In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox In the UK: Acquired by Sky 1/Sky 1 HD. Coming soon
The problem The Chicago Code faces is that it's a very good show, trapped inside a network TV format. At its heart, there are nuggets of brilliance, involving police and city corruption, the politics of policing, life in Chicago, inter-cop politics and what it means to be a police officer. It has a really good cast and when Shawn Ryan isn't writing it (cf the first episode), the dialogue is good and it all feels very real.
Where it falls apart is when it bows to mainstream pressures and tries to give us the standard cop show of the week treatment. Here we have absurdities piled on the ridiculous, ridiculous gun fights and car chases, and implausibilities that detract in quite substantial ways from the much subtler, cleverer intrigues of the ongoing corruption investigation.
Hopefully, over time, these will go away as the writers assume they've got a hooked audience and can downplay the theatrics because if they can, The Chicago Code will be quite a show. At the moment, though, a decent show is being undermined and although it scores well on The Carusometer, I'm not convinced I'll stay with it in the long-term.
Carusometer rating: 3 The Carusometer's prediction: Will last a season, hopefully, but probably not much longer
(Very) long-time readers of the blog will know that I'm not a big fan of Criminal Minds. In fact, I dismissed it pretty much after the first episode, the second season opener didn't make me recant and the replacement of Mandy Patinkin with Joe Mantegna lured me in for all of two episodes.
My basic problems with it are that it's very dull, doesn't really bother with characterisation beyond a couple of the leads, despite being an ensemble show, and although it pretends to be intelligent, largely that's a thin veneer that covers up an entirely preposterous plot with as much resemblance to real-life as The Magic Roundabout.
Millions of people disagree with me, however. They're wrong, obviously, but they do. To cater for "these kinds of people", CBS has developed an identikit version of it called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, in which a rapid reaction team called a 'Red Cell' heads off in Without A Trace stylee to deal with nastiness as quickly as possible.
However, despite the presence of Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofolo, the red-headed nerdy one from Criminal Minds and Richard Schiff from The West Wing, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior is just as tedious and stupid, yet without even the few hints of interest that the original had.
Here's a trailer for the show that for some unfathomable reason doesn't feature Amber Heard in a bikini (am I on SEO fire this week, or what?).
CBS is the most popular of all US networks, but it does have an odd tendency. Whenever it has a successful show, it likes to create a backup in case things go wrong with it. So CSI spawned CSI: Miami and CSI: New York; NCIS got NCIS: LA; Criminal Minds is about to get Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior; and so on.
Sometimes, rather than create a simple spin-off, though, CBS likes to create a show similar to the original. So it is with Mad Love, a sneaky backup in case How I Met Your Mother gets corrupted. The basic premise is pretty much the same: two guys, two girls, two interesting, two not, and there are romantic complications. Here, Jason Biggs (American Pie), a very ordinary lawyer, meets Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), a very ordinary actually, I missed what she did, but whatever it is, it's probably very ordinary. Whatever - it's love at first sight, there's fireworks and everything.
Each has a much more interesting best friend: Tyler Labine (Reaper), an eccentric lawyer, and Judy Greer (Archer), a nanny who helps brain-dead trophy wives rear their kids. For them, it's hate at first sight, but you just know that's going to change.
And as is the trouble with carbon copies, it's just not as good as the originals. In fact, against a backdrop of the likes of Traffic Light, Perfect Couples and Better With You, it's a very pale copy that can barely raise a single laugh. Talking of Traffic Light, do you want to have a guess who was in the pilot but got recast again?
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.