Archive | Featured articles

Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


June 7, 2007

Third-episode verdict: Traveler

Posted on June 7, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Carusometer for Traveler2-Partial-Caruso

I previewed Traveler an awful long time ago: it's been nearly a year, in fact. Since then, the mini-Fugitive has been sitting on a shelf at ABC, waiting to be picked up. We're now up to episode three and I'm actually quite surprised that it's taken so long to get out. It's a masterpiece of modern television compared with, say, The Nine and Six Degrees, all of which ABC hyped and died a horrible death after causing mass outbreaks of yawning among their audiences.

The show is essentially a mini-Fugitive upgraded for our modern, CCTV-infested age: if you were falsely accused of terrorism, how hard would it be to escape from the law and prove your innocence before you got a one-way ticket to Guantanamo? Is it at all possible?

For it to be truly great, it would have had to have had an element of plausibility about it. Unfortunately, our protagonists are two relatively wealthy, white Yale students fitted up by the government and/or art lovers. So from the outset it's been hobbled by the same conspiracy theory nonsense as the now-deceased Vanished, from which it's also stolen some scene-break graphic concepts.

We're talking about pretty boys with nice teeth facing enemies with peroxide hair, not working class Middle Eastern Muslims who are victims of mistaken identity and an over-zealous Fox News.

Nevertheless, it's reasonably tense, more so when it's working on the mind instead of falling back on making metaphors literal (being 'on the run' interpreted as 'running a lot'), as our heroes try to work out who's trustworthy and who's not, how to get money, food, clothes, etc, while avoid being recognised thanks to all the relentless news broadcasts. It's occasionally smart, undermining some of the standard clichés of the genre while still upholding a load of others (such as the subordinate cop who's smarter than the boss and knows they're really innocent). The lack of real acting skills among the leads isn't a problem since William Sadler and Steven Culp are doing fine over-acting elsewhere. And the episodes have been getting increasingly better, albeit somewhat sillier, since the slightly muddled pilot.

It's diverting, I give it that, and at only seven episodes, it's going to be a nifty little mini-series with a reasonably intriguing premise. UK and US viewers alike can watch the first ten minutes on the ABC web site to get themselves better acquainted with it.

The Medium Is Not Enough has great pleasure in declaring Traveler a two or Partial Caruso on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might volunteer to cameo. However, since 'real men don't run: they walk slowly, with bent knees', he will refuse to do anything that would require him to exert himself. Instead, various stage hands will be forced to move the scenery backwards quickly to create the illusion of David Caruso running”.

June 5, 2007

The Random Episode Carusometer: Painkiller Jane

Posted on June 5, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Random episode Carusometer for Painkiller Jane

At The Medium Is Not Enough, we – by which, of course, I mean I –  have a somewhat long-term policy regarding reviews of shows. Even the worst shows can get better after a few episodes, and of course, the best shows can get worse, too. So I hold off for a few episodes before stating for definite whether a show is worth expending valuable time on.

I started off with the third-episode verdict system: this uses The Carusometer, the most powerful and certainly the most egotistical TV quality system in the universe, to measure just how good a series' first three episodes are before declaring whether they're fit for human consumption. Look at Heroes: not exactly brilliant for the first two episodes but started to take off (literally) after three.

But there are some shows that still don't find their way by their third episode, so I came up with the fifth-episode verdict system: if the show looks like it could get better, I wait for another two episodes before passing it over to the penetrating, darkly shaded gaze of The Carusometer.

But I've noticed that some shows still don't get the hang of life for a few more episodes. Look at Torchwood: good start, absolutely dire middle, much better from about episode eight onwards.

Now there's no way I'm hanging on watching some of these shows for their full eight episodes: one episode of Ghost Whisperer was enough and I couldn't even last one minute of Angela's Eyes. If I dumped them by episode three, there's a very good chance they're going to be awful forever. Yet to avoid possibly missing a good TV show that only finds its feet at the last moment, we need some system to pick them up.

So today, I'm instigating the launch of the Random Episode Carusometer, complete with not terribly impressive graphic I whipped up in Illustrator in less than an hour.

Continue reading "The Random Episode Carusometer: Painkiller Jane"

Read other posts about: ,

June 4, 2007

Review: Doctor Who - 3x8-3x9 - Human Nature/The Family of Blood

Posted on June 4, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Family Of Blood

I'm a big man.

I say this not to boast – although wey hey! – but because it's a truism that it takes a big man to admit it when he's wrong.

I admit it. I was wrong. Paul Cornell can write. He can write very well (subject to any possible script edits made by RTD, Helen Raynor, et al).

Continue reading "Review: Doctor Who - 3x8-3x9 - Human Nature/The Family of Blood"

Read other posts about:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398  

Featured Articles

Marvel's Iron Fist

Season two of Daredevil but done right