US TV

Third-episode verdict: Brotherhood

BrotherhoodBrotherhood (which I now belatedly realise is probably a bad play on words: brotherhood, brother hood. It’s about gangsters. Get it?) has improved a bit since its first episode, which was a bit of mish-mash.

The trouble is it’s now “Eat your greens” television: not desperately enjoyable, but very worthy, requiring a good deal of concentration, and talking about Really, Really Important Subjects. It wants to be The Wire crossed with the dirty local politics version of The West Wing, but doesn’t quite have the writing to make it on either count.

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Third episode verdict: Psych

Psych‘s now up to its third episode, so it’s time to pass verdict.

Since the first episode, there have been a few changes, mostly for the better. Dulé Hill has more to do. The supporting cast has less to do and so spend less of their time trying very hard to be wacky. Attached junior blonde female detective has been fired and replaced with a single junior blonde female detective, providing a possible romantic interest.

Corbin Bernsen is providing an interesting father figure for the show. Instead of just being the forbidding Dad who could never show his son any love, he’s metamorphosed into one of those really manly, pre-meterosexual men of a certain generation, who can gut fish with a penknife and always have a stick of wood for stirring paint with. So instead of just seeming cold and uncaring, he’s now a far more sympathetic figure who wishes his highly slacker son could grow a backbone and take some responsibility for a change.

Said slacker, star James Roday, has toned his performance down a bit, too. My wife has also pointed out that while he might, at first inspection, look like he’s doing a Will Ferrell impression, he is actually doing something closer to Ben Stiller in some aspects.

I agree it is possible that there were Ben Stiller impurities in the homeopathic Will Ferrell tube.

As for the plots, basically, the show is Monk with a different angle. The look’s the same, the feel’s the same. It’s Monk. Which isn’t a bad thing, if you like Monk, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

It’s untaxing, unchallenging, amiable, and slightly amusing – kind of the US light-comedy version of Midsomer Murders. An enjoyable enough way to while away your time.

US TV

Review: Angela’s Eyes

Angela's Eyes

In the US: Lifetime TV, Sundays 10pm ET/PT

In the UK: Please God. Don’t let them buy it.

I can’t remember the last time I switched off a TV programme within the first minute. I’m not talking about when channel surfing. I’m talking about sitting down to watch something, turning it on, then realising it was so incredibly awful, so amazingly badly written that I couldn’t stomach any more of the show.

Hell, I sat through the first episode of Blade. I made it all the way through an episode of Ultimate Force. But I just couldn’t get through more than a minute of Angela’s Eyes.

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US TV

Review: Eureka

Eureka

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The Sci Fi Channel

In the UK: Acquired by Sky One, for airing this Summer

Small towns have lots of secrets. Think Blue Velvet. Think Northern Exposure. Think Hidden Palms.

Okay, don’t think Hidden Palms.

There’s even a new series coming up called Secrets of a Small Town that I’ll be reviewing this week.

Eureka has a big secret. It’s a town inhabited almost entirely by scientists, all doing research on crazy, crazy inventions. Just about anything important that’s been invented since World War Two (which is when Truman set up the town at Einstein’s instigation) came out of Eureka’s labs.

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US TV

Preview: Traveler

Traveler

In the US: ABC, but held as a mid-season replacement

In the UK: Not yet picked up

A while ago, I came up with a rubbish game called Through the D Hole. The aim of the game was to work out exactly who the target audience of a TV programme is using as few clues as possible – just the title if you can manage it.

The reason it’s (mostly) rubbish is because of shows like Traveler. You’ll never get what Traveler is about, just from its title.

Sci-fi show about a travelling alien? No.

Adventure/travel show? No.

You see, Traveler is the name of a man. Worse than that for our game, that’s not his real name: he’s made it up to fool a couple of his grad school friends before he frames them for a particularly heinous crime. Part 24, part Prison Break, but mostly Nowhere Man, Traveler is actually one of the better shows coming our way (hopefully).

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