Usually, there's a situation in a sitcom. That's where the word comes from.
Satisfaction laughs at that perfunctory requirement. It doesn't even bother to explain what its situation is, although you can probably guess by the end of the first episode: hot, young, upwardly mobile couple find their style slightly cramped by the slobby friend/lodger who's always getting in the way of their couple-y fun.
Yet for all the focus placed on this situation in the pilot episode, it might as well be about the difficulties of keeping meat fresh in the summer, that's how little interest the premise is to the writers. But stop right there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in Canadian sitcoms: place too much emphasis on the sit instead of the com and you end up with high-concept shows, such as InSecurity and Seed, with well developed situations that don't actually make you laugh.
Satisfaction, however, which foregoes not just situation but also much similarity to reality, despite being based on "real life experiences", does at least pass the critical "five laughs per episode" threshold for a sitcom.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, break open the champagne: we actually have a moderately funny Canadian sitcom on our hands. Here's a trailer:
It's "What did you watch this week?, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I've watched this week that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.
First, the usual recommendations:
The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)
And here's what I thought of them and others:
Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): The action is definitely amping up now, even if the amount of sense the show is making isn't. Some surprises to be had, some revelations that weren't, and some weird twists that were probably just there for weirdness's sake. Nevertheless, it's definitely getting back on track as a show.
Graceland (USA): I'm still watching episode three, which is a marked improvement on its predecessors (full third-episode verdict on Monday). But episode 2 was soporific, derivative rubbish.
Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living): An exquisite end to a fabulous season. Always surprising, always keeping you guessing, with some astonishing moments along the way from writing staff, directors and cast alike. The final scene was just perfect, too. Why do we have to wait for a year for it to come back? Sigh.
The Returned (Canal+/Channel 4): A bunch of French people in a small town who have all been bereaved – for better or for worse – wake up one day to find their dead loved ones are back. Then they have to adjust – and find out what's happening, and potentially kill off some of the dead people. So far, a bit lightweight but a couple of interesting episodes establishing the main characters, and there's a very creepy kid called Victor. I'll probably stick with it, just for the music which oddly enough is by Mogwai.
The White Queen (BBC1/Starz): To me, a very dull historical potboiler, with surprising additional witchcraft. To my lovely wife, a brilliant, faithful adaption of a great book. Therefore, YMMV. Will air on Starz in the US in August with more sex. Quelle surprise.
And in movies:
Man of Steel
A reboot of the Superman franchise, with an origin story that sees Russell Crowe as Superman's real dad, Kevin Costner and Superman's adoptive dad, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General "Kneel Before" Zod, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and some bloke called Henry Cavill as Superman. On many levels awesome in its more literal sense, with some astonishing action set pieces and effects that finally do justice to the entire range of Superman's super-powers. On the other hand, a very bitty, very nerdy story that only really works when it's all about hitting people very hard, bar a few isolated moments, most of them involving Kevin Costner, only one or two of them involving Lois Lane. A little bit too po-faced, too. But a lot better than you might have thought of Zack Snyder, not as good as you'd have thought of Christopher Nolan and about right for David Goyer. The cast are all great, and there's a good kick-ass female baddie, too, which makes a nice change.
Lovely wife found it astonishingly boring, though, although she hates anything by Christopher Nolan.
"What did you watch this week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid - and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I've watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you've seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.