In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, NBC In the UK: Living, 2011. But with a different name
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first unqualified "too painful to watch" show of the Fall season. We've had stupid in Hawaii Five-0 but it was fun stupid. We've had dull in Terriers. We've had predictable in Outlaw. We've had simply bad and stupid in Nikita, but that at least had some decent action. But now we have mind-numbingly dull crossed with stupid in the form of Chase, in which US Marshall Kelli Giddish (last seen in Past Life) and her motley team-mates hunt down implausible escaped fugitives while simultaneously educating the viewing public about the Marshall service, Texas, rodeos, women, Texan music and her entire backstory. And running. Running lots. Because, you know, it's called Chase.
After years of fielding comedies that only fit loosely into that category - laughter while watching them was a somewhat rare occurrence - Fox clearly sat up and paid attention last year when ABC blew everyone out of the water with Modern Family. Now, as well as a Greg Garcia comedy, they've rolled out a second single camera show, this time from the team that brought us Fox's previous good comedy - Arrested Development.
Starring Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock) and Keri Russell (Felicity), this sees aimless rich boy Steve Wilde (Arnett) reunited with his childhood love Emmy Kadubic (Russell) who's been trying to saving some Amazon natives from the terrible oil workers his father has hired. How are they reunited? Her daughter feigns mutism for six months since she wants to have a normal life back in the States.
With guest appearances by David Cross and Peter Serafinowicz, this pilot episode is actually pretty funny, but is it Arrested Development funny? Not quite. All the same, it shows enough sparks of life to make me think Fox is no longer the comedy wasteland of yesteryear.
Here, enjoy a lovely trailer for the first ep, featuring footage from the slightly different pilot, complete with alternative guest cast. It's pretty much the same though:
Greg Garcia has made something of a career for himself with a very peculiar writing specialty: he writes sweet, not especially funny sitcoms, filled with stupid but well meaning members of America's underclass. As much laughing with the underclass as at them, his shows are a useful antidote to the middle class and upper class shows that dominate the airwaves, but you're always left feeling after a given episode that it should have been a whole lot more - and that you have a slightly nasty taste in your mouth, as though you've somehow ended up bullying one of the stupid kids in the class, despite your best intentions.
After the demise of My Name is Earl on NBC, Garcia has made the trek over to a network whose comedies ('Til Death, Brothers, Happy Hour) are more commonly associated with feelings of violation and misery: Fox. His new topic of amusement? A young underachiever, who just as he's decided to make something of his otherwise dead-end existence, finds out he's a father and has to bring up the baby with his gormless family. The baby's name? Princess Beyonce.
No. Hang on. That's not right. It's Hope. So here's a trailer for Raising Hope.
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.