Review: I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Fox) 1×1

I Hate My Teenage Daughter

In the US: Wednesdays, 9:30pm(E/P)/8:30c, Fox

Sometimes, I feel like I’m psychic. Do you?

I’ll tell you for why. I looked at the title of this show – I Hate My Teenage Daughter. I saw what network it was on – Fox.

And I knew in an instant that watching it would feel like being slowly licked by the Creature from the Black Lagoon, assuming that the lagoon was black because it was under a sewer outlet.

And hey! Guess what! I was right.

I wonder if I can use my powers to win the lottery.

For those of you whose psychic powers aren’t as well developed as mine, let me fill you in on the plot: we have two single mothers, one of them played by Jaime Pressly from My Name is Earl. Both of them were nerds at school, but have since developed okay. But they both have pretty, popular daughters. And oh my lordy, it turns out the daughters are turning into the same sort of mean girls who made their lives a misery at High School.

Cue zero hilarity and an overwhelming desire to take a shower. Here’s a trailer – one minor character has been recast since the pilot, otherwise these are the highlights.

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The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: Grimm (NBC/Watch)

In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by Watch

Episode 3 and there are some signs of life still in Grimm. After the somewhat derivative first episode, the second episode managed to inspire a little more confidence with the (apparently) characteristic mixture of humour and horror that we’ve come to expect of the show, with ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ getting a decidedly macabre make-over. Not quite the level of humour as episode one, a bit more of a police procedural, it was okay, but lacked much of a real spark, beyond the humour value of the various reveals.

Episode 3 went off on a completely different tangent, giving us more of the show’s mythos, with fights between Hexenbeasts and Mellifers (sp?), and hints at an overall plot. Solid lead got given some humorous lines to deal with and couldn’t really give them anything much beyond solidness. The idea that the story should in some way reflect the fairy tale being mentioned also got thrown on the back-burner, since this one didn’t even slightly resemble ‘The Queen Bee’.

There’s nothing really bad about Grimm. It’s reasonably intelligent, it has its fun moments and it almost teeters on the brink of scary at times. But there’s nothing really remarkable about it either. It’s no different from a dozen, dime-a-dozen cable fantasy shows, from The Dresden Files to Friday The 13th. It’ll amiable enough, it’ll help you pass the time if you’ve nothing to do on a Friday night, but it’s really nothing you should go out of your way to watch.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Won’t last more than a season


Review: Hell on Wheels (AMC) 1×1

Hell on Wheels

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, AMC
In the UK: Acquired by TCM UK to air in 2012

There’s been a lot of talk this season about AMC’s Mad Men. The Playboy Club and Pan Am have both supposedly been trying to emulate the success of Mad Man by both being set in the 60s and allegedly glorifying sexism, racism, et al. The parallels are relatively few and often spurious but what people have latched onto in this 60s setting. Apparently, until Mad Men, period drama didn’t happen on US TV so clearly anything period must owe a debt to Mad Men.

Now overlooking the quasi-period (e.g. Quantum Leap, New Amsterdam, Journeyman, That 70s Show, Life on Mars) as well as actually period (e.g. Glory Daze, Swingtown) is one thing. But to overlook the western? That’s downright ridiculous.

The western was once the mainstay of US TV: Bonanza ran for 13 years, Gunsmoke ran for 20 years and there were countless others. Modern day TV networks also haven’t forgotten the western: HBO had Deadwood while FX’s Justified is essentially a western set in modern times; and even as I type, the development slates at various US networks are already filling up with a whole new batch of westerns, ready to be unleashed on us next September, including a remake of the classic TV western The Rifleman.

But now look. While everyone’s been fixated on the 60s as the Mad Men USP, AMC – the home of Mad Men – is trying its hardest to cash in on the success of its own, currently absent show (as well as its first ever original mini-series, Broken Trail) with another period piece that relishes the mores and prejudices of a rapidly changing American society. Can you guess when it’s set?

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Question of the week: what fall shows float your boat the most?

So, all the new fall dramas and comedies have pretty much debuted now. I haven’t yet reviewed Hell on Wheels, but fingers-crossed I will do sometime in the next couple of days, but with that exception and with the exception of some The CW and MTV shows clearly intended for a younger audience and animated shows, I reviewed everything, I think.

Some of the shows have now died; some have been acquired by UK TV. But of them all, which has floated your boat the most, either from watching them or from having heard about them? Which would you now cancel and which would you have spared the sword? Which would you like the UK to acquire and which do you think were a waste of money (cough, cough, Pan Am, cough, cough). Let everyone know below or on your own blog.

In the list below, if it’s been cancelled, it’ll be crossed out. If there’s a channel next to it in brackets, that’s which UK channel has acquired it. And if it says SAFE next to it, that means it’s been given a full season or even renewed for a second season already.

Bloody hell. Written down in a list, I’ve watched an awful lot, haven’t I?

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

Third-episode verdict: Boss (Starz)

In the US: Fridays, 10pm ET/PT, Starz

Not much to add on the subject of Boss since the first episode. Boss has been very consistent in being very well-made and in being hard to watch. I don’t mean hard to watch in just the metaphorical sense that it deals with tough issues and is quite unrelenting. I mean literally it’s hard to watch thanks to the shaky cam and general direction, which made the first episode in particular hard to follow.

It has settled down now and while Gus van Sant was the director de jour for the first episode (and executive producer for the whole series), Mario van Peebles himself turned up to do the duties for episode three, producing something that while still riddled with shaky cam and visual metaphor, still managed to have a coherent narrative and a sense that there was a story that needed to be serviced.

I think there are a few things things that need mentioning here:

  1. Kelsey Grammer is absolutely phenomenal in this. It now fills me with rage that he’s been slumming on shows like Hank and Back To You for the last few years, when he could have been acting his socks off in proper drama. What a waste.
  2. The show has now largely settled down on two storylines: Grammer’s dementia and its effects on his job, his relationships and, well, almost everyone in fact; and Jeff Hephner’s bid for governorship. The two intermingle as well, which is a good thing, given how bitty the first episode was.
  3. Women apparently don’t need foreplay any more. And about a minute’s enough for y’all. Homeland appears to have come to the same conclusion as well. One more and it’s official. At least in America.

Episode three has definitely been the best of the episodes, despite The Carusometer’s suggestions to the contrary, and that might well be because Farhad Safinia didn’t write it. However, despite the slight uptick, it’s still not enough to qualify it for a "1" rating for the simple reason that there aren’t any characters you can really root for. Everyone is just a vile and nasty politician or the kind of person who hangs out with vile and nasty politicians, and while there might some enjoyment in watching their downfall say, the show really isn’t focused on that angle. It just wants us to know that law-making is a dirty business and politicians can be pretty dirty, too. Well, duh.

So while this is a well-made, quality product with Grammer doing some of the best acting on TV at the moment, can I really tell you all to run off an watch this immediately, you going off with the expectation you’ll be having an enjoyable hour of TV viewing? No. But if you don’t mind something that’s quality, that’s about something a bit more real than air hostess fantasies and fairy tales, and both metaphorically and literally hard to watch, then go off and watch Boss.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Already picked up for a second season, but I’m not predicting a third.