Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011

October 10, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Person of Interest

Posted on October 10, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerPersonOfInterest.jpgA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, CBS

We've now reached episode three of Person of Interest, aka 'Batman without the cape', in which Jim Cavaziel (Batman) goes around trying to prevent crimes before they happen, with the able assistance of Michael Emerson (Bruce Wayne/Robin/Oracle).

After an almost acceptable first episode, episode two was a whole lot weaker, despite giving us William Emerson's "origin story"; episode three gave a bit more flesh to the police officer (who I'll call "Commissioner Gordon" for now) who's busy chasing Cavaziel, but not enough that could actually be described as "character development", Commissioner Gordon largely just turning up at crime scenes going "I bet I know who that was" and talking to Cavaziel on the (bat) phone.

Like a whole load of CBS shows I could mention, Person of Interest is glossy, looks good, is never offensively bad, but ultimately is empty and never actually good. Its single redeeming feature, other than Michael Emerson, is that it can do ultraviolence surprisingly well. Unfortunately, they spent the budget for ultraviolence largely on episode 1, and episodes 2 and 3 have had a reduced hitting-and-shooting people count that's largely removed the only reason for watching the show.

It doesn't make a whole load of sense, it's not got decent characters – you're better off reading a comic or watching Christopher Nolan's Batman movies.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: Dead before the end of the season

October 10, 2011

Third-episode verdict: A Gifted Man

Posted on October 10, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerAGiftedMan.jpgA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Fridays, 8/7c, CBS

The problem with A Gifted Man is that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about it whatsoever. It's just there. It's well made, it has a good cast, but it's glossy emptiness, despite a thin sheen of originality in episode 1 that may have led us to believe that there was a different show in the making. Originally about a brain surgeon haunted by the spirit of his dead wife – kind of Wilson and Wife (Deceased) – as predicted, the show has turned into a simple medical procedural, with Patrick Wilson flitting between his own clinic and a free clinic to fit in two to three patients with surprise diagnoses per episode, all while ex-wife Jennifer Ehle very occasionally turns up as a ghost to needle him a bit.

The show has been retooling, slowly adding in new members of cast, getting rid of old members of cast to make it more a procedural, rather than the slightly more spiritual show that we originally had. There's the very slight philosophical question of whether the poor are intrinsically more deserving of help than the rich. There's the very slight possibility that ghostly Ehle isn't the only supernatural addition to Wilson's life.

But ultimately, this is still 3 Lbs reheated. Still, it's on CBS, the home of the procedural, so it'll probably run forever, despite offering us nothing remarkable beyond a couple of good actors. If you like comfort food, medical procedurals, this is your boy; otherwise, steer clear.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: Will last one season, but probably not more

October 6, 2011

Third-episode verdict: New Girl

Posted on October 6, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerNewGirl.jpgA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Acquired by E4

How much you're going to love New Girl basically depends on how much you love Zooey Deschanel. The whole show revolves around her and her dorkiness and despite the opening episode managing to give the male supporting characters something to do, since then, their dialogue and plots have become less strong while Zooey's has only got stronger.

"Coach" has been replaced by a new character who is at least more of an alpha male than Coach supposedly was, but not a better comic actor. Cece has more or less disappeared for now. This is most definitely the Zooey Deschanel show, right up to the new, title sequence of calculated kookiness.

Now I love Zooey and she is comedy gold. But they've super-saturated her character with dorkiness and she's started to get ever so slightly irritating now. So, despite the fact this is a good comedy show and Zooey's great, I'm going to have detox myself a little and give up. Your mileage may vary, so you should certainly give New Girl a try, particularly if you love Zooey Deschanel.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: will last at least a season, maybe more, but how much dorkier can they make her?

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