The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: The Event

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Channel 4. Starting this month

"What is The Event?" (shhh, Mitchell and Webb fans). NBC’s big hope for ratings success, it’s a bit of silliness that I think I’m going to duck out of right now.

Now the first episode wasn’t incredibly impressive but did have enough mystery and fun in it to make watching episodes two onwards a reasonably bright prospect. However, pretty much everything you guessed was going to happen during the pilot turned out to be the case in episode two, leaving a few mysteries that were really just logistics rather than anything else. It was also even sillier than the first episode.

Episode three did at least reinject a few mysteries into the plot, giving us factions within factions, gave us some character background for Jason Ritter, and tossed us a few miracles to be explained involving those mysterious people being kept as prisoners in Alaska. It also gave us a couple of good stunts and a new female goodie, which is a nice change from the current set who are all either dead or being held captive somewhere.

But what’s being built here is a world with its own mythology, something involving ‘an Event’ which apparently isn’t just (spoiler)us meeting aliens for the first time. And I’m frankly not that interested. It’s too divorced from the real world, nothing’s in the slightest bit plausible and with its constant time jumps, it feels like an excuse to fill up airtime, rather than anything too interesting, different or carrying an important message. Maybe the cliffhanger at the end of the season is that the world’s about to end. But The Event‘s silliness is such that I wouldn’t care if it did.

Basically, despite NBC’s fevered efforts attempting to create an online mystery-solving community to mirror Lost‘s, it’s not Lost 2, it’s Flash Forward 2. So I’m dropping out. Let me know if it picks up again in later episodes, but you remember what happened with Flash Forward, don’t you? Do you want to waste that much time again?

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season at most, unless a miracle happens.

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The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 4

Third-episode verdict: Hawaii Five-0

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, CBS
In the UK: Bravo this month, allegedly

Three episodes into Hawaii Five-0, and I’m pretty much tempted to call it a day on this remake of the classic 60s/70s show. Although the first episode had its merits, episode two was very silly indeed, trying to do Sneakers and being a bit laughable in the process. With no Len Wiseman directing, the action quickly fell apart, giving us possibly the stupidest, most badly edited catfight I’ve seen since the 70s. Daniel Dae Kim driving around on a motorbike while everyone else is in the car just felt odd, and Grace Park seemingly trying to play her character as an 18-year-old was ludicrous.

Episode three didn’t plum the same depths of silliness, but it was duller. This had gang warfare between the Samoans and the Triads, with a bit of backstory for Kim’s and Park’s characters, but fell into tired old cliches and even more ludicrous action scenes: Danny hides behind an overturned trestle table as cover against 9mm rounds (by contrast, a recent episode of Dark Blue showed, more realistically, 9mm rounds passing through internal walls at close range).

The only real reasons for watching (unless you count Steve’s Ferrari, Grace Park constantly in a bikini or you’re a big Daniel Dae Kim fan) are the camaraderie between Scott Caan’s Danno and Alex O’Loughlin’s Steve and indeed Alex O’Loughlin, who really has obvious talent, if only he could find a decent vehicle to star in.

It’ll probably run for a while, but I don’t think I’ll be sticking around for it.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction:
Will last a season, maybe more if they retool it next season

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US TV

Review: No Ordinary Family 1×1

No Ordinary Family

In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC
In the UK: Yet to be acquired

Brace yourself: this is the first of not one but two superhero shows on network US TV coming this Fall, with NBC’s The Cape due some time soon (presumably as soon as NBC cancels another show, since there’s no actual airdate yet).

But of the two, this is the most family-friendly. Family, incidentally, is the operative word here. Since ABC scored big last year with Modern Family, it must have seemed natural enough to go for family with the drama as well. Here we have an “ordinary family” – which apparently means “family doing regular stuff but with deep seated emotional issues and resentments, but nothing too dramatic” – whose plane crash-lands in the Amazon. Exposed to some weird green stuff in the river, when they return to the US, they soon discover they have super-powers, which in traditional Heroes style are exactly what they need emotionally: super-strength for the father who wants to fight crime, super-speed for the mother who has too little time, super-brains for the learning disabled son and the ability to read minds for the girl who can’t fit in.

It’s not as adult as Heroes, it’s not as kid-oriented as Kyle XY, it’s not as good as The Incredibles and it’s not as “ordinary” as Misfits – but it’s got Julie Benz (Buffy, Angel, Dexter) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield, Fantastic Four), it does have some really cool special effects and the stories are something the whole family can enjoy. Basically, it’s Merlin for Americans – but better, obviously

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US TV

Review: Blue Bloods 1×1

Blue Bloods

In the US: Fridays, 10/9c, CBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

In the neverending quest for new ways to do cop and legal dramas, the concept of the “super-format” has emerged (I just made up that name so don’t go looking for it anywhere else. It’s mine). So you want to do cop shows, but you also quite like the whole lawyer thing as well? Well, how about Law & Order, where you get both cops and lawyers: a twofer super-format. Or maybe you quite like stories about guys on patrol, rookie cops and detectives? Well, how about Southland, then? That’s a threefer super-format. Or perhaps you even like the mix of politics that you get at the top of the police hierarchy with the day-to-day police work of the rank and file as well as lawyers? Well, how about The Wire then?

Indeed, The Wire was perhaps the first of the “super-super format” shows: a format that tries to amalgamate everything to do with the legal system and look at it all equally. But post The Wire, what new super-super format can you have?

Blue Bloods rather cunningly does the very American thing of making it all about family. In this case, the Reagans, a New York Irish family of cops and lawyers. We have Tom Selleck, complete with his old Magnum PI moustache, as the New York chief of police. His dad is the former chief of police. He has two sons, one a detective (Donnie Wahlberg), the other a beat cop. He had another son, who was also a beat cop, but who died in the line of duty. And he has a daughter (Bridget Moynahan) who is an assistant district attorney.

The result is a show in which you get to see all aspects of New York policing, from the politics at the top to the investigations by detectives to the day-to-day issues of the average beat cop to the problems of the legal system – all while the politics of torture are discussed over Sunday lunch. For a while, it actually seems pretty good – and then six minutes before the end, we get the Blue Templars and everything falls apart.

Here’s a trailer:

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US TV

Review: Hellcats 1×1-1×3

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW
In the UK: Not yet acquired

It’s easy to stereotype cheerleaders. Take your pick: blonde Barbies? Bubble heads? Sluts in flesh-expositng outfits? Cliquey? Agents of patriarchy, doing nothing more than standing there and looking pretty while cheering on men? Nothing more than pom pom twirlers?

This is, of course, bollocks.

Apart from the fact that there are male cheerleaders, top-level cheerleading is an incredibly demanding athletic sport – it’s responsible for 2/3 of sports injuries among women at college and requires hours and hours of dedication, training and practice. As with football, its associated scholarships can also be the only way some American women (and men) can afford to go to college and it’s enabled people from the likes of Katie Couric and Meryl Streep through to supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and even Ronald Reagan to get to the upper echelons of society.

These and other stereotype crushing facts are what you’ll learn if you watch The CW’s new dramedy, Hellcats, based on Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders by journalist Kate Torgovnick. Oh, and you’ll get to see lots of buff young men and women in skimpy outfits – including Ashley Tisdale from High School Musical! Woo!

Here’s the extended trailer:

Continue reading “Review: Hellcats 1×1-1×3”