Posts Tagged “New for 2010”
You know the good thing about not having time (or TiVo room) to watch everything on my list? I sometimes get to watch several episodes all at once. You do that with good television and you get a good couple of hours of solid entertainment.
Nikita is good television. I did get to catch the first episode on the television, but the last three I watched all at once (more or less) online. Very good television, very compelling, highly entertaining.
Maggie Q (from Mission Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard) is highly compelling on almost every level in the title role. Keep in mind that this is a role made famous (at least to some) by actresses like Anne Parillaud and Peta Wilson. Maggie is near perfection as Nikita, bringing a different kind of heat to the character, but still bringing the heat.
The rest of the cast is not quite as impressive, with the possible exception of Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex. Shane West and Aaron Stanford take over the roles of Michael and Birkhoff; they’re both okay, but they seriously pale in comparison to the originals (as portrayed by Roy Dupuis and Matthew Ferguson in the previous series). Xander Berkeley as Percy may be the weakest link in the cast; he just isn’t near as menacing. Duplicitous, sure … but not really menacing. In fact, I get the impression that the role of Roan (played by Rob Stewart) was created specifically to bring the nasty.
Where the some of the performances may be found wanting, the overall concept is fortunately quite solid. The plotting is fast paced, the action sequences spot-on. The dramatic interludes lack a bit in comparison, but that may change as these actors start to inhabit their characters more fully in episodes to come.
Nikita airs Thursdays on the CW at 9/8c
No Comments »
There are shows I don’t expect to like, but then I do (Hawaii Five-0; No Ordinary Family). There are shows I know I won’t like, but somehow I end up watching them anyway (L&O: Los Angeles; $#*! My Dad Says). There are shows I’m sure I will like but won’t get much of a chance to watch (Lone Star; Cougar Town). Then there are shows I really want to like but quickly find out I really don’t.
How’s that for The Whole Truth?
Three weeks in and this one is right there at the top of my list of disappointments this season. Rob Morrow? Love the guy. Moira Teirney? Love her even more (tho I’m never sure how to spell her name). The premise sounds pretty good too. The audience gets to watch both the Defense and the Prosecution at work, each presenting compelling, believable cases with their own interpretations of the facts. We get to be the jurors, until the real jurors chime in and render their verdict. Unlike real jurors, however, we also get to see the “final scene” in which the “whole truth” is finally revealed.
It should work. Only it doesn’t.
The cast should be great. Mostly they’re not bad, but the material is dragging them all down.
My biggest problem so far has been the so-called “reveal” at the end of each episode. I might be able to struggle past the weaknesses in the plotting and the astonishing myopathy of the jury when rendering their verdict, but that final scene each episode never fails to leave me saying “meh”. I should be thinking either “Bam! I knew it!” or “Whoa … didn’t see that one coming.”
Instead I’m left with “Huh. Well … that was an hour of my life wasted.”
And if that is the big gimmick upon which the success of your show rests … uh oh. I think this series could have some potential if they could fine tune the execution just a bit. I would have opted for a brief, intense, and definitive flashback each episode instead of the often misguided “wow” scene they’re trying to deliver. It would just feel much more resolved and satisfying. Also better structure within the plot itself would help. While it could be potentially too restrictive, a straight forward, step-by-step mechanism could work well here, along the lines of class Law & Order. Each team would get one segment to construct their case and plan, to present their take on the evidence. The third segment would be the trial itself. The final segment would be your verdict, followed by the “truth” sequence in some sort of stylistic presentation … black and white, blurry editing, whatever. Something along those lines could make for compelling television.
Instead, we get “meh”.
The Whole Truth airs Wednesdays on ABC at 10/9c
No Comments »
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
No Comments »
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
No Comments »
I didn’t expect to like this. I was never that big a fan of the original, but then, that was really before my time. I’ve heard it was popular back then, but so was Aqua Velva. But I decided to watch this remake despite my disinterest. It’s sort of an obligation, being a self-proclaimed TV critic and all that.
Color me surprised.
It’s a good show. Not too intelligent, but not excessively stupid either. And oh so pretty to look at … on almost every possible level. Good looking actors, great scenery. Hawaiian beaches. Grace Park in a bikini on a Hawaiian beach. You get the picture. If you don’t, I’ve graciously provided one for you. Enjoy.
I’m also digging the theme music. That one is timeless.
The thing that really makes it all work, however, is the relationship between the two leads, Alex O’Loughlin as McGarrett and Scott Caan as Danny “Danno” Williams. Sure, it’s a pretty routine bickering partners set-up, familiar to anyone who ever saw any of the Lethal Weapon movies … or anything with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker/Owen Wilson in it. Caan’s rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness delivery when he’s chastising McGarrett is amazing, even brilliant. I’ve never been a fan, but in this role, Caan is perfect. And our McGarrett is nothing like the one made famous by Jack Lord. That McGarrett struck me as being wound as tight as any human could possibly be, specially in Hawaii, and the most by-the-book kind of cop ever. Our McGarrett … not so much. He’s fast and loose and really rather violent. A man for our times.
The producers/writers/creators behind this version of H50 are smart. They’re not trying to ape the earlier incarnation. They’ve taken the basic premise and gone entirely their own way with it. The two versions may share a theme and a location–and a couple or three names–but beyond that, they bare little resemblance to one another.
