In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC Family. Starts tonight
Usually, there’s nothing quite like the word ‘family’ in the description of something televisual to guarantee its general shoddiness. But over the years, ABC Family has been a notable exception. I stopped watching the network’s output a while back when it started producing things like Bunheads: it may have been the best show in the world, but when you’re a 40-something male, you probably shouldn’t be watching TV dramas about female teenage gymnasts. - that’s just creepy. However, over the years, the network has produced some generally decent shows, including Kyle XY, Three Moons Over Milford, Lincoln Heights, 10 Things I Hate About You and Pretty Little Liars.
As you may have noticed from that list, the network has been moving from genre shows towards more conventional fare generally aimed at teenage girls and young women. But it apparently hasn’t escaped the network’s bosses that what teenage girls want to watch is changing - we’re living in a post-Twilight, post-Hunger Games world. So the network’s decided to take some baby steps back into genre TV. This autumn, we can see the continuation of the Mortal Instruments film franchise in Shadowhunters and now we have Stitchers, a hybrid sci-fi/procedural drama that’s part CSI, part Inception.
Emma Ishta is Kirsten, a technically gifted PhD student who has a rare brain condition that makes her unaware of passing time. This makes her aloof, rude, generally unloved and unable to feel emotions in the same ways as the rest of us - when her adopted father commits suicide she’s unmoved because it feels to her exactly the same as if he’d died years ago.
She's also willing to break whatever rules she wants to get what she wants. While this gets her kicked out of Caltech, her condition does mean that she’s uniquely suited for the top secret ‘Stichers’ programme into which she’s quickly recruited following the washing out of the previous ’Stitcher'. The programme not only allows the brains of the recently deceased to be preserved for much longer than normal, it allows the ‘Stitcher’ to enter their memories as though they were the real world, in order to solve crimes. And in this first case, she must enter the mind of a man killed in a bomb explosion, because he’s stashed two other bombs around LA and they’re set to go off soon.
And while it’s as stupid as bag full of spanners wearing toupees, it’s at least a good deal more fun than CSI: Cyber. Here, have a rather good, Inception-like trailer that belies the show’s essentially cheap silliness and another trailer that’s a little bit less deceptive.