Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011


July 5, 2011

Review: Necessary Roughness 1x1

Posted on July 5, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Necessary Roughness

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, USA Network. Available on USANetwork.com

What is the secret of good drama? It's a question that writers have been searching for, ever since the creation of theatre. Everyone from Aristotle onwards has had their own theory.

'A compelling story' is one of the usual requirements: the viewer/reader/audience have to engage with the story and want to know more.

Which, I think, is the biggest problem with Necessary Roughness, in which Callie Thorne of Rescue Me plays a therapist who bumps into Marc Blucas of Buffy fame on a girls' night out. Blucas turns out to be a trainer for a professional football team and after Thorne cures him of his smoking addiction, Blucas thinks she might be able to help him fix the psychological problems that are holding back his team members - including one very expensive ball-dropper in particular.

And while it's all executed well enough, the question that lingers over the whole enterprise is "Why are you telling me this story?"

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July 1, 2011

Review: Wilfred 1x1-1x2

Posted on July 1, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Wilfred on FX

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

Odds on, when you see a dog and it barks at you, you see something like this:

So spare a thought for poor Elijah Wood's character in FX's new show, Wilfred. When he sees his next door neighbour's dog, Wilfred, he sees this:

Yes, a slightly menacing, crude, dope-smoking, Australian man in an unconvincing dog suit. Is it because he's mad, because he tried to overdose on drugs or because he has an over-active imagination? Who knows, but Wilfred is about to become his new best friend - and help him to get to know his neighbour a whole lot better. At least, that's what he thinks.

Here's a trailer, followed by the original Australian short movie (and subsequent TV show) this is based on.

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July 1, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Falling Skies

Posted on July 1, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, TNT
In Canada: Wednesdays, 10pm, Superchannel. Starts July 6
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, FX. Starts July 5

Well, we're three episodes into Falling Skies and… it's as dull as it always. It's like Stargate Universe and Battlestar Galactica never happened. I'm getting a déjà vu to early Stargate SG-1 in fact, in which our plucky band of four heroes faced off against entire armies that seemed unaware of even basic military tactics and never did anything too mean, so got hopelessly slaughtered.

Here we have the intrepid Noah Wylie constantly going to find his kidnapped son whom those nasty aliens who've taken over the world have abducted. Off he goes against their heavily armed robots with a couple of his mates and despite his weapons never being any good, he constantly manages to kill them all. How sweet.

Meanwhile, back at base camp, a notorious criminal and rapist is being allowed to cook food for everyone, including one of his victims, because he knows about paprika and has read a book so has therefore redeemed himself. And everyone's wondering what the hell the aliens are actually up to. Prepare to wait at least 10 episodes to find out, because there are no signs of any actual information emerging any time soon and the mystery itself is so uninteresting, so untantalising, that there's no reason you'd want to hang around to find the answer anyway.

So don't bother watching this last hurrah for the noble white male middle class action hero, where women are there to get captured and be doctors, but not do anything too exciting or heroic. There's not much point unless you miss The Tripods.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: With ratings dropping by a third from the initial episode, I'm thinking it'll last a season at most.

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