Third-episode verdict: Bored to Death

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Sundays, 9.30pm, HBO

As you may recall from my preview of the first two episodes, the title of Bored to Death pretty much summed up the whole show. Milquetoast writer Jonathan Ames tries to become a hard-boiled detective, both to inspire his next novel and to get girls following the break-up of his relationship. But he discovers that being a PI is harder than it looks – although not too hard since everyone else in the world is a wimp, too, apparently.

It was boring. It thought it was a cutting edge slacker indie comedy. It turned out to be a feeble excuse for not having jokes.

However, episode three, which largely dispensed with the detective format in favour of a quest to recover the lost script to a Jim Jarmusch movie, was a whole lot better. While the belly laughs were still in short supply, this episode did conjure a wry titter or two – largely thanks to a therapist who answered more or less every issue Ames came up with using "tough, life sucks" as a reponse, but also because of Jarmusch himself in full-on wooden weirdo mode, cycling around in his studio while chatting to Charlie Kaufman.

It’s still a show that thinks it’s a lot funnier than it is, and assumes that simply by being light and knowing, that’s good enough. But it now has a few worthwhile qualities, most of them Ted Danson’s character, and if it steers clear of detective stories in favour of the merely quirky, it could at least be moderately amusing.

I won’t be sticking with it, but there’s nothing now to say that won’t be my loss in the future, as far as I know. I doubt it, but you can always give it a try to see if it pans out.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Won’t be renewed for a second season, but will probably become a cult favourite on DVD