TV reviews

Review: The Romeo Section 1×1 (Canada: CBC)

In Canada: Wednesdays, 9pm, CBC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

If there’s one thing Canadians can’t seem to get enough of, it seems to be spy shows. Whether it’s as a stupid comedy (Insecurity), a reasonably smart cross-border politicking drama (The Border), or as a very smart undercover cop show (Intelligence), sneakiness and lies have been a mainstay of Canada’s TV output for the best part of a decade. 

In part, that’s down to Chris Haddock, the Canadian writer/producer behind cop shows Da Vinci’s Inquest, Da Vinci’s Town Hall and CBS’s The Handler, who first launched the genre in Canada with the slow-moving Intelligence. He’s now back in the game with The Romeo Section, an even slower-moving spy show. 

It stars the inexplicably Glaswegian Andrew Airlie as the equally inexplicably named Wolfgang McGee, a globe-trotting Vancouver university professor who runs ‘the Romeo Section’ – a group of male and female undercover spies involved in sexy time with various intelligence targets, international and domestic. It’s their job to inflitrate the Triads, crime rings, cartels and other criminal groups, to get the information Canada needs to destroy them.

To get them to do this, Airlie goes around Hong Kong and Vancouver, visiting shops, libraries, dark gloomy places, racetracks and numerous other places, where he has mumbly, Glaswegian-accented conversations with people that are so arch, you can’t tell if it’s bad writing or some kind of spy code. Then he goes away again, information gathered, so he can brood back in his office or mumble with his handler (Eugene Lipinski from Intelligence, Da Vinci’s Town Hall et al, but also the original BBC Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), while his assets go off and have more sexy times. Main asset is the conflicted and bearded Juan Riedinger (Narcos), who spends a lot of his time shagging mental mob wife Stephanie Bennett (UnREAL, iZombie).

The whole show has the veneer of quality and intelligence, except it’s one of those veneers where you assume that it’s good and intelligent because nothing much happens for great long chunks of time and no one talks above a whisper, not because it’s telling you anything you don’t know or because of the gripping plot and characters. Not by a long chalk is this another Rubicon. You want it to be Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but I’m about 90% sure it’s actually A Bit of Fry & Laurie.

It’s not badly written, it does avoid the excesses of a lot of spy shows, it does have some smarts to it and I’m sure it’ll have its proponents and fans, who’ll be addicted by episode eight, when something might actually have happened. But I won’t be sticking around until then, I’m afraid.

 

A bit of A Bit of Fry and Laurie

A bit of A Bit of Fry and Laurie – The Final Three

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie

As you may have guessed from the launch of ‘The Wednesday Play’ earlier today, ‘A bit of A Bit of Fry and Laurie’ is coming to an end today – if you like something here, remember to leave a comment or ‘like’ it or it might go away (particularly if I’m running out of YouTube vids). I asked if anyone had any requests for the final video, and Aaron responded – although he couldn’t decide which of three he’d like.

So here we go:

The Bishop and the Warlord… the sequel, which sees Hugh Laurie deploying his pre-House ‘American’ accent

Shoe brothel

And Gelliant Gutfright presents…

Of course, if you all still really love ‘A bit of A Bit of Fry and Laurie’, I’ll move it to Tuesday. Or Friday. Let me know.

ABC’s upfronts 2012-3 – a rundown and clips from the new shows

Following on from NBC and Fox, today we get to have a look at the shiny new shows that ABC has lined up for us for the 2012 to 2013 season.

Like NBC, there have been a fair few cancellations at ABC this year, so we’ve got a few new dramas and comedies to look at. Unlike NBC, we have a lot of remakes of foreign shows to look forward to, unless we happen to have seen those foreign shows in question already.

So after the jump, we have rundowns, trailers and the 2012-13 schedules for:

  • Last Resort from Shawn Ryan and starring Andre Braugher and Dichen Lachman
  • 666 Park Ave. with (ooh) Robert Buckley and Terry O’Quinn
  • A remake of BBC1’s Mistresses with Charmed‘s Alyssa Milano
  • A remake of BBC3’s White Van Man retitled The Family Tools with Kyle Bornheimer. JK Simmons and Leah Remini from King of Queens
  • How to Live With Your Parents For The Rest of Your Life with Scrubs‘ Sarah Chalke, Brad Garrett, Orlando Jones and Elizabeth Perkins
  • Malibu Country with Lily Tomlin, Rbea and Jai Rodriguez (yes, him from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy)
  • Nashville with Connie Britton, Powers Boothe, The Wire‘s Robert Wisdom and Heroes‘ Hayden Panettiere
  • The Neighbors with Jami Gerz
  • A remake of Dutch TV’s Penoza, Red Widow, starring Radha Mitchell and
  • Zero Hour, with Anthony Edwards

And a lot of them look very silly indeed.

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