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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.


September 20, 2012

Preview: Elementary 1x1 (CBS/Sky Living)

Posted on September 20, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Elementary

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS. Starts September 27
In the UK: Acquired by Sky Living for October broadcast

You will recall that not so long ago, Steven Moffat was extremely dischuffed. "Pourquoi?" you might ask if you were French. Well, my francophone friend, because as well as being the showrunner for Doctor Who, Stevie is also the showrunner and indeed co-creator of a little known show called Sherlock, an updating of Conan Doyle's famous consulting detective. After pitching an updated version to the American TV network CBS, he became seriously dischuffed when he heard that CBS was going to do their own version without the benefit of his wisdom.

And here it comes: Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes, a former consultant to Scotland Yard, who moves to New York to get away from his father and to help US cop Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) with his enquiries. Of course, since he doesn't get paid for his work, he needs his father's money to keep him in little things like food and lodgings, and since our Sherlock also had a bit of a drug habit, as a condition of continued support, daddy dearest gives him a live-in 'sober companion', a therapist who stays with Sherlock night and day to make sure he doesn't revert to old habits. That would be one Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

Sound much like Sherlock? No.

Stevie need not have worried.

In fact, Elementary, even putting aside the change in location of the stories, gender of Dr Watson and promotion of Inspector Gregson, is possibly the loosest adaptation of Conan Doyle's classics there's ever been. Well, apart from that manga one and that one set in space. And while it's a perfectly functional procedural, efficiently told and competently made, with an intriguingly quirky performance from Miller, it's also the blandest adaptation of Conan Doyle's classics there's even been. Yes, even including Young Sherlock - The Mystery of the Manor House.

Here's a trailer. It's basically a four-minute precis of the pilot.

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September 17, 2012

Preview: The Mob Doctor (Fox) 1x1

Posted on September 17, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Mob Doctor

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox. Starts tonight
In the UK: Not yet acquired.

Watching this, I could have sworn I'd mysteriously tuned into CBS by accident. No way could this be a Fox show. It has CBS fingerprints all over it.

But, no. It's on Fox. It's a procedural. It's efficiently made, efficiently acted and has high production values, just like a CBS show. It has no need to be a procedural - as with CBS's A Gifted Man which was originally a show about a haunted doctor, this has medical procedural grafted onto it. But a procedural it is, with My Boys' Jordana Spiro as a doctor who - in between being brilliant and saving lives - has to do some medical work for the mob, it being Chicago n'all, because her brother was in trouble and she now owes them a debt that she has to pay off.

Then, one day, a mob informer comes into her hospital for an operation and the mob want her to kill him while he's on the operating table or else they'll hurt her and her family. What's a surgeon to do?

And actually, that's not the show's biggest ethical dilemma, because somehow - I know not how, particularly on Fox of all networks - one of the patients who comes to her is a teenage girl. Who's had sex with her boyfriend. She's now pregnant. It's going to ruin her life.

And to its credit, despite every other unremarkable, uninvolving aspect of the show, The Mob Doctor not only countenances the idea of letting this girl have an abortion, the doctor goes ahead and performs 'the operation'.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Preview: The Mob Doctor (Fox) 1x1"

September 17, 2012

Review: Guys With Kids (NBC) 1x1

Posted on September 17, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Guys With Kids

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c, NBC. Begins September 26
in the UK: Not yet acquired (thankfully)

By now, after Go On, The New Normal and Animal Practice, you should know the form.

NBC. Comedy. Don't watch.

It's that simple. You may think I'm exaggerating - and given the second episode of Go On was actually okay, maybe I am - but as a rule, "NBC. Comedy. Don't watch" is pretty accurate and a good way to guide your viewing.

I should also add that anything that's "war of the sexes" is guaranteed to be dismal and if you needed any proof, here's Guys With Kids. See that title? Does it make you think, "My, that's going to be a top, grade A comedy"? Of course it doesn't. And you'd be right.

Here, NBC has latched onto the fact that one of its few new comedies not to massively fall on its face last year - the single-camera comedy Up All Night - was about modern parents, parenting and kids. It also noticed that a whole load of shows on other, better networks were about men dealing with changes in society - although it failed to notice that almost none of them were any good (e.g. Last Man Standing, Man Up!). So it's decided to make a comedy about men having to look after kids. And it's gone multi-camera: there's even someone at the beginning who claims it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Presumably a studio filled with nitrous oxide.

You can imagine the laughs, right? No? Surprising that.

Here's a trailer for the pilot. You might need to sit down for this one.

Continue reading "Review: Guys With Kids (NBC) 1x1"

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