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September 24, 2010

Review: Outsourced 1x1

Posted on September 24, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Outsourced

In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, NBC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

We're going to have to tread lightly here. So…

Outsourcing is a phenomenon which sees businesses transfer some of the things they do to other countries, most famously call centres. Someone has to run those call centres, and sometimes it's a local, sometimes it's someone sent over from the home country. One of the biggest countries for providing outsourcing services is India.

There. I made it through an entire paragraph without being too controversial. Because Outsourced, NBC's new comedy show is a great big hot potato that sees an American company fire its call centre and blackmail the centre's manager into going over to India to run the outsourced call centre. There he meets a motley collection of misfits as well as another American call centre manager who's been there a few years and a cute Australian call centre manager he'd like to get to know better (Pippa Black from Neighbours).

Still not too controversial?

Well, let's just say there are a few cultural clashes and a few stereotypes in the mix as well.

Cue the trailer:

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September 24, 2010

Review: Better With You 1x1

Posted on September 24, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Better With You

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

If you needed proof that a laughter track - or at least a "live studio audience" - will kill 99% of all known US comedies dead, here's Better With You to come up and smack you in your face and tell you to "wake up and smell the coffee".

It's the kind of show that deals in the occasional cliché like that. But only occasionally.

Now, underneath everything, it's actually quite funny - despite that occasional flirtation with cliché. Okay, it's very suspiciously like Rules of Engagement (and the near-forgotten What I Like About You) but this story of two sisters, one in a happy relationship for nine years but unmarried, the other getting pregnant and engaged to a guy she's been dating for seven weeks, does have some good lines, some good actors, touches on some interesting aspects of relationships and - vitally - makes you laugh.

The trouble is the studio audience crushing every ounce of comedy out of the situation. Here, a trailer and a clip so you can see what I mean.

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September 23, 2010

Review: The Whole Truth 1x1

Posted on September 23, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Whole Truth

In the US: Wednesdays, 10pm Eastern/9pm Central, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

So with most legal dramas (eg The Defenders, LA Law, Shark, The Deep End et al), you have a very obvious set-up. You have the heroic/anti-heroic lawyers who have to defend/prosecute the obviously guilty/innocent defendant. By the end of the episode, said defendant is proven guilty/innocent thanks to our hero's/heroes' resourcefulness. Cue the next episode.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer likes to mix things up a little bit. For example, with 2006's Justice, although our heroes were the intrepid defending attorneys, we never knew until the end whether the client was actually guilty or not - all we knew was that our lawyers were going to defend them to the best of their abilities, using whatever tricks they had up their sleeves.

The Whole Truth builds on this and takes it one stage further. Here we have both a heroic defending counsel and a determined prosecutor and we get to see both sides of the case built, with both lawyers using whatever tricks they can come up with to win. And at the end, we find out whether the defendant was actually guilty or innocent.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Certainly, with Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure, Numb3rs) as well as Maura Tierney (ER, Rescue Me) on board, you'd be thinking that we were onto something good. However, while you won't feel the pain you might get from watching The Defenders, The Whole Truth is still quite an average legal drama that you can quite easily ignore without feeling you're missing out on the cultural zeitgeist.

Here's a trailer, followed by another, almost identical trailer - see if you can spot the difference.

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