Review: Las Vegas 4.1

Las Vegas

In the US: NBC, Fridays, 9/8c

In the UK: Sky One. Probably January, but who knows with Sky?

Characters re-cast: 0

Major characters gotten rid of: 0

Major new characters: 0

Format change percentage: 0%

Dramatic chances taken: None

I love Las Vegas. No, not Las Vegas. Las Vegas. It’s a great town. It’ll be whatever you want it to be. You want it tacky? You can have tacky. You want it sophisticated? It can be that, too.

Las Vegas tries to be like Las Vegas. It has all the elements you’d expect: magic (people being shot and having heart attacks, yet coming back to life), sex (everyone shagging everyone else, whether they’re married or not), gambling (having a bunch of characters that are tissue-thin and expecting us to be interested), the stars of yester-year (James Caan, Cheryl Ladd) and Elvis.

Despite all this, Las Vegas really just doesn’t work on any level for me – and it’s really not like Las Vegas at all. It’s completely devoid of anything surprising or clever, and you’re expected to root for the house. Who does that?

Returning viewers, don’t be worried. Everything is sorted out nicely in this first episode, despite its being a two-parter. There are no shocks, nothing to change the format, just the same old same old.

New viewers, it’s slick, it’s glossy, it’ll steal your time. You can join in at almost any point and you’ll be able to keep up with the plot. So watch now or watch later. Or go and watch Robert Urich in Vega$ on DVD instead.

PS Message to former CIA operatives heading to Morocco: it’s a lot easier to get a stolen gun in Morocco than it is to stash one in a safety deposit box in London and try to get it through airport security. Just a hint.

Review: Wild Thing I Love You

Wild Thing I Love You

In the UK: Sundays, Channel 4, 4.50pm

I ask you, what’s the point of blogging if no one tells you that Channel 4 is showing a programme that features

  1. Bill Bailey and
  2. Fluffy animals?

Wild Thing I Love You has been on Sundays for a couple of weeks now and not one person has mentioned it to me. How could you? Actually, you’re forgiven. There were no fluffy animals this week, just adders and lizards by some A-road, but it’s Pine Martens next week. Phew. Glad I caught that one in time.

The programme’s an odd combination of Time Team and nature documentary, with Bailey and a team of experts hurtling around the country trying to save endangered animals according to some arbitrary time limit.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as fun as Time Team. Bailey is a slightly wooden host in comparison to Tony Robinson and surprisingly seems bored by his hosting duties. There’s also no real element of discovery or tension: you know they’re not going to show a bunch of adders/pine martens being squashed by JCBs so the animals will get saved. At least in Time Team, you don’t know what they’re going to discover or how quickly, but here, the only element of mystery was whether the adders they’d already located were going to like their new pit.

It’s more entertaining and educational than the new series of Horizon (shudder…), but a poor second to Time Team. Best watched for the occasional hint of furry beast, rather than because you need to know how to translocate a lizard safely.