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Review: Do No Harm 1x1 (NBC)

Posted on February 4, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Do No Harm

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC
In Canada: Thursdays, 10pm ET, CTV
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Seeing as the first episode of NBC's new show has the lowest ever ratings for a mid-season show, I'm not sure I needed to have bothered with a full review for this boy - it's not long for this world. But I will and I'm going to take the opportunity to wonder exactly how short-term broadcast networks' memories are.

See, on the one hand, I'm impressed by their commitment to trying to make an idea work. ABC has just greenlit a pilot based on The Syndicate, a UK show about Lottery winners with secrets and how they're affected by their win. Thing is, NBC did that not so long ago as Windfall.

Maybe that's okay, given the show was on another network: one US network is rarely bothered if they make an almost identical show to another's within a year of it airing - indeed, that's often the point.

But how about when it's remaking its own shows, shows that flopped. Do No Harm is a take on the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in which a brilliant neurosurgeon (aren't they always? Aren't there ever really rubbish neurosurgeons? Under-achieving neurosurgeons? After all, it's not exactly rocket science is it?) has multiple personality disorder. Every night at 8.25pm, his other, sociopathic personality takes over and tries to screw up his life and possibly mutilate and rape anyone he comes across. Then the nice surgeon wakes up again at 8.25am, trying to work out what the bad guy did.

Thing is, we've already had Awake just a year ago, which had the two different lives, one inside dreams, one outside (or maybe they're both dreams). That at least had the virtue of being pretty good.

But before that, also on NBC, we had My Own Worst Enemy, in which mild-mannered Christian Slater discovered that he was really an implanted personality and that his real, nasty, more interesting secret agent self came out at night when he was asleep. In that show as well, the nice guy decides enough is enough and decides to take revenge against himself - as does the bad guy - while they try to come to some kind of working arrangement in the interim.

Sounds great, doesn't it? No, wait. It's the opposite of that. This was not an idea that needed exploring again.

And the ratings have shown it. Here's a trailer.

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Preview: Deception (NBC) 1x1

Posted on December 21, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Deception on NBC

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC. Starts January 7 2013

With NBC doing so well in the ratings right now, it's tempting to forget that it essentially churns out derivative rubbish. It even rips itself off with Go On, which is an imitation - albeit a not bad one - of Community.

As if to prove a point, here comes Deception, a show that practically screams, "We wish we'd thought of that, ABC!" Combining two of ABC's stand-out shows of last year - Scandal and Revenge - Deception is a relentlessly monotonous show of ridiculous proportions. Marrying Revenge's "crime, East Coast rich people and the poor outsider woman" soap opera with Scandal's mystery/thriller and black female lead (when only one network show has a black female lead, you know something's wrong with the entire industry), Deception sees an FBI officer go undercover to solve the mystery of her former rich girl best friend's apparent drug overdose. Except it's really murder - as if you couldn't see that coming.

Okay, might be good, you might think, except being NBC, it's the blandest, dullest possible combination of those two shows, offering neither excitement nor vicarious thrills to get you through the fact that despite a decent cast that includes Victor Garber and Tate Donovan, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about the plot, the dialogue, the characters or their relationships. Even the tag line "To find the truth, she'll become a lie" is boring.

Here's a trailer. Stay awake if you can.

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Question of the week: do UK TV networks need to improve their marketing?

Posted on November 12, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Awake billboard

So in this age of multi-channel television, one of the biggest problems TV networks have is getting people's attention. When there are so many things vying for attention, why would you watch one channel rather than another? Sure, there are TV guides but you have to buy those; there's an EPG, but you have to scroll through those both down channels and through times; there are adverts on TV for shows – but usually only for those channels' TV shows. It doesn't exactly help that we don't have "seasons", so we don't know with any predictability when new shows are going to start at any point in the year.

As a result, it's entirely possible to miss good stuff on UK TV. Not so in the US (well, okay, maybe a bit), where billboards all over a city can be covered with adverts for new shows, every web site has banner ads and magazines are full of ads. It also helps that everyone knows when the new seasons start, there's Facebook and social media marketing aplenty, email newsletters and more.

New Girl billboard

By contrast, I think I spotted one Red Dwarf X billboard in Charing Cross station and the only channel that has a decent alert email newsletter that I know of is BBC4.

Red Dwarf X tube advert

So this week's question is

Do UK TV networks need to improve their marketing or should we just keep our eyes open for the good stuff and let marketing money be funnelled into TV production instead? Or, actually, are UK TV networks doing enough already and would more advertising put you off?

As always, answers below or on your own blog, please?

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