That’s a good. Good enough to keep me wanting more.
And then there’s Grace Park.
Did I mention the bikini?
Hawaii Five-0 airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.
No Comments »
As noted elsewhere herein, Friday nights are not usually a good place to be for most television series. It’s the purgatory of network television, where good (or simply marginal) shows are sent to circle the drain before getting the final flush. If the show airs on SpiFfy (aka SyFy), or any number of other cable locations, it might be a good thing. But if the show airs on any of the standard ‘Nets … woooooosh.
All this makes me think that Blue Bloods is going to be your basic non-starter. It’s an interesting take on the classic cop show premise. Almost all the main cast members are from the same family, the Reagans, from Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) to rookie Jamie (Will Estes). Donnie Walberg as Danny Reagan does most of the heavy lifting while Bridget Moynanan, as Erin, and Len Cariou, as Henry, round out the family/cast.
With the family drama angle we get all kinds of affairs and secrets blended in with all the standard cop drama plots (kidnapped kid in the pilot episode, subway train violence in the follow-up). Hey, it could work. Hell, it should work. Only … I’m not so sure it works at all. I like all these people, I really do. And I’ll TiVo the hell out of this thing and likely watch each episode some time each weekend. But it’s not really grabbing me, at least not yet.
It may have something to do with the performances by all the leads. Everything here feels over-done and typical. Selleck is almost too low-key while Walberg is your typical hot-head, get the job done at any cost kind of cop. Estes is a run-of-the-mill rookie, even with the Internal Affairs angle they’re trying to establish. And Moynanan’s overly strident lawyer character is the most off-putting of the bunch. It’s like they bought the blueprints for all these characters from “Cop Dramas R Us”. The plot of each episode has been straight from the factory so far, and done so much better by shows like Southland.
That’s the problem, I guess. There’s really just nothing here. I’m not surprised. It is Friday night, after all.
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS
No Comments »
I’m all about the Shatner. I believe the man is an icon. His performance on Boston Legal sets a standard few could ever hope to achieve. Unfortunately, not even the Shatner can save this giant, stinking pile of $#*!.
In case you missed it, this comedy is supposed to be based upon the often hilarious twitter feed of the same name, and the book, both by Justin Halpern. Some things simply do not translate.
This is one of those things.
William Shatner is the dad in question. The rest of the cast … who cares? With any luck, this thing will be gone before it can irreparably damage their careers. The Shatner will survive … the others may not.
My advice? Watch The Big Bang Theory but keep your remote close at hand so you can tune away the moment Shit … um … $#*! begins. They cancelled The New Adventures of Old Christine for this kind of shit?
$#*! My Dad Says airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.
No Comments »
I have to ask, what is Fox thinking put this one into the Monday Night Mash-Up that is network television? Lone Star has a great deal of potential, but Monday night is going to be something of a bloodbath. I expect the first two or more cancellations to come out of Monday (a bit of a change from the wasteland of Friday nights) if only because the competition is just too brutal.
Let’s take Lone Star’s time slot, for example. At 9/8c, we have Two and a Half Men (and Mike & Molly). There’s the second hour of Dancing with the Stars and no one watching that is going to tune away. There’s also The Event over at NBC and Gossip Girl, one of the CW’s better performers (though it may be slipping). I’ll grant you that House is a solid lead-in and the pairing even makes sense. But I’m calling Lone Star a “Long Shot” to hang around for long.
And there’s the rub. You see, I have zero confidence in network television to stick with something–even if it’s pretty good–once the ratings get rough at all. It used to be that great television shows could maybe get a chance to build an audience and become something special. But either because America’s attention span is just short of nil or because no one at the networks has any foresight (or balls), that almost never happens anymore. Even shows that make a giant splash right up front eventually get penalized because they have almost no hope of maintaining those numbers.
Okay. Hopping down of my soapbox now. Like I said, Lone Star is good television. And it is doomed. I can’t recommend that you watch it since I don’t want to be blamed when it gets cancelled and all of us are left saying the same thing: “But what happens next?”
But if you’re willing to take the risk, here is what you should know. James Wolk is the lead, playing a charismatic conman named Robert (and Bob) Alan. Yeah, he also has a heart of gold and damn near weeps as he robs you blind. He’s working small town Texas and big oil Texas both at the same time, trying to maintain relationships with two different women at once, and fighting the flak from various father figures including Jon Voight (father-in-law/boss) and David Keith (real dad/crook). Adrianne Palicki plays Cat Thatcher, one of Robert/Bob’s love interests. Adrianne first came to our attention during her run on Friday Night Lights–she is simply stunning. And, as she proved during her FNL days, the girl can also act, so that’s nice. Not necessary, but nice.
The cast is amazing, top to bottom, but everything rides on James Wolk. If you like him, you’ll watch. If you don’t, you won’t. The thing is, you almost can’t help but like him. Wolk invests just enough vulnerability and charm into this character you want to like him.
So, go ahead … watch it. But do so at your own risk. I don’t think it will be around long, but I really hope I’m wrong. The pilot and last night’s episodes are available at Fox.com
Lone Star airs Mondays on Fox at 9/8c
No Comments »