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Third-episode verdict: Angie Tribeca (US: TBS)

Posted on February 3, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerAngieTribeca.jpgA Barrometer rating of 1

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, TBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

If there's anything that Angie Tribeca proves, it's that comedy is hard. TBS's new spoof of police shows, particularly CSI: Miami, but also Rizzoli & Isles and anything with a tough detective who doesn't want a new partner, it's also a 'find and replace' sequel to Police Squad and The Naked Gun. There are often entire gags and formats lifted wholesale from those predecessors and then names and characters simply swapped out. This ranges from the title sequence (someone yelling at the end, with a different reason for the yell each episode, mimicking police squads different guest star being killed at the same point) through to characters repeating lines of dialogue after someone's said "Say, do you…?" 

This isn't a huge problem. Police Squad was hilarious; I don't mind Angie Tribeca being hilarious, even if to be hilarious it has to steal jokes.

And the show frequently is hilarious - after a slightly rocky start, the first two episodes are almost painfully funny at times. But the third episode, which doesn't do that much different from the previous two, is just not funny. Same sort of jokes, same sort of situations, but not many laughs, because you could see the punchlines coming a mile off. It's a show of usually obvious jokes where they're suddenly just a bit too obvious to be funny.

Comedy is hard. Get things slightly wrong and suddenly the laughs aren't coming.

Other than that, there's not much to say about Angie Tribeca. There's nothing profound about it. There's no real story arc, no character development worth mentioning. It's just very funny. When it is. It's just that sometimes it isn't.

Barrometer rating: 1
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE prediction: TBS has a lot of confidence in it, having already renewed it for a second season. The TMINE crystal ball can look no further than that

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News: Anne of Green Gables series, 5* acquires The Shannara Chronicles, Shameless renewed + more

Posted on January 13, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Canadian TV

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New US TV show casting

  • Ted Danson and Kristen Bell join NBC's Good Place

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What have you been watching? Including Hamlet (NT Live/Barbican), Limitless and The Player

Posted on October 26, 2015 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

So I had a last minute 'Cumberemergency' on Friday, which meant that I suddenly didn't have the time to write 'What have you been watching?' Sorry about that, but hopefully, this will make it up to you.

Last week on the blog, I reviewed a big slew of first episodes from all manner of different countries:

And today I passed a third-episode verdict on BBC America/BBC Two's The Last Kingdom

That means that after the jump, you can find reviews of the latest episodes of 800 Words, Arrow, Blindspot, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, CSI, Doctor Who, The Flash, Grandfathered, Limitless, The Player, Y Gwyll and You're The Worst. Yes CSI, since I finally got around to watch the final ever episode of that.

One of those shows is getting promoted to regular. Can you guess which one it is? Not CSI, obviously.

(Actually, I haven't managed to watch the very latest episodes of either Y Gwyll or The Beautiful Lie, because it's really Sunday and this is a scheduled post I'm writing before both of them have aired. I'll let you know about them next time.)

I did try to watch the first episode of Con Man as well. However, I gave up 5 minutes when it started becoming cringe comedy on the plane and Tudyk tried to get a fan to give up his seat for him. No extended music sequences in my TV shows, no cringe comedy in my comedies - those rules are sacred.

Anyway, let's talk about the 'Cumberemergency', since I was called upon at the last minute to accompany my mother-in-law to the theatre. Or was it a movie? Maybe it was both. Or neither.

Hamlet (The Barbican)
The National Theatre's latest version of Hamlet, performed at the Barbican and starring that Benedict Cumberbatch from off the telly. Except it was one of those NT Live things where they film the play as it's performed and beam it into cinemas everywhere. Except the cinema in question was at the Barbican, so they might as well have just knocked a hole in the wall and let us look through it.

Anyway, Hamlet's one of those plays where every director tries to make his or her mark by doing something radically different. The last version I saw at the Barbican was the Stephen Dillane (The One Game, The Tunnel, Hunted, Game of Thrones) one where he went naked for a scene. 

On top of that, Hamlet exists in three different versions, some which have scenes that aren't in the others. The result is that I always forget what's in the play and spend the whole time thinking "I don't remember this. Is this in the original?" 

In this version, our Benedict is playing a very bereaved, but generally good-egg Hamlet, who's a bit annoyed his mum's remarrying so soon after his dad died - except his dad's ghost reveals that actually, he was murdered. He doesn't get very pissed off like Mel Gibson or naked like Dillane, but does plot his revenge, all while his girlfriend goes super-loopy.

Unfortunately, the NT Live experience is basically the worst of both worlds. Despite my flippancy, the NT production does look very innovative, interesting and surprisingly funny, giving all the scenes genuine meaning. Bennie gives a great performance as Hamlet, making interesting choices such as the removal of any hint of sarcasm from the 'what a piece of work is man' monologue to make him a disappointed optimist rather than an embittered child-man. Siân Brook is marvellously barking as Ophelia. Ciaran Hinds's Claudius is the surprising weak link, straining to effect a Yorkshire accent for no discernable reason, but still a decent stage presence.

But any sense of theatre's immediacy is lost in the cinema. It looks nice, but you don't feel anything, because the actors aren't there on stage in front of you. Similarly, it's not cinematic enough, despite the director's best efforts to include crane shots and the like, for you to get the benefits of the directorial options and camerawork available to movies.

The play's split into two acts, the first 2h, the second 1h, and the first certainly feels the full 2h as a result of these problems. It's not the production's fault, it's simply a problem of the medium.

So don't do NT Live if you can. The play's the thing, after all.

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