Archive for the 'TV' Category

Review: The Kill Point 101 – 103

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

All cable networks seem to be outputting new shows this summer, and so does Spike TV, a network I have no affinity for. Splashing with big names made me curious (Donnie Whalberg, John Leguizamo). Sure, their premier show Blade seemed high budget, but disappointed badly. Now is another chance.
Well, the result is so appalling and shocking, it might never recover from it and hence never watch a show Spike TV produces again. What we have here is highly amateur-ish, something the BBC will easily surpass in quality on an equally low budget.
So, why would I say low budget ? Well, most TV shows on any network are able to give it a film-ic quality. But this show doesn’t seem to care or they’re unable to, because they use lightweight camera’s that just don’t seem to be able to stop shaking. Lighting and sound further reveal it’s made on smaller budget than your average YouTube short. If that wasn’t horrible enough, the acting is laughable and the story and dialogue just brain damaging awful.
Stay away from this one, if you want a proper hostage situation, watch the remainder of the canceled series The Nine on ABC. At least they have everything there what they don’t have here (that included cinematography, story, acting, and everything that makes TV series great).

Review: Heartland 101 – 104

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

A new medical drama airing on TNT, starring Treat Williams in yet another “doctor” role. Fresh off the train from the idyllic Everwood, he’s back to being full-time surgeon in an organ transplant specialising hospital. And of course, would we dare call this a drama without the mandatory neglected kid. Throw in an ex-wife who happens to be one of your closest colleague (organ donor liaison), and let the doc frolic around with a nurse. Enough drama for you ?
I can tell you, it’s not. Drama comes from the dying patient, and the joyous recepient. Which means, another fresh case every week. Personal drama is just a side note, inconsistent and and usually just put in to add something to the patient story. There doesn’t seem to be any follow up at all, and even then, it would probably be one-dimensional. Throwing in a “I see dead people” thing for the main character, is another weakness, as for the past few years, I can name five shows that already have done that (Haunted, Ghost Whisperer, Raines, Medium, Tru Calling. I.E. IT’S GETTING OLD !!!).
And lastly, with such a title, this show is particularly cold. Here’s one for a speedy return of Grey’s Anatomy, and hoping the spin-off, Private Practice, will deliver (and even if it doesn’t, Grey will continue to dominate Thursday night anyways).

Review: The Loop 201 – 206

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Somehow Fox deemed this mediocre performing sit-com salvagable for a summer run, but tweaking the formula wasn’t such a good idea. While a fastpaced funny in its first inception, it now is nothing more than dreary repetition. Philip Baker Hall’s unpredictable wacky character keeps you on your toes, the irritating brother character, and the lack of hot females (both girls from season 1 were axed) makes this a series not worth watching even during the low-key summer months.

Review: Monk 601 – Psych 201

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

USA Network is definitely back for the summer months. While their new show Burn Notice may smolder away under a dark moldy rock, these private detective duo pairs up for a good solid two hours of belly-aching laughter.
Both new episodes seem to be injected with a vacation inspired fresh can of ideas and guest stars, and it looks like it’s going to be another set of excellent seasons.

Review: Burn Notice 101

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

A new series on the USA network, where the slogan is “characters welcome”, this show is quite devoid of it. Of course, they have characters, just not very defined or memorable ones. While being in the crime game is bad enough, it just doesn’t stand out anymore (and certainly not like the other USA network shows Monk or Psych does).
Basically it’s about a spy who’s disavowed for unknown reasons, is left with no resources anymore, and tries to find out who are what is behind it. Seems like a good story line to finish throughout the season, but sadly, it all comes off pretty dull and boring. Usually I give new shows at least 2 episodes to try out, but I’ll leave it at this pilot for this one.

