Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in ABC (US)'s Bless This Mess
US TV

Review: Bless This Mess 1×1 (US: ABC)

In the US: Tuesdays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Culture clashes seem to be one of the big concerns of network US comedies these days. Black/white, middle-class/working-class, traditional/modern, famous/unknown – imagine the hilarity as everyone tries to understand everyone else from different backgrounds. Not all such concerns are US-specific, of course. New US arrival Bless This Mess, for example, is somewhat similar to two other recent shows from other countries – Canada’s Cavendish and New Zealand’s Fresh Eggs – in trying to make us laugh at urban/rural culture clashes. But if you’re going to do it, you need to have something new to say and some observations to make. Bless This Mess doesn’t.

Here, the set-up is that a New York married couple – therapist Lake Bell (Boston Legal, Childrens Hospital) and music journalist Dax Shepard (Parenthood) – inherit a Nebraskan farmhouse and sight-unseen, decide to relocate the countryside for a new life as farmers. Plausible, huh?

However, once they’re there, they discover that the farmhouse is in need of a touch of repair, the farmland is barren and they have all manner of ‘interesting’ neighbours: live-in neighbour Ed Begley Jr, store owner/sheriff/amateur thespian Pam Grier and rival farmer David Koechner (Anchorman) who’d quite like to buy the property from them.

Can they make a success of both their farm and their relationships with their new neighbours?

Continue reading “Review: Bless This Mess 1×1 (US: ABC)”
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Game of Thrones - Season 8
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

CBS (US)'s The Code
CBS (US)’s The Code

This week’s reviews

TMINE took a few well-deserved days off at the end of last week, which means its usual prodigious output was a little more subdued than usual. But elsewhere, you can find a review of CBS (US)’s The Code, while last week’s Orange Wednesday took in Shazam! and Aquaman.

The Bad Seed

New shows

TVNZ premiered The Bad Seed at the weekend, so I’ll be trying to review that this week, as well as ABC’s Bless This Mess. Otherwise, with Easter holidays coming up, it’s liable to be another quiet one. Sorry!

Fox (US)'s The Orville
Fox (US)’s The Orville

The regulars

I’ll be trying to do a third-episode verdict on The Twilight Zone this week, so I’ll hold off on reviewing that for now. Meanwhile, The Orville‘s back off its holidays, so after the jump, I’ll be looking at that, as well as all the other regulars: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Doom Patrol, The Good Fight, Happy!, Il Miracolo (The Miracle), Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose), The Magicians, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, Star Trek: Discovery, Warrior, What We Do In the Shadows and Whiskey Cavalier.

Shockingly, one of those is for the chop. But which?

And oh yes, another show made its return this week. You might not have noticed. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned it. What was it?

Oh yes. That was it. Game of Thrones.

See you in a mo!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones”
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The cast of The Code
US TV

Review: The Code 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, CBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

It seems hard to believe now but there was a time before Aaron Sorkin was a household name. However, way back in 1992, nobody had heard of the future creator of The West Wing, Studio 60 and The Newsroom. Thankfully, the then-playwright soon hit the big time thanks to a film adaptation of his stage play for A Few Good Men.

Featuring an iconic performance by Jack Nicholson as well as a sizzling script, A Few Good Men not only introduced the world to Sorkin, it also gave us our first real filmic glimpses at the modern US Marine Corps and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. These were so unknown in the heady days of the early 90s that when I reviewed A Few Good Men, my editor actually queried – in print in my review – my claim that the base featured in the movie was in Cuba.

Oh, what happy, pre-Gitmo days those were.

Luke Mitchell and Anna Wood in CBS's The Code
Luke Mitchell and Anna Wood in CBS’s The Code

The Code

While the Marines have seen many outings in the movies and on TV since, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and its system of courts martial largely only featured in one show: JAG, which concerned the lawyers of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps charged with prosecuting crimes under the code. That ran for an astonishing 10 seasons (one on NBC, nine on CBS), launched the apparently immortal NCIS franchises and even this very day is being considered for a revival.

One can only assume that CBS is planning this only because it has so little faith in its latest drama, The Code, given that:

  1. The Code is all about the JAG corps.
  2. It’s basically a remake of both A Few Good Men and JAG
Continue reading “Review: The Code 1×1 (US: CBS)”
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Marvel's Cloak and Dagger
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Cinemax (US)'s Warrior
Cinemax (US)’s Warrior

This week’s reviews

It’s been another busy week for TV, but since the streaming services only served up Quicksand (Netflix) (yawn), there was no Boxset Monday this week. Sorry. However, TMINE did review the following fine – and not so fine – shows:

And for Orange Wednesday, I reviewed Donkeyote, John Wick – Chapter 2 and Justice League vs The Fatal Five.

It also meant that I had time to catch up with all the returning regulars, some shows I haven’t watched in a while, some new regulars and some movies.

The Code
CBS (US)’s The Code

New shows

There are some new shows just around the corner. However, I’m off on a jaunty little break from Thursday, so I don’t know how much time I’ll have to watch or review anything.

I’ll certainly have time to review The Code (US: CBS), though, and tomorrow’s Orange Wednesday will take in both Aquaman and Shazam!

Au service de la France (A Very Secret Service)
Arte (France)’s Au service de la France (A Very Secret Service)

The regulars

The Orville is still on holiday so join me after the jump for a look at the latest episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Doom Patrol, The Good Fight, Happy!, Il Miracolo (The Miracle), Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose), The Magicians, Star Trek: Discovery, What We Do In the Shadows and Whiskey Cavalier. We also have the double-episode return of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger to talk about. And I took in another episode of Au service de la France (A Very Secret Service), just because I could.

See you in a mo!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger”
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Warrior
US TV

Review: Warrior 1×1 (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic?)

In the US: Fridays, Cinemax
In the UK: Sky Atlantic (probably)

Despite his short life, Bruce Lee to this date remains the world’s most famous martial artist. While he was alive, there was many an imitator and even after this death, there were many who tried to piggyback on his fame or who claimed to be “the next Bruce Lee”. Small wonder then that the producers of Cinemax’s Warrior would wish to do the same by saying their show is “based on the writings of Bruce Lee” – even though it’s basically “Period Asian Banshee from the producers of Banshee“.

All about Bruce Lee
Andrew Koji in Cinemax's Warrior
Andrew Koji in Cinemax’s Warrior

Warrior

To be fair, Lee’s daughter Shannon is one of Warrior‘s producers and she did indeed have an eight-page treatment by Lee for a western TV series in which he would have starred. However, given that it was a treatment for ‘The Warrior‘, which (probably) ultimately metamorphosed into Kung Fu, I imagine there might have been a few copyright issues involved in a straight adaptation of that treatment.

So instead, Banshee‘s Jonathan Tropper fleshed Lee’s original ideas with his own characters and situations. In so doing, he’s basically recreated Banshee again, just in a different time and place.

Warrior sees 19th century martial arts prodigy Andrew Koji (The Wrong Mans, The Innocents) coming over to San Francisco from China. As in Banshee, our hero is looking for a woman from his past; as in Banshee, he’s a gifted fighter; as in Banshee, his skills mean he’s soon found by a local (Banshee‘s Hoon Lee) who helps put into a position of power; as in Banshee, that soon puts him into conflict with criminal elements in the city; as in Banshee, he doesn’t care about local rules and soon begins to shake up the status quo.

Continue reading “Review: Warrior 1×1 (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic?)”