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September 27, 2009

Review: Mercy 1x1

Posted on September 27, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Mercy 1x1

In the US: Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC

There's a long and honourable tradition in US drama of characters returning from war and getting new day jobs. Whether it was Korea (Kelly Robinson - I Spy), Nam (Michael Knight - Knight Rider, Stringfellow Hawke - Airwolf), the Gulf War (Major John MacGillis - Major Dad), Afghanistan (Colby Granger - Numb3rs) or Iraq (Justin Walker - Brothers and Sisters), the characters come back, sometimes messed up, sometimes not.

But they sure as hell want to talk about it a lot.

Very, very infrequently, however, are these characters women, which makes Mercy something of a novelty. Set in a hospital of the same name, it follows the lives of three nurses - including one Iraq war veteran - as they try to cope with patients, the staff and their own lives.

Ordinarily, that would be interesting enough you'd have thought: nurses are highly trained professionals, yet are always regarded as "not as good as a doctor", even when they do more of the procedures and can often be more experienced. They see the real sharp end of things, and have to deal with the patients far more than doctors do, too.

But for some reason, the producers took what could have been a near-insightful drama and warped it into a never-ending discussion about how war is hell and messes you up - and boyfriends. It's still moderately interesting, but you know what? War - and boyfriend bitching - is also hell to listen to.

Continue reading "Review: Mercy 1x1"

September 27, 2009

Review: The Good Wife 1x1 (US: CBS)

Posted on September 27, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Good Wife

In the US: Tuesdays, 10/9c, CBS

A lot of 'pro-women' (I use the quotes advisedly) TV is surprisingly crude. Often, it seems to think that as long as women are the protagonists and are seen to win through at the end, any old rubbish stereotypes are allowed, men can be the universal enemy and the women can be a bit thick and backward but win through in the end through friendship. Characterisation often takes a back seat to fluffy ideals and any real world nuances seem to get lost. It's as if TV writers can believe the theory, but can't believe the practice.

Since leaving ER, Julianna Margulies has had a couple of stabs at 'pro women' vehicles. Canterbury's Law went to the other extreme of 'pro-women' TV by having Margulies play a complete a-hole - basically a woman lawyer who acted exactly like an a-hole male lawyer in every way. It deservedly got cancelled within about three milliseconds.

The Good Wife is her latest effort and it's considerably more promising. Margulies once again plays a lawyer, albeit one who hasn't practised in 13 years since she's been bringing up her family. When her politician husband (Sex and the City's Chris Noth) is incarcerated and revealed to have been having affairs with hookers, she's forced to become the family wage-earner and rediscover herself.

It's still a little bit crude, but it's considerably more interesting than most such programmes and attempts to demonstrate that older women still have something to offer that maybe their younger colleagues don't.

Continue reading "Review: The Good Wife 1x1 (US: CBS)"

September 27, 2009

Review: FlashForward 1x1

Posted on September 27, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

FlashForward 1x1

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC
In the UK: Mondays, 9pm, Five. Starts tomorrow (September 28)

It can't have escaped your notice that since Lost arrived on the scene five years ago, many shows have done their best to try to emulate it, both in terms of style and ratings. Every year, a new show is heralded as the new Lost, and this is the latest.

Short of crashing everyone involved in a weird desert island, you'd be hard pushed to find much different between Lost and FlashForward. The basic premise is that everyone in the world blacks out for about two minutes, during which time they have a vision of what their life will be like in six months' time. No one knows why it's happened, and everyone wants to know if what they've seen will come true or not.

For roughly 39 minutes of the run-time of FlashForward, I really wanted to flash forward as well - to a point in time when I wasn't watching this. But then, somewhere towards the end, something interesting happened and I began to think there was some mileage in the show after all.

Continue reading "Review: FlashForward 1x1"

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