Posts Tagged “NBC”
First, I had to ask myself: “Do we really need another one of these?” Because I have to be honest here; I didn’t really keep up with Lost, or Heroes, or Alias for that matter. I barely made it through four, maybe five episodes of Flash Forward before I just couldn’t work up the motivation to watch any more. I did pretty good this summer with Persons Unknown, but the last few of those are still awaiting my attention on the TiVo.
Even if I do decide I’m ready for it, does any network still have the motivation to stick with a show like this after Heroes flamed out and Flash Forward turned out to be a flash in the pan? Network executives, as a rule, have a much shorter attention span than I do. I’ve been hurt before …
So am I ready to commit to another grand metaphysical/supernatural/extraterrestrial television show? Maybe. If it’s the right show. No one is more surprised than I am to discover that The Event may actually be the that show. It helps that NBC has promoted the hell out of this, suggesting they may even stay with it for longer than a few weeks. But then, I felt the same way about Lone Star … and we all know how that turned out.
On the other hand, as Lone Star so clearly demonstrated, Monday is a difficult place for any new series to make a splash. So I can only hope that pulling Lone Star out of the mix will help The Event gain a foothold on a very tough night.
Because The Event is looking like damn good television. The first episode was simply breath taking. It was suspenseful as hell, with a strong set-up and a giant pay-off. Some viewers may have trouble with the multiple viewpoint/non-linear narrative, but that’s okay. It works well here. It works remarkably well. A little patience on the part of the viewer helps … as does the rewind on the TiVo.
This show was built for your DVR; I suggest you use it. Record The Event each week and watch it after the kids are in bed. That also frees you up to watch Dancing with the Stars if you really think you must.
I have no complaints about the cast or their performances. All very believable. Jason Ritter looks to be your nominal lead, and he does frantic and sincere as good as anyone can. Blair Underwood gets to be President–he sure as hell looks the part. Several familiar character actors crop up throughout, and you may need a scorecard to separate the good guys from the bad. Basically, if the actor usually plays evil or smarmy, he is evil or smarmy now. Case in point: Zeljko Ivanek. If you don’t know who that is, no worries. You’ll recognize him and know right away he’s gonna be evil. He’s always evil.
There are several story-lines to follow which requires numerous actors to play the parts. You’re going to be busy enough just keeping track of the multiple plot points without worrying too much about who’s playing who. By the time of the actual “event”, some of those characters may already be dead anyway.
So go ahead make room on your DVR for The Event. You can start be deleting all those old episodes of Persons Unknown you’ll never get around to watching anyway.
The Event airs Mondays on NBC at 9/8c
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After two episodes, Undercovers is quickly moving up my list of favorite network series. No, it’s not especially deep and often it’s marginally ridiculous. Who cares? The cast is great and the show is a hell of a lot of fun.
Let’s start by getting this out of the way first. Yes, Undercovers is one of the very few series in television history featuring an African-American lead (or leads). Yay. Whoopee. Hazzaah.
Don’t care. If I like the characters and/or the actors portraying the characters, I really don’t give a shit what flavor they are. So … moving on.
You could not ask for a more attractive cast. Even Gerald McRaney is looking good. But the two leads are nothing short of jaw-droppingly attractive. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a stunner. She plays the wife half of this husband and wife spy team, Samantha Bloom. Her specialty … sexpionage. No kidding on that. The husband side of the team, Steven Bloom, is played by Boris Kodjoe. Look up eye-candy in the dictionary and you’ll probably find his picture. Kodjoe has appeared on People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful at least once.
J.J. Abrams is credited as the co-creator/executive producer, so you can’t go wrong there. The general tone is a lot more Star Trek/Alias and less Lost/Fringe. In other words, you can jump in at any time and without finding yourself in the deep end where everything is way, way over your head. The show would be perfect paired with Chuck, also on NBC.
Basically what you have with Undercovers is a lot of action, plenty of firepower, and tons of sexy, all mixed up and baked into a hot, tasty cake of coolness. Take a bite. Yummy.
Undercovers airs Wednesdays on NBC at 8/7c
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If only all this country’s court cases could be heard on television. On TV, the cases can be decided in a day or so instead of being drawn out for years or even decades. The little guy actually gets to win against the big guy with the bigger pocket book. Justice is served, weekly, in nice, neat one hour packages and the cases get tied up with a pretty little bow leaving no doubt as to guilt or innocence.
A television series about the real life workings of the judicial system would never make it. Something like that has actually been tried before. It was called Murder One and produced by Steven Bochco. The idea, at least initially, was to follow a single case, start to finish, with the verdict to be delivered at the end of each season. Generally speaking, it was pretty compelling television. But then the powers that be, in an effort to boost ratings, starting futzing with the formula. Season two started backing off from the one season, one trial model. By the time Murder One was cancelled, it was fading fast in the ratings and had little to distinguish it from any other courtroom drama on television.
And that brings us to Outlaw. It’s not exactly bad television, but there is really very little here to set it apart from all the rest. In other words, it’s no Boston Legal. Hell, it’s not even The Good Wife. The case central to the pilot episode may as well been taken straight out of the “How to Make a Courtroom Drama” playbook. Page 37, I believe, in a chapter titled “Death Row Cases and How to Overturn Them at the Very Last Minute”.
