Series … and men – Mania Series Festival – French fiction in the middle of a blizzard

After nine days of screenings, meetings, debates and wild animations, the Séries Mania festival in Lille ended this Saturday in joy and good humor. A downside, however: the general level of French fiction, as worrying for the future of our channels as in terms of opportunities opened by new platforms like Netflix or Amazon. Review of French audiovisual players who cannot see three meters away.

An international festival like Séries Mania is cruel
(and exciting) that it allows us to compare heterogeneous productions from
from around the world with ours, and therefore to take stock of the
French fiction vis-à-vis that of competing channels not only
American or English, but also Israeli, Russian, Indonesian, Argentinian,
Norwegian or Spanish. A test of fire which offers us the precious opportunity to place France on the map of world series producers. However, it turns out to be anything but an exaggeration to say that the comparison is a
once again proved to be very unfavorable overall for hexagonal production,
we refer to the
global selection (combining official competition, French competition, panorama
international and “Nuit des comédies”) or at
winners of the 2019 edition of Séries Mania.

Of English
The Virtues
Israeli Just for Today, going through another
British Channel 4 series,
(soon to be broadcast on Canal +), the official competition included its
lot of dense, poignant, stylized works, quick to pass their trajectories
personal before any idea of ​​”thesis” wanting to be universal –
a pitfall to watch closely in the years to come, for the Séries festival
Mania as for others, in a context of exponential “platformization” of
TV shows. that
The Virtues and
Just for Today have obtained
respectively the Grand Prix and the Special Jury Prize (led by Marti
Noxon) is only justice, these two original creations having brought together most
votes during the nine days of the festival
Not retained in official competition due to their format
or their non-exclusivity, the Norwegian Exit
(Prix du panorama international) and the Spanish Arde Madrid would also deserve that a French diffusion their
brings visibility at the height of their enthusiasm and their biting could not be more delightful.

Cocorico, however: not only is she an actress
French woman who won the prize for Best Actress in competition
official (Marina Hands), but the series in which she is one of
principal roles was entitled to the Public Prize (which, according to
terms of the press kit of Séries Mania, rewards “the favorite”
spectators of the festival, among seasons 1 of the new series
presented in Official Competition, French Competition, Panorama
international or Best of USA ”). In
Hands interprets a totally overwhelmed mother who decides to do
believe in her husband and children that she has breast cancer. produced
by Arte, produced by Fabrice Gobert (The
), accompanied by the music of Jean-Benoît Dunckel (one
halves of the Air group, with Nicolas Godin),
mytho has a solid technical sheet and is full of ideas
promising (the neighboring family whose apparently idyllic existence reminds
that of Jerry Gergich in
Parks and
, the youngest daughter absorbing all the anxieties of society
contemporary like a sponge). We could therefore naturally rejoice that it is
managed to seduce an international jury as well as the extremely diverse public
and passionate about Series Mania. Except that it’s not enough, Commander.


The notice worth
already for
Ten percent
, she
still applies to
mytho : the
French channels cannot be satisfied with a soft consensus and a
race to the bottom of hexagonal fiction to justify the weakness of
their overall production. Because beyond its qualities, there would also be
thousand reproaches to make to a proposal such as
mytho : its programmatic writing (once the lie
formulated, we will have to act “as if” while assuming the waves
of affection that will surge everywhere), his initial emotional overload
suspicions at The Last Wave, of Double
at An island, families
dysfunctional and siblings in crisis have succeeded one another
in the French series in selection), its lack of finesse
psychological (to show us the stress of little Virginia, we see this one
watch a documentary on television about Nazism, then take a course
on Anne Frank, an all but subtle vertical panorama reveals…
the portrait hanging on the wall). As many caveats as many critics will strive to
to pass over in silence to give us the illusion that French fiction is
set off for a ride.

Let’s get on well: we obviously won’t be able to
criticize Arte for not trying to diversify its offer or for failing to explore
new playgrounds. Between a half-fantastic half-horrifying re-reading of
myth of the mermaids (An island, whose
narrative issues unfortunately fail to rise to the height of
visual and sound beauty), a Franco-German co-production addressing the
delicate subject of the exile and exploitation of migrants (Eden, drowned under a demonstrative will embodied by multiple
parallel narrative sons), a Franco-Spanish co-production taking place on
a remote island in the Canary archipelago (Hierro,
too tied to the worn strings of the traditional thriller) and
mytho, so the opportunities to catch us off guard don’t
were not lacking, even if the result was inevitably below the hopes placed in these beautiful projects on paper. All that remains is to convert good intentions into actions
worthy of past creations such asSo
they may
, Lil
or Manon,
whose descendants are annoyingly late to see the light of day.

