Archive | Canadian TV

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

June 11, 2012

Third-episode verdict: Continuum (Showcase)

Posted on June 11, 2012 | comments | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerContinuum.jpgA Carusometer rating of 3

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Showcase
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Three episodes into Continuum and I think I'm going to recommend it. Despite the somewhat derivative nature of the show – it's Time Trax with a female protagonist, fighting against the evil version of Blakes 7 – it has a lot going for it.

As mentioned in my review of the first episode, it does a good job of depicting a futuristic future (as opposed to the likes of Terra Nova, which merely show a future, but not one that suggests society has changed), there's an interesting moral ambivalence with the heroine fighting for the rights of evil corporations, the baddies fighting for the oppressed individual, and there are some really very good action scenes, too.

A little of the lustre has gone, most of the budget having been spent on the first episode by the looks of it, so although we do pleasingly maintain the occasional flash-forward to the future, it's a future that's mainly in dark basements that don't cost a lot. We've also lost contact with the future characters, such as Rachel Nichols' husband and William B Davis (aka The X-Files' Cigarette-Smoking Man), who presented an opportunity for a more nuanced show, rather than the more police procedural, present-day show that we're starting to get. And Nichols' catsuit is becoming something of a sonic screwdriver, as is her Jesse Eisenberg-alike helper monkey, who can crack any IT system, no matter how secure.

All the same, we are also gaining a few things. There are some interesting twists involving the bad guys, who aren't one block of people but a conflicted bunch who don't all agree on political methodologies. Supporting hunk Victor Webster is getting some characterisation, fleshing him out into an almost interesting sidekick, which might present some interesting romantic issues for Nichols' character if she believes she can no longer get back to her family.

On the whole, although it's not the most original of shows, it's a pretty intelligent, well-made SF-action series, with well-rounded characters, a decent cast, some original ideas of its own as well as a few surprises. It has an ongoing plot to keep you interested and you never know exactly where it's going. Give it a try if you can.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob's prediction: Should last at least two seasons, maybe more

June 11, 2012

Monday's "Blakes 7 reunite, Zachary Levi for Thor 2? and Anna Friel to star in Uncle Vanya" news

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June 8, 2012

Mini-review: Saving Hope (CTV/NBC) 1x1

Posted on June 8, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Saving Hope

In Canada: Thursdays, 9pm ET/PT , CTV
In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

I can't quite muster the enthusiasm to write a full review of this, since it's quite a bad, quite a boring show. Essentially, you have Erica Durance (Lois Lane in Smallville) and Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1) as irritating, arrogant doctors who work together and are about to get married. Unfortunately, there's a car crash, Shanks is nearly killed and he ends up in a coma.

You might think that was the end of that, but he then spends not just the rest of the episode but quite probably the rest of the series in an out-of-body experience, moving around, talking to ghosts and anyone else in a coma presumably, mulling over whether he was too much of a dick when he was alive.

Meanwhile, in the background to all of that, you have an incredibly tedious standard medical procedural where every patient has an Issue that needs to be dealt with.

Weirdly, we've already seen this done before very recently with A Gifted Man and it wasn't that good then. What makes this worse is that rather than the lead interacting with the invisible lover as per A Gifted Man, Shanks and Durance don't actually get to interact at all now Shanks is disembodied. To some this may seem romantic; to others, it means the show is even less interesting than it otherwise would have been. Even the addition of a supposedly hunky, sensitive Australian ex-lover for Durance to triangle with doesn't lift the script anywhere above forgettable.

Durance is fine, showing slightly more range than she was allowed in Smallville, but only a little. Shanks is very one-note, which is disappointing, given we know from Stargate that he's pretty versatile. The rest of the cast might as well be made from polystyrene for all they matter, but at least you can like them, unless Shanks' and Durance's characters.

Although the central concept is at least interesting, it's tedious, derivative, shows no sign of getting much better, so don't bother with it.

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