Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011

September 29, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Ringer

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

The Carusometer for RingerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c , The CW
In the UK: Thursdays, 8pm, Sky Living/Sky Living HD

So the big surprise so far of this fall season hasn't been how bland, unexciting and/or stupid the majority of the new shows have been (and we've hardly got through half of them yet). It's been that the stupidest sounding show of them all, Ringer, has turned out to be not too bad at all. Stupid, yes, but still enjoyable.

Episode 1, despite the dodgy green screen work and the silly plot (Sarah Michelle Gellar is on the run from some criminals so takes her identical twin sister's place – because no criminal would ever think to look there), was still relatively fun.

Not even the arrival of the always unconvincing Jaime Murray in episode 2 as SMG's love-rival has managed to taint the show since, although some bizarre plot convolutions in episode 3 nearly did for the show. It's still a bit of fun with a little bit of intrigue, a little bit of soapiness, in which you hope to see the bad-girl-turned-good SMG get the good life she deserves, while evil SMG suffers. Ioan Gruffudd is just lovely throughout. SMG would be, if she could remember which sister has which personality.

I'll probably be sticking with it, given that the show will have to mutate quite frequently, since they can't have good SMG keep her secret forever. It's not brilliant, it's not even especially clever and it very occasionally gets a bit nasty. But it's worth a try.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob's prediction: Judging by the ratings, it'll be lucky to last more than a season. But it's more deserving of survival than Gossip Girl is right now.

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September 29, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Up All Night

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

The Carusometer for Up All NightA Carusometer rating of 3

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

As much as I want to love this, I can't. It's been getting better, too, but still, it's just not quite there yet.

So as we may recall from the first episode, the show's biggest assets are Christina Applegate and Will Arnett (although Maya Rudolph is starting to shine now) and the show's worst asset is its set-up: "God, isn't being a new parent hard because babies are just so demanding". This we knew already. No one could possibly have anything new to say on the subject.

Cleverly, the producers have noticed this and decided to virtually ignore the fact there is a baby in the household. Instead, they're now focusing on Christina Applegate's work and Will Arnett's house-husbanding. It's certainly nice to see this reversal of the 'norm' and for it not to be considered a big deal. Applegate's dealings with Rudolph at work are fun, as is Arnett's trying to get used to being a house-husband. Episode three in particular had some clever flashbacks to the 90s (complete with Applegate's Married With Children hairstyle restored), as well as some entertaining male bonding. And Arnett and Applegate make a nice couple: they're one of the few TV married couples who are fun, aren't trying to kill each other and actually seem to have a relationship.

It's just not quite as funny as it should be yet, given all these dynamos in action. Everything misfiring ever so slightly. But given the ratings are actually holding up, there's every possibility the show might hit its stride within the next couple of episodes or so. I'll keep you posted.

Carusometer ratings: 3
Rob's prediction: Will last at least a season, maybe more if it manages to find its mojo

September 29, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Free Agents

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

The Carusometer for Free AgentsA Carusometer rating of 4

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

Well, three episodes into Free Agents and I have to say, this is not a funny show.

The first episode was an odd combination of the dark British original and a standard US ensemble sitcom, the former being good, the latter being the opposite. It didn't quite fit together and whatever good qualities there were in the former were more than neutralised by the ridiculously bad qualities of the latter.

Episode two, however, while a slightly smoother affair thanks to old Friends producer Ira Ungerleider, lost darkness in favour of attempts at one-liners that didn't quite work. And episode three was a completely unremarkable affair whose one big stab at comedy was having a therapist called Dr Hu. Imagine the hilarity.

It's a shame, really, because the pairing of Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn is a good one, Anthony Stewart Head is marvellously over the top, and the show does make perceptive, intelligent comments. It's just not funny. And when it tries to be funny, it's painful.

Given its ratings are somewhere near absolute zero, I don't think it's going to be long for this world, so I'm going to say give this one a miss.

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

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