Review: Meadowlands 101 – 102

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

When I caught this new series on Showtime, thinking a relatively strange title combined with both favorable critic and user reviews might be that one summer hit that sometimes comes along.
Wow, was I wrong. First of all, it’s import, it’s not really a Showtime show, it’s freaking British all over (Channel 4 to be exact). It’s rare enough I ever like British shows, but even then, it’s usually comedies. So, here we have a show that tries to be strange, just to be strange. No real good storytelling or compelling characters, just strange, and nothing else. And even then, it’s still predictable. If there’s anything I hate, it’s writing something strange without a real purpose. And that’s what this show is all about. Well, at least they have Weeds coming back on in a few weeks, otherwise I’d call upon a channel boycot.

Review: On the Lot 101 – 105, Last Comic Standing 501

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

It’s nice to see fresh content on the airwaves throughout the summer, and while we’ve expected the cable channels to do so, the big networks aren’t sitting idly by. Reality shows also continue, and first up is Fox.
On the Lot is a Burnett/Spielberg production, with Burnett (Surviver, Apprentice, Contender), naturally, taking care of the reality side of the show, while Spielberg has the cinematic input. And it had potential during the pilot. Directors from all over the place, filmed during their creative process. Very interesting to see them working and creating. Judges (a guest director, Carrie Fisher and Garry Marshall) filter the good from the not so good. But then simplicity kicked in, the money making takes over. Already in the second show all of the pilot elements have vanished, and you’ll get served with the short contending movies followed by a vote off round. There’s even a show that only rehashes previous quotes from the judges followed by the eventual elimination (with money made by people voting by phone and sms, and other forms of woven-in ads). Quality wise, it’s a slap in the face, knowing Spielberg’s name is attached to it. But the some of the short movies are interesting and funny, so in this TV low season, I’ll just keep on watching a bit more.
Last Comic Standing seems to have found a permanent home at NBC during the summer months, and it’s very much like previous seasons. Now going wider (including the UK and Australia), most comedians are able to make me laugh quite a bit. As long as the keep the “reality” part low key, and the comedian’s performances high, there’s no reason not to watch.

Review: Hidden Palms 101

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

CW decides to launch a show during the summer months too, and Hidden Palms is set in the sunny Palm Springs. Coming from teen dram vet Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek), it’s again targeted at the same demographics. So I could’ve seen the result coming before ever watching the pilot, but I just had to see it for myself.
Like most of these shows, it’s all about looks, and not about content. It’s about a family moving into a rich neighborhood, where we find all the rich kids have their own problems. Teen angst works well for some audiences, but here it doesn’t serve anything ‘cept to prove its inept writing, as seen by how easy it is to predict how all love interest will work out.
Extra ingredient to make it look smarter, perpetual circular logic is mostly applied, but the dialogue, while seemingly having poetic depth, is actually saying nothing at all. As some kinda of last straw, they add some kind of mysterious history for every character, but I’ve seen enough to know it will probably lead to nothing worth watching. Summer seems a little bit longer now.

Review: Traveler 101 – 102

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Summer season has started, and that means only one or two new shows are on. ABC tries on another cat-mouse chase show with a mystery to be solved.
Hmmm, Prison Break ? No, not quite. Cinematography might try to copy that, but the rest remains too slippery for them. They practically reshot all episodes to accomodate the serialized story lines, but it still looks like they just throw in a mysterious character here and a mysterious plot there, just for the fun of it. The result is just two guys running around like a bunch of headless cows.
So here’s a show without a mission, characters that are one-dimensional and mostly irritating at best, and frankly, not worth my time.

Review: Season Finales part II

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

It’s June already, all TV series have stopped, as usual in during the final sweeps month May. And I finally had time to clear the backlog I created. Here’s what I watched (generally from freakin’ good to bad):

Heroes: What a season. What started as a generally good show (with a few steals here and there), continued growing into this adrenaline boosting chess game with fate and courage duking it out, while you grow to love the characters. And what a setup for *gasp* volume 2 !

My Name is Earl: The only comedy on air that’s as consistenly funny in a whole variety of ways as this one. Boot to that, major changes are happening towards the end, even though the karma story outline seemed to have been able to keep the show rolling.

