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Bob on the Box: Focus on M-Series channel

Bob Eveleigh
04/29/2013 14:25:15

Artslink.co.za News
Bob Eveleigh: In a week featuring a change of month, two new series make their bows on M-Net Series (Channel 114).

I also give details of two shows that have already begun their first seasons on DStv but dropped under my personal radar in recent weeks.

The first of the brand newies, which will air on Mondays at 9.30pm as from tonight, is Longmire, a one-hour American crime drama which had its domestic premiere on A&E in the US on June 3 last year.

It was based by its creators on a series of mystery novels written by best-selling American author Craig Johnson, which centre on the cases handled by Walt Longmire, the sheriff of fictional Absaroka County in the state of Wyoming.

The series - like the sequence of books - begins as he returns to work after the death of his wife and, throughout the 10 episode-season, assisted by his daughter Cady, his new deputy Vic and his best friend, Henry Standing Bear (a Cheyenne who runs the local bar that Walt frequents), he investigates major crimes falling within his jurisdiction.

But, underpinning the crime stuff, his other, longer-standing deputy Branch Connally, who covets Walt's job, has decided to run against him for election to the office, aided by his wealthy and influential father, Barlow Connally.

The title role is played by a rugged Australian actor who is the namesake of a famous American Hollywood headliner, Robert Taylor, while familiar faces in the supporting cast belong to Lou Diamond Phillips, as Henry Standing Bear, and Gerald McRaney, as Barlow Connally.

The show did well enough in its premiere 2012 season to be renewed for a further 10 episodes later this year.

The second M-Net Series newcomer is Hunted, which starts on Wednesday at 9.30pm.

This is a recent American/ British co-production between Cinemax and the BBC.

Created by a man named Frank Spotnitz, once the executive producer and head writer of The X-Files, the series was first seen on BBC One in early October, 2012, and two weeks later on Cinemax in the US.

It stars another Australian-born talent in actress Melissa George, playing an espionage agent named Sam, who works for a private intelligence agency called "Byzantium".

As the action starts, she survives an attempt on her life but suspects that people working for her own company were, for some reason, behind the attack.

After recovering and returning to duty, she goes undercover to work as a nanny, not knowing who tried to kill her or whom to trust.

It then transpires that the attempt to murder her could be linked to a horrific event that took place when she was a child.

With the first series of eight one-hours taking place mostly in London, the show was supposed to have the gimmick that each subsequent season would be centred in a different European city, with Berlin planned for the second run.

But the BBC opted out of a 2013 follow-up and Cinemax are still deciding whether to go it alone with production in America, to save costs, and a new slant on Sam's future investigations.

Anyway, there are eight episodes in this first run on M-Net Series.

Now to the two shows that have been already running for two weeks each on this channel, mid-week and weekend respectively.

The first, airing at 8.30pm on Wednesdays, is Deception, which is a kind of mix of murder mystery with prime time soap opera overtones and Dallas-like production values.

The show premiered only on January 17 on the NBC network so, again, is a very quick capture by M-Net.

The main protagonist is a San Francisco Police Department homicide detective named Joanna Locasto, played by actress Meagan Good, who, despite 20 years in series TV in the US, has still to hit it big in a solid series.

When famous socialite Vivian Bowers is found dead in a motel room from what appears to be a drug overdose, Joanna, a former friend who has not really been in touch with her for some time, decides to attend her funeral where she is suddenly requested by the wealthy Bowers family and others to dig into her death.

To do so, she goes undercover for the FBI and, in the course of 11 one-hour episodes, gradually uncovers the truth while accumulating the evidence to put the killer away.

The chief suspect is Robert Bowers, Vivian's father, the founder and CEO of a pharmaceutical company yet there seems to be no motive for such an action by him.

He is played by frequent TV regular in Canadian actor Vincent Garber, while the other very familiar face in the main cast is a rather older John Larroquette, who plays Dwight Haverstock, a US Senator with a dark past who was in love with the murdered woman and particularly prevails upon Joanna to undertake the investigation.

No announcement has yet been made about future series - and cases - for Joanna at this time.

Switching to the new documentary field, although I am personally not too much in favour of programmes about guns, National Geographic Channel (Channel 181) presents the start of a rather different new series under the title, Family Guns, on Tuesdays at 9.55pm.

This features the father and son team of Christian and Alex Cranmer, who together run a business, called International Military Antiques (IMA), which specialises in buying and selling antique and historical arms and operates out of a community called Bernardsville, in the US state of New Jersey.

Alex likes purchasing unusual items in their chosen field - only to find that his dad doesn't always really want to sell such acquisitions!

An international authority on antique weapons, Christian Cranmer first started collecting military antiques at the age of twelve.

In the 1970s he began dealing in them and travelled around the world collecting weapons from government arsenals that were being broken up and, later, bringing his son into the business.

They have now established a joint international reputation as having unrivalled knowledge of military history and antique arms.

In tomorrow's first 55-minute episode, viewers can see how they deal with 1920s-era Tommy Guns and two rare, mint condition World War II sniper rifles.

Bob Eveleigh


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