Ooh, ooh. I think we're turning a corner. Looks like the world is just about getting fed up with vampires and possibly even werewolves as well (you can return your Team Edward and Team Jacob armbands), and zombies are coming back into fashion. Oh frabduous day.
Because shortly following the UK's Dead Set, we now have an American zombie TV show, one a tad higher quality than The Vampire Diaries. Bizarrely, though, it's on AMC.
AMC's last project was Rubicon and it's best known for Mad Men and Breaking Bad, so maybe you wouldn't naturally assume it was the best place for an adaption of a comic book about zombies. Nevertheless, it turns out with Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) in charge, AMC's actually a very good place for a quite moving and gory story about a guy (Andrew Lincoln of Teachers) who wakes up to find almost the entire world over-run with zombies.
In the US: Sunday 17th October, AMC In the UK: Acquired by BBC4. Will air 2010/early 2011
I've more or less stopped doing these full-season reviews of TV shows, on the general grounds they take time and effort, and I'm quite lazy - plus there's always What Have You Been Watching? on Fridays to do brief reviews.
But the first season of Rubicon, I think, is quite an instructive piece of TV, and what with it coming to BBC4 soon, I thought I'd go over some of the things that make it interesting and worth watching, and what it teaches us about US television production.
I'll avoid spoilering anyone who has yet to see it because they're waiting for it on BBC4.
In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC In the UK:Yet to be acquired Acquired by Watch
Three episodes into No Ordinary Family and I can't help but feel that despite being one of the better shows of the new Fall season, it's actually quite… ordinary.
After a first episode that was quite fun and and had a few cool moments, we charged into episode two where things continued to look promising. There was nothing too exceptional: the kids with the "could be interesting if used well but not here" powers just sort of milled around high school trying to learn how to deal with their new powers: daughter doesn't want to read everyone's mind, while son is busily trying to avoid revealing to anyone – including his equally super-powered parents – that he has a super brain now. Daddy (Michael Chiklis) is learning how to use his new powers for surely the only fun point of the show, fighting crime, while Mommy (Julie Benz) just wishes it would all go away, at least once she's finished researching it. It wasn't awesome, but it was okay, and the ongoing plot of the super-villains trying to work out if there are superheroes was actually quite nasty and well executed.
Episode three, however, was very ordinary indeed. Son wants daughter to find out if a girl fancies him; daughter wants to have a friend to talk to; mom wants to avoid being found out at work; dad wants to fight crime. But interspersed with that, we get the son pretending to be Jewish; dad and mom trying to get their teenage daughter to be friends with their friends so they'll have someone to talk to; and black best friend of Chiklis trying to teach him to dance.
I kid you not.
Actual excitement was a little harder to find, despite the robberies in episode three. For superheroes, there's not much heroics going on, it has to be said. While Benz and Chiklis's superpowers are CGI-ed relatively well (Benz's better than Chiklis's), they're not really being used much. All most people really want is to see some fun superfights with a backdrop of family problems; what we're getting is family problems with the very occasional backdrop of fun superfights. Chiklis's character is the only one enjoying himself, with Benz just being long-suffering, and it doesn't really feel like an ordinary family.
All the same, I'm going to say there's no harm in watching this. Don't expect awesome or outstanding. Don't expect anything truly new or original. But it's family fun that never really sinks into anything terribly bad.
Carusometer rating: 3 Rob's prediction: Will last at least a season, unless it forgets it needs to be interesting within the next few episodes.
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.