Thursday, 31 December 2009

Durham County 2nd Season US Premiere Only Days Away

Michelle Forbes is not the kind of actor who avoids variety and challenging roles. If you liked her as the tough Admiral Cain in Battlestar Galactica, the enchanting Maryann in True Blood or the lovely but troubled Kate in In Treatment, you should definitely add Pen Verrity from Durham County to the mix. A new, challenging role takes her to the award winning Canadian series with an unique, dark and realistic tone. The first season, which contains 6 episodes, anatomized male violence through the story of Detective Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon) and investigated how it affected us. Michelle joins the cast in the second season as Pen Verrity, the sexy, mysterious forensic psychiatrist, who has more skeletons in her closet, than we can imagine. Women can be as nasty as men, that’s for sure.

Penelope is quite troubled, to say the least, because of what’s happening and because of some trauma that had not been dealt with or transformed when she was younger,” {…}. “All of this comes bubbling to the surface. There’s a certain fracturing of her soul and her mind, and she’s desperately trying to grab onto Mike Sweeney.” said Forbes. This character is not less complex than she played before. “I was really seduced by the darkness of it, by the truth of it. Laurie Finstad (Knizhnik), our writer, has this extraordinary ability to hold up this frail, human dark side of ourselves and confront it. That was what was so compelling to me and made me jump at the chance to be a part of it.

Source: Tv,eh?

The writing is extraordinary, sensitive and very expressive, as is the cinematography. The show is perfectly cast, which adds to its quality. Every part of the production seem to work flawlessly. Michelle plays Pen Verrity with much complexity. Her ability to express a dozen emotions in one look comes to the surface now more than ever before. As we witness Pen desperately try to control herself and others, we constantly swing between feelings of hate, pity, love, sympathy, frustration towards her. She leaves us in a daze. If you thought Maryann was scary, you haven’t seen anything yet. Durham County challenged my intelligence and I loved it.

Switch your television on on Sunday, January 3 from 9:00 – 11:00 PM, ET and tune into ION Television and watch the second season of Durham County which launches with episodes 1 and 2 back to back. In case you missed the beginning of the story, they’ve set up a marathon of the first season on January 2. - Akima

Pre-order DC Season 1 from (Available from January 19th, 2010)

Here's a мищка joining us and our polar friends in wishing all a peaceful end to 2009, and a strong start to 2010!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Holidays

Season's greetings from Chris and yours truly, from Amsterdam and Dublin, to everyone, our readers, our contributors. Thank you so much for participating in your own unique way.

We wish you all a holiday filled with happiness, love, warmth, and bellies full of wonderful food.

There's no snow in Dublin yet so I had to fake it a little bit. You may click on the picture to see it falling. :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Emotional Impact

"Emilie Lopez : Vous avez tourné dans de nombreuses séries particulièrement appréciées du public. Êtes-vous habituée au succès?

Michelle Forbes : J’ai vraiment eu de la chance d’être dans de telles séries, auxquelles je croyais et que j’aimais. Après avoir passé 16 à 18 heures par jour, parfois 6 jours par semaine à faire ces histoires, et que tu vois l’impact qu’elles ont sur le public, que tu vois tout le monde tellement excité à l’idée de te rencontrer, que tu les voies si respectueux, comme cela peut-il t’énerver ? C’est ce que l’on fait, c’est ce pour quoi on travaille pendant des jours et des jours : avoir un impact émotionnel sur le public. Donc quand cela arrive, c’est toujours extrêmement touchant."

My attempt to translate it. I apologise in advance for any mistakes.
"You have played in many TV shows which are particularly appreciated. Do you get used to success?

I was indeed lucky to be part of shows in which I believed in and which I loved. After working 16 to 18 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week, creating these stories, and seeing the impact that they have on the public, when you see everybody so keen with the idea to meet you, and how respectful they are, how does this thrill you? That's what you do, that's why you're working day after day, to have an emotional impact on the audience. Because when this happens, it's always incredibly touching."

