Sunday, October 14, 2007

What I’m Watching, Part 1

We’re well into the new television season now, so I thought it was about time for me to return to my blog roots and do a little TV Review Roundup.




Not bad. It’s funny, quirky, kinda clever - all the usual adjectives. I still haven’t decided if it all adds up to something I want to invest an hour a week in, though. I like Zachary Levi as Chuck. He manages to be just enough of a geek without relying on thick glasses and pocket protectors to hammer the stereotype into the wall. Adam Baldwin could use a little more humour to his character to fill him out a bit (ok, maybe I just miss Jayne), and the hot CIA chick… meh. She just doesn’t do it for me.

The jury’s still out, but I can’t see getting overly upset if I missed an episode or five.


I’m really enjoying this one. New Orleans has always made a fascinating backdrop for all forms of fiction, but setting a television series there post-Katrina is incredibly bold. I remember concerns being raised that the show would back off the social and political issues surrounding Katrina and become just another cop show, but so far they haven’t blinked.

Officers Boulet and Cobb are both strong, complex characters that just keep surprising you. They are unwillingly thrown together in the beginning, but they quickly develop a kind of battlefield camaraderie. Stories of their experiences during the flood are told in flashback and colour everything they do, but the show still manages to be about the present and the very practical problems these cops are forced to deal with every day. The writers deserve a lot of credit for pulling off what has to be a tricky balancing act.

Hell, they even got the Voodoo right.

Now if I could just get that image of Anthony Anderson in the drive-thru window talking about the ‘special sauce’ out of my mind.


This is another keeper, largely on the strength of Kevin McKidd’s lead. I like him, I like his character, and I like his relationship with his wife. I even like the premise of the show. After all, who doesn’t like a good time travelling story? All the comparisons to Quantum Leap have been made, but there are enough differences that I think Journeyman deserves to stand on its own.

Having said that, I’m not sure that a show where the hero gets a different ‘assignment’ helping a different batch of guest stars every week can really stand up in this day and age. It just seems so… eighties.

We’ll see where they go with this, but so far I’m enjoying the trip.

Pushing Daisies

My husband loves this show, and most of the critics seem to agree. I’m trying to love it. I want to love it. I’m still watching it every week hoping it’s going to grow on me, but so far it’s just not happening.

Part of my problem is the whole 'one-touch-alive, two-touches-dead' thing. It’s just seems way too... contrived. I know, I’m the one who likes the show about the time-travelling guy, but that’s just one simple crazy, impossible thing he does. With Pushing Daisies, I feel like I need to consult Hoyle’s to figure out all the rules. Like, why does he have to re-touch someone within exactly one minute? Why not 57 seconds, or 73 heartbeats? And how did he figure out the exact time? And when he goes overtime, is it always the closest person who dies instead? Is there a maximum distance? If there’s no one else around, does he die instead? Or does he just take out an acre of lawn?

I could probably get past the absurd artifice at the heart of the show if that was the only problem, but combined with the pompous voice-over and the Technicolour Tim Burton set design, it’s all just too, too much.

The Tudors

So this is what passes for Canadian Content these days. Really, I’m all for co-pros, but could somebody please explain to me exactly what’s Canadian about The Tudors besides the bankroll and Henry Czerny? Hell, they need a disclaimer in the end credits:

"Absolutely no Canadians were hired in the making of this episode"

My favourite part so far: Thomas Boleyn pimping out both his willing daughters in a blatant bid for power and prestige in the court. Nice.


My husband hates this show, but then he never did like Jimmy Smits. Which is fine by me. This way, Jimmy and I can have some alone time.

The whole cast of Cane is top-notch, especially Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno. That, plus the appeal of getting a good look inside a world most of us know nothing about makes it one of my favourite new shows this year. The only potential problem I can see is if they start backing off of the violence and the hard edges on some of the characters. That's about all it would take to turn Cane from being a Cuban ‘Sopranos’ into a Latino ‘Dynasty’.

Kid Nation

This show horrifies me on a number of levels, most of them socio-economic. It started off well, but then instead of just letting these kids work out what sort of society would work best for them, the whole thing has turned into an experiment in hyper-capitalist social engineering.

I did find it interesting that the kids originally got along pretty well, and started out doing whatever jobs that they were best at - like the girl who took charge of the kitchen. But no, that’s not dramatic enough, so the producers divide the kids into competing tribes teams which immediately start taunting and fighting with each other. Then they impose a goddamn class system where the first place team in the competitions gets to be the ‘upper class’ who do no work for high wages, and last place gets to scrub toilets and haul water for next to nothing.

I am anxiously waiting for the proletariat to rise up and smash the bourgeois class structure in a socialist revolution.

And yet. Can’t. Stop. Watching.


More new shows tomorrow.

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