TV Highlights

What was on Friday 27th February

12 Monkeys

Syfy - 9pm

Who's in it?

Aaron Stanford was time-travelling agent James Cole, while Amanda Schull was unlikely accomplice Dr Cassandra Railly in this small screen spin on the classic sci-fi film.

In a nutshell

The reason why 12 Monkeys was such a great movie was down to its sheer weirdness. It took a pretty straightforward sounding blockbuster concept – Bruce Willis goes back in time from a virus-ravaged future to save humanity – and twisted it up. Instead of being a smarmy action hero, Willis’s character was a dribbling, oafish crazy guy. Instead of actually trying to avert the future catastrophe, he merely wanted a sample of the virus to take back. And – spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie – the “Army of the 12 Monkeys” itself was just a red herring.

The TV series has taken the basic idea and repackaged it for primetime. So forget the surrealism and almost nihilistic strangeness – the hero is now a standard issue determined hunk, the baddies are very clearly outlined, and it all makes a whole lot of sense. So fans of Terry Gilliam’s original vision may yawn in the face of this sleek, cleaned up version of the saga, but newcomers will probably thrill to its gleaming, fast-paced action. So what we’re saying is, it’s actually pretty good on its own terms. Actually.

What's the verdict?

A reboot of a beloved film classic, this should have been a disaster. The fact that it’s actually a very solid, thrilling piece of telly is enough to be thankful for – but seriously, if you haven’t seen the film, go and check it out already.

Star rating: 4/5

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07-07-2011