Archive | Featured articles

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


March 5, 2014

Mini-review: Those Who Kill 1x1 (A&E)

Posted on March 5, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Chloe Sevigny on A&E's Those Who Kill

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, A&E

There’s a lot of debate about the purpose of international remakes, particularly in the age of the internet, BBC4 and streaming services that allow you to watch the originals even before the remakes air.

I think there’s a point when

  1. It’s a good show
  2. Not many people will have seen it
  3. You do something good with it

So, for example, there was a point to Showtime’s remake of Prisoners of War/Hatufilm, Homeland, which told a different story from the original, which being on Israeli TV hardly anyone had seen; there was also a point to The Tunnel, Sky Atlantic/Canal+’s remake of Denmark/Sweden's Bron/Broen, since it tied up the narrative considerably and gave it far more local colour and humour, even if the female lead character was nowhere near as good.

I will tell you what there’s is absolutely no point to, though: it’s A&E’s Those Who Kill, which fails on all three counts. Firstly, the original Danish show, Den Som Dræber, which aired on ITV3 in the UK and is available on Netflix in the US, was rubbish - a terrible attempt to make a US serial killer and crime show that treated women terribly and was unremarkable in every way, beyond featuring Lars Mikkelsen.

Neither of those would have been insurmountable issues, had the writers and producers actually done something good with it. But they haven’t. It’s almost exactly the same.

In it, Chloe Sevigny, who was so good in Sky Atlantic’s Hit and Miss but is utterly ignorable in this thanks to having to play a thankless, by the numbers, blank cipher of a rookie detective, goes through exactly the same motions as her Danish predecessor, assisted/hindered by dodgy university professor/potential serial killer James D’Arcy. The big change, if you can call it that, is that while Lars Mikkelsen’s character was a surprisingly supportive and emotive boss, James Morrison's (Space: Above and Beyond, 24) is a surprisingly supportive and growling boss.

It’s clearly got a much bigger budget than the original, has Glen Morgan (Space: Above and Beyond, The X-Files) writing and producing, and Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team, The Blacklist) directs the pilot at least. But it adds nothing to something that was incredibly derivative and cliched in the first place.

This is rubbish in any language. I don’t need to review it because I’ve reviewed it already and I don’t need to watch any more of it because I’ve watched it already.

Read other posts about:

March 5, 2014

Mini-review: Mixology 1x1-1x2 (ABC)

Posted on March 5, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Mixology

In the US: Wednesdays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC

Sometimes, the best ideas get the worse implementations. Rom-coms are generally very predictable. Boy meets girl, boy and girl like each/hate each, obstacles keep them apart/bring them together and then they wind up together. The end.

So you’ve got to hand it to ABC for trying to be a little different with Mixology, a one-season long ‘romantic mystery’ in which a whole group of men and women meet each other in a bar one night and you have to work out who’s going to end up with whom by the end of the season, each episode focusing on a different potential pairing.

Nifty so far, hey? Maybe you’re worried that the ‘one night’ thing will be too limiting? Don’t worry - there’s flashbacks aplenty to give you background story.

Should be a winner, huh?

Unfortunately, this is a show from the writers of The Hangover. Nothing wrong with the first movie, which was a lot funnier and cleverer than you might have expected. However, all that movie’s insight into women (next to none) and general sensitivity (next to none) appears to have been funnelled into this show, too.

Because it’s just horrible. It contains men who really shouldn’t be allowed out of a prison cell, let alone date; its women are basically that same kind of man with breasts. Laughs then revolve around crassness and gross outs, rather than characterisation, clever writing or strong plotting.

Or even - and here’s a thought - romance.

None of the cast redeem themselves with subversive, intelligent or incisive performances. The writing never rises above a level where you want to do anything beyond napalm ABC for making the show. It’s wretched.

Sorry ABC - there’s experimental but sometimes you have to know when your hypothesis is just wrong from the very beginning.

March 4, 2014

Review: Mind Games 1x1 (ABC)

Posted on March 4, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Mind Games

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

Talking of show killers, let’s talk about two more.

Christian Slater is pretty much a death knell to any show he happens to be in. We’ve had in the past half decade or so My Own Worst Enemy, The Forgotten and Breaking In, all of them pretty much doomed from the moment Slater joined the cast list to not even being one-season wonders.

Keep your eyes on Breaking In, by the way - remember that? A Fox ensemble comedy about an unusual workplace? - it’ll be important in a minute. No, this is not a mind game.

Now let’s take a look at Kyle Killen. Killen is a man too smart for network TV and he produces shows that really should be on cable and so get cancelled after getting zero audience on network TV. His first effort, Lone Star, was generally saluted as an excellent, dark piece of work about a con man, and as it was on Fox, it got cancelled so quickly, I didn’t even have a chance to review all three of its episodes.

Awake, an almost as serious, interesting piece of work, saw Jason Isaacs as a cop struggling to tell which was real - his waking state or his sleeping state - before eventually discovering that both were equally unreal. As that was on NBC, its low ratings were pretty much in keeping with every other show’s, so that managed to survive a whole season.

Keep an eye on Awake - it’ll be important in a minute. No, this is not a mind game.

Anyway, now on ABC, a network that has traditionally skewed (with a couple of exceptions such as Lost) towards the mildly diverting and soap opera-ish, we have a combination of Slater and Killen - as well as Slater and Killen’s biggest highlights - that logically should be a drama series that’s dead on arrival. In fact, there’s probably not much point watching a single episode of Mind Games.

An ensemble dramedy, it mines both Awake and Breaking In, as well as the likes of Lie To Me and even Inception, to give us a show about two brothers: the slightly ethically dodgy Slater and his bipolar psychiatry expert brother Steve Zahn (Treme), who go into business together with a novel idea - to use the past 60 years of behavioural research to influence people into doing the thing you want them to do.

Unable to get much by way of backing from rich people - in part because of Zahn’s more manic tendencies, in part because of Slater having gone to prison for fraud for a couple of years - they decide to prove their ideas work by using their diverse and ill defined team of helper monkeys to do pro bono work for poor people that they can use as case studies. They start off by performing inception on a surgeon, except without all the interesting dream manipulation. Cue the hilarity, the heart warming and the quirkiness.

And the prompt cancellation.

Continue reading "Review: Mind Games 1x1 (ABC)"

  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 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400  

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years