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When we first watched this pilot last summer, we saw it alongside the similarly themed Hostages and this show was the far superior debut. It had some interesting twists and turns plus the added bonus of putting Gillian Anderson back on our TV sets. But after suffering through Hostages, and seeing how poorly it all played out, the idea of committing to more episodes of another show that is predicated on a kidnapping is a pretty big pill to swallow. (Note: spoilers for last night's twists below.)
How do you make a half-baked idea look like a polished piece of televised craftsmanship? Hire an ace shooter like Alfonso Cuarón to direct it. Exactly a week after picking up a well-deserved Oscar for helming Gravity, the Mexico-born filmmaker takes his talents to the small screen for Believe, a series he created and produced in conjunction with J.J. Abrams. And if you found some of the spiritual hokum in that multi-award winning blockbuster hard to take, be forewarned it plays an even more pronounced role here given that the show's premise is built around a little blonde girl in possession of some heavenly -- or at least otherworldly -- powers.
Back in 1980, the only thing Cosmos needed to ignite the imaginations of a generation of youngsters was scientist/showman Carl Sagan standing front and center in the frame explaining the vast mysteries of our world and the universe that lies beyond. It's a sign of how much we've devolved as a viewing public -- or more charitably, the lack of faith network executives have in us -- that the new Cosmos, now sporting the grandiose subtitle A Spacetime Odyssey instead of the more modest A Personal Voyage, can't simply turn the camera on new host and Sagan's heir apparent, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and let him geek out about the awesomeness of outer space and stuff. Instead, the series surrounds him with feature-film level special effects, animated recreations of major historical events and a prime Sunday night berth on Fox that follows the youth-oriented double bill of The Simpsons and Family Guy, the long-running cartoon blockbuster from Cosmos's exec producer, Seth MacFarlane, apparently looking to upend his public image as a smug, intellectually-challenged playboy who sang about boobs on the Oscars.
Proof positive that sometimes it takes truly talented people to make something deeply mediocre, A&E's new crime drama Those Who Kill premiered last night after the network's surprise hit Bates Motel, marking the return of ex-Big Love star Chloë Sevigny and veteran scribe/producer Glen Morgan (whose credits include The X-Files and The River) to series television. If this was really the best they could come with, though, maybe they should have extended their sabbatical another season.
Screw Mixology. Screw Mixology and its misogynistic, chest-thumping, dick-measuring, outdated, mind-blowingly unfunny and downright offensive take on sex and dating in your 20s and 30s. The concept may be unconventional by traditional sitcom standards (ten strangers at the same New York City bar having various interactions in one single night), but the execution is as lame and stupid as anything you've ever seen on television. I'm still seething.
It should be stated, first and foremost, that Steve Zahn really should be in just about everything. The underrated, scene-stealing actor is the best part of anything he's in (see: That Thing You Do!, Rescue Dawn, Joy Ride, among others) and always seems to be the missing link that improves a movie or TV show. The goofy, but lovable Zahn is, without a doubt, the best thing about the new dramedy Mind Games, but even his talents can't save this from being an ultimately ridiculous -- but most notably, boring -- slog.
Not since CBS's Great Alex O'Loughlin Campaign of 2007-2010 has a network invested as much effort in making an actor "happen" as NBC has with David Walton. The actor's relationship with the Peacock dates back to 2006, when he had a supporting role on Heist, that creatively-named heist series that vanished after five episodes. Roles on such short-lived "Wait… that was a TV show?" series as Quarterlife (which premiered online before moving to terrestrial television), 100 Questions and Perfect Couples followed, eventually culminating in 2012's Bent, an ensemble comedy starring Walton, Amanda Peet and Jeffery Tambor that NBC felt so confident in, they burned it off over the course of three weeks in March. If nothing else, at least they're giving Walton's latest series, About a Boy -- based on the 2002 Hugh Grant movie and the 1998 Nick Hornby novel -- a prime post-Olympics berth on its way to an inevitable cancellation.
By all accounts, The Michael J. Fox Show should have been good. It starred television treasures (Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce), it had a primo time slot and it did not shy away from Fox's real-life battle with Parkinson's (in fact, that was a prominent part of the show.) But throw some annoying kids in the mix, sitcom-friendly problems (all family squabbles are fixed within the half-hour and no one ever holds a grudge),and the uneasy feeling that Parkinson's is being used as a comedy crutch more often than it should be, and well, you've got a major disappointment.
I must admit something right off the bat: I've never been the biggest fan of Jimmy Fallon as a late night talk show host. I know, I know, that's like saying puppies are overrated and ice cream is a sub-par dessert. I'm of the minority and I realize that. Let me clarify that I actually thought Fallon's Late Night was a fun, hip (The Roots rule all!!) and modern (the guy knows his viral-friendly audience) show, but Fallon's interviewing style of fawning and giggling over every single guest always hit the wrong nerve with me. Again, I realize that Fallon doesn't have the gravitas as Letterman, nor the politics of Stewart and Colbert, but I like my hosts more edgy and daring than agreeable and starstruck, and the squeaky-clean Fallon most certainly ain't that.
Remember when the television golden age of the male anti-hero died along with Walter White? Remember how troubled leading men like Ray Donovan paled in comparison to the likes of Don Draper? Television seems hellbent on creating yet another so-good-he's-bad guy, despite the fact that, a) It has been perfected (see: above), and b) audiences are craving something new. Yet, they still insist on cranking out filler like Rake.
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