"The Good Wife" is back for a new season, and I have a quick review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I stick with retail rules...
Lots of "new" talk, but mostly the same old (excellent) legal drama
The extensive retooling has only made the show's core worse, not better
The production travails of FOX's "Terra Nova" have been chronicled so publicly and for so long that it's starting to feel like the show has been in development since the dinosaurs walked the earth. At one point, the series was going to debut at mid-season last year, then with a special two-night airing of the pilot episode in May, before finally being pushed to tonight at 8. There were issues with the weather on location in Australia, and the special effects process to create the show's prehistoric setting took longer than anticipated.
Along that long, complicated path, I've seen multiple versions of the "Terra Nova" pilot. Each time, the effects have gotten better, and the version of the dinosaurs you see tonight should look pretty darned spiffy.
But "Terra Nova" isn't just a time travel show where people are chased by dinosaurs; it's also a family drama. And as one of the show's many executive producers, Jon Cassar, put it to critics last month, "If you don’t tune in and love this family after the first hour, it doesn’t matter how good the dinosaurs look."
And the family remains much less interesting so far than the dinos - and, in fact, has gotten progressively less interesting with the tweaking.
Walt and Jesse's circumstances change dramatically once again
What did everybody think of the new ABC period drama?
I already posted my review of ABC's "Pan Am." Now it's your turn. Whether you're a fan of "Mad Men," watched "The Playboy Club" or not, what did you think of the new drama from Jack Orman, Tommy Schlamme and company? Were you surprised by the minimal amount of Christina Ricci? Did you like all the flashbacks, or would you rather the show stay in the passenger cabin? And will you be watching again?
Have at it.
The Commodore and Jimmy come gunning for Nucky and Chalky
The Doctor spends his final day with ex-roommate Craig
By far the better of this season's two new dramas set in the 'Mad Men' era
Every TV season brings with it a pair of somehow unrelated twins: shows developed at different networks, by different people, that are remarkably similar in subject matter and/or style, no matter how weirdly specific those things get. One year, the twins may be hospital dramas set in Chicago; another, it may be middle-aged men traveling back in time to relive their adolescence. Don't ask how/why this happens. It just does, always and always and always, and this year's unlikely twins are a pair of dramas set in the "Mad Men" era about women who have jobs that seemed glamorous at the time, that have seemed more demeaning through a modern lens, but are now the subject of shows that argue for them being liberating.
The first of those was NBC's "The Playboy Club," which debuted Monday night, was both terrible and terribly unconvincing in its feminist arguments, and which bombed royally. (Not that anyone should be shocked; the ratings "Mad Men" gets on AMC would get it canceled in a heartbeat by a network.) The second is ABC's "Pan Am," which debuts Sunday night at 10. It may not do any better commercially than "Playboy," but it's both a much better show and makes a much better case for women's lib.
The Friday night action series has turned out to be much better than it needs to be
Cinemax's "Strike Back" fell into an unfortunate scheduling nether-region in terms of reviewing, with the first episode debuting while I was recuperating from press tour (though Dan and I discussed it on the podcast), and the series really kicking into gear while I've been trying to stay afloat amidst the broadcast network premieres.
And that's a shame, because over the course of six episodes so far, I feel like the show has turned out to be far better than it needs to be.
What did everybody think of the new CBS medical drama?
Time constraints (on Dan's part) and a lack of enthusiasm (on mine) prevented either Fienberg or I from offering a written review of "A Gifted Man," but I did run my Margo Martindale interview this morning, and we discussed the show as the first segment on today's podcast. Not ideal, but premiere week is not an ideal time.
To sum things up, Dan really admired the way Jonathan Demme's direction of the pilot brought some grit and leavened the sap of the premise. I was less impressed by the direction and felt the show was tonally inconsistent, and didn't particularly believe Patrick Wilson in the scenes where he was playing his character as a cold bastard in need of change. (On the other hand, the scenes where he's with Jennifer Ehle or Mr. Noodle and opening himself up? He's terrific.) And both of us are skeptical about the show going forward.
Now it's your turn. For anyone who watched tonight, what did you think? You setting the season pass for this or not?
Season 4 gets off to a bumpy start as the universe adjust to life without Peter