I'd like to say that it's equally moving as a viewer how Michelle Forbes makes us laugh and cry, scream and lament, or squee with delight. And sometimes let us become absolutely silent.
How does she achieve this? What is her secret, what are the techniques to attract, engage, and fascinate us?

Since it's quiet on the blog in these December days, you'll get an unrelated Sunday picture. Yesterday in Amsterdam, on my way to work. Tonight it's bitterly cold, and it's snowing :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Salzburg Connection

From the series "Load of Bollocks" we're glad to bring two more 18th century music videos to your attention. Lots of Michelle scenes from True Blood, Messiah, Durham County, In Treatment, Wonderland, Swimming with Sharks and Battlestar Galactica to Pop music from 1785, disrespectfully mashed up.
Rebecca's video was first, then I've cut all eeeek-moments and replaced them by cute scenes.

Rebecca's video:

Anyone else into ancient Austrian pop music layered with scifi, crime, psychodrama and a gorgeous actress?
Well, as long as Michelle doesn't hurry up and grab a role in a period drama, we're forced to make our own show :)

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Wonderland Revisited

Wonderland is an eight part television series, a gritty and realistic portrayal of the doctors and patients of the fictional psychiatric Rivervue Hospital in New York City. Wonderland first aired on ABC in the spring of 2000, but because of its controversal story, its dark tone and intense nature, it was taken off the air after only two episodes. - In Europe all eight episodes could be watched on various French, Scandinavian and Swiss TV channels.
In the US DirecTV's 101 network aired the entire series in January 2009, complemented by opening commentaries by series creator, producer and writer Peter Berg, and provided with a different music score.

Episode 3: Sanity.
(This was episode 1 in the US)

Intro. Madonna, humming. Group therapy.
Lupinta: "Sometimes I slap someone or stump with my foot when I'm angry ..."
"I just ... I just..."
"I love my wife, you should never hurt or frighten or hit ...
"Be kind."

7 A.M. in New York City. 'The Little Drummer Boy' introduces this episode. The song will also end it.
'Come they told me, pa rum pa pum pum // A new born King to see, pa rum pa pum pum.'
A couple make love. Feet on a scale. Staten Island Ferry. Yoga exercises. Children brushing their teeth.The hospital awakens.

I was trying to tell the story of this Wonderland episode. I can't. You need to watch it. Please do. And if possible try to get the original version with the original music score.

The ending. Group again. Lapinta: "I know it's not yet but I'm feeling a pretty strong sense of Merry Christmas. I've got a feeling of love. You know, it's so hard to get in that touch of love ... where you really feel that this is a regular part of who you are.
That's what I want. That's what I wanna work on. Being with my love, living with my love..
I'd need help with that. - I was wondering if you could help me with that."

Main cast:
Ted Levin - Dr. Robert Banger
Michelle Forbes - Dr. Lyla Garrity
Michael Jai White - Dr. Derrick Hatcher
Billy Burke - Dr. Abe Matthews
Martin Donovan - Dr. Neil Harrison
Michelle Barker - Julie McCray
Patricia Clarkson - Tammy Banger
Leland Orser - Wendall Rickle

Series creator: Peter Berg

Quote from Wonderland, Dr. Rober Banger:
" When the pressures of modern society become too great for a person, when one's chemical dynamic becomes such that they are unbalanced, that they cease painting within the lines, they come to us. These are the people that society would prefer just go away -- the shadow people. The shadow people that project upon us their shadow and remind us just how tenuous mental health is. Our worst fears. They remind us how easy it can be to slip."

Wonderland isn't for everybody. It is visually demanding and stunning. And it is honest, authentic, realistic and true.


"The best one-season wonders of the ’00s -
Wonderland (ABC, 2000) Peter Berg’s first TV series was often too frenetic by half, but in its dedication to showing a mental hospital The Way It Really Is, the series sported a verisimilitude that few shows even dare approach. Filled with actors who went on to flit through numerous other acclaimed series of the decade—Michelle Forbes and Martin Donovan, to name two—Wonderland could be darkly humorous, but it was often just dark, willing to go to places of bleak despair. Since it was kind of like a major-network Oz, and since it was on after Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, it was quickly shown the door, though DirecTV’s Channel 101 has broadcast the previously unaired episodes."

