the screen. Like the fairytales that two German brothers collected and published in the nineteenth century, this is about as Grimm a story as it gets.
Even in a modern entertainment world where America, France and even Denmark are routinely exporting excellent psychological police thrillers as if there’s a NATO surplus, Neil Cross has proved with this show that British television hasn’t forgotten how to make them either.
One of the (many) great things about Luther is the bad guys. Despite their diabolical schemes and vicious acts of mass murder, they’re not bald-headed men in secret lairs. Instead, they’re frighteningly ordinary-looking young men.
‘No one dies these days!’ Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) yells to new acquaintance Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) as they leap out of a top-floor window of the CIA archives in Washington, just in time to avoid a huge explosion that rips the building to bits.
The second instalment of the new series sees what started as a fairly narrow story opening up around John Luther (Idris Elba) as he searches for salvation amid the wreckage of his private life and the darkness that his life as a policeman brings him into incessant contact with.