Archive | US TV 2012

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2012


November 26, 2012

Third-episode verdict: Wedding Band (TBS/5*)

Posted on November 26, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

In the US: Saturdays, 10/9c, TBS
In the UK: Acquired by 5* for 2013 broadcast
In Canada: Saturdays, 10pm EST, MuchMoreMusic
In Australia: Wednesdays, 7.30pm, Network Ten. Starts December 5

Well, not much to report further on Wedding Band since my review of the first episode, other than that it's perhaps slightly less funny and slightly crasser than it started out. Essentially The Wedding Singer relocated to 2012 but with four band members, it's clearly aimed at men who, like the Loaded tagline, should (and in fact do) know better, and is best described as a romcom musical for straight men, in which a wedding band is revealed to have shaman-like wisdom and capacity to bring couples together.

Although it flirts with the situations you'd expect of both a TBS show and any US comedy involving a group men in a band, it's got a lot more heart and brain than you'd expect. Episode two saw the ever-wooden Megan Fox turn up as the star of a science-fiction show who begins dating the show's lead (and her real-life husband) Brian Austin Green, who discovers to his cost what nerds do to people who leak spoilers. This episode, disappointingly, was a lot closer to what you'd have assumed of the show just from the synopsis, with a slight mean-spiritedness and misogyny that it looked like it had avoided in episode one - here, we had a bunch of flabby, unkempt teen nerds being taught how to play mind games with hot teenage girls to get them to go out with them. But it did prove a golden opportunity for the writers to poke fun at cast member Harold Perrineau's old show Lost, at least, and at least the nerds were doing it for love and were better prospects than the sexting blackmailing boys the girls were originally going out with.

Episode three saw a return to the style of the first episode, giving us something that was miraculously a bit more of a romcom, and a smart one at that, despite being set largely in a stripclub - it even managed to avoid any nudity. The show had a bit more class than you might have expected and again, despite the strip club and bachelor party storyline, somehow the entire episode managed to be about love, fidelity, how to have decent relationships with women and child care. It even carried a message that 'strippers are people, too'.

On the whole, while it's not the funniest show ever made, the best romcom ever or even the most average musical ever made - the stars are at least better singers than Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia - it's a surprisingly agreeable Saturday night's viewing that (almost) shows that male-oriented comedy doesn't have to be crass and sexist. While the pace of the central romance could do with picking up, it needs more jokes and we could do with caring about the supporting cast more, it's got enough goodwill and good traits for me to give it some latitude, at least.

And, let's face it, it's not often you get a show that does cover versions of Iggy Pop, Simple Minds, the Bloodhound Gang greatest, all in the same episode, throwing in The Pet Shop Boys' 'West End Girl's on a cello and a glockenspiel for luck, so brace yourself for something more imaginative than you'd expect.

Barrometer rating: 3

November 16, 2012

Review: Wedding Band (TBS) 1x1

Posted on November 16, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Wedding Band

In the US: Saturdays, 10/9c, TBS

Straight men are, in general, catered for very well by US television. Or so you'd think. Not all straight men are created equal, however. There are, in fact, two genres that really don't seem to want us at all: romcoms and musicals. Glee, Nashville and Smash laugh in our faces, while The Mindy Project is still trying to work out what straight men want.

It's discrimination, I tell you.

Never fear, though: TBS is here to balance the scales. Now, despite its catchline of "Very funny", TNT's sister channel should really have been promoting itself as "Cack - for men". Glory Daze and Men At Work, I'm particularly looking at you here. But in an effort to stop making appalling television, as well as picking up Cougar Town now that ABC had dropped it, TBS has come up with Wedding Band, a romcom musical for men.

A cross between The Wedding Singer and The Hangover, it sees perennial bachelor Brian Austin Green (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as the lead singer of a wedding band that includes his married-with-kids Ed Helms-alike best friend, his Jack Black-alike slobby brother and the quasi-hip Harold Perrineau from Lost. The band has been doing weddings for years, but they're ready to go big, possibly with the help of big-time wedding planner Melora Hardin and her novice associate - and possible romantic interest for Green - Jenny Wade.

And while it's very male-oriented, features fight scenes and has quite a broad sense of humour, it's surprisingly funny, nuanced and unmisogynistic. And you get about three or four classic rock and pop cover versions per episode: a romcom musical for men.

Oh, and in case you don't read the tabloids, Brian Austin Green is married to Megan Fox in real life. Which is probably why she's in the next episode in a leather outfit. Here's a trailer:

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November 8, 2012

Mini-review: Malibu Country 1x1 (ABC)

Posted on November 8, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

MalibuCountry.jpg

In the US: Fridays, 8.30c/7.30c, ABC

Dreadful. Even less funny than one of those jokes you find on the stick in a Mini Milk ice lolly and the worse of the two dreadful country music-based shows ABC now has. And while country star Reba McEntire being in it is understandable, Lily Tomlin – what the hell's the matter with you?

Here's a trailer. Don't watch even a second more of this show than that. Even the trailer might be a step too far.

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