Osmosis (Netflix, 2019)

Next to that of Arte, the serial programming of Canal +
sorely lacking in flesh in recent years, to the point that
would almost wonder if success stories like
The Legends Office and Baron
would not be the trees that hide the forest. Suffice to say that the
presentation of
Vernon Subutex (whose
the absence at Séries Mania has repeatedly raised the
question of the “squabble” between the latter and Canneséries, so far
privileged by Canal +) will be scrutinized very closely… For its part, TF1 assumes
fully formatted creation devoid of the slightest risk-taking,
which immediately closes any discussion concerning it. Of course open from
new possibilities with the entry into the market of platforms like Netflix or
Amazon but the projection of the disastrous
Osmosis, hardly more valuable than Marseilles, Heart map (already
on Netflix) and Deutsch-les-Landes
(Amazon side), has cooled a lot of enthusiasm among spectators and among
French producers.

Remain M6 (at the beginning of a period of renewal), OCS (of which
Mania Series presented the suites ofIrresponsible
and of Missions, while waiting for that
of the
great) and, above all, France Télévisions,
whose chain of proposals more insipid the ones than the others is
turning into an industrial disaster. How long ladies Ernotte and
Will Holmes be able to settle for the popular success of just one of their
original series,
Ten percent,
before becoming aware of the terrible inadequacy of creations
original from their group? The aging of the channel audience which
make up, linked to the flight of young spectators to SVOD platforms,
does he justify putting on such a heartbreaking show to taxpayers in front of
free themselves each year from a fee that does not fail to follow the
inflation rate?

Take the example of the new France 3 series, suspicions (yet another thriller centered on a
unexplained disappearance, with Julie Gayet and Bruno Debrandt in the first
roles). How can such an outdated, hackneyed and disembodied creation
find themselves in “French competition
[3] ”
at Séries Mania? Is the chain nothing more commendable in its
boxes that this
Harlequin »
to the highlighting music (emotion sequence, sequence
tension, mystery sequence, etc.) and dialogues from another time? Of
younger son who is carried away with finesse (“It’s bousous-land here, there is
not even 4G! “,” Go ahead, adapt, because I am
not ready to stop having a face! “) To the exasperated mother who
resumes the last last of volley (“Eh oh the fly of the tick, I did not you
asked your opinion, okay? “), You have to pinch yourself to convince yourself
that we are looking at a series from the late 2010s.

The two new products from France
Double I and The Last Wave, certainly have slightly more ambitions
but we are still a long way off, especially after the
terrible disappointments that were
and Philharmonia. Evil seems
deep, and the remedy not found. Maybe we should start by modulating its
time slots and capitalize on the success of
Ten percent to give more proposals a chance
daring, more abrupt, even if it means absolving them of any imperative of hearing?
Given the state of fiction signed France Télévisions since the departure of
Do not do this, do not do that and A French Village, what risk can this
represent well? The history of American television has shown us that
Link were never so
skilled at finding the summits only after having hit rock bottom; it might be
time that our most struggling French channels do the same…

The Grand Bazaar (M6, 2019)

this latest edition of the Mania Series festival has proven that all hope is not
not lost. The tri-color light in this case came from M6, an unexpected outsider
including several recent attempts (Quadras,
Mom or dad) had already asked
the foundations of a return to business through family comedy. Well
that shunned by much of the criticism, the
only series presented by the channel to Séries Mania,
The Grand Bazaar, does not depart from the rules of the genre since it is itself typical of this mixture of satire and tenderness
which should normally have made the happiness of a chain like France 2: no
only we find Grégory Montel (alias Gabriel Sarda in
Ten percent), but the series is created by Michel Leclerc and
Baya Kasmi, city couple who previously worked on
Do not do this, do not do that.

Narrating the
hectic daily life of a (very) large family articulated around Nicolas and
from Samia (bright Nailia Harzoune),
takes up the idea of ​​exploring family diversity and restructuring
who were already making salt
Dad or
, but by replacing the Portuguese roots of sir with
madame’s Maghreb roots, and substituting for the initial separation a
nascent union and a surprising presence of relatives as invasive as they are obtuse (ex-spouses
included). By its radiant photography, its perky musical punctuation, its
recurring game on the words that hang and that we resume by barking a
syllable or two, his comical threads and his constant concern to vary
tones (a moving scene ending with a humorous touch which
in turn gives way to a new depth of feeling, like when
this magnificent sequence during which Samia maliciously renews the
dialogue with his father by “communicating in objects”, before
enjoy a fig beside him in the garden symbolizing the birth of his
The Grand Bazaar attest – if he
was needed – that a good dose of affection and human warmth will be worth
always better than those damned self-righteous speeches that pride themselves on telling us
what to do. French television as a whole would do well to
meditate on it. And to regroup quickly.