"It isn’t about ruptured spleens and heart attacks. It’s about the mentally ill, the psychotics and schizophrenics and the severely depressed. It’s about the doctors who take care of these special cases, the so-called gatekeepers holding the barbarians back from society.
Produced, written and directed by Peter Berg (himself an alum of “Chicago Hope,” as well as an independent filmmaker), “Wonderland” is a riveting if challenging bit of television. Berg and a team of writers spent months at New York’s Bellevue hospital, where they were allowed to witness and interview doctors working with the mentally ill."

"To further the effect of being in what is essentially an asylum, Berg uses hand-held cameras and lets the actors improvise when needed. This gives “Wonderland” a gritty, realistic feel. But the technique also adds a sense of chaos to the viewing experience. Watching “Wonderland” is a sensory overload, as patients scream at the top of their lungs, bang on things, turn TV channels rapidly and provide a kind of non-stop white noise over the show’s dialogue."

"I wasn’t totally shocked. This profession is 90% discouragement. It’s 90% rejection and disappointment and bad reviews or people dismissing your work or ignoring it. It’s really not even 10% of the time where you get the rewards." (Martin Donovan)

"Actually, because of some of the work I've done in the past, I was fairly familiar with it. I did a series about 10 years ago, called Wonderland, for ABC, that was set in Bellevue Hospital in New York, and I played the psychiatrist heading the emergency room. So, for quite a while I hung out with forensic psychiatrists, and spent a lot of time speaking to their patients. I once spoke to a man who killed his children ... so I had a fairly large grasp of that world."
Source: Michelle Forbes,

"Dank einer quasi-dokumentarischen Kameraführung und tollen Schauspielern - darunter Ted Levine, Patricia Clarkson, Martin Donovan und Michelle Forbes - erreichte "Wonderland" 2000 eine Unmittelbarkeit und Vielschichtigkeit, die nur wenigen der hochgelobten Serien, die seither entstanden sind, eigen ist."

(I'm sorry but I lost some of the sources of the quoted reviews.)

The cast and crew attend the DIRECTV Premiere of Wonderland, January 2009:

Sunday, 6 December 2009

En garde!

Durham County

"As great as the series is on the acting and writing side, its just as good on the filming side as well, the lighting, the flashbacks and looks into the minds of each character as they remember or imagine scenes, the ghosts that haunt them all appearing in certain places, the constant images of the powerlines, hinting that the electro magnetics of the powerlines are slowly driving everyone insane, just the whole thing is a huge iconic film noir style case study in how to shoot a film or a tv series to give it the very feel you want. Its just so brilliantly done it makes me almost slack jawed in complete and utter awe of its assault from all sides fo the creative spectrum at once. Truly a thing of wonder with no real equal."

In Treatment UK

"- The first season run of 'In Treatment' ended today after 44 terrific episodes... This is one of the only shows that I have really been excited about seeing each night. I would go as far as to say; In Treatment is the best half-hour straight drama I have ever seen. I haven't done any research but, I can't honestly think of anything that it is comparable to.
- Seen them all so far - brilliant acting, scripts, direction. Top-quality drama."

Blog news inside

* We've got a new look&feel. Hope you like it :)
* iHelix takes a time out until Spring. Thanks, iHelix!
* In the background we're working on more 'Revisited' articles. And we'd love to plan even more. Let us know!

Un max de True Blood

Michelle Forbes, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell and Alexander Skarsgard in Paris, November 2009

"A l'occasion du lancement sur Orange ciné max de la saison 2 de True Blood, Sophie Soulignac a rencontré en exclusivité les comédiens de la série lors de leur venue à Paris. «Un max de True Blood», c'est 26 minutes exceptionnelles d'informations, de révélations et de surprises autour de la série culte d'Alan Ball."

