Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011


November 9, 2011

Question of the week: what fall shows float your boat the most?

Posted on November 9, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

So, all the new fall dramas and comedies have pretty much debuted now. I haven't yet reviewed Hell on Wheels, but fingers-crossed I will do sometime in the next couple of days, but with that exception and with the exception of some The CW and MTV shows clearly intended for a younger audience and animated shows, I reviewed everything, I think.

Some of the shows have now died; some have been acquired by UK TV. But of them all, which has floated your boat the most, either from watching them or from having heard about them? Which would you now cancel and which would you have spared the sword? Which would you like the UK to acquire and which do you think were a waste of money (cough, cough, Pan Am, cough, cough). Let everyone know below or on your own blog.

In the list below, if it's been cancelled, it'll be crossed out. If there's a channel next to it in brackets, that's which UK channel has acquired it. And if it says SAFE next to it, that means it's been given a full season or even renewed for a second season already.

Bloody hell. Written down in a list, I've watched an awful lot, haven't I?

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November 8, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Boss (Starz)

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

CarusometerBoss.jpgA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Fridays, 10pm ET/PT, Starz

Not much to add on the subject of Boss since the first episode. Boss has been very consistent in being very well-made and in being hard to watch. I don't mean hard to watch in just the metaphorical sense that it deals with tough issues and is quite unrelenting. I mean literally it's hard to watch thanks to the shaky cam and general direction, which made the first episode in particular hard to follow.

It has settled down now and while Gus van Sant was the director de jour for the first episode (and executive producer for the whole series), Mario van Peebles himself turned up to do the duties for episode three, producing something that while still riddled with shaky cam and visual metaphor, still managed to have a coherent narrative and a sense that there was a story that needed to be serviced.

I think there are a few things things that need mentioning here:

  1. Kelsey Grammer is absolutely phenomenal in this. It now fills me with rage that he's been slumming on shows like Hank and Back To You for the last few years, when he could have been acting his socks off in proper drama. What a waste.
  2. The show has now largely settled down on two storylines: Grammer's dementia and its effects on his job, his relationships and, well, almost everyone in fact; and Jeff Hephner's bid for governorship. The two intermingle as well, which is a good thing, given how bitty the first episode was.
  3. Women apparently don't need foreplay any more. And about a minute's enough for y'all. Homeland appears to have come to the same conclusion as well. One more and it's official. At least in America.

Episode three has definitely been the best of the episodes, despite The Carusometer's suggestions to the contrary, and that might well be because Farhad Safinia didn't write it. However, despite the slight uptick, it's still not enough to qualify it for a "1" rating for the simple reason that there aren't any characters you can really root for. Everyone is just a vile and nasty politician or the kind of person who hangs out with vile and nasty politicians, and while there might some enjoyment in watching their downfall say, the show really isn't focused on that angle. It just wants us to know that law-making is a dirty business and politicians can be pretty dirty, too. Well, duh.

So while this is a well-made, quality product with Grammer doing some of the best acting on TV at the moment, can I really tell you all to run off an watch this immediately, you going off with the expectation you'll be having an enjoyable hour of TV viewing? No. But if you don't mind something that's quality, that's about something a bit more real than air hostess fantasies and fairy tales, and both metaphorically and literally hard to watch, then go off and watch Boss.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: Already picked up for a second season, but I'm not predicting a third.

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November 3, 2011

Review: Grimm 1x1

Posted on November 3, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Grimm on NBC

In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Fairy tales are really real. They're part of our world. Now a non-fairy tale character has found out and is having to deal with this strange circumstance.

Yep, it's Once Upon A Time, over on ABC. But it's also Grimm on NBC.

Now, stop me if you've heard this one before, too. "Into each generation a Slayer is born. One in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers."

Yes, that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Except if you cross out 'Slayer' and replace it with 'Grimm' and cross out vampires and replace it with 'fairy tale monsters', you've got Grimm on NBC.

So already, Grimm is not looking too hot on the old originality front. Add in the fact that the cop gets all his arcane knowledge from books given to him by a librarian, that he has help from a reformed creature of the night and that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and you'd wonder when the first of the copyright suits would arrive - if it weren't for the fact that Jim Kouf (Angel) and David Greenwalt (Buffy and Angel) are the exec producers.

Yet, despite all these inauspicious omens, Grimm isn't half bad - and it's certainly better than Once Upon A Time. Here's an incredibly spoilery trailer - with the wrong music. The Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams' was used in the actual episode.

Continue reading "Review: Grimm 1x1"

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