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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 26, 2011

Review: Once Upon A Time 1x1

Posted on October 26, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Once Upon A Time

In the US: Sundays, 8/7c, ABC
in the UK: Not yet acquired

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a clever man had the idea to make a TV show in which fairy tales were true and still happening in the real world. He made that TV show and it was called Grimm and it'll be on later this week.

Yes, coincidentally, in the same 'strange' way as NBC and ABC both simultaneously deciding to do shows set in the 60s à la Mad Men (The Playboy Club and Pan Am) and CBS and ABC both simultaneously deciding to do shows about the plight of modern men (How to be a Gentleman and Last Man Standing/Man Up!/Work It), ABC has also decided to make a show in which fairy tales are true and still happening in the real world and it's called Once Upon A Time.

How did that happen? Magic, presumably, and definitely not just networks copying each others' ideas.

Anyway, in Once Upon A Time, Jennifer Morrison (Cameron in House) is a bondswoman. Yes, that's plausible, isn't it? She's a single bondswoman who can't get a date and has no friends. Getting more plausible by the minute, isn't it?

But get this - it turns out that 10 years ago, she gave up a child for adoption.

Uh huh.

He finds her on the Internet and asks her to come home with him to save the town where he lives - Storybrooke. Everyone there is really a character from a fairy tale but doesn't know it, thanks to the curse of Snow White's wicked step-mother: the town mayor and the woman who adopted him.

But get this - again. Morrison is really the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, disappeared in a magic wardrobe, but foretold to return on her 28th birthday to save everyone from the wicked step-mother's spell.

So does this review have a happy ending? Let's find out after the trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Once Upon A Time 1x1"

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October 20, 2011

Review: Man Up! 1x1

Posted on October 20, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Man Up!

In the US: Tuesdays, 8.30/7.30c, ABC

There is a famous illustration of 'the ascent of man' (it's invariably a man).

The Ascent of Man

Yet, on the US TV networks, we're getting a series of shows about what it's like to be modern man. And so far, on a quality scale, it's been more like this:

Ascent of Man Up 2

(Yes, I know that's rubbish, but I had five minutes to do it in).

We started with How To Be A Gentlemen, which partially satirised the whole concept and actually wasn't that bad - but now should probably be called How To Be Cancelled. Then we got Last Man Standing, in which Tim Allen basically does Home Improvement again, so although he does rant a bit about modern man (and his lack of manly qualities), largely he learns his lesson and discovers there is something to this 'sensitivity' thing after all.

But now we have - and there's still Work It to come so we haven't quite reach the nadir of this trend - Man Up!, from the same network that's given us Last Man Standing and will also give us, you guessed it, Work It: ABC. Written by and starring Christopher Moynihan (who you may recall also created NBC sitcom 100 Questions aka one of the answers in the TV trivia quiz "Name a network US TV show that lasted only six episodes because that's all the network thought it was worth"), it's about three slacker men who are having to deal with modern life, playing games and dealing with the fact they haven't fought in any wars to prove their manhood. It's the first honest-to-goodness piece of all out offensiveness, with horrible male characters, even more horrible female partners and a real sense of confusion about what it's actually trying to say, beyond "Ooh, er, life's tricky for men sometimes. Can we have sprinkles on our cereal? Is that okay?"

Its one redeeming feature: a guy who's basically the Old Spice Guy, but isn't the actual Old Spice Guy. Here's a trailer - it has the very few funny bits in it:

Continue reading "Review: Man Up! 1x1"

October 18, 2011

Review: Boss 1x1

Posted on October 18, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Boss with Kelsey Grammer

In the US: Fridays, 10pm ET/PT, Starz

A little while ago, I mocked Starz. To be fair, it's very deserving of mockery, given Camelot and - gods help us - Torchwood: Miracle Day, just for starters.

But Starz is trying, really trying, not to be the the worst and tackiest of the cable networks when it comes to drama. Even though it shows Spartacus, which while quite good in quite a lot of respects, still has the Starz tacky DNA in every cell of its green-screened, over-developed body.

Yet now, with Boss, they've actually got a show that's very good and only makes you think "Ooh, that's a bit tacky, isn't it?" two or three times in its entire hour-long first episode. It stars Kelsey Grammer as the mayor of Chicago and shows in glorious detail why the two things in life you don't want to see being made are sausages and laws.

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Boss 1x1"

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