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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.


June 24, 2010

Preview: Covert Affairs 1x1

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

Covert Affairs

In the US: Tuesdays, 10/9c, USA Network. Starts 13th July

Piper Perabo should have had a great career in the movies. Okay, Coyote Ugly wasn't exactly a great starting point, but she's a good actress, she did well in The Prestige - exciting things should have happened but didn't. Maybe it's because most people confuse her with Jennifer Garner.

So it's good to see her getting her own TV show, Covert Affairs, even if it does appear the producers were trying to remake Alias and got her confused with Jennifer Garner as well.

In Covert Affairs, Perabo plays a new recruit to the CIA whose language skills and aptitude for the job get her rushed into the field by her occasionally helpful bosses Arthur Campbell (The OC's Peter Gallagher) and his distrustful wife Joan (Kari Matchett from Leverage and 24). While out and about, she gets to have fights and car chases, while putting on array of accents to fool the police, FBI and even, sometimes, the enemy. No wigs mind. That would have been too obvious.

But since this is about a "single woman [with a] double life" (as the show's posters and ads say) and the show is called Covert Affairs (emphasis on the second word), we also have possible romantic interest for her in the form of the helpful Auggie Anderson (Jake 2.0/Ugly Betty's Christopher Gorham), the smooth Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy from Heroes, but only from episode two) and whomever her unknowing sister (Anne Dudek from House and Mad Men) sends in her direction. If only she weren't pining for that guy she met on vacation all those years ago…

While it's not quite up there with Burn Notice, Covert Affairs just about manages to blend humour, romance and spy action to create something that while not unmissable, should make any pangs you have for the return of Alias disappear.

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June 23, 2010

Review: Scoundrels 1x1

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

Scoundrels

In the US: Sundays, 9/8c, ABC

It's official. The UK's drama output has sunk to an all-time low. You know how I know? Because not only has US TV stopped plundering us for formats, it's now started plundering New Zealand TV for idea.

Outrageous Fortune is one of NZ's most popular shows, a slightly Shameless affair about a criminal family trying to go straight. Now ABC in the US has decided to remake it as Scoundrels - since clearly the cancellation of The Riches wasn't warning enough.

It's put some fair old talent into it, too: Virginia Madsen (Dune, Sideways et al), David James Elliot (JAG), Leven Rambin (The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Carlos Bernard (24), Patrick John Flueger (Brothers) and Jessica Collins (Tru Calling). So why does it fall so flat? Oh yes, because it's mainstream summer TV and edgy is just not what we're looking for.

Here's a trailer for Scoundrels followed by a trailer for Outrageous Fortune: see if you can spot the difference.

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June 23, 2010

Review: Pretty Little Liars 1x1-1x3

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

Pretty Little Liars

In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC Family

Sometimes, it's really possible for TV to make you feel old. I remember watching an episode of Quantum Leap back in the early 90s while I was at university and thinking to myself, "Ah, isn't that sweet? Donald Bellisario and Deborah Pratt have put their little four-year-old daughter Troian into an episode."

Troian Bellisario is now 25 and one of the stars of Pretty Little Liars. In fact, of all the stars she's the oldest.

God damn it. I'm officially old.

Pretty Little Liars is an attempt to somehow meld Gossip Girl with Vampire Diaries, with just a hint of Desperate Housewives. Based on the book series of the same name - which ironically was only developed in the first place when an attempt to create a TV show from the initial idea floundered - it features four pretty high school girls who were once the best of friends. That all ended a year ago, when the fifth member and leader of their group, Ali, disappeared one summer. A year later, one of the friends returns from a stay in Europe to find the group has fallen apart.

Yet something's going to bring them together. Could it be Ali? If it is, why won't she reveal herself and why does she keep sending them anonymous text messages? Worse still, is she going to give away all their secrets?

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