Pictures France 3, Netflix


The 25 best Batman movies, ranked from worst to best – Goliath

12. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Synopsis: There are big changes in preparation for Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the hostile takeover of the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), he may have to abandon the lonely thing of vigilance, try working with others and maybe, maybe , learn to lighten. Maybe his superhero aide Robin (Michael Cera) and faithful butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two.

Cast: Will Arnett, Mariah Carey, Chris McKay, Conan O’Brien, Michael Cera, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Rosario Dawson, Jenny Slate, Zoë Kravitz, Ralph Fiennes, Adam DeVine, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Mantzoukas, Jonah Hill, Susan Bennett, Billy Dee Williams, Jemaine Clement, Eddie Izzard, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome and Seth Green

Directed by: Chris McKay

Source: Screenshot via Warner Bros.

11. Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Synopsis: Batman (Kevin Conroy) must stop the Joker (Troy Baker) from destroying Gotham City while fighting a new group of criminals called the Suicide Squad.

Cast: Kevin Conroy, Troy Baker, Matthew Gray Gubler, Neal McDonough, Giancarlo Esposito, Hynden Walch, C. C. H. Pounder, John DiMaggio, Greg Ellis, Jennifer Hale, Nolan North, Martin Jarvis and Eric Bauza

Directed by: Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding

Source: Screenshot via Warner Bros.

A winning strategy in difficult times

April is here and excitement is growing in our home. Our largest is a middle school and has experienced the most difficult academic year of his life. Needless to say, summer doesn’t come early enough for our sixteen year old.

In my corner of the world, however, the unfolding of his final year is not so exciting. It means we start filling out endless scholarship forms, finalizing college visits, and examining every aspect of sending our firstborn to college. It’s a bittersweet, frenetic moment, really.

One of the things on my to-do list is making a college volleyball summary video for college coaches, since our daughter hopes to play this sport to the next level. I have recorded his games for the past two years and now it is time to put his best works into a three or four minute video. After doing some research, I decided to buy video editing software and create the video myself. After a couple of days playing with it, I finally understood.

I was looking for a tool in which I could draw a circle around my daughter on the field before each video, so that coaches could easily spot it on the field when I found the perfect function for that purpose. The software allows me to draw a circle around my daughter on the screen and, once the circle is defined, a dark gray filter appears, which blurs everything outside the circle. The other players become irrelevant on the screen and she stands out for a couple of seconds, allowing the coaches to clearly identify her on the team.

I thought about that feature of the software during my prayer this morning after reading a passage from the scriptures.

The apostle Paul was a prisoner in Rome when he wrote his “Letter of Joy”, the epistle of the Philippine church. The text always amazes me when I think of the setting from which the apostle wrote these letters. It is difficult to imagine someone so full of joy, contentment and spiritual strength while living in such precarious conditions.

The subsoil of the Roman prisons, also known as “houses of darkness”, was carved out of solid rocks. The prisoner, his guards and supplies were lowered through an opening the size of a drain, which was the only access point. These holes were often under a market, so rain and debris from the streets and animals fell easily. The prisoner was chained to a wall, limiting his movements, day and night. The Roman historian Sallust described one of these dungeons: “it sinks about 12 feet underground. The walls fix it on each side, and above it there is a vaulted roof connected with stone arches; but its appearance is disgusting and horrible, because of the dirt, the darkness and the stench. “

From the corner of such a horrible place, with papyrus and pen in hand, I imagine old Paul, the death sentence hanging on his head, writing words of encouragement and victory, which have strengthened believers over the centuries: Rejoice! God is close! Be anxious for nothing. Instead, thank, pray and receive the peace of God!


Just like the software I used to produce my daughter’s summary video on volleyball, Paul seems to have found that special feature in his heart, which clouded everything around him, thus highlighting what really mattered. In the agony of his circumstances, instead of despairing, he chose to pray, focus on God, on his love, sovereignty and grace.

I am sure there have been times when this fierce man of God looked at his surroundings, the sword that awaited him and fear threatened to grab his heart. Still, it did not allow darkness to overcome it. His strategy? Focus, focus and more focus.

Life can be hard Sometimes, unbearably difficult. It was for Paul. It could be for you today. May God help us to focus on the fact that we are not alone in our “basements”, that his presence becomes the highlight on our screen. We can tell our hearts to pray, rather than panic, and to thank for the blessings we have, instead of complaining.

Patricia Holbrook is an editorialist, author, blogger and international speaker. Check out her upcoming Women’s Conference in Woodstock on April 27 on For commitments and comments, write to