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Empire Blogs

Small Screen4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology

Posted on Thursday June 19, 2014, 11:39 by James Dyer in Small Screen
4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology

2014 represents a difficult transitional period for home cinema. On the one hand, 1080p sets are sleeker and cheaper than ever before, on the other a new breed of UHD 4K models have now arrived, their clarity matched only by the accompanying price tags. Given the dearth of 4K content available, it’s hard for most of us to justify shelling out a king’s ransom for a UHD set when there’s nothing out there bar the occasional Netflix broadcast to truly take advantage of the pixel count. Equally, though, with 4K media likely to ramp up in 2015, do you really want to buy a standard HD set and risk early obsolescence?

The solution to this decidedly first world problem may be a clever compromise. According to Sharp, the newly launched Quattron Pro technology bridges the resolution divide between ‘Full’ HD’s 2 million pixels and and 4K’s 8 million, allowing...

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Small ScreenSherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Monday January 13, 2014, 14:48 by Ali Plumb in Small Screen
Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Bold, budget-busting and a bit bonkers, ‘His Last Vow’ felt like a real series finale: guns, girls, girls with guns, guys with guns, gadgets (but not really), helicopters, sleeping potions, twists, twists-upon-twists, face-flicking, face-licking, resurrections, references and revenge. It delivered the goods, and (figuratively speaking) had them sent in a private jet. How often do you see something this grand, this impressive, this BIG on British TV?

If you like feeling wrong-footed, this was the episode for you – I honestly can’t count the number of “…the hell?” moments I enjoyed. For those not familiar with the original Conan Doyle story of ‘The Man With The Twisted Lip’, seeing Sherlock choose life in a drugs den would have been one of them, but if you have read that short story, it’s a very similar set-up: one of Watson’s neighbours can’t find her husband, says he’s probably in a cloud of opium, and when...

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Small ScreenSherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Monday January 6, 2014, 17:08 by Ali Plumb in Small Screen
Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Like any good best man’s speech, The Sign Of Three is fun, loveable, messy, slow to start, booze-fuelled, sometimes funny, sometimes not funny, sometimes only funny if you were there (or read the book), full of incoherent anecdotes, but ultimately kinda satisfying and brings a tear to the eye (if you’re susceptible to squishy-cuddle stuff).

I enjoyed it, but the whole episode felt a little too busy. Where ‘The Empty Hearse’ danced a merry waltz on the line between smugness and self-confident silliness, its follow-up drunkenly hopscotches around the line before collapsing on the floor, smiling happily and bleeding from the belly.

You’ll accuse me of sniping here – and you should, because that’s what I’m doing – but I have a list of things that just didn’t work for me, starting with the opening ‘gag’. For the most part, I like Rupert Graves as DI Greg Lestrade, but his bank heist / desperate text skit was weak. ...

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Small ScreenSherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Wednesday January 1, 2014, 20:59 by Ali Plumb in Small Screen
Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Sound the spoiler alarm! If you haven't watched this episode, go away. Still with us? Good stuff. Yes, Martin Freeman’s other half, Amanda Abbington, plays the role of Watson’s bride-to-be, Mary Morstan. And yes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, play Sherlock’s parents. Glad that’s out of the way.

I was lucky enough to watch a preview screening of The Empty Hearse at the BFI, which was followed by a Q&A with the stars (Freeman, Cumberbatch), the writer/co-creators (Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss), the director (Jeremy Lovering) and producer (Sue Vertue). With hundreds of fellow die-hard Holmes boys – okay, mainly Holmes girls – in attendance, there was A LOT of applause and even more laughter throughout the episode, so perhaps my appreciation for this first slice of the third season is a little higher than it might have been otherwise, but ...

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Small ScreenEmpire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2

Posted on Tuesday October 9, 2012, 17:11 by Phil de Semlyen in Small Screen
Empire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2

University life can be fraught. When you’re not navigating around a mountain of dirty dishes or scratching out an essay under the malign influence of Pot Noodle, there’s a full-blown identity crisis to cope with and no bloody teabags to help you do it. Take Kingsley, Fresh Meat’s resident geology-turned-drama-turned-geology-again student. “He’s gone away for the Christmas holidays and come back as a self-styled ‘jazz man’,” erstwhile Inbetweener Joe Thomas tells Empire. “And he’s definitely overreaching.”

Sure enough, Kingsley’s new look for season two of Channel 4’s award-winning comedy involves some egregious knitwear and a Tony Almeida-style soul patch that quickly sees him dubbed ‘Patch Adams’ by housemates Vod (Zawe Ashton), Howard (Greg McHugh), Josie (Kimberley Nixon), JP (Jack Whitehall) and Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie). And, as McHugh explains, he’s not the only ...

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Small ScreenTrue Blood: Season Four - What A Witch

Posted on Thursday May 10, 2012, 17:18 by Helen O'Hara in Small Screen
True Blood: Season Four - What A Witch

So how are we feeling about True Blood these days? I have to admit, season four was something of a letdown for me. I mean, it's still entertaining, particularly when Lafayette was involved in anything, or Jessica. But so few of the rest of the cast seemed to be having fun, and many of them seemed to be forced to play against their strengths, and what with the show hitting DVD so that you can all have a look, let's consider what's been going on. Season Four spoilers, incidentally, follow throughout.

Take, for example, Alexander Skarsgard's Eric, struck with amnesia and rediscovering life alongside Sookie. In the books, it worked rather well for the big fierce manipulator to be suddenly reduced to powerlessness and then to finally get into Sookie's pants by dint of not endlessly contriving at same. Somehow here, however - not helped by Skarsgard's horrendously parted "innocent" hair - he just seemed a bit silly. Which has the knock-on effect of rendering Sookie's inability to resist hi...