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Femme fatale - Femme fragile - Femme héroïque

Six miniatures from a photo session with Michelle Forbes in Paris, November 2009, with the allusion of archetypal characters in literature, film and art, the femme fatale, the femme héroïque, and even a glimpse of a femme fragile.


The housewife and mother, the business woman, the psychopath, the mentor and protector, the loner in modern society, the tomboy, the damaged soul, the heroïne - she plays them all, in stirring and blazing performances. One role, various voices and interpretations. Just when we're about to get comfy with one face of a character, she turns her role upside down and surprises us again.

Did she already play a femme fatale? I'm uncertain ...

Battlestar Galactica: Razor Revisited

Sometimes we have to do things that we never thought we were capable of, if only to show the enemy our will. - Admiral Cain

I've to say that BSG is one of the very few contemporary series I have faithfully followed and been genuinely inspired and moved by. Admiral Cain, of course, is one of the landmark character in the BSG universe. The Pegasus episode, and the sound of her voice accompanied by the mellow, dream-like piece of soundtrack, marked the arrival of someone special, a character so incredibly present and intense. In me, she instilled so much emotion including fear, dislike as well as a sense of comfort as a strong, driven leader. The Pegasus story arc was albeit too brief. Luckily enough, the ship and the captain are revived in Razor, which is, well, incredible. It does make demands on the viewer by switching back between 3 time periods, and being told from the viewpoint of a never-before-seen character Kendra Shaw, but that makes the story even more compelling. Most importantly, we really get to know Cain and the forces that drive her. It's an excellent performance by Michelle, and the rest of the cast, a movie I often watch again and again.

Now, what do you like about Razor? - Randy
Moving portrayal of high emotions at times of distress true to the Battlestar Galactica style. You just can't be wrong with the writers of BSG. And you won't be disappointed with RAZOR. Michelle Forbes's acting as Admiral Helena Cain is once again bold, heartpounding and perfect; it goes on to illustrate the even tougher side of this leader, as well as the human side of her. Unlike all the other movies out there where a protagonist and antagonist stands out, there are no truly "good" or "evil" in RAZOR. And that's exactly the case with human society. Each character is uniquely portrayed with each of their own ambitions, fears, motives, strengths and weakenesses.

"Battlestar Galactica" has always been sci-fi at its best -- an exploration of politics and morality in their purest state: post-apocalypse...the Battlestar community is no longer a civilization in the traditional sense. All rules have been broken or bent beyond recognition. The necessities of war have stripped society down to its essence, for better and worse.
In "Razor," written by Michael Taylor, those issues and tensions are embodied by Cain and Shaw. How much collateral damage can the greater good afford? What is the greater good? How far is too far when survival is at stake, and what decisions will the soul simply refuse to bear?
...good science fiction has always dealt with that which plagues the poets and the playwrights -- the nature of love, the value of loyalty, the nature of power, the split-second decisions that change our lives. Shaw is not the only character haunted on "Battlestar Galactica." With its metallic blues and grays, its eerie lighting, echoing corridors and New Age drumbeats, the ship itself is ghostly at times, its inhabitants all damaged, by events and the choices they have made; resilience has become the new heroism.
Source: LA Times

When does the will turn malignant? When do the actions that a person takes to survive make that individual no longer worthy of the title “human”? When do the ends no longer justify the means?
Those are the questions that the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” has asked for the past few years. And the genius of the series is that it asks these questions obliquely, without preaching or grandstanding. The solutions to these dilemmas aren’t easy, and the show doesn’t insult its audience by pretending that they are.
Source: Chicago Tribune, The Watcher

She became very misguided at that time [of Gina's betrayal]. I feel the actions that she took in that misguided place still were along the lines of what she felt she needed to do. And there’s nothing that she did that some world leader has not done.

It’s very painful, what she did to Gina. There was such a deep sadness, but [for her] duty overrides that sadness, otherwise things don’t get done. There’s a lot of sorrow [in Cain]. It was not a punishment as much of a means to an end...

