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


October 9, 2012

Preview: Emily Owens MD (The CW) 1x1

Posted on October 9, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Emily Owens MD

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW. Starts October 19
In the UK: Not yet acquired
In Canada: Acquired by CTV2 for simulcast
In Australia: Acquired by Network Ten

The medical procedural (MP) is something of a blank slate. Any network can stamp its DNA into the MP and make it its own. Fox can take the MP and add a little bit of crime drama to produce The Mob Doctor. NBC can take the MP and turn it into a low-quality bombastic explosion fest that runs out of budget by episode two (Trauma). ABC can make the MP a soap opera within three seconds (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice).

So how about The CW, a network best characterised by Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model and Privileged? What would it do with an MP? Think about… What's your answer?

If you guessed "young female doctor has to face up to mean, probably black girls, while finding career success and true love, probably with someone from Smallville in it", you'd be right. Emily Owens MD is indeed a show about a young female doctor - Emily Owens (Marnie Gummer from The Good Wife) - who has just qualified from medical school and wants to become the best doctor ever. She moves to Denver to train with her heroine, Gina Bandari (Necar Zadegan from The Event), which is coincidentally where her best friend and secret crush Will Collins (Justin Hartley from, you guessed it, Smallville) is also going.

But whom should she discover has joined the hospital she's going to be an intern at? Why the girl who used to bully her at high school, Cassandra Kopelson (Aja Naomi King), of course. And not only has she got to survive the girl who secretly messed up her cards just before the debate and knows her nickname is 'pits', she's got to deal with all the other cliques in the hospital. Because it turns out a hospital is a lot like a high school.

Here's a trailer.

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October 8, 2012

Review: Hunted 1x1 (BBC1/Cinemax)

Posted on October 8, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hunted with Melissa George

In the UK: Thursdays, 9pm, BBC1. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Fridays, 10pm, Cinemax. Starts October 19

Action heroines are few and far enough between, particularly on TV, that when a writer creates a female-centric action drama, such as Hunted, he or she has to decide to do one of two things: to be gender-neutral and ignore the fact it's a woman doing the fighting or to be gender aware and tailor the writing accordingly.

Both ways can work - look at either Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Haywire - but both involve peril. You can be gender neutral like Burn Notice, but then you end up with Gabrielle Anwar, who hasn't eaten food since 2005, regularly beating 200lb ex-special forces guys in hand-to-hand fights.

Nope, not happening.

Or you can be gender-aware like Missing, tailor your action scenes to the fact your lead is a tad smaller and weaker than the steroided-up 6'5" male characters, but have have pretty much every single plot item happen because the lead is a woman, and in Missing's case, a mother.

Hunted, which features Home and Away star Melissa George as a former army intelligence officer who joins private sector company Byzantium Security - this decade's Saracen Systems - to carry on spying but for the highest bidder, goes for the secret third approach: the hybrid option, in which pretty much everything happens because George is a woman, but the action scenes remain gender-blind, even though George is built like a Littlewoods catalogue model.

Hunted's implementation is probably the least satisfying of all the options (Haywire - more on that later - is secret option four: how to do it properly), results in George mooning about lovers, moving in with the bad guys to look after their kids and getting pregnant by a colleague. Yet somehow, despite the hand of Frank Spotnitz being behind the plotting and dialogue, both of which have the power to make your brain rot in the manly mirror universe of Sky/Cinemax's Strike Back, Hunted is actually surprisingly okay: nothing extraordinary, nothing too smart and in many ways quite stupid, but with enough flair and action that it's a passable enough way to spend your time.

Here's a trailer:

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October 2, 2012

Review: 666 Park Avenue 1x1 (ABC/ITV2)

Posted on October 2, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

666 Park Avenue

In the US: Sundays, 10pm/9pm Central, ABC
In the UK: Acquired by ITV2

So when is an adaptation not an adaptation? When you've only bought the book for its title because it's cool and you're really adapting something else altogether, that's when.

You might be tempted to think, for example, that 666 Park Avenue might be somewhat like 666 Park Avenue, the book of the same name - on which its credits claim it is based. And yet a brief yet cursory examination of the book's Amazon listing (or even, like me, if you flicked through it in the book shop) will reveal a few discrepancies:

Welcome to New York City, where the socialites are witches.

Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. When her boyfriend Malcolm proposes, Jane can't believe her luck and decides to leave her Paris-based job as a fledgling architect and make a new start with him in New York. But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan's most feared and revered families, Jane's fairy tale takes a darker turn.

Now Jane must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them.

Welcome to 666 Park Avenue….

Yes, it's Gossip Girl meets The Secret Circle. At least, the book is.

But that's not 666 Park Avenue the TV series. That is something completely different. And by completely different, I mean it's Rosemary's Baby meets The Devil's Advocate with just a hint of The Shining to give us 'The Devil's Janitor'. That's not as sexy a title as 666 Park Avenue, is it?

When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, arrive in New York City, the glamorous center of industry and media, they are offered the opportunity to manage the historic Drake. Jane, a small town girl with big ambitions, always knew she wanted to be an architect. Henry, a member of the Mayor's staff, is grounded, intelligent and tenacious. They are lured by the intoxicating lifestyle of New York's wealthy elite.

Sexy, enticing and captivating, home to an epic struggle of good versus evil, The Drake maintains a dark hold over all of its tenants in this new, chilling drama, tempting them through their ambitions and desires.

Basically, bunch of people in a building. They all get tempted. They sign their souls over to the guy who owns the building - the Devil (probably) - and then bad things happen. Two new people move in. They're going to be tempted by something, but you can bet they're going to do some investigating first.

And despite some really quite gruesome scenes, there is almost nothing interesting about this show. Apart from the title. It's a real place, you know.

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