Even if we allow for the general feeling of “been there, done that” there’s a giant damn plot hole that I just can’t get around, no matter how much I like Jimmy Smits. As Justice Cyrus Garza, Smits chooses to retire from the Supreme Court so he can get in there and fight for the little guy. The thing is, they set Garza up as the Court’s swing vote. He’s vote number five in all those 5-4 decisions. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m determined to fight the good fight for the little guy, there is no position more powerful in the entire world than as the swing vote on the Supreme Court of the United States!
But whatever. If you like Jimmy, you may be willing to forgive the weak plot points; you might actually learn to enjoy the show. But there is nothing here that’s going to keep me coming back week after week.
Outlaw airs Fridays on NBC at 10/9c
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The U.S. Marshal Service appears to have become something of a FotM* on television lately. I’m not complaining really. In Plain Sight happens to be one of the best shows on any network, broadcast or otherwise. The same is true of Justified. Both series feature kick-ass, take no prisoners Deputy U.S. Marshals. More importantly, is their ability to tell kick-ass stories.
Chase, on NBC Mondays this season, gives us the character(s) but falls just short on the story.
There are plenty of characters to chose from here, starting with Kelli Giddish in the lead, playing U.S. Marshal Annie Frost. Unlike In Plain Sight and Justified, Chase is much more of an ensemble show, often giving me the same vibe as Closed Case. But instead of rebuilding the past, this group works to predict the future and try to anticipate where their quarry will land next. Cole Hauser is Jimmy Goddrey, Frost’s right-hand and the team heavy. Hauser is always the heavy as he seems to ooze menace. Jesse Metcalfe is the new guy, Luke Watson; you get the feeling Metcalfe is always going to be the new guy–he just has that look. Several other players round out the cast, including Amaury Nolasco. It’s good to see Amaury is getting work now that his Prison Break days are behind him.
Giddish had a short-lived cop-type drama last season, an unimpressive effort called Past Life. Fortunately, that is long behind her and this new series–while nothing special–is still a serious step up. Frost is clearly written to be edgy, tough but just a little sensative; Giddish makes that work quite well. She’s no Mary McCormack, but then nobody is … except Mary McCormack.
This is another cop show from the Bruckheimer hit machine, and it sure as hell feels like it, start to finish. The break that finally puts Frost’s team on the trail of their fugitive comes right out of Psych, which is not a Bruckheimer production. But Psych’s integration of random “clues” is very Bruckheimer. The only thing that sets this show apart from all the rest (C.S.I., Numbers, the afore-mentioned Cold Case, etc.) is the “us vs. them” set up. Chase may be mostly about the “chasers” but some screen time is set aside for the “chasee” as well. Bruckheimer shows almost always center around some sort of device or gimmick. In Numbers it was math; in Cold Case, the device was dusty old files and flashbacks; in Chase it will be the chaser/chasee dynamic.
A gimmick does not a plot make. The real strength of this show is certain to be the characters. Bruckenheimer learned back in his old C.S.I. days that the gimmick was not enough. Only I’m not entirely convinced that the characters here will be strong enough to carry the gimmick beyond a season.
Chase airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
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I’m intrigued. Mostly I would have loved to have been there when the producers/writers pitched this one …
“It’s like Big Brother meets the Real World but more like Lost. It’s an unreal reality show, you see? We can’t, like, kidnap real people and throw them in a hotel in the middle of a deserted town in the middle of nowhere (really, we can’t … we checked). But just imagine if we could … what would those people do? It’s real people in this totally creepy unreal place. You know how Lost was kind of Survivor but weird and confusing? That’s what we got here, but instead of an island, it’s a town. And instead of that Jeff Probst guy or Benjamin Linus, we use the camera thing like Big Brother! And then we make them play these games …”
Anyone remember Defying Gravity, which was kind of Lost in Space … I mean Lost, but out in space? How about The Nine? We lost patience with Flash Forward in, well, a flash.
Attention spans being what they are, I suspect Persons Unknown will meet a similarly demise. But it’s nothing personal. I could get into this. So far, instead of flashbacks and smoke monsters, we get a concurrent real world storyline involving a couple of reporters working on the missing persons in question. That’s different, if a little jarring initially, and certainly more interesting.
Honestly, is anyone at all ready for another Lost? The best thing this series could do is skip all the metaphysical mystery mash that was Lost’s stock in trade. Flash Forward went for the epic science fiction angle. Persons Unknown seems to be pursuing a framework closer to reality, more grounded if slightly less groundbreaking.
Sort of Lost for the working man … or Flash Forward for the far less nerdy.
There are a number of familiar faces in the cast, people that make you think, “Hey, I know that guy!” And yes, you probably do. That’s the uptight, mildly sleazy co-worker from Spin City (aka Ferris’ pal Cameron) … and hey, that’s Bosco from Third Watch! … Isn’t that the brunette girl form Criminal Minds (not the new one, the original one … from the Mandy Patankin days) …
I should look ‘em all up, but it’s late and I’m tired.
On the off chance this show manages to catch on … oh, who am I kidding? I could grow to like it, but there is really little point. NBC will probably cancel it before I’m done writing this …
In the meantime, if it’s still on, give it a shot.
Persons Unknown airs Mondays on NBC at 10/9c
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