Over the year’s there have been plenty of attempts at TV series’ looking into the life of the homosexual, many of which have followed a group of stereotypical camp, sex-crazed friends as they battle to find themselves through drink, drugs and debauchery.
At long last though a series has risen from the ashes offering a refreshing look at a group of friends who just happen to be gay.
HBO’s ‘Looking’ has had audiences hooked in the US and it’s about to do the same in the UK as it’s released on DVD and Blu Ray.
‘Looking’ focuses on an unlikely group of friends; Patrick the gaming geek (Jonathan Groff), Agustin the failed artist (Frankie Alvarez) and Dom the older, more mature friend (Murray Bartlett). Throw in Doris the token SBF (straight best friend), Richie, the love interest (Raul Castillo) and of course Kevin the boss (Russell Tovey) and you have something rather special.
Patrick takes on the role of lead protagonist as that friend that we all have that hasn’t had a serious relationship. After meeting Richie on the train (because where else do you get chatted up?) Patrick finds himself falling for Richie but making mistake after mistake in that adorable way that your friend-who-is-more-like-a-brother does. Having finally found something special in, enter Kevin, the equally as geeky boss who, as if by fate, turns out to be gay too. I won’t spoil what happens next but you can probably guess.
From the word go you immediately fall in love with the characters. Despite all being at different phases in the lives and having completely different personalities, it’s this unlikely friendship that keeps you coming back for more.
As the series develops there are no massive cliff-hangers or big shocks (well not ones that you didn’t see coming) and it’s quite often a little predictable.
Despite this, the show keeps you hooked and you find yourself switching your favourite character from episode to episode.
The setting of San Francisco offers something a little less grimy and less Sex In The City. Of course the show features sex and drugs, but what show doesn’t now? Theses vices are linked to the stories but don’t make it awkward to watch, but in fact offer a few laughs.
With plenty of heart, Looking is a real feel-good show, making you wish that your friends were like that (no offence guys).
To celebrate the release of LOOKING: SEASON ONE, coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 12th January 2015 courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment, and Season 2 due on Sky Atlantic soon, we take a look at the career of Russell Tovey, the lone Brit in season one who has excelled in theatre, film and TV roles over the years.
This pitch-perfect HBO series about three friends in San Francisco stars Russell Tovey as Kevin Matheson alongside Jonathan Groff (Patrick), Frankie J Alvarez (Agustín) and Murray Bartlett (Dom) as the central characters attempting to navigate the various pitfalls of dating, careers and everything in-between. Tovey plays Patrick’s boss and the pair develop an inappropriate, flirtatious relationship that leads to a mix of gratification and regret. Tovey has been promoted to series regular for the second season, due to air in 2015.
The History Boys (2004-2006)
In 2004, Tovey scored the role of Rudge in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys at the Royal National Theatre after a number of promising theatre appearances straight out of high school. Tovey also went to Broadway with The History Boys and although he originally auditioned for the role of Crowther, he agreed to act the part of Rudge after Bennett promised to beef up the role. Rudge, the dopey and intellectually challenged member of the highly intelligent history boys, attains his place at an Oxbridge university on the basis of his prowess on the sports field.
My Family and Other Animals (2005)
In 2005, Tovey played Leslie Durrell in My Family and Other Animals, an autobiographical film by naturalist Gerald Durrell which tells the tale of his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939. The autobiography is a comic exaggeration of the foibles and anecdotes of the Durrell family in the four years before WWII. Also starring Eugene Simon, Imelda Staunton and Chris Langham, Tovey shines as Leslie, who develops a distinct passion for sailing and ballistics.
Gavin & Stacey (2007-2009)
James Corden and Ruth Jones’ award winning romantic sitcom Gavin & Stacey came to television screens in 2007 to widespread acclaim. The show captured the attention of the British public, who immediately fell for Jones’ macho catch-line machine Nessa and Corden’s hilarious, energetic and emotionally childish character Smithy, whilst also enchanted by the long-distance relationship between Gavin (Matthew Horne) and Stacey (Joanne Page). In the series Tovey plays the loveable nit-wit Budgie; one of Gavin and Smithy’s Billericay friends who develops an unlikely friendship with Brynn, played by Rob Brydon.
