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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Vigil’ On Peacock, Where A Scottish Police Detective Conducts A Murder Investigation On A Nuclear Submarine

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Vigil’ On Peacock, Where A Scottish Police Detective Conducts A Murder Investigation On A Nuclear Submarine

Shows and movies that take place on submarines give us anxiety, but in a good way. The anxiety that comes with the claustrophobia of working and sleeping in a metal tube hundreds of feet under water helps the tension of the drama on screen. Can that tension add to what on the surface (pun intended) is a standard murder-mystery miniseries? Read on for more.

VIGIL: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: A fishing trawler is shown in the middle of the vast Atlantic.

The Gist: As the trawler does its thing, it’s net is caught on something that pulls it extremely fast and starts dragging it under. It’s more than likely a submarine. The HMS Vigil, a British Trident sub in the area, sees that the trawler is being pulled down. One of the helmsmen, Chief Petty Officer Craig Burke (Martin Compston) insists that they should surface and help the fishermen who are destined to drown, but Captain Newsome (Paterson Joseph) tells them that their orders are to stay submerged and not give away their position. The captain relieves Burke from his post and tells him to cool off in his bunk.

Burke is soon found dead outside his bunk, powdered heroin around his nostrils. Because the sub was in British waters, the Royal Navy is required to bring in local police authorities to investigate. In Glasgow, DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) is called in by her boss to talk to the naval authorities. They tell her that she will be embedded in the Vigil for three days to complete her investigation. Here’s the twist: Because of the boat’s mission, it can’t go into dock, and communications with the department will be limited to incoming messages.

Silva agrees to do it, despite some reservations about being in tight spaces under water. She asks her boss to have DC Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) be her eyes and ears on shore, investigating Burke’s friends, family and on-land colleagues. Why? Because Longacre knows Silva intimately — until, recently, they were in a relationship.

After being lowered into the sub, it dives back down. Chief Petty Officer Glover (Shaun Evans), the boat’s coxswain, takes her where she needs to go. Already dismayed that Burke’s body hasn’t been taken off the sub in order to have an autopsy conducted, she starts talking to the crew, but gets a lot of resistance. When she examines the body with the help of the boat’s doctor, Tiffany Docherty (Anjli Mohindra), she sees that there is trauma on Burke’s neck, and no evidence that the heroin on his nose was actually snorted by him. In other words, he was murdered.

When she presents the theory to Captain Newsome, he tells her that she should not give that theory to the crew, and that she should be following his orders. With Glover, the captain privately tries to figure out how to manage Silva’s activities without her suspicions getting out. One of the reasons is that they were not the sub that dragged down the trawler, meaning one was right next to them, representing an unprecedented national security threat.

On land, Longacre questions a woman claiming to be Burke’s girlfriend, who was seen outside his on-base quarters with his key and ID. She knew Burke was dead, but when Longacre tells her how, she says that can’t be the case. It sends Longacre back to the base, where she finds a thumb drive containing a video of Burke explaining how to bring the Vigil down. Right as that’s happening, the sub mysteriously loses all power.

Vigil
Photo: BBC/World Productions/Peacock

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Think of a serialized British police drama like Broadchurch, combined with the confined submarine setting of Das Boot.

Our Take: Just by the nature of the show’s setting, Vigil creator Tom Edge (C.B. Strike) has made a show that at the very least has a unique setting. Putting a police detective in the confined sensory deprivation environment of a submarine automatically adds a layer of tension that other UK-based detective series sometimes lack. We just hope that the series isn’t sidetracked by story elements that feel a bit superfluous, at least at first glance.

One side issue is just what happened between Silva and Longacre. They were together, but there was what looked like another relationship there, Silva’s husband and son. Were they a throuple? What was the relationship? It’s not clear in the first episode, and the questions about it detract from Silva and Longacre trying to solve Burke’s murder.

We do know that a tragedy suffered by Silva and Longacre not only broke them up, but it contributes to the anxiety Silva feels as she’ll likely become trapped in the Vigil. There’s a glimpse of a flashback where a car that she’s in with her husband and son gets submerged in water, with the three of them trying to but their way out. Surviving such a tragedy would affect anyone, so the longer Silva is trapped on the sub, the more that trauma is going to come to the surface.

If examining Silva’s past relationships is the key to explaining her behavior on board, then the side story won’t be as big a distraction as we think. But there’s also the fact that Longacre is likely to discover a big coverup in the Scottish government, and that will complicate matters, too. We just hope that the resistance Silva gets from the crew, along with the growing claustrophobia of being on board a sabotaged submarine will be the main dramatic push of Vigil, not the usual conspiracy plotline.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: As the reactor on the Vigil shuts down, Silva starts to panic. Naval police train their guns on Longacre as Burke’s video plays on her laptop. “I’ve got some things to tell you,” he says to the camera.

Sleeper Star: Shaun Evans, who plays Glover, does a good job of playing both sides. As the boat’s coxswain, what he calls the “HR department”, he has the crew’s best interest in mind, and the ear of the captain — definitely more than the executive officer, Prentice (Adam James) does. But he also is there to assist Silva as much as he can without compromising the crew or the boat’s mission.

Most Pilot-y Line: When she boards the sub, Silva tells the XO that Burke’s body should have been taken off. “Too late for that. Welcome to the Vigil,” he tells her officiously. Yes, it’s the first sign that she’s not going to have it easy, but it was also a hard line to understand after a couple of listens. It had important information, but it was said so fast that it passed us by on the first viewing.

Our Call: STREAM IT. The unique setting of Vigil makes it stand out from the many UK-based police procedurals out there. We just hope that the show focuses on the claustrophobia of the sub and doesn’t get bogged down in other story elements that might prove to be distracting.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Vigil On Peacock

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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