Third-episode verdict: American Gothic (US: CBS; UK: Amazon Prime)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 4

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, CBS
In the UK: Thursdays, Amazon Prime

Summer novels are fine, if all you’re going to do is set on a beach all day and you just want to read something fun and untaxing. However, as weekly TV series, they often leave a lot to be desired. American Gothic seems to exist purely to fill a TV schedule somewhere, giving us the unlikely idea of a high-powered, multi-siblinged Boston family, all of whom potentially might be the so-called ‘silver bell’ serial killer. Each episode gives us evidence that one of the family might be the killer; the next episode then gives us evidence that refutes the previous evidence and suggests it’s someone else; and the third episode just decided to re-refute everything and suggest maybe it’s the first one. Who knows? Perhaps there’s more than one ‘silver bell’ serial killer or perhaps there’s just one but the others coincidentally happen to like murdering, too. Or something.

Trouble is, I’m not that inclined to care. While some of the cast seem happy to ham it up, only Justin Chatwin’s comic-strip drawing younger son and his very disturbed, cat-experimenting son have real characters. Everyone else is doing proper acting, except have to be just a bit grim and stoic because no one’s thought to give them much else to work with. Perhaps some people enjoy the sight of other rich people doing backstabbing, but I’m not sure “Oh no, you’ve only gone and bought that company through a Russian front company despite the fact we agreed you wouldn’t, husband” really has much resonance for me.

If rich people being rich, dull and potentially murderous floats your boat, American Gothic could be the show for you. If not steer a wide berth away.

Barrometer rating: 4
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE’s prediction: Cancelled at the end of the first season

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.