Television is becoming the go-to medium for actors and directors of all pedigrees, and often more enticing and accessible than the silver screen. The average TV show consumer is now spoilt for choice. With the wide variety available to us via both conventional broadcasting, and web services invading the living room, investing time into a series can be a huge commitment; Colin Roberts is here to guide you through the TV noise.


AMC Halt and Misfire in attempt to replace Mad Men

Advertising in the '60s and '70s is, by its very make-up, a sexy topic for a show. It's allowed AMC's Mad Men to farm hours of engaging television out of not-a-whole-lot-happening and hold your interest for the bits of the show that cast it into the upper echelons of this "Golden Age Of Television". It is to most minds at the polar opposite of the bespectacled neck beards that formed the 80s computer revolution.

It comes as little surprise then that the network's latest situational drama rooted in the previous century Halt and Catch Fire suffers at the hands of its own setting. That's not to say that the show is without merit; the series debut promised much with its sexy protagonist Joe MacMillan rolling up in a Porsche, stealing parking spaces and putting the wind up a stuffy computer company in Texas. But where the sex and drinking and shouting and sex in its '60s Madison Avenue counterpart feels part and parcel of the setting of an advertising company, in Halt and Catch Fire it feels somewhat tacked on; crowbarred into the show to deliver something more exciting than its own scenario would allow.

With subsequent episodes, the single laboured central plot that runs the show becomes harder and harder to get excited about and despite a rich interest in computing and its history from this writer, my interest is waning week upon week.

There's little to recommend sinking your teeth into with Halt and Catch Fire just now, five episodes in. We've been here before with other big budget US TV drama and its turned itself around, but for now AMC will have to pin its hopes of replacing its cultural behemoth Mad Men when it finishes next Spring elsewhere. Let's hope the network's decision to renew Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul for a second season before the first has even aired pays off; BCS begins early 2015.


Murdered By My Boyfriend

Many have decried the axing of BBC Three, and for all of its reruns of Family Guy and programming about people being sick whilst dancing on Greek islands that we all secretly love, it has also been a breeding ground for new talent and sleeper hits since its spiritual predecessor BBC Choice. It comes as no surprise then that the channel was home to yet another powerful piece of television in Murdered By My Boyfriend.

A one-off drama, Murdered By My Boyfriend is closely based upon a true story and consistently surprises with a selection of performances on screen that deliver characters deep enough within its 60 minute run time that by the end you're left truly stunned. Lead Georgina Campbell in particular is overwhelming and affecting in her role as 17 year old Ashley. Not for the faint of heart but perhaps an important watch even so, Murdered By My Boyfriend is another example of the kind of one-off youth-targeted programming we'll miss following BBC Three's departure. Check it out here


Utopia

Channel 4 thankfully isn't going anywhere soon and thank goodness when they're about to deliver another season of the triumphant Utopia. Sporting casting additions from sources as wide as Star Wars and Game of Thrones, season two appears to centre around the unleashing of an intense flu virus. The first season of Utopia was as mysterious as it was thrilling and led to HBO picking it up for an American remake, helmed by Se7en and Fight Club direction David Fincher. Let's hope the promise of the trailer (below) is realised when the new run begins this July.