Preview: Fairly Legal 1×1

Fairly Legal

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA Network. Starts January 20th

Ooh look. Another show on USA Network. Wonder if it’ll be one of those “characters” ones. This one’s about a lawyer. How will it be a little off the wall and kooky, I wonder?

Well, the answer is it’s about an ex-lawyer, not a lawyer. The show stars Sarah Shahi of Life not-quite-fame as lawyer Kate Reed, who gives up her life as a lawyer to become a mediator: she sits down with both parties to a law suit and tries to work out a settlement that works in both their favours, without recourse to lawyers and an expensive trial.

At least, that’s what it should be like in practice. Because this being a TV series, you don’t expect Kate to just sit there and chat to people, do you? No, she has to do some investigating and figure out the truth and make things right and just and stuff.

Oh, and because this is the USA Network, she’s got to live on her dead dad’s house boat, have an on-again, off-again relationship with her ex-husband (Michael Trucco from BSG), be employed by her step-mother, have a personal geek assistant who plays D&D and solve all these problems with charm and idiosyncrasy.

What’s it called? Well, because Kate is fair of face (“Less lawyer, more appeal” as the poster tagline goes) and because she’s only loosely associated with the legal process now, it’s called Fairly Legal. Hmm.

Hey, you know what else the poster says? “Don’t go to court – go to Kate!”

Hanging’s too good for them. Queue the trailer.

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Review: The Cape 1×1-1×2

The Cape

In the US: Sunday 9 January 2011, 9pm ET, NBC. Moving to Mondays from the 17th

Ah, my. What is up with NBC? They have the (initially) worldwide phenomenon that was Heroes then go and cancel it, just after an okay season set in a funfair. What do they put in its place? A superhero show called The Cape that’s largely set in a funfair. I’m not saying they’re a bit dim at NBC, but they are.

Of course, that would all be excusable if The Cape was better than Heroes. Yet “cop framed for a crime he didn’t commit, goes into hiding and becomes a superhero but can never reveal to his family that he isn’t dead and is actually fighting dark, sinister villains who like to wear silly outfits as well”? I think I might have heard that one before and it wasn’t good the first time. No wonder NBC is fighting so hard to get it noticed after such a dreadful start to its Fall season.

Nevertheless, despite being desperately unoriginal, ‘homaging’ more c-grade comics than you’d find in a recycling bin, having a lower budget than Heroes that makes every CGI effect look like it’s escaped from 1997 and having the world’s least charismatic hero, it does have just a little bit going for it: it’s actually very slightly fun and it does have Summer Glau, Vinnie Jones and Keith David in it.

Here’s a trailer.

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NBC tries to make us all watch The Cape

The Cape in New York

NBC is trying its very hardest to get us to watch The Cape, which starts on Sunday at 9pm ET before moving to Mondays on the 17th. It’s about an ordinary guy (Vince Faraday, played by David Lyons) who decides to become a superhero and despite the presence of Summer Glau and Vinnie Jones in the cast, everything about it that I’ve seen suggests “complete cobblers” and makes me wonder why they cancelled Heroes.

Look – see for yourself.

Looks rubbish, huh?

All the same, NBC is pulling out all the stops in an effort to get this probable turkey to fly. This week, it’s been fitting capes to statues in New York. Beneath each statue is a plaque that details the historical figure’s greatest achievement and similarities to Faraday. Visitors to the statues will also be able to enter the “Hero Behind the Cape” giveaway via FourSquare and Twitter. By checking in at the location of a statue, tweeting a picture of yourself with the statue with the hashtag #herobehindthecapeswps or by direct messaging the official Twitter account, you can enter yourself into a competition.

One winner will be chosen each day between January 5-9 and receive an Apple iPad. The grand prize winner will receive the full “Hero” treatment in New York City: a luxurious dinner for two, limo service, two tickets to the taping of an NBC audience show and an Apple iPad.

The Cape in New York

Sounds good, but you’re still not going to watch it, are you?


Review: Perfect Couples

Perfect Couples

In the US: Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, NBC. Starts January 20th 2010

“Put your best foot forward,” goes the expression. Now, theoretically, NBC has already done that with its Fall schedule, so whatever comes in the form of its mid-season replacements should be its second-best foot, if you continue to follow the metaphor. Given how terrible NBC’s Fall season was (Undercovers, The Event, Chase, Outsourced), root canal surgery should therefore be preferable to The Cape and the other shows that are going to be hitting TV screens in January on the Peacock network.

However, NBC is again trying to put its best foot forward to overcome these negative expectations by previewing what is likely to be the best of the also-rans, Perfect Couples, just before Christmas when not much is on, rather than leaving us to ignore it when the far more packed January schedule arrives. To really give Perfect Couples a chance, NBC has also clearly picked what it thinks is the best episode, too (if you notice, we don’t even have an episode number in the headline this time, since this isn’t the pilot episode or even the second episode – it’s the God-knows-what episode).

Well, if this is the best, oh dear for the rest.

Perfect Couples is a single-camera ‘comedy’ about relationships that features three couples who are friends with each other (so, yes, if you do the math, that’s six friends in an NBC show on Thursday night. Hmmm…). I air-quote ‘comedy’ because it takes 10 minutes to become in any way funny – that’s 50% of its run-time before a joke decides to put its head above the parapet – after which it does raise the occasional titter.

So is there a good reason to watch Perfect Couples when it bursts into our living rooms in January? Well, there’s the cast at least. There’s Olivia Munn, the occasional actress, author, host of Attack of the Show and somewhat controversial Daily Show reporter. There’s David Walton of the rapidly dead 100 Questions.

And then there’s Hayes MacArthur. Who? That would be Mr Ali Larter to you.

Here’s a trailer:

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