What (completely forgettable TV) have you (also) been watching? Including American Auto, Grand Crew and Firebite

Firebite

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Well, this is awkward. I’ve just written about all the TV I’ve been watching… and I’ve just remembered I’ve watched three other shows. Oh dear.

So let’s do a quick extra rundown of those utterly unmemorable shows while I can still retain them in my mind. I should also point out that some utterly insane fool at HBO Max commissioned Station Eleven, the first episode of which aired last week:

‘Survivors of a devastating flu attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.’

Are you f*cking insane, HBO Max?

American Auto (US: NBC)

SERIES PREMIERE JANUARY 4 | TUES 8/7c

From the creator of Superstore comes a new workplace comedy that takes the wheels off the automobile industry. Set in Detroit, the corporate executives of Payne Motors are at a crossroads: adapt to the changing times or be sent to the junkyard. Shaking things up is the new CEO, whose leadership, experience and savvy is only slightly offset by her complete lack of knowledge about cars. Luckily, her team has some of the best minds in the business – when they aren’t fighting or trying to outwit each other. From the corporate office to the factory floor, the crew of Payne Motors is driving home the laughs.

Rob says: ‘The wrong format for a good script’

On paper, this show is actually very clever. The script is funny and this first episode about an attempt to launch a self-driving car is full of some obviously good research. The idea of a CEO who doesn’t know the industry they’re in isn’t too outlandish, either, and allows the show to comment on all kinds of capitalist issues.

The trouble is that none of that translates into laughs, just stoney silences. I sat there and watched the whole thing, occasionally cracking a smile, but everything just clunked along. The cast aren’t great, which doesn’t help, and neither does the effort to make it the new The Office. It simply doesn’t work.

Grand Crew (US: NBC)

SERIES PREMIERE JANUARY 4 | TUES 8:30/7:30c

From Phil Augusta Jackson (writer/producer/director, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Dan Goor (creator, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) comes a new comedy that proves life is better with your crew. This group of young professionals are all trying to navigate the ups and downs of life and love in Los Angeles, and they always find time to gather at their favorite bar to “wine down” and unpack it all. There’s Noah, a hopeless romantic too eager to settle down; Nicky, a go-getter in real estate who’s adventurous in romance; Sherm, a low-key genius who plays the dating odds; Anthony, whose true love is his career; Wyatt, who’s relieved to be married and out of the dating scene; and Fay, who’s recently divorced and looking to start fresh in LA. And just like wine, their friendship gets better with time.

The cast includes Nicole Byer, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, Echo Kellum, Grasie Mercedes and Carl Tart.

Rob says: ‘Nice idea, dull in practice’

I couldn’t even make it through the first episode of this, so I can’t swear to you that this is bad. I mean it’s not bad, for starters. It’s also got a good central idea: ‘Let’s not do a standard Black comedy, but let’s show some diversity and sensitivity in our Black male characters.’ Which is edifying.

But it wasn’t funny.

So I switched off.

Firebite (US: AMC+)

The eight-episode series takes a new spin on the vampire genre, following two Indigenous Australian hunters, Tyson (Rob Collins, Cleverman, Extraction) and Shanika (Indigenous Australian star Shantae Barnes-Cowan), on their quest to battle the last colony of vampires in the middle of the South Australian desert. The series also stars Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black) and Callan Mulvey (Avengers: End Game), amongst others.

Rob says: ‘Too silly’

It’s a nice idea: Indigenous Aboriginal vampires and vampire hunters. As is practically mandatory with Australian drama, it’s got Rob Collins and Callan Mulvey in it.

But my god, it was so silly. Your first clue will be Collins and Barnes-Cowan driving through the desert with an old woman strapped to the bonnet of their car. Then you’ve got Mulvey ripping people’s hearts out with his bare hands.

I like the cast. I did not like the show. Maybe it would suit someone who likes vampires, better?

Author

  • Rob Buckley

    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.

    View all posts