Tovey returned to television screens in January 2012 in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’; the most iconic episode of Sherlock Holmes which also stars Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays Henry Knight who, aged seven, saw his father torn to pieces by a monstrous creature at Dewer’s Hollow near their Dartmoor home. Twenty years later Henry happens upon the footprints of a huge beast and suspects that the nearby Baskerville government research station is breeding mutant animals.
When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking and sea-dwelling aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive. Tovey stars in this ridiculous yet entertainingly inebriated film as marine ecologist Dr Adam Smith. In Grabbers, Dr Adam Smith taints his blood with booze so that he is poisonous for the aliens to eat, alongside a hoard of fellow inebriated Irish villagers.
Being Human (2008-2012)
Being Human first aired in 2008 as a unique British supernatural drama television series in which a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost attempt as best as they can to live a “normal” life together and blend in with the ordinary humans around them. The show’s five series star Lenora Crichlow as Annie Sawyer (a ghost), Aidan Turner as John Mitchell (a vampire) and Tovey as George Sands (a werewolf). The show blends elements of horror drama and flatshare comedy as the three attempt to live together harmoniously whilst avoiding detection by the humans around them.
Effie Gray (2014)
Effie Gray is the biographical drama that takes a look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray, played by Dakota Fanning. The screenplay, written by Emma Thompson, was cleared of two copyright lawsuits that had claimed the script had been plagiarised from earlier dramatisations. The lawsuits led to repeated delays of the completed film before it was finally released in October 2014. In the film, Tovey plays Ruskin’s butler George alongside an impressive supporting cast including Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters.
LOOKING: SEASON ONE, is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 12th January 2015, courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. The complete season is also available to own and watch instantly on Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox, Google Play and iTunes.
Modern Family kicked off season 6 on Sky 1 last night, and while it wasn’t a classic it was still a solid start. The previous seasons had got better as they went on with some of the most love-able characters and funny interactions. Out of the 3 story lines last night, the Dunphy storyline was probably the most funny especially the dynamic between Luke and Hayley! While a solid start, the season should get better especially with Modern Family having some quality comedy guest stars such as Adam DeVine, Rob Riggle and Jordan Peele!
Season 6 continues Monday at 8.00pm.
The Big Bang Theory Season 8 kicked off last night in good fashion. After last season’s mediocrity of episodes and it being quite frankly repetitive, this new season seems refreshingly better. Every character last night had at least a few lines which caused some great laughs, being the Big Bang at its best! In true Sheldon style he had managed to have all his possession’s stolen which was utterly brilliant to see and witnessing him in his underpants in the Police Station was hilarious!
The 2 stand out character’s last night were Sheldon and Stuart. Sheldon as always, had his sarcastic and condescending killer lines and Stuart was brilliant in his new “rivalry” with Howard which brings us another great story-line for the season. A great start to a hopefully fresh new season!
7/10 – Smart, Charming but lacking the huge laughs
If any viewers had any complaints about The Walking Dead being slow in season 4 then they would have no complaints about the season 5 premiere “No Sanctuary”. The first scenes before the opening credits were intense to say the least, one by one the gore of people’s throats being cut at the trough after a smack to the head made you think, how is this even allowed on the TV? Poor Sam! Carol was there to save the day, with every character showing their capability especially Tyreese whose willingness to compromise his morals on not killing to help save Judith showed that they truly were screwing with the wrong people!
The word cannibal was actually not used in the episode, but it was obvious. You have to feel sorry for Gareth & co after what happened to them through the use of flashbacks but what they’ve become is despicable. Even eating their own (Alex) shows that they are truly too far gone in this world. And guess what? Gareth is still alive! Wonder if that will come back to haunt the group.
