Archive | Featured articles

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


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).

Continue reading "Review: Motive 1x1 (CTV)"

Read other posts about: , ,

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.

Continue reading "Review: Do No Harm 1x1 (NBC)"

Read other posts about:

February 4, 2013

Review: The Americans 1x1 (FX/FX Canada/ITV)

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

FX - The Americans

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, FX
In Canada: Wednesdays,10pm ET/PT 8pm MT, FX Canada
In the UK: Acquired by ITV

There's a lot of nostalgia for the 80s at the moment. Okay, so the 60s and 70s have largely been done to death on TV now thanks to Mad Men, That 70s Show et al and the population is ageing, but right now, it's the 80s that have all the buzz. Maybe it's those conservatives and their love of Ronald Reagan. Maybe it's the fashionistas. Certainly, The Carrie Diaries is giving teenagers who weren't even alive back then a chance to indulge in the decade of crazy fashions, MTV and Ferris Bueller.

What The Carrie Diaries doesn't give anyone is a good old nostalgic feeling for the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the possible imminent death of everyone on the planet in a nuclear war. It won't even include the Twin Towers in the Manhattan skyline in case it bums anyone out.

But The Americans, FX's latest wander down the path of darkness, dares to love the Cold War, when times were simpler and you largely knew where the enemy was: either the Soviet Union or the Soviet embassy down the block - certainly not in a cave somewhere. Well, except for those sleeper agents, of course…

But it goes one step further still and dares to love the Soviets. Because The Americans, set in 1981, follows Keri Russell (last seen on Running Wilde) and Wales' own Matthew Rhys (a Brothers and Sisters alum, so well versed in the art of faking an American accent) as a pair of Soviet sleeper agents who have spent 15 years in the US pretending to be an everyday couple next door. Trained to blend in with suburbia, they even have two kids, although whether those kids were conceived out of love or a desire to convert the American populace to socialism is a thorny subject.

Yes, after 15 years of living like Americans, our undercover couple - who are still spying, seducing and killing for the Soviets - are starting to wonder if the Yanks are really as bad as all that. Have they been changed? Is their will breaking? Or are they still good comrades? At the very least, they're hoping that the FBI agent who's moved in next door doesn't discover who they are before they've decided for themselves…

Here's a trailer:

Continue reading "Review: The Americans 1x1 (FX/FX Canada/ITV)"

Read other posts about:

  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