Archive | Featured articles

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


October 7, 2013

Mini-review: The Millers 1x1 (CBS/Comedy Central)

Posted on October 7, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Millers on CBS, with Will Arnett

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, CBS
In the UK: Mondays, 9.30pm, Comedy Central. Starts October 14

This season in the US appears to be one for great casts and great creative talents turning in comedies that are more than a little short on actual laughs. We've already suffered through Dads and Mom, and now we have CBS's The Millers, starring Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, Jayma Mays and Margot Martindale, and written by My Name is Earl's Greg Garcia. Arnett and Mays are brother and sister, Bridges and Martindale their parents. Arnett gets a divorce and when his father finds out, he's inspired to do the same. Cue hilarity as old people try to cope with the single life, fulfil supressed ambitions, and mess around in their kids' lives and 'over share'.

Now there is at least the germ of a comedic idea in there and although it's CBS, the home of mean-spirited comedy, Greg Garcia is a far more amiable writer. Unfortunately, that means Arnett, who is always fabulous as pampered, spoiled and slightly evil characters, is here playing second-fiddle to Bridges and Martindale, their comedic foil who has to bounce off them, rather than vice versa. Despite being a TV reporter, he's shown to quite nice: a generous brother who helps support Mays and her husband's struggling business.

Meanwhile, Bridges and Martindale dominate the action, shouting at one another. Bridges, however, is a buffoon verging on the senile, a source of fart gags and a man incapable of using a microwave without his soon-to-be-ex-wife's help. Martindale, by contrast, is a controlling nightmare, picking away at her entire family, oblivious to her faults. Mays just gets to be the glue that joins everything together, with barely a joke headed her way the entire episode.

And if you find befuddled, farting old men and old women critcising everyone they come across, while Arnett mugs for all he's worth, you might well like The Millers. But unfortunately, that's really the extent of the comedy in the show, so if your tastes are a little more discerning, look elsewhere for laughs because you won't find them here.

Read other posts about:

September 30, 2013

Mini-review: The Crazy Ones 1x1 (CBS)

Posted on September 30, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Crazy Ones

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, CBS

There will come a point when you're watching The Crazy Ones, some time quite early on in the episode, where you'll begin to wish for the sweet release of death. Anything to avoid having to watch the rest of the horror. And given the episode is only half an hour long and you could naturally just turn off the TV, to make the viewer wish for death that quickly is an impressive feat.

The Crazy Ones is a great example of how not to do an advertising show. Mad Men has already shown us how to do one well; Trust Me was fine if not brilliant; this monstrosity gives us Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle-Gellar as father and daughter advertising executives 'humorously' trying to come up with ideas for inspiring adverts.

Except the writer isn't one of the many talented individuals behind Mad Men, it's David E Kelley, whose talent appears to have shrivelled up of late, giving us saccharine-coated, misogyny-laden war crime after war crime in the form of The Wedding Bells, Harry's Law, Wonder Woman, Monday Mornings and now this.

The result is we have to endure Williams riffing on old McDonald's adverts using material that was out-of-date 20 years ago while Gellar just fusses around like she has no personality beyond 'daughter of Robin Williams'. She does get to punch something and hurt herself, just to show symbolically that she may have been Buffy Summers once, but you don't have to worry about her being a strong woman in anything Kelley puts together.

Oh yes, there's Kelly Clarkson singing about meat and sex. No, really, they got Kelly Clarkson in to twerk about beef patties. She agreed to that, too.

The show's got 15.5m viewers, which shows that you can pretty much put hate crimes, pictures of goldfish or soothing images of pine trees on CBS and people will still watch it in droves. But for the sake of your sanity and your family, do not watch this. Even this trailer is a threat to your life and it's all the best bits from the pilot.

Read other posts about:

September 30, 2013

Mini-review: Masters of Sex 1x1-1x2 (Showtime/Channel 4)

Posted on September 30, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Masters of Sex

In the US: Sundays, 10pm ET/PT, Showtime
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, Channel 4. Starts October 8

Although most people rate the works of Einstein and Schrödinger as among the most important works of science of the 20th century, the Masters and Johnson report has perhaps as much claim to the title as those do. A pioneering exploration of human sexuality, it overturned millennia of incorrect thinking, revolutionised attitudes towards homosexuality and provided a radical new look at female sexuality.

The team behind it were almost as interesting as the report itself. William Masters was a noted expert on human fertility while Virginia Johnson was a twice-married former nightclub singer who wanted a job as a secretary and caught Masters' eye when he was looking for a female partner who could help him with his work - which, initially at least, somewhat unusually involved prostitutes and couples being randomly and anonymously assigned to have sex with one another.

The study is the basis for the biographical Masters of Sex, which sees the always fabulous Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan (gosh, The Class seems so long ago) play Masters and Johnson respectively. The series is a somewhat straight look at the arrogant, repressed and controlling Masters and the more-free spirited, personable Johnson, who is ultimately the one with the people skills to recruit volunteers. It's also a Mad Men-esque look at the mores of the time, not just sexual but attitudes towards women - a time when the married Masters could suggest to Johnson that they have sex to avoid 'transference' to the study and pretty much firing her for saying no.

As you might expect, there's more than a few sex scenes, with the usual greater female nudity than male nudity, even when not strictly necessary to the plot. Strangely, though, it's quite a coy show, not quite as ready to deal with discussions and depictions of sexuality as you might have expected. The story is engrossing, largely because of the personalities of Masters and Johnstone. The cast are all great, particularly Sheen and Caplan.

But it's not going to be for everyone, since the plot is a little drawn out, and after a couple of episodes, my interest has started to wane, despite being primed to enjoy this. I'll stick with it, though.

  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