Lost: More answers and more questions. But with the story’s definite ending in sight (2 more seasons), its unique 1-person’s-flash-back-story-telling-rule, while seemingly limiting, is supremely smart and continues to pay off.

Boston Legal: Amazingly whacky story telling continues, with a whole can of freaky recurring characters standing by. This courtroom drama has been quite a thrill ride.

South Park: With only 7 episodes in the first half of its eleventh season, I can’t say the jokes have gone softer, or less provocative. It’s as strong as always, including all new controversies it creates.

CSI: Finally a season with a thread going on, and an interesting goose-chase that was. Finally more is revealed in the season cliff hanger, but the Tarantino level has not been reached. Of course, Grave Danger is kind of a hard act to follow, it’s slowly trying to.

Jericho: It got to the finish line (while still sliding in the ratings), and while not a shining star, it was pretty well-written and executed. For a serialised series, of which there are not a lot of (not counting Prison Break and 24 wannabees), it was enough to stand out. And with fans crying foul and setting up campaigns, its impending REAL doom (cancelation that is), seems to be overturned to a last series of 7 episode during mid-season.

24: Another season, but somehow it doesn’t feel as sharp as it has been. Dullness is especially tangible with the somewhat of a anti-climax-ish ending. Of course, it’s still entertaining, and we’ll see another one those horrible Jack Bauer days (after all, he signed on for two more). No matter, it’s still entertaining in a way.

Smallville: Several groundbreaking events have made this season definitely more memorable than the ones before, but somehow you keep waiting for that “reset” show, where everything is turned back (be it memory loss or some Kryptonian time trick). For now, I’ll just hope the ride continues a little bit further than just the season opener.

King of the Hill: Short season, and nothing seems to ever change. But that’s exactly how you like this normal yet whacky show. One more season to go before the All-american family goes off the air.

Criminal Minds: This show I followed, purely because I have the time. While interesting now and then, it’s character development is nigh nill. Season finale might signal something new, but I can’t be too sure. This show is in the danger-zone.

Everybody Hates Chris: This is actually a show that’s been going downhill a bit unnoticed. That’s because, while funny now and then, there’s not enough variety, plus the same running gags get old. In an over-crowded upcoming TV schedule (with over a dozen new shows coming up in September), this one will be the first to warm the bench.

Shark: During the mid-season replacements, I totally didn’t have interest to pick this one up again, so I didn’t catch the season finale. Won’t see you back next season, dude.

If you think I have nothing to do the coming months, think again. Off to the cable summer season ! (Big Love, Dead Zone, The 4400, Monk, Psych, Weeds (and in lesser degrees The Closer and Brotherhood))

Review: October Road 101 – 106

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Another late season replacement (for the axed Men in Trees) on ABC, it pairs nicely with Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday night.
It’s a small-town drama revolving around the return of Bryan Greenberg’s character, Nick Garrett, who left 10 years ago and has never returned since. In the mean time, as a writer he had success with a semi-auto-biographical novel which has become a bestseller. Hence, dealing with the past ten years will be the main focus, or at least for one or two seasons.
For now (the season is already over after 6 episodes), it seems to be geared towards a younger audience (teens to thirty-somethings), with the most simplistic form of dramatic writing about love and friendship (sometimes bordering cheesy and childish-ness). Then again, maybe it’s this simplicity that I’ve watched all of the episodes till now.
So it seems to be a good time filler if my schedule isn’t overloaded, but for incentive, they’ve thrown in a hot chick. Most people will directly think I mean the blonde hoarse voiced Scarlett Johansson lookalike Laura Prepon from That 70’s Show, but I’m actually pointing to the brown-haired, up and coming star (my prediction), but most importantly ultra-hot-chick Odette Yustman, who’s so fresh, there are still no respectable fan-sites to be seen and only a handful of decent publicity pics *hint for her manager/publicist*.
As you can see, with season 2 still uncertain, I’d say its future is only bright if they intend to keep Odette in the loop. As only 2 other guests got preemptively bumped to regulars (locking them up for a possible second season), logic would suggest I’ll be leaving October Road behind pretty soon.

