Canadian TV

Review: Motive 1×1 (CTV)

Motive CTV

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm, CTV
In the US: Acquired by ABC for summer 2013
In the UK: Not yet acquired

In the never-ending struggle to come up with new crime drama formats, there are generally two methods of differentiation used by writers: character and gimmick. If you differentiate by character, you end up with shows such as Monk, Elementary, The Mentalist or Psych, in which someone over-laden with personality has to solve crimes while less interesting, more plodding individuals stand around filling up dialogue time and generally failing to solve crimes.

If you differentiate by gimmick, you end up with shows like Justice, Murder One, and The Whole Truth, in which quite dull characters stand around filling out plot time while the gimmicky plot mechanism that drives the show plays itself out.

In both cases, I should point out, you still need to have involving crimes and investigations or both techniques will be for naught.

Now Motive wants to have its cake and eat it, attempting to stand out from the crowd with both gimmick and character. The gimmick here is that as the show’s title suggests, it’s all about the motive: as much time is dedicated to why the crime was committed as to solving it, with huge chunks of the story told in flashback. But it also has character: no special character ticks here but cool, over-acting, intensely irritating detective-mom Angie Flynn, who’s just so down with her kid.

Does it work? Well, it stands out, but it’s forgotten that golden rule and as a result is still a very boring show that makes Cracked look like The Shield in comparison. Here’s a trailer: note, as with all Canadian TV shows, the contractually obligated appearance of at least one person from Stargate as well as Roger Cross from 24 (okay, he isn’t in the trailer but he’s in the show).

Continue reading “Review: Motive 1×1 (CTV)”


Thursday’s “Knots Landing on Dallas, Doctor Who writers, and LA Noir goes to series” news

Doctor Who



  • Trailer for Mama, with Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
  • Trailer for Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise

French TV

  • Accused to be remade [subscription required]



  • Tuesday ratings: Ben and Kate down 20%, Emily Owens starts low, Hart Of Dixie up

US TV casting

New US TV shows

  • ABC buys dramas Warriors and Grievances
  • …to adapt the Netherlands’ Sea of Fire
  • TNT picks up Frank Darabont’s LA Noir for six episodes
  • …to adapt Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein
  • NBC buys two dramas
  • Hallmark orders series of Andie MacDowell’s Cedar Cove
  • Amazon developing Support and The Face and the Heel

New US TV show casting


Mini-review: Saving Hope (CTV/NBC) 1×1

Saving Hope

In Canada: Thursdays, 9pm ET/PT , CTV
In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

I can’t quite muster the enthusiasm to write a full review of this, since it’s quite a bad, quite a boring show. Essentially, you have Erica Durance (Lois Lane in Smallville) and Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1) as irritating, arrogant doctors who work together and are about to get married. Unfortunately, there’s a car crash, Shanks is nearly killed and he ends up in a coma.

You might think that was the end of that, but he then spends not just the rest of the episode but quite probably the rest of the series in an out-of-body experience, moving around, talking to ghosts and anyone else in a coma presumably, mulling over whether he was too much of a dick when he was alive.

Meanwhile, in the background to all of that, you have an incredibly tedious standard medical procedural where every patient has an Issue that needs to be dealt with.

Weirdly, we’ve already seen this done before very recently with A Gifted Man and it wasn’t that good then. What makes this worse is that rather than the lead interacting with the invisible lover as per A Gifted Man, Shanks and Durance don’t actually get to interact at all now Shanks is disembodied. To some this may seem romantic; to others, it means the show is even less interesting than it otherwise would have been. Even the addition of a supposedly hunky, sensitive Australian ex-lover for Durance to triangle with doesn’t lift the script anywhere above forgettable.

Durance is fine, showing slightly more range than she was allowed in Smallville, but only a little. Shanks is very one-note, which is disappointing, given we know from Stargate that he’s pretty versatile. The rest of the cast might as well be made from polystyrene for all they matter, but at least you can like them, unless Shanks’ and Durance’s characters.

Although the central concept is at least interesting, it’s tedious, derivative, shows no sign of getting much better, so don’t bother with it.

Thursday’s “Ben Browder on Doctor Who, no more Primeval and Aidan Quinn is Elementary’s Gregson” news

Doctor Who



Canadian TV

  • The Vampire DiariesSara Canning and Eureka‘s Niall Matter starring in Primeval: New World


  • Tuesday’s ratings: Breaking In slightly up from where it was, Cougar Town gains a few viewers, The River flat
  • The Forgotten‘s Rochelle Aytes and Jes Macallan to star in Mistresses
  • Showtime adapting You Kill Me
  • Happy DaysMarion Ross to guest on Up All Night [minor spoilers]
  • Silk StalkingsEob Estes to guest on Necessary Roughness

US TV pilots

Third-episode verdict: Falling Skies

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, TNT
In Canada: Wednesdays, 10pm, Superchannel. Starts July 6
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, FX. Starts July 5

Well, we’re three episodes into Falling Skies and… it’s as dull as it always. It’s like Stargate Universe and Battlestar Galactica never happened. I’m getting a déjà vu to early Stargate SG-1 in fact, in which our plucky band of four heroes faced off against entire armies that seemed unaware of even basic military tactics and never did anything too mean, so got hopelessly slaughtered.

Here we have the intrepid Noah Wylie constantly going to find his kidnapped son whom those nasty aliens who’ve taken over the world have abducted. Off he goes against their heavily armed robots with a couple of his mates and despite his weapons never being any good, he constantly manages to kill them all. How sweet.

Meanwhile, back at base camp, a notorious criminal and rapist is being allowed to cook food for everyone, including one of his victims, because he knows about paprika and has read a book so has therefore redeemed himself. And everyone’s wondering what the hell the aliens are actually up to. Prepare to wait at least 10 episodes to find out, because there are no signs of any actual information emerging any time soon and the mystery itself is so uninteresting, so untantalising, that there’s no reason you’d want to hang around to find the answer anyway.

So don’t bother watching this last hurrah for the noble white male middle class action hero, where women are there to get captured and be doctors, but not do anything too exciting or heroic. There’s not much point unless you miss The Tripods.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: With ratings dropping by a third from the initial episode, I’m thinking it’ll last a season at most.

Continue reading “Third-episode verdict: Falling Skies”