Archive | Featured articles

Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


May 3, 2013

Mini-review: Family Tools 1x1 (ABC)

Posted on May 3, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Family Tools

In the US: Wednesdays, 8pm ET, ABC

There seems little point in giving Family Tools a full review, what with it being largely rubbish, but also having received the lowest ever ratings for a comedy debut on ABC, but for the sake of completeness, I feel I should at least mention it.

Anyway, cast your mind back a little way and you'll recall a terminally unfunny BBC3 sitcom called White Van Man. Starring perennial BBC3 favourite Will Mellor, it was all about a man with dreams who had to give them up to take over his dad's handyman business. Fairly typical then of UK sitcoms: working class guy has his dreams crushed because of family (cf Steptoe and Son, Only Fools and Horses) - cue the bittersweet humour.

Bizarrely, despite the original not actually being funny, ABC decided to pick up a US version to series. Of course, no way is all that misery and frustration going to wash in the US, the land of dreams and achievement. Who has time for that in a sitcom? What a downer. At least, that was the thinking at ABC, which did the standard thing of modern US sitcoms and made Family Tools all about a buffoon (Kyle Bornheimer) who fails at everything. Nevertheless, when he has a heart attack, his father (JK Simmons) reluctantly hands over the family business to him because there's no one else who'll take on the job.

And, amazingly, it's even less funny than White Van Man. Whereas most of the original's attempts at humour revolved around Will Mellor's frustrations at the stupidity around him, Family Tools' humour revolves around Kyle Bornheimer's amazing witlessness - it's almost like they started with a name ('White Van Man' doesn't translate into American English very well) and modelled the show on that. No one's that much smarter than Bornheimer, but he's an idiot. And you must laugh at idiots, mustn't you, particularly if they're working class.

No one comes out of this well, not even old pros Leah Remini (King of Queens) and JK Simmons (The Closer, Oz, Law & Order), who appear to have had subtlety bypasses. The script has all the humour of an anthrax alert and the production values, geared up at every stage to say to viewing-idiots "This is funny!" in case they hadn't realised in their near-vegetative states, will set your teeth on edge.

Don't watch it.

May 3, 2013

Review: Rectify 1x1-1x2 (Sundance)

Posted on May 3, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Rectify

In the US: Mondays, 10pm, Sundance Channel

An often-asked question these days is "Why is there so much good American TV on at the moment?" Look at Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boss, et al. Why are these shows all getting made now?

Scratch below the surface of the broadcasting schedules and you'll soon find two of the main answers:

  1. Cable TV, which caters to smaller audiences and looks to differentiate itself from the mass market through quality by giving writers creative freedom, largely unfettered by the FCC rules that stifle ideas on network TV.
  2. The large-scale demise of the independent American movie scene - all the writers who would normally have written intelligent, thoughtful dramatic movies have instead gone over to cable TV, where that creative freedom and the ability to study characters in long-form drama are a constant intoxicating appeal.

One of the biggest names in the independent movie scene is, course, Robert Redford's Sundance Festival, which has its own US TV channel as well. Up to now, that channel's task has been to promote and air independent movies, but it's now looking to branch out into original dramas. It’s no surprise, therefore, that for its first ever drama, not only has the channel gone to the producers of Breaking Bad for a quality product, it's commissioned possibly the most indie-est of all indie movies masquerading as a TV show.

Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is released from death row after new DNA evidence shows that he might not have been the man who raped and murdered his 16-year-old girlfriend. After 19 years in jail, Daniel has to learn how to live again, his life having been on hold for so long. But having originally confessed to the crime, he also has to deal with the people in town who still believe he killed his girlfriend. Meanwhile, his family has to deal with the completely different Daniel who's returned to them.

Sound like fun? No, of course not, and despite becoming quite an incredible bit of drama, it suffers from the biggest flaw of a lot of indie movies, now stretched out and writ large over an entire season of episodes: nothing happens.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Rectify 1x1-1x2 (Sundance)"

Read other posts about: ,

April 30, 2013

Review: Doctor Who - 7x10 - Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Posted on April 30, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

In the UK: Saturday, 6.15pm, 27th April 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7c, 27th April 2013, BBC America

Ever since the TARDIS showed up and proved itself to be bigger on the inside than on the outside, there have been several burning questions in the minds of viewers: how much bigger? What's in there? And will the BBC budget ever stretch to allowing us to find out?

Over the years, we've had references to the many rooms within the TARDIS, as well as stories that have given us brief glimpses of the infinite interior, including Edge of Destruction

Castrovalva

…the TV movie…

The Doctor's Wife and, of course, The Invasion of Time:

But these glimpses have been very few and far between, usually quite brief, and either subordinate to the rest of the plot or mind-numbingly dull (Castrovalva). What we've been waiting for is a proper adventure set in the TARDIS that combines everything we've learnt about it but goes on to show off as much as possible of the interior, while giving us new and exciting additions, all while avoiding the Castrovalva "Maths is Fun!" syndrome.

Did Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS give us that? Well, let's discuss it all after this lovely trailer and the jump.

Continue reading "Review: Doctor Who - 7x10 - Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400  

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years