Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011


October 4, 2011

Review: Homeland 1x1

Posted on October 4, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Homeland on Showtime 

In the US: Sundays, 10pm, Showtime
In the UK: Acquired by Channel 4

Ah, thank heavens for cable TV. Although network TV has been producing some perfectly acceptable dramas this fall season, the miss rate has been a lot higher than the hit rate. Cable, however, with the obvious exception of Starz, has a far better success rate.

You know what else? Thank heavens for Israeli TV. Although you could argue over the merits of The Ex-List and Traffic Light for a while, they were at least a cut above the normal fare, and Israeli TV has at least indisputably given us the basis for the surefire cracker that was In Treatment. Now Israeli show Prisoners of War has given us the basis for Homeland, starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis and adapted for US TV by former 24 producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. 

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to AMC's Rubicon, the thankfully faster-paced Homeland sees obsessive CIA analyst Danes convinced that returning war hero and former prisoner of war Damian Lewis has in fact been turned and is really working for al Qaeda. All she's got to do is prove it, even though no one else believes her, not even her mentor, best friend and boss Mandy Patinkin. In fact, given she's on anti-psychotic drugs, there's a very good chance she actually is crazy. All the same, to prove her hunch is correct, Danes is going to do anything she has to - whether Lewis is innocent or not.

Here's a trailer.

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October 3, 2011

Review: How To Be A Gentleman 1x1

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

How To Be A Gentleman

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, CBS

And so it begins… Sigh.

You don't know what I'm talking about, do you? Well, here's the thing. Apparently, men don't know how to be men any more. We just don't know. We're all confused. Are we supposed to be macho and manly real men or are we really just overgrown children, playing with our Playstations all day while women run the world? Are we unemployable morons? Are we uncouth and ill-mannered - and is that what a true man is and what a woman really wants?

These are not questions I'm asking by the way. These are the questions that US TV networks - particularly ABC - are asking through the medium of the sitcom. We've got Last Man Standing, Man Up and Work It coming our way from ABC (read more about them over here, if you're a glutton for punishment), but CBS has fired the opening salvo in this particular gender war with How To Be A Gentleman, in which a reasonably nice, well mannered guy is forced to become friends with one of his former High School bullies (Kevin Dillon) in an effort to discover what it is to be a real man.

Sounds bad, doesn't it? But you know what? Even though CBS is the home of the horrific Mike and Molly and Two and a Half Men, while ABC has given us Modern Family and Suburgatory, How To Be A Gentlemen is actually a lot subtler and nicer than you might have thought. Here's a trailer.

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September 29, 2011

Review: Suburgatory 1x1 (US: ABC)

Posted on September 29, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Suburgatory

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c, ABC

If there's one big surprise this season, apart from the sheer amount of dollars wasted on obviously bad shows, it's that there are a few good ones out there, even on ABC. And it's largely been the one's that you didn't think were going to be any cop that have turned out to be the surprises.

Suburbagatory is one of these shows. It sees Manhattan single father Jeremy Sisto (unrecognisable after his stint in Kidnapped as an action hero) discovering his teenage daughter has condoms, decides he wants her to grow up wholesome, so moves her upstate to the suburbs.

Here, their jaded, cynical Manhattan selves discover a realm of happy, smiling people of overwhelming, horrifying, oppressive normality. Are they prisoners, surrounded by Stepford husbands and wives? Or are the inmates of Suburgatory just as much prisoners of convention as they are?

Here's a trailer.

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