Third-episode verdict: Californication

Carusometer for Californication2-Partial-Caruso

Remember when you were a kid and first learnt about swear words? You might have used them to shock, thinking how daring you were.


Tee hee.

But for any adult in the vicinity, it was probably all a bit tedious. A bit dull, really.

Been there done that.

Californication has the exact same problem – but with sex. Since there’s not an awful lot of swearing and sex on US TV (unless you look in particular areas), there’s a temptation for any show that’s actually given licence to swear and depict graphic sex to do that and nothing else. All the time.

Not wanting to sound stereotypically English and prudish, but surely there’s got to be more to a show than that? We’ve had graphic sex and swearing on British TV for ages now and as a result, compared to American audiences, starved of any on-screen depictions of adult situations, relationships, etc, I feel like a grown-up being forced to sit through an episode of Torchwood: get over your new-found freedom, guys, and get on with the actual plot, because I’m bored now.

Californication would like to be an adult show. It has adult themes. It has adults talking about adult concepts. And it’s not stupid.

But it’s so self-satisfied with how cutting edge and daring it is, that it’s forgotten that there needs to be a bit more to a comedy – or indeed a drama – than fornication, masturbation, and smoking (weed or tobacco; what will the parents think?).

The cast are good, there are some funny lines and situations. It’s just not that funny. The characters aren’t that involving – in fact, they’re pretty repellent and uninteresting. At the end of each episode – how shall I put this – it all feels so anti-climatic, despite the build-up. I’m hoping it gets better though, since it still has a sheen of promise about it and the first two episodes weren’t bad. And it’s not stupid. And it has the occasional cameo from Lucy Davies.

So The Medium is Not Enough declares Californication a two or “Partial Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show with two walk-on cameos by David Caruso as a self-declared ‘ladies man’. Suggesting the script should be rewritten to include his trademark killer chat-up line, ‘I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice you over here not noticing me,’ he will then be forced to leave the set when he damages his back while trying to dance at an angle of 45?Ǭ?.”

Friday’s “Hooray! I made it to the end of Big Brother this year without watching a single episode?” news

To Be Or Not To Be

Doctor Who

  • What can it all mean? No more Who? No more tenth Doctor? An October start for series five? Whichever one it is, David Tennant is going to be playing Hamlet and Berowne from July 24th until November 15th 2008


British TV


Third-episode verdict: Flash Gordon

It’s around now – well, truth be told, it should have been a number of days ago – that I passed a third-episode verdict on Flash Gordon. However, as we all know from the clearly defined rules of The Carusometer, if there’s a sudden change in quality, either upwards or downwards, we have to hold off until episode five before deciding a show’s final rating.

In Flash‘s case, episode three was a marked improvement on the first couple of episodes. The show’s now going for more or less full-on comedy, the characters are improving, Mongo is getting a bit more alien – the only thing that hasn’t improved is Ming, who I think simply misses having a throne.

So episode five it’ll be before the final ruling comes in. Unlike Ming, we’re merciful round here.

Quick Bourne Identity/Supremacy question

Is the guy who shoots Conklin (Chris Cooper) at the end of Identity supposed to be the same character as the German Treadstone agent Bourne meets in Supremacy?

Reasons for

  1. Character 2 is described as the only other remaining Treadstone agent. What about character 1 then, unless they’re the same person?
  2. They look very similar
  3. They’re both based in Germany

Reasons against

  1. They’re played by different actors
  2. The characters have different names (at least according to the script; it’s not mentioned onscreen)
  3. Character 1 is based in Hamburg, Character 2 in Munich, but Bourne tells him he should have moved

What do you all think? Anyone have wisdom on this score?

Anyway, I’m off to see The Bourne Ultimatum now. I hear it’s good.