This week, in TV news: The cast of Friends reunite and Robot Wars returns, but Jack Bauer is left out in the cold…
3…2…1…Activate! That’s right, Robot Wars is coming back to BBC Two. For those too young to recall the original late 90s/early 2000s show (Hey, you, get off our lawn!), the series involves teams of amateur ‘roboteers’ and their homemade Terminators slugging it out in a series of challenges to be crowned Ultimate Robotic Champion. No word yet on whether longtime host Craig Charles will return, or whether classic house ‘bots such as Sir Killalot or Casius Chrome will be wheeled out of retirement for a comeback. We reached out to both but they tried to shove us into The Pit of Oblivion.
After 12 years of constant rumours and dashed hopes, the cast of Friends will finally reunite for a one-off special next month. No, it’s not a new episode. Nor is a movie in the works. Instead, the cast will come together as part of an NBC special celebrating the career of legendary TV director James Burrows (Frasier), who recently shot his 1,000th episode. Not quite what we expected, then, but at least we’ll see all six cast members share the same room again. Well, except for Matthew Perry, who can’t attend because he’s rehearsing for a play right here in London. It’s really not what we were all hoping for, is it?
No Bauer, No Bother…
Dammit, Chloe. In what could turn out to be one of the worst ideas in the history of TV commissioning, 24 is heading back to our screens… without Jack Bauer. Though it’s keeping the real-time format, 24: Legacy will replace Kiefer Sutherland’s growling anti-hero with Eric Carter, a troubled military hero who turns to the CTU in his hour of need and becomes embroiled in an operation to prevent one of the largest terrorist attacks ever attempted on US soil. Details are understandably scant at this early stage, but we do know the pilot will shoot this winter under the direction of series regular Stephen Hopkins. Meanwhile, rumours circulate the role of Carter will be played by an as-yet-uncast black actor. Casting is now underway.
Cloning in Wonderland
Season three of Orphan Black was yet another dark, densely-layered and wildly entertaining run that deftly expanded the show’s complex mythology. The upcoming fourth season looks set to follow in its dark, twisted footsteps – at least judging by the Alice in Wonderland-inspired teaser that arrived earlier this week. Likening its story to plunging down a rabbit hole, the trailer hints at the show delving even deeper into its thought-provoking cloning conspiracy as chief duplicate Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) resolves: “The only way forward… is to go back.” Orphan Black returns to BBC America in April and will likely hit the Beeb here in some capacity later this year.
Netflix Log-On to Kiss Me First
Having poached two of Channel 4’s heavy-hitters in Black Mirror and Derek recently, Netflix has now decided to team-up with the broadcaster for its latest project. They’ve struck a deal with Skins creator Bryan Elsley to adapt Lottie Moggach’s bestseller Kiss Me First. The six part thriller will combine live-action and animation to tell the story of Leila, a sheltered and obsessive 17-year-old who’s addicted to an online gaming site. There she meets Tess, a cool and confidant party girl with a dark secret. But when her new friend disappears, Leila must delve into her virtual persona to find out what happened. Expect it on a screen of some kind later this year.