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February 6, 2013

Review: Seed 1x1 (City TV)

Posted on February 6, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Seed

In Canada: Mondays, 8:30pm ET/PT, CityTV
In the rest of the world: Not yet acquired

There are two things that are hard with Canadian comedies. The first is to hate them. They're so well meaning and liberal and nice. Even what could be a mean-spirited show like Seed - in which a 30something, womanising slacker bartender whose sperm-bank-generated teenage progeny turn up in his life looking for their oblivious father - still manages to be endearing, despite numerous stereotypes about lesbians, dominating career women, liberal middle-class couples, black lesbians, single 30something women, single 30something men, men in general and others. It's just so gosh darn… nice.

The other thing that's hard with Canadian comedies is to laugh. The country as a whole has a track record that includes Kids In The Hall and The Newsroom and has filled the entertainment world with so many famous, talented comedians (most of whom you probably don't realise are Canadians), it would be impossible to list them all. But modern Canadian comedy shows are largely exemplified by the likes of the horrifically unfunny 18 To Life, Men With Brooms, Hiccups, InSecurity, Good Dog and The Line.

And so it is with Seed, a show that's amiable and trying really hard to be funny, but which ultimately fails to raise more than a wry grin and an "Awe, isn't that nice?" out of the whole affair.

Here's a trailer for the first episode, the aptly titled Ill Conceived, followed by a trailer for the rest of the season:

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February 5, 2013

Review: Motive 1x1 (CTV)

Posted on February 5, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Motive CTV

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm, CTV
In the US: Acquired by ABC for summer 2013
In the UK: Not yet acquired

In the never-ending struggle to come up with new crime drama formats, there are generally two methods of differentiation used by writers: character and gimmick. If you differentiate by character, you end up with shows such as Monk, Elementary, The Mentalist or Psych, in which someone over-laden with personality has to solve crimes while less interesting, more plodding individuals stand around filling up dialogue time and generally failing to solve crimes.

If you differentiate by gimmick, you end up with shows like Justice, Murder One, and The Whole Truth, in which quite dull characters stand around filling out plot time while the gimmicky plot mechanism that drives the show plays itself out.

In both cases, I should point out, you still need to have involving crimes and investigations or both techniques will be for naught.

Now Motive wants to have its cake and eat it, attempting to stand out from the crowd with both gimmick and character. The gimmick here is that as the show's title suggests, it's all about the motive: as much time is dedicated to why the crime was committed as to solving it, with huge chunks of the story told in flashback. But it also has character: no special character ticks here but cool, over-acting, intensely irritating detective-mom Angie Flynn, who's just so down with her kid.

Does it work? Well, it stands out, but it's forgotten that golden rule and as a result is still a very boring show that makes Cracked look like The Shield in comparison. Here's a trailer: note, as with all Canadian TV shows, the contractually obligated appearance of at least one person from Stargate as well as Roger Cross from 24 (okay, he isn't in the trailer but he's in the show).

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February 4, 2013

Review: Do No Harm 1x1 (NBC)

Posted on February 4, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Do No Harm

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC
In Canada: Thursdays, 10pm ET, CTV
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Seeing as the first episode of NBC's new show has the lowest ever ratings for a mid-season show, I'm not sure I needed to have bothered with a full review for this boy - it's not long for this world. But I will and I'm going to take the opportunity to wonder exactly how short-term broadcast networks' memories are.

See, on the one hand, I'm impressed by their commitment to trying to make an idea work. ABC has just greenlit a pilot based on The Syndicate, a UK show about Lottery winners with secrets and how they're affected by their win. Thing is, NBC did that not so long ago as Windfall.

Maybe that's okay, given the show was on another network: one US network is rarely bothered if they make an almost identical show to another's within a year of it airing - indeed, that's often the point.

But how about when it's remaking its own shows, shows that flopped. Do No Harm is a take on the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in which a brilliant neurosurgeon (aren't they always? Aren't there ever really rubbish neurosurgeons? Under-achieving neurosurgeons? After all, it's not exactly rocket science is it?) has multiple personality disorder. Every night at 8.25pm, his other, sociopathic personality takes over and tries to screw up his life and possibly mutilate and rape anyone he comes across. Then the nice surgeon wakes up again at 8.25am, trying to work out what the bad guy did.

Thing is, we've already had Awake just a year ago, which had the two different lives, one inside dreams, one outside (or maybe they're both dreams). That at least had the virtue of being pretty good.

But before that, also on NBC, we had My Own Worst Enemy, in which mild-mannered Christian Slater discovered that he was really an implanted personality and that his real, nasty, more interesting secret agent self came out at night when he was asleep. In that show as well, the nice guy decides enough is enough and decides to take revenge against himself - as does the bad guy - while they try to come to some kind of working arrangement in the interim.

Sounds great, doesn't it? No, wait. It's the opposite of that. This was not an idea that needed exploring again.

And the ratings have shown it. Here's a trailer.

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