Archive | Canadian TV

An archive of blog entries about Canadian TV programmes and production.

March 13, 2014

Review: Working The Engels 1x1 (Global/NBC)

Posted on March 13, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Working The Engels

In Canada: Wednesdays, 9 et/pt, Global
In the US: NBC. Airing in 2014

Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one sondaughter who had no choice but to keep them all together.

I’m in something of a dilemma here, since my lovely categorisation system has broken down. Working the Engels is a co-production between Canada’s Global network and the US’s NBC network – the first ever Canadian-American sitcom. So does it suck because it’s Canadian or because it’s on NBC?

The show starts with a lawyer dying, leaving his wife (Andrea Martin from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and family in debt to the tune of $200,000. US or Canadian? It’s not clear since this is one of those shows of nebulous geographical location. Neither is it clear why he wasn’t in a limited liability partnership. Presumably he was a very bad lawyer.

Anyway, the kids rally round, or at least the mousey lawyer daughter (Kacey Rohl who played Abigail Hobbs in Hannibal) does, and her pill-popping, airhead sister (Azura Skye who was Jane on The WB's Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane) and minor criminal brother (Benjamin Arthur from CityTV/HBO Canada’s Less Than Kind) come along to both help and accidentally hinder her efforts to bring the family legal practice back into the black. Except it turns out that most of the deceased’s clients were either pro bono or stupid.

Written by Miss Congeniality’s Katie Ford and her sister Jane Cooper Ford, Working the Engels' comparisons with the much revered Arrested Development are obvious. Unfortunately, that’s merely in terms of set-up since it’s not very funny.

The script is short on laughs and pretty much every joke is signalled a mile off and has exactly the punchline you expect. Rohl underplays, everyone else overplays in exactly the same way that virtually every Canadian sitcom you care to think of demands (cf Satisfaction, InSecurity, Seed, 18 To Life, Men With Brooms, Hiccups). The equally requisite physical comedy is ineptly handled and directed. Skye and Arthur’s characters do slightly bad things but do it so nicely, it’s hard to consider them the drop-out liabilities the script demands. The supporting characters are mere stereotypes – the overbearing female boss, the obsequious male Indian, the valley girl client and so on.

In short, there are no redeeming features. Other than a naked Asian guitar-playing character. I’d not seen one of those before but I think she’s only in the pilot.

If I wanted to find something positive to say, I’d say that it is at least well meaning and gentle, rather than insultingly poor and crass, with everyone trying to ‘zing' each other, like so many US sitcoms of late (e.g. Mom, The Millers, Super Fun Night). I only felt the urge to turn off a couple of times while I was watching it and that was more because I was bored than because I hated it.

But that’s about it and I think the fact NBC hasn’t announced an air date for it yet should speak volumes – if NBC won’t show it, it must be bad.

Here’s a trailer anyway.

March 6, 2014

What have you been watching? Including Community, 19-2, Arrow, Hannibal and The Doctor Blake Mysteries

Posted on March 6, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV.

Typical, isn’t it? No sooner have I just about caught about with my previous backlog of viewing then I have to head off again, so I’m predicting a whole new backlog next week. Ho hum.

But after the jump, reviews of Almost Human, Enlisted, Helix, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, Banshee, The Blacklist, Community, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hannibal, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, Moone Boy, Perception and True Detective.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Community, 19-2, Arrow, Hannibal and The Doctor Blake Mysteries"

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March 3, 2014

News: Many new BBC1 shows, a new Matrix triology? and no more Single Ladies + more

Posted on March 3, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The new Flash costume



Canadian TV

  • Trailer for season 2 of Orphan Black


New UK TV shows

New UK TV show casting


US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV shows casting

  • Dean Winters to co-star in Vince Gilligan’s Battle Creek
  • Sarah Baker joins CBS’s The Odd Couple
  • Brian O’Byrne to star in ABC’s Exposed, Jessica Knappett and Iris Bahr join Irreversible and Henry Simmons joins Saint Francis
  • Dylan McDermott joins Kevin Williamson’s CBS drama
  • Max Brown to star in Fox’s Hieroglyph
  • Ethan Suplee joins TV Land’s Jennifer Falls
  • Aimee Garcia joins CBS’s Red Zone, Billy Brown joins ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder
  • Tituss Burgess joins NBC’s Tooken
  • Jon Fletcher joins The CW’s Messengers + casting on NBC’s Coercion and TNT’s Legends
  • Riley Smith joins HBO’s True Blood

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