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April 27, 2011

Review: XIII 1x1

Posted on April 27, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

XIII

In Canada: Wednesdays, 10pm, Showcase

Hello, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jason Bourne and today I would like to apologise to you and everyone else in the world for my legacy.

No, not The Bourne Legacy, although someone should probably apologise for that. I'm talking about the effect I've had on movies and television throughout the world.

Now, I used to be a super cool, secret agent, able to fight, rewire things, break into buildings, hack computers - the works. But I got shot, I lost my memory, my identity and even my real name, and it took me three movies and an awful lot of fighting and travelling around the world to get it back.

In the world of movies and television, the result has been an awful lot of films and shows in which people, particularly secret agents, lose their memories and then have to fight and travel around the world a lot to get them back, usually in a not particularly interesting way.

I'm sorry to say that now, the bottom of the barrel has been scraped. Canada, a country whose last contribution to the spy genre was InSecurity, has decided with the help of the French to make XIII, a show in which Stuart Townsend - once so promising in things like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Queen of the Damned, before ruining it all with a remake of The Night Stalker - plays a secret agent who loses his memory and has to do an awful lot of fighting and travelling around the world to get it back.

And if you watch it, you'll know what my life is like - because you'll feel like you're losing your memory, too. Here's a trailer - just for fun, see if you can spot the differences between it and the trailer for the XIII mini-series made by the same people that aired a few years ago:

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April 20, 2011

Review: King 1x1

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

King

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Showcase

So here's an interesting question: is it enough that a female character be strong? I mean literally that's the only real characteristic that she has.

Because now we have a thought experiment in actual viewing form: King, Showcase's female cop who doesn't mind ruffling a few feathers. She's been sitting in the call centre for ages after refusing to play by the rules, but now she's going to take over an investigation because the lead detective is rubbish. She's strong, she's determined, she's professional, she's smart, she doesn't mind going into the men's room when there are men in there.

And that's about it. If you pushed me, I'd say she also has a slightly dull relationship with her husband. And that she wears shoes. But honestly, that's about it.

Here's the trailer: see if you can spot some more character traits that would make you want to watch.

Continue reading "Review: King 1x1"

April 20, 2011

Review: The Paul Reiser Show 1x1-1x2

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

The Paul Reiser Show

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, NBC

Okay, I have to ask: is there some massive build-up of a slight irritation in all the middle-aged, middle class white guys around the world? I'm not talking about some Susan Faludi style-Backlash (that's a different question). I'm talking about mild irritation which some mildly irritating aspects of their not exactly universal lifestyles. Because around the world, we're getting some very meta shows in which grumpy, middle class, middle-aged white guys, playing thinly veiled versions of themselves, meander around while their wives look on as patiently as they can, having to deal with things that clearly irk them. A little bit anyway.

First we had Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry goes around as himself, being narked by having to tip waiters, that kind of thing, while his wife looks on as patiently as she can. Obviously a funny show with a funny guy and funny writers. Not quite as universal as Seinfeld's comedy of modern manners, but still worth watching.

Then we got Lead Balloon in the UK, in which Jack Dee became very irritated and long suffering in response to a terrible life in which he has a big house, an East European housekeeper and a slightly sarcastic coffee bar owner to deal with, while his wife looks on as patiently as she can.

Then Canada got in on the act with Good Dog, in which Ken Finkleman somehow has to cope with the problems of having a reality TV show made about him and his much younger, model girlfriend, who's being as patient as she can with him.

By this point, it was clear everyone was doing Curb Your Enthusiasm, so the first episode of Good Dog makes frequent references to Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, going to see Larry David to get his approval to make an obvious rip-off of Curb Your Enthusiasm and more highly meta fun.

But now we've gone completely meta full circle. We're back in the US. We have Paul Reiser, friend of Larry David, former star of Mad About You, creating and starring in a show called The Paul Reiser Show, which is all about the mild problems faced by a rich guy called Paul Reiser who hasn't done much since he appeared in Mad About You. It's directed by one of the directors of Curb Your Enthusiasm. And in it, Larry David turns up as Larry David, doing his Curb Your Enthusiasm version of himself, to talk about the game show that Paul Reiser is going to host that's a lot like his. All while Reiser's wife looks on as patiently as she can.

My brain hurts. Shame my funny bone doesn't.

Here's a couple of trailers. You will not laugh:

Continue reading "Review: The Paul Reiser Show 1x1-1x2"

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