Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011

April 19, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Chaos

Posted on April 19, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

In the US: Erm…

Well, I'm not sure how much point there is doing this now, given that it's just been pulled from the schedules, but let's go with a third-episode verdict on CBS's slightly comedic spy show. The first episode, while not exactly perfect, still managed – after its initial doomed exploration of comedy – to turn in some decent spy moments, with double crosses and action aplenty. It also made us care for all the characters, who actually seemed interesting.

Unfortunately, episode two was an exceedingly dull affair, in which our team of spies have to go to North Korea to rescue a diplomat's family so he can defect to the West. Here, we lost most of the things that made the pilot bearable. The characters really didn't get much exploration, the two female characters suddenly had nothing to do, James Murray's accent was on the fritz, and the action was lightweight to say the least.

Episode three was at least slightly better but suffered from the exact same problems as the second episode. It didn't help that despite the fact there are three Brits in the acting team, not one of them pointed out that Art History is not a compulsory subject at Oxford and asking someone who supposedly went to Oxford "Where did you live on campus" when there's no university campus per se, just individual college campuses, isn't going to help you in the accuracy stakes.

The trouble with Chaos is that it doesn't do comedy at all well. It does spy stuff pretty well and when it tries, it can do characters. But since it wants to do comedy, everything else is tarnished by its failed attempts. The spy stuff loses its edge and the characterisation doesn't work as well.

The result is… well, it's got cancelled, pretty much.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: You don't need to be psychic for this one.

April 15, 2011

Review: Happy Endings 1x1

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

Happy Endings

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC

Remember Friends, kind of around the later seasons? You know when everyone was 30-something, Ross and Rachel had already got together and broken up, Chandler and Monica were married, and Joey and Phoebe just sort of hung around a lot?

Now imagine the exact same set-up, just a bit more diverse, a bit more cutting edge, with one-liners that didn't entirely rely on insulting one another and with a bit of actual pathos and real characterisation rather than everything going by the numbers.

Because finally, after attempts at funny, mid-season rom-sitcoms from Fox, CBS and NBC, ABC has weighed in with a bittersweet affair that actually does make you laugh.

Plus it's got Elisha Cuthbert in it as a woman who dumps her friend/boyfriend of 20 years at the altar, their mutual friends then having to decide whose side they're on in the break-up. Here's a trailer, which pretty much covers every single thing of importance in the first episode:

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April 7, 2011

Review: Breaking In 1x1

Posted on April 7, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Breaking In

In the US: Wednesdays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

So here's something I've learnt this week - it turns out that if you can't actually get the actors you want, there is in fact an entire set of impersonators you can get instead for probably not even a tenth of the price.

Take Breaking In. This has Bret Harrison of The Loop and Reaper as a hapless college student who's been hacking the college computers to ensure that he never has to graduate and can stay there forever. Except he gets found out by a team of semi-reformed criminals who are hired, Sneakers-stylee to break into places to test their security. They blackmail him into working for them.

So for something like this, with a boss who's a bit devilish, a bit alpha-male-ish and smokes cigars, you'd want someone like Jack Nicholson. But if you can't afford Jack Nicholson, you can get Christian Slater instead, since he can do a rocking Jack Nicholson when he wants to.

Now there's obviously got to be some girl interest for Harrison to pine over. However, she has to be out of his league and just want to be friends. That's what happened in The Loop. That's what happened in Reaper. It must be in his contract. So how about we get Missy Peregrym, who did that in Reaper so well? What's that? She's starring in some Canadian show? Okay, how about we get Odette Annable née Yustman from Brothers and Sisters instead? They look the same, they act the same. They don't cost the same.

Now we need some black guy who's a bit sassy. Clearly, it would be great if we could get Chris Rock or Orlando Jones. No? Fine. Alphonso McAuley's cheap. He's barely been in anything. So let's get him.

So now we pretty much have our cast, how about we get someone to do an impression of a funny script, by nicking a load of bits from other shows, and see where that takes us? Hmm?

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