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An archive of blog entries about French TV programmes and production.


July 7, 2014

Review: Taxi Brooklyn 1x1-1x2 (NBC/TF1)

Posted on July 7, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Taxi Brooklyn

In France: Aired in May on TF1
In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC

Take a look at that title. Go on. Take a look: Taxi Brooklyn. What does that even mean? It’s two words just stuck together, isn’t it?

Indeed, never has an international co-production so obviously signalled both its complete inability to understand an international market, or that it’s really hoping that people will want to watch it if it just sticks random things together. The latter, so far, has been French TV channel’s TF1’s implicit aim with first Jo and then Crossing Lines and now, pretty much explicitly, with Taxi Brooklyn.

So here are the random things stuck together:

  • Luc Besson’s Taxi series, France’s most successful movie franchise ever, the first of which got remade with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon in 2004.
  • Olivier Megaton, director of Taken 2 and Transporter 3
  • French actor Jacky Ido, who you may remember from Inglorious Basterds or even from the first series of Spiral/Engrenages where he played ‘Personne’.
  • Brooklyn
  • A necessity to do everything in English

These aren’t just the pieces of some long-lost jigsaw puzzle sitting at the back of your cupboard - these are the pieces from someone else’s jigsaw that have mysteriously got mixed in with three others you have no recollection of ever even asking for.

Putting it all together was clearly an impossible challenge and the writers therefore obviously decided not to even bother trying to make it look like a show that’s supposed to hang together coherently. The plot - if it can be described as such - is thus utterly ridiculous.

Caitlin “Cat” Sullivan (Chyler Leigh) is a tough cop, so no one wants to partner with her. She’s also a terrible driver, so she gets her driving privileges revoked. How’s she going to solve crimes and do her job on public transport? What a dilemma!

But when she arrests a French taxi driver speed demon, Leo Romba (Ido), who’s been forced at gunpoint to act as a getaway driver in a bank robbery, serendipity has clearly struck. Ido agrees to help her solve the crime - and to drive her around - if she’ll clear his name. And since he was arrested and put in jail back in France so had to enter the US illegally, Sullivan agrees to help him with the US immigration authorities if he’ll continue to drive her around on future cases.

Forced, much? Absolutely. Excitement? Laughs? Not at all.

Because despite Megaton’s presence on the pilot, as well as supporting cast that includes Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?, Blue Bloods), Ally Walker (Universal Soldier, Profiler) and José Zúñiga (Law & Order, CSI), the show is unredeemed by excitement comedy, good characters or logic. Zut alors!

Here’s a trailer.

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July 4, 2014

Just how hard is it to spell taxi correctly, Taxi Brooklyn?

Posted on July 4, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

I'll be reviewing the first two episodes of French-US co-production Taxi Brooklyn later today (or maybe on Monday), but as I sit down to watch the second episode, I thought I'd ponder the fact that as usual, it seems like no one can spell (or at least proofread) these days.

Taxy Brooklyn

Taxi. It's a four letter English word. In French, it's spelt 'taxi'. So really, what's the excuse for spelling it 'taxy'? Is there a subtle protest going on about the level of city taxes in Brooklyn: 'Brooklyn, it's quite taxy'?

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