Review: OFI Sunday – Chris Evans’ idea is back

Wow. Chris Evans has resurrected his idea again. How many times are TV commissioners going to give him money for it? He used it with TFI Friday on Channel 4. Then there was that thing on Five with Chris Moyles and Christian O’Connell. Now it’s back again as OFI Sunday on ITV1 – yes, he’s even recycling letters now.

I watched half an hour of it. That was 15 minutes more than I wanted to, but Sarah wanted to give it a chance. It was truly awful. It was TFI, but stupider, less funny and without any redeemable qualities that I could see. Future episodes will at least be redeemed by not containing cringingly painful interviews with Billie Piper, but that’s probably going to be the only thing in their favour.

OFI Sunday should cement ITV’s reputation as the originator of awful television, anyway, but I can’t see it lasting more than a few weeks, given ITV’s typical ruthlessness with failing shows.

Don’t watch it, whatever you do.

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Review: CSI: Miami/CSI: New York crossover

It’s been CSI sweeps week in the US and we’ve been treated (?) to a Miami/NY crossover double-bill. I was both impressed and disappointed.

CSI: Miami was entirely predictable: all gloss, no logic, David Caruso strutting around like he owns the place, giving everyone else about three seconds of screen time. You’d have thought, given Republican-man’s perfect on-screen manners, he’d have let guest-star Gary Sinise get more than five minutes of screen time. But ‘Mac’ Taylor gets very little to do, most of it badly written, generic and designed to turn him into David Caruso’s sidekick for the episode. Other than Caruso, he only got to interact with Emily Proctor, making this a wasted opportunity.

CSI: NY was a different story though. This harked back to the early episodes of the show and even to the original CSI: Miami episode that acted as its pilot. It was gritty, bleak and once more, New York was grey and rain-swept. The stylings of Se7en were back and the show was the better for it. It’s been so dull of late, I didn’t even watch the last episode.

In contrast to the churlishness of Miami, NY was generous with the time and importance it gave its guest star, almost to the extent of excluding the regulars. Once again, Caruso was centre-stage with Stella and the others support to the Horatio Caine ego. Despite this, Caruso managed to fit into CSI: NY well, reminding you just how good he used to be in NYPD: Blue. It’s something the Miami producers have realised for some time: they’ve made sure that Caruso looks like his NYPD: Blue character in all the flashbacks to New York this year – quite an achievement after all this time – so that we get the hint that maybe Caine and John Kelly are one and the same.

Evil baddie of the the two-parter was Henry Darius. Serial killers may be so 1990s and exceedingly rare in real life, but they’ll always be good in TV shows when you need a ratings-winning body count. It was an excellent performance by James Badge Dale (who was the squeaky clean Chase in 24), although his motivation – I’m going to kill everyone because my dad wouldn’t admit to being my father – was somewhat short of the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM IV.

I’ll tune into both next week, just to see if Miami gets any better and NY gets any worse.

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Fox now has a battle of the preposterous on its hands

Prison Break turned out to be better than expected, much to Fox’s surprise. Yet, with the juggernaut that is 24 returning in January, it looks like Prison Break is going to be pre-empted from November to May. Quite a wait, one that could get the show cancelled.

Fox isn’t exactly packed with quality programming. While Prison Break isn’t Shakespeare, it does have some nice touches. Joining the honourable ranks of Monk and Touching Evil in pointing out the flipside of mental illness, Prison Break‘s hero turns out to have both low self-esteem and “low latent inhibition” – a disorder that makes him see objects as the sums of their parts, rather than just objects. It’s a handy, escape-plan compatible condition that works well in conjunction with another that lets you get sent to prison so you can rescue your brother. Yes, the mentally ill can be heros and their disorders can be advantages.

So Fox is clearly a little loopy to think that 24 is just so great that everything else should be cleared to make room for it. At the very least, moving Prison Break to one of the prime-time slots used by the deadwood that fills most days except Monday wouldn’t be a bad idea, particularly since it is doing well in the ratings despite baseball, etc.

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Review: The Surgeon

Just to show the Internet is opening up the whole world, Australian TV is now joining the UK, US and Japan in filling up the torrent sites.

The Surgeon is a nifty half hour show that I managed to catch, despite my queasiness for all things medical. It lacks the gloss of ER et al but is far more “warts and all” than its US counterparts: the staff have rubbish bedside manners, they make mistakes, they’re rude to each other, they spend time at work chatting when they should be paying attention to patients, and the equipment is old and practically obsolete. I have no idea if this is an accurate reflection of the Australian healthcare system, but it seems in keeping with the NHS so I’ll accept it as such for now.

I probably won’t watch any more episodes, since I’m not really into medical dramas, but it’s nice to know there’s a little variety on the web now.

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