What got left out of the TV version [of ‘Razor’] was what happened to Cain in the first Cylon war. She lost her family. That trauma at that young age is what shaped her. As a child, on her own, she had to find a way to survive and that was by hardening herself. In the TV version, you don’t get to see that. And if that hadn’t happened, who’s to say [who Cain would have become]?
Source: Chicago Tribune, Interview with Michelle

[Michelle]'s almost like a force of nature in a way. She's really - if she was just - just her focus and her intensity I have to say that working with her was one of the - she made this one of the easiest jobs I've ever done in a sense.
Because responding to what she provides on set as a fellow actor is absolutely effortless. It's like she does almost everything. You just have to listen to her and watch her. Yes, she's incredible. I recommended working with her to anyone. - Stephanie Jacobsen

The story isn’t ultimately about what happens, but why. And that “why” has to be explored in terms of character rather than in terms of plot, which again has always been the essence of this show.

Cain skirts the boundary of the limits we set for our leaders, and indeed for ourselves, in wartime. She has the strength to inhabit that grey area and yet plunge ahead with black-and-white resolution. I think we find her conviction compelling, especially when we understand the kind of experience and choices that shaped it.
Source: Chicago Tribune, Michael Taylor Q&A

From the DVD commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor:

Razor began life with a phone call from the Home Video Department at Universal, saying they'd be interested in doing a project where we'd do two episodes for a one-time showing on SyFy and then have those almost immediately released on DVD...a stand-alone project, not tied in to the continuity of the show.

We were drawn to tell some sort of story from the past that we hadn't seen before...One idea we had involved Pegasus...and suddenly David Eick was like: “Pegasus Yeah!” and that was sort of our inspiration to focus on that.

One of the treats...was revisiting Admiral Cain. I really wanted the chance to bring Michelle Forbes back...I was really happy that she was available and she was really happy to do it. She had just come in and created this indelible character...and it was great to go back and see who she was just before the attack. We had long conversations about who she was and where she came from, and what her attitudes were like.

One of the challenges of the character was that she was set up to be so hard core and so unflinching in the original Pegasus episode, so this was our opportunity to go back and humanise her a little bit, and show who she was as a person before all these events happened.
There were a couple of hints we sort of took up on this show to sort of expand...and enlarge her character...there was a sense [in the Pegasus story arc]...that maybe she and Adama had turned the corner and can now work together, that there was regret on her part for a number of the things she had done.

The thing about Michelle though, it's like Eddie, they're both such captains, I mean they're real captains on the set on each of their sides on the show...Michelle brings such an intensity to this role. She really inspired a lot of our other actors too.

When we did Pegasus and Resurrection Ship, as we were shooting, I remember all of us saying collectively:"Wow, it's a shame we're killing Admiral Cain and we're getting rid of her because she's so good...The whole series would've had to change fundamentally for her to stick around...It would've been a whole different was never constructed to be that...There was always this general of 'what a shamE it is we couldn't have kept Admiral Cain and the Pegasus around a little bit longer'. And this was a great opportunity to go back and revisit a really rich area of the show.

Cain & Gina
There was also another aspect...the intensity for her hatred for Gina...where did that come from?
Cain seemed to have more than just commander's interest... in a scene in the original Pegasus episode...the moment she says: "She was close to us, she sat at our table"...the way Michelle played it, you really felt that...there was a real backstory.

Michelle Forbes called me: “So we're gonna do is, ah?...and this is part of who she is?” I said “yeah, how do you feel about that?” She said, “well, I'm surprised but I think it works. I just want to see what your intention was, and why...” and I talked to her on the phone for a little while and she said “...sounds good, let's do it,” and she just went for it.

We didn't want to make a villain out of a gay character. This was their relationship. This was who she was in love with.

