Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011


July 15, 2011

Review: Alphas 1x1

Posted on July 15, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Alphas on SyFy

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, SyFy. Available on SyFy.com

Been missing Heroes? Want something that's almost identical but a bit more average - doesn't quite hit Heroes' heights but doesn't hit its depths?

Then have I the show for you. It's about a group of different people from different backgrounds who have extraordinary abilities. They all come together to help solve crimes and fight a greater evil. They're not very interesting people, but they have some cool super powers and the plotting is actually pretty clever.

I'm sure it'll do… averagely. Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Alphas 1x1"

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July 11, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Suits

Posted on July 11, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for SuitsA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA Network

I'm going to go out on something of a limb here and say Suits is probably the best USA Network show to arrive since the first season of Royal Pains and perhaps even Burn Notice. While it's not flawless, it has a deliciously dark edge, a strong cast, something new to say about lawyers and now it's really starting to find its feet, some interesting, original characters.

After a slightly shaky, highly implausible start that still had a lot going for it, Suits has managed to develop its storylines and characters so that they're interesting and layered. The show also gives you insights into not only people who normally get ignored in other lawyer shows but aspects of the legal system that get glossed over, with far less emphasis being placed on flashy criminal law in favour of other branches such as corporate law.

Thankfully, the show has still managed to maintain its dark, manipulative edge. Most of the characters aren't especially likeable. Harvey (Gabriel Macht)  the evil lawyer may do good occasionally but there's always a slimey evil reason for it underneath. His constant warfare with junior partner Louis has provided a delightfully fun series of battles played out in and around the office. Even boss Gina Torres is shown to be as underhand, if not more so, as Harvey.

If there's a weak link in the whole thing, its newbie lawyer Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams), whose implausible photographic memory throws everything into a slightly odd, parallel universe, and Adams' performance is desperately lacking in charisma. His personal life isn't as interesting as the writers think it is, but there are at least unexpected dimensions to it and he does at least allow the writers to show just how the devil is in the details in contracts and how much of a lawyer's life is about reading.

It's not absolutely the darkest show there's ever been, but it is a worthy addition to USA's line-up and worth watching if you're a big fan of the Machiavellian. 

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July 8, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Wilfred

Posted on July 8, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerWilfred.jpgA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Thursdays, 10pm, FX
In the UK: Acquired by BBC3 for Autumn broadcast

Wilfred is surreal. Obviously, you gathered that from the fact it's about a regular guy (Elijah Wood) who perceives his next-door neighbour's dog to be an Australian guy in an unconvincing dog suit. But Wilfred is actively surreal, surreal in the old-style sense of unsettling one's perspective on reality. As well as the fact no one ever acknowledges the fact Wilfred is really a swearing bong-smoker with opposable thumbs, this is a show in which Dune is quoted and Wood has prophetic dreams. It's strange.

So after the funny first episode in which the show is set up, things dip slightly with the second episode, in which Wilfred's doggie personality is explored more over the issue of trust. This lacked the subtlety of the first episode but was still entertaining. But with our third episode, things took off once again, into the dark, with Wilfred's attempts to turn Wood is a stronger, less fearful individual resulting in a bizarre confrontation with his other next door neighbour (My Name Is Earl's Ethan Suplee) that leads to Wilfred poledancing in a strip club, amongst other things.

Again, the show's creators do a good job of blending WIlfred's human and doggy characteristics, with Wilfred mesmerised by a laser pointer at one point, and believing the story given to him by animal control that's he going off to live on a beautiful farm.

While it's not side-splitting, Wilfred is just so mesmerisingly odd and original, it's entirely worth watching the show just to see Wood go through Wilfred's Tyler Durden-style mentoring in all its surreal splendour. Tune it, enjoy but prepare to be slightly frightened by the whole experience.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: As dark as FX's normal output but significantly more interesting and more entertaining, this should run and run.

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