Review: Season Finales

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Early season finales this year, a bunch have already finished before the traditional May closings. Here’s a round up:

Monk/Psych: For both series, it’s major fun to see the main characters go out on a new mission every week, and they have been doing so at the same level of funniness. Both haven’t been boring once, and together, they’re a winning team (even though I thought it wouldn’t because the few similarities).

Prison Break: A whole season with a totally different feel than its first season. But while out in the open, it’s still as nail-bitingly thrilling as ever. The last second of the season finale is enough to mark your calendar already (probably 29th August).

Battlestar Galactica: Again, a season full of diversity, full range of drama and good use of characters. New revelations and new questions will keep this series going for quite a few more years. And like always, they now how to cliffhang you in a bad way. With a loooong break waiting (Jan 2008), the writers will have enough time to refuel their creative energy to put together another mind-blowing season.

Punk’d: Supposedly the last season (again), the pranks and guests are at their usual level. Sometimes funny, sometimes cheesy. Nothing really big either (no big explosions or something). And since it’s not too memorable, this being the last season might be a good thing.

Review: Mid-season replacements

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Mid-season replacements came as a bunch, and on all channels, they were all a bit late (in previous years, the right time was around January). Another thing they had in common, none proved to be really successful, and most already got the big CANCELED stamp on their ultra short resumes. Here’s what I caught from the batch:

Wedding Bells 101 – 102:
David E. Kelley ventures in a little of a “normal” drama in this 3 sisters owning a wedding planner company setup. Nothing really whacky going on a la Boston Legal/Ally McBeal. Drama is also a bit on the light side, also very unlike The Practice/Chicago Hope. All in all, quite acceptable, were it not for my over scheduled TV list, and the lack of MUST-SEE elements.

Raines 101 – 102:
Here we have Jeff Goldblum playing a cop with a psychic twist. Talking the imaginary people (all dead victims of a case), he’ll try talking his way through the evidence, reasoning with methods and motives through dialogue in his own mind. While this is new (as in, no sudden clues from ghost or magic creatures), this process is slow and not that interesting. While Jeff can set a character, frankly, we already have enough over at the USA Network (Monk & Psych).

The Black Donnellys 101 – 106:
A series from Paul Haggis and partner Robert Moresco (both did the movies Crash and Million Dollar Baby), should prove promising. And it did on a lot of levels. Having 4 Irish brothers could be interesting, but they’re all into the mafia crime thing. Those storylines tend to blunt the effect of this series, mostly involving a kill, or extortion or money laundring schemes. But the positives things are the nice narrative style, the brotherly interaction and the bizarre dry humor.

Rating it would give you the following, in that order: The Black Donnellys, Wedding Bells and finishing last, Raines. But fate would have it, only Raines is still on the air. Ah well, I don’t mind, my TV schedule needs to go on a diet anyways.

Review: The Sarah Silverman Program 101 – 104

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Airing on the Comedy Central, it’s a whacky, almost sketch-like, comedy, but still written with episodic stories in mind. Sarah, as usual, brings a certain kind of off-beat humor, usually the right-in-your-face or controversial kind, while intermittently mixing in even more weird songs and clips. For now, it’s pretty funny, but time will tell if she’s versatile enough to keep the show interesting.

Review: Knights of Prosperity 101 – 107, In Case of Emergency 101 – 106

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

New comedies at ABC, while being single camera format, it feels more like sitcoms (visual style and story-wise). Of the two, ICE is the most generic, about a group of friends, and what they’ve become after college. Of course, not is all well, and with the help of each other, they try to get a handle on life. Mildly entertaining. Nothing more.
KoP is more mission based, a group of friends working at the lower end of the food chain decide to rob Mick Jagger. Planning and the slow execution of all the steps ensues. As it may or may not work towards a big finale this season, this one is more likely to hang on, even if the writing is only marginally better.
So it means ABC still doesn’t have a killer comedy in their line-up, despite Boston Legal (while being hilarious, it’s still technically a legal drama).