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January 15, 2014

Review: Enlisted 1x1 (Fox)

Posted on January 15, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Enlisted

In the US: Fridays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

If there’s one genre of comedy that the US does particularly well, it’s military comedy. Think The Phil Silvers Show. Think MASH. Think Private Benjamin. Don’t think Down Periscope.

But there’s been a bit of a lull of late. Wonder why. In fact, despite largely the conclusion of the Iraq war and the withdrawal of US troops from both there and Afghanistan, many are questioning if it’s ‘the right time’ for another military comedy.

Is there ever a right time?

All the same, a cautious greeting I think to Fox’s Enlisted, a welcome, funny comedy from Kevin Biegel, a former Scrubs writer and the co-creator of Cougar Town, that sees a 'super soldier’ (Geoff Stults) sent back from Afghanistan for punching a superior officer. He winds up at a 'rear detachment’ base in Florida, which coincidentally happens to be the same base where his two younger brothers are stationed - one who hates the army but is quite a good soldier, the other who loves the army but is a terrible soldier. Put in charge of them and the rest of their platoon of losers, Stults finds himself having to deal with not just his new, less prestigious mission, but competition from another sergeant (Angelique Cabral), his superior officer who also happened to raise him after his parents died (Keith David)… and a lost dog.

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January 14, 2014

Review: Helix 1x1-1x3 (SyFy/Channel 5)

Posted on January 14, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Helix cast

In the US: Fridays, 10/9c, SyFy
In the UK: Mondays, 10pm, Channel 5. Starts January 20th

Normally, I do love a killer virus TV show or movie. Whether it’s The Andromeda Strain (original or remake), Outbreak, The Burning Zone, The Satan Bug or anything else, I loves them.

You know what else I love? I also love stuff by Ronald D Moore, the exec producer of Battlestar Galactica.

So I was thoroughly looking forward to his new show Helix, in which a brave group of scientists from the CDC in the US travel to a secret research facility in the Arctic to investigate the outbreak of a brand new ‘retro-virus’ (ooh, actual biological terms being used - count me in). Queue the paranoia. Queue the tension. I mean that’s The Thing (kind of), The Andromeda Strain (secret lab) and The X-Files episode Ice. Brilliant!


Except… as always, the devil is in the details and while everyone is trying ever so hard to make this scary and upsetting and horrifying, it’s all falling just a little bit short. Here’s a trailer.

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January 14, 2014

Mini-review: Bitten 1x1 (Space/SyFy)

Posted on January 14, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Bitten

In Canada: Saturdays, 9pm (EST), Space
In the US: Mondays, 10pm (EST), SyFy
In the UK: Acquired by SyFy for 2014 broadcast

Are werewolves sexy? I didn’t think vampires were, but apparently they are. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, what will all the forests, because fresh out of Canada, here comes Bitten, in which Laura Vandervoort is the only female werewolf in the world (Toronto), the rest of her largely topless male ‘pack’ along for the ride and sexy times.

Vandervoort is trying to make a goer of living in the non-lupine world, except it’s not that easy when there are other packs and she has to get naked a lot at inopportune moments or when she just fancies it. Although to be fair, the female to male nudity is roughly 50/50, albeit the female side entirely Vandervoort (why she even bothers wearing clothes in this, I don’t know - must be hell on the dry cleaning).

The plot’s incredibly tedious and as is apparently the law with modern female-centric fantasy (eg Twilight, Lost Girl), is all about relationships, elaborate world-building based around families and bloodlines, being unique and the focus of everybody’s attention, and dealing with bitchy other women who don’t like your clothes. There are the usual tropes about women being punished/attacked/shamed/torn into little pieces for having sexual desire and most of the episode involves people meeting to chat about things, rather than anything too interesting. The dialogue is even worse, much akin to listening to dogs howl.

Still, if watching largely unsexy sex and/or various Canadian actors getting naked for no true plot-advancing reasons is your thing, Bitten should be fine. I personally prefer to get my teeth into something a bit more meaty, myself. Gosh, aren’t I funny?

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