There wasn't an actual love scene because we wanted to tell the story through Kendra's eyes. make your choices and you live with them and in the end you are those choices.- Kendra Shaw

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Durham County Season 2 Premiere on ION

“Durham County”, ION Television’s Critically Acclaimed Crime Series, to Launch Second Season as Two-Hour Premiere on Sunday, January 3, 2010

Network to Marathon Season One on Saturday, January 2; New Season Moves to Sunday Nights

“True Blood” and “In Treatment” Actress Michelle Forbes Joins “Durham County” Cast

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The lesson that “love hurts” is well learned by the characters who inhabit the eerie suburb of “Durham County,” when the second season of ION Television’s critically acclaimed original primetime series launches with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, January 3 from 9:00 – 11:00 PM, ET. A marathon of the series’ first season will precede the season two launch, airing from 5:00 – 11:00 PM, ET on Saturday, January 2. “Durham County,” which debuted this past fall, returns to the bleak and disturbing landscape of an alienated suburbia with a new star villain – Michelle Forbes, known for her intense portrayals on the hit HBO series “True Blood” and “In Treatment” this year. The show will be broadcast in its new regular timeslot at 10:00 PM, ET on Sundays beginning Sunday, January 10.

Produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films, “Durham County” unfolds season two in the aftermath of the devastating impact of serial killer Ray Prager (Romano Orzari) on the lives of its characters, anchored by Homicide Detective Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon, CBS’ “Flashpoint”), his now estranged wife Audrey (Hélène Joy) and their traumatized teenage daughter Sadie (Laurence Leboeuf). While the true villain of the first season turned out to be Sweeney’s former high school classmate and new neighbor, the evil threat in the second season comes from a woman who develops a close bond with Mike, the brilliant, but deeply troubled forensic psychiatrist Pen Verrity (Michelle Forbes). Rejected by her husband and grieving for a daughter we can’t be certain she didn’t kill, she sets her sights on having Mike Sweeney – at any cost.

“The successful debut of ‘Durham County’ fulfilled our expectations as our first original series, particularly among our key 25–54 demographic,” said Leslie Chesloff, Executive Vice President, Programming, ION Media Networks. “In season two, our protagonist is trying to keep his broken family together in the aftermath of a serial killer, while he is lured into an incredibly dangerous place by a seductive woman. Viewers will be on their seats wondering what Pen will do next, who she might target and whether Mike will realize the terrible threat she poses before it’s too late. Season two will be a real nail-biter!

“Durham County” is written by Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik (“Bliss”) and helmed by directors Adrienne Mitchell, Alain DesRochers (Nitro) and Rachel Talalay (Terminal City). Michael Prupas (“Human Trafficking”) of Muse Entertainment and Janis Lundman and Adrienne Mitchell (“Bliss”) of Back Alley Films serve as executive producers. The series has received 13 Gemini Award nominations, including five wins: Best Actor for Justin Louis, Best Actress for Hélène Joy, Best Direction for Holly Dale, Best Writing for Laurie Finstad Knizhnik and Best Sound. In addition, the show was nominated for four Director’s Guild of Canada Awards, winning two and taking home the CFTPA’s Indie Award for “Best Dramatic Series.”

The program was also recognized with nominations from the Writer’s Guild of Canada and ACTRA Montreal. In a deal signed last January with ITV Global Entertainment, ION Television acquired the exclusive U.S. rights to the critically acclaimed and award-winning original TV series, “Durham County.” In addition, the network secured all U.S. television, digital media rights, internet streaming and video-on-demand rights for the program.

...and a little treat: a tune from Hugh Dillons's recently-released solo album 'Works Well With Others'. Available on iTunes. I can highly recommend. :)

The Mozart Connection

A couple of days ago, Chris asked me to make a video to a period piece, the 3rd Movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto in E Flat, K. 482. I agreed, excited. What emerged is a compilation of, for me, memorable scenes from some of Michelle's roles in tune with the piece of music.

Later, for good measure, Chris decided to create her own video to bring forth her vision. It turned out to be much different from mine. It's remarkable how different moments have stayed with each of us. Mozart's jovial tune gets a remarkable treatment. And we both agree that Michelle would be excellent in a period piece. :)

For your enjoyment...

Chris's vision:

and mine:

Randy, waving from Dublin, and soon to be hidden behind James Joyce's 'Ulysses'.