The episode’s brutality and fast pace was topped with two reunions which brought a tear to the eyes of all fans. First Carol then Tyreese and Judith. It was heart-warming and it’s what we’d all been looking forward to for half a season and the wait payed off big time. One big surprise was afoot for the TWD fans after the credits, months after the events of the premier we saw Morgan on his way to terminus (looking at the sign Rick had edited after escaping) who had been gone for almost 2 seasons. No one was expecting that.
Final Verdict: Everything you could have asked for in a premiere, deaths, gore, shocks and seeing your favourite characters be total bad-asses! Hopefully a great season 5 to come!
The Walking Dead returns on Fox UK, Monday nights at 9pm, but you can watch below for a seek peak at Episode 2…
10/10 – Shortness of breath, lots of gore and leaves you wanting more!
As anyone that reads this site regularly will know, we love Batman here at Geektown. Personally I’ve had an ever expanding collection of Batman trades, comics and graphic novels since the early 90s, so I’m pretty well versed in the Batman and DC universe. When I heard they were planning a show based on Gotham, but pre-batman, I did wonder if the guys at Fox could pull it off. Thankfully they have, and in spectacular fashion.
The show is centred around a young, idealistic, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Newly arrived in the cesspool that is Gotham city he soon discovers that pretty much everyone is on the take or playing sides. He’s partnered up with the grizzled old hand Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Not a out-and-out dirty cop, but definitely not a clean one either. Just someone who understands how Gotham works, and will do whatever it takes to not rock the boat. That becomes difficult when Gordon and Bullock get called to a double homicide. 2 people shot in an alley, and the only known witness is their son, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz)…
Bullock is desperate to hand the case off to special branch cops Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), but Gordon insists they follow it up. This leads to a meeting with Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), a mob boss working under Gotham’s main crime lord Carmine Falcone. It’s also the first time we meet Robin Lord Taylor’s wonderfully slimy Oswald Cobblepot (nicknamed ‘Penguin’ by the rest of Fish’s crew), who’s working as a henchman for Fish. Taylor plays Cobblepot with a great mix of toadying deference to his boss, whilst ,behind his eyes, you can tell there are cogs turning about how to step over her, and climb the criminal ladder.
Oswald is not the only familiar future villain to pop up on the show, as they’re sprinkled throughout the episode if you know your Batman mythology. Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is already out picking pockets on her way to becoming Catwoman. Eddie Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is working as the police coroner, but is already annoying people with riddles. In the course of the investigation, Gordon and Bullock also meet a young girl called Ivy Pepper, who seems to have an interest in plants… There’s also a rather bad comedian telling jokes in Fish’s club, but I believe the plan is to plant ‘possible’ Joker’s throughout the series without ever actually revealing him. Sort of a ‘How I Met Your Joker’. 😉
When Gordon goes to Wayne Manor, we get our first proper meeting with Bruce’s faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). This version is less the worry wart, upper-class Alfred of the comics, and seems to be rather more down to earth, not afraid to put Bruce in his place when he needs it. His line when he sees young ‘Master Bruce’ standing on the edge of the manor roof is just brilliant, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how his character and relationship with the young Bruce develops.
There are changes from the comics, but I think that was to be expected. It’s not like the origin’s of Gotham’s villains (or heroes) is set in stone, as there have been multiple retelling of their origins over the years. Much as I love Frank Miller’s Batman Year One, I also loved Nolan’s take on the origin story, and Scott Snyder’s latest take in the more recent Zero Year Batman comics. In a multi-verse of possibilities, there’s room out there for every variation. Bruno Heller (creator of Gotham, as well as HBO’s superb ‘Rome’, and the much loved ‘The Mentalist’) has done a great job weaving the characters into a solid, engaging story, that leaves you wanting to see where it goes next.
Gotham will air on Channel 5 – 13th October at 9pm, and I urge you to tune in. If you love Batman, cop shows, or just well written drama, you will love it.