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Small ScreenMy Problems With Sherlock

Posted on Thursday January 5, 2012, 11:00 by Ali Plumb in Small Screen
My Problems With Sherlock

Back at uni, I studied the Sherlock Holmes stories as part of a module on Crime Literature. Raffles The Gentleman Thief was also on the reading list, as were Father Brown, Lord Peter Wimsey, Poirot and Miss Marple. If you consider yourself a Sherlock fan, I heartily recommend them all, especially Lord Peter Wimsey. Start with The Nine Tailors, you won’t regret it.

I'm not calling myself an expert here – far from it – but I mention all this because although I’ve studied Conan Doyle's work, I don’t think of myself as a Holmes purist, and I genuinely enjoy the new Guy Ritchie films and the Moffat / Gatiss TV shows. This includes the latest episode, A Scandal In Belgravia, which despite the problems I mention below, I genuinely did enjoy. But after looking forward to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return for so long, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed – even t...

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Small ScreenSupernatural Vs. The Vampire Diaries: Battle of the Buffy Successors

Posted on Tuesday September 27, 2011, 15:20 by Helen O'Hara in Small Screen
Supernatural Vs. The Vampire Diaries: Battle of the Buffy Successors

As our forumites will know, I've been into Supernatural for some time now. And just recently, I've been attempting to get into The Vampire Diaries as well. What I've discovered are two very different contenders to Buffy's throne, so let's discuss their similarities, their differences, their strengths and weaknesses, shall we? Before we start: I'm deliberately not counting True Blood here because it's openly aimed at a different, older, less geeky demographic, nor am I considering the cancelled likes of Moonlight, Blood Ties or whatever. This is about ostensibly-at-least teen-friendly shows wherein improbably good-looking folk encounter supernatural creatures.

First of all, Supernatural. When it first started back in 2005 I more-or-less instantly dismissed it as Buffy-for-boys, a cynical attempt to remove the kick-ass ladies from the vampire slaying equation in a move which I objected to on girl power principles and rejected sight unseen. My bad. It's pretty much entirely awesome. OK, season one sta...

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Small ScreenWhy The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original

Posted on Wednesday April 27, 2011, 17:48 by Ali Plumb in Small Screen
Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original

It’s frustrating for any US Office fan to hear the phrase ‘The Hangover’s Ed Helms’. He’s not The Hangover’s Ed Helms, he's The Office’s Ed Helms. And sure, The Daily Show had him first, but he wasn’t that big a deal there. He is and always will be Andy Bernard, and he likes a cappella, and he’s very preppy. He's an all-round lovely guy. After the anger management courses, anyway.

So seeing him in super-friendly-cute-and-funny comedy Cedar Rapids naturally brought a smile to my face, what with him playing a naive, sweet, sincere character who works a seemingly dull job – more specifically, playing an insurance salesman called Tim Lippe. That’s right, not a paper salesman called Andy Bernard. No sir.

Anyway, walking out of the Cedar Rapids the other day, dancing embarrassingly through Soho – all movies sh...

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Small ScreenThe Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Posted on Monday November 1, 2010, 05:00 by James White in Small Screen
The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

What happens when the closing credits roll on a zombie film and the survivors are left to fend for themselves in a land infested with the undead? It’s certainly an intriguing premise that a few films have tackled, but it took Robert Kirkman to really crack it with his ongoing (for seven years now!) comic book series The Walking Dead. Kirkman didn’t just want to follow the characters for a few days or weeks, or even months, but years after the initial outbreak. So while the comic initially attracted a lot of interest from filmmakers, it seems only natural for the story to be told on TV, where many more hours can be dedicated to following what happens. And committed horror fan Frank Darabont has held on to the idea like a dog with a bone for years, keeping the flame alive through an unsuccessful attempt to get the show up and running at US network NBC before finally locking in a deal with AMC, the channel behind such shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

If you’ve never cracked open a...

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RECENT POSTS

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
By James Dyer

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Empire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2
By Phil de Semlyen

True Blood: Season Four - What A Witch
By Helen O'Hara

My Problems With Sherlock
By Ali Plumb

Supernatural Vs. The Vampire Diaries: Battle of the Buffy Successors
By Helen O'Hara

Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original
By Ali Plumb

The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye
By James White


RECENT COMMENTS

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"It doesn't matter if there are 50 billion pixels. The human eye cans perceive anything smaller than "  rubenjames
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4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"4K TVs are actually not that expensive anymore and the 'Quattron' costs 2.300€ (60inches).<"  DrGreenSkunk
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4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"So this is basically the "HD-ready" version of 4K."  grucl
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"Terribly self indulgent episode, I fear Sherlock has crawled up his own a*se!"  darthmhall101
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"It was by the far the best episode of series 3, with a good plot, engaging villain and great dialogu"  dunc2001
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"With all this talk of Bond I can't find any mention here of the MOST obvious link. Mycroft at the e"  JediBobster
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"nobody else think magnussen was blind ? I also think the irish bird is either moriarty or his sist"  elsquig
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"Sorry but I was kind of disappointed with 'Series' 3 (series being a loose term for 3 episodes!).<"  MDG_78
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"I enjoyed this episode and thought it was a good finale for season 3. But is it just me or are they "  Pandora
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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"So many "M" names - Moriarty, Mary, Magnussen, Mycroft, Molly, Mike Stamford, even Mrs Hud"  craftyexpat
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