Archive | US TV 2010

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2010

October 28, 2010

Preview: The Walking Dead

Posted on October 28, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Walking Dead

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, AMC. Starts 31st October
In the UK: Fridays, 10pm, FX UK. Starts 5th November

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.

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October 21, 2010

Series finale: Rubicon

Posted on October 21, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Truxton Spengler in Rubicon

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.

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October 14, 2010

Third-episode verdict: No Ordinary Family

Posted on October 14, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

CarusometerNoOrdinaryFamily.jpgA Carusometer rating of 3

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.

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