With all of the starry-eyed, out-of-work Midwesterners who litter Sunset Blvd., one would assume that our television landscape would be similarly populated with corn-fed blonds. You would, however, be wrong. In fact, there are a ton of non-Americans who have come to Hollywood to take all of our primetime show-starring jobs.
What's fun for me is watching the shows to see who does a good version of an American accent, and who needs to spend a little more time with their dialect coaches. Below are nine stars who've jumped the pond to come to the good ol' U. S. of A.
(S02E01) Ten months. That's how long its been since we've seen a fresh episode of Life. After the last episode aired in November there was nary a word about the show, save for reports of its renewal and a bit about casting changes. This left fans of the show in a bit of a tizzy. For Life wasn't just a dime-a-dozen criminal procedural, but a show with an underlying story about conspiracy and the search for justice. By the time the show ended its very short first season we were cheering Detective Charlie Crews as he was able to get a semblance of his freedom back.
Now we enter season two. And, as usual, the following question comes to mind: did it carry on the spirit of season one? Well yes, and possibly no. Click ahead to find out.
Its been a very quiet summer for NBC's procedural drama Life. Fact is, its been a very quiet 10 months since the last original episode aired. Other than a schedule change (to Friday nights. Feh!), a casting addition back in April, and some brief mentions at the TCAs back in July, it's almost like the show never existed for the network. And, if I sound a bit miffed about this I'd say you're right. A unique show like Life deserves a bit more talk-up and promotion then it has gotten.
However, there are some stirrings about the show that seem somewhat promising. First, season one of Life will be released September 2nd on DVD. This is good news for those of you unhappy with the fact that NBC is not re-airing the first season prior to the newest one, or for those of you who have trouble accessing the episodes on Hulu.
Or Chuck, or Pushing Daisies, or Private Practice for that matter. With the announcement that FOX was going to offer a marathon of The Sarah Connor Chronicles starting on August 10th I got to wondering about the other freshman shows that made an impression on viewers before the Writers Strike abruptly ended their seasons. Many of these shows haven't been seen since the end of last year.
For Life, the last original episode to air was December 5th. With the second season premiere slated to air during the first week of October, it will be nearly a year since viewers had a chance to bond with Detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese. That's a bit of a concern when it comes to this show. On the surface Life is a criminal procedural. However, underneath there has been an second story about Charlie's quest to clear his good name for a murder he didn't commit. While the first arc of this story was completed in its "season finale," there is plenty of story to tell.
(S01E11) Where to begin.
If Life was not picked up for a full season this episode would have probably been a fairly decent series finale. So much information was given to us, so many evidence holes were filled, that there was a feeling of closure. Not satisfaction, mind you, but closure. The information given out was so powerful this episode that I am only going to reveal it after the jump. So, if you have yet to watch Wednesday's installment of Life DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT. If you do, don't be pissed off at me.
(S01E10) Ladies and gentleman, what happened at the very end of Monday's episode of Life is what we call in the television world a "major plot development." I'm sure the producers of Lost are jealous.
Seriously, for those of you who thought that we would never get to the bottom of the Conspiracy, the revelation (which I won't be revealing until after the jump) probably came as a bit of a relief. I feet the same way. And I'm not too worried that this plot point will end the entire Conspiracy back story. Just because Charlie discovered this one thing doesn't mean that the entire mystery of his murder conviction is solved.
(S01E09) "I investigate things." -- Charlie Crews to the IAD investigator.
Let's get the good news out of the way first. It was reported earlier this week that Life was being picked up for a full season. Huzzah! The show is finally getting the recognition it deserves and it is pretty much thanks to you, viewers. If you didn't tune in week after week and support the poopie out of the show then it could have had a more iffy future like the other NBC freshman shows Journeyman and Bionic Woman. Now all you have to do is keep it up. You can start doing that by watching the show two times next week. More on that at the end of the post.
I mean, wow. When this week's episode of Life began I thought it was going to be your standard 'hate crime' type of show full of people expressing stereotypical opinions about those who are different from them. Then, I realized that this was Life and it wasn't going to be like that at all. Especially as one turn lead to a twist, which lead to a video game, which lead to drug money, which lead to a son who only wanted his mother's love.
(S01E06) Well, this was an interesting episode of Life. Rather than having the focus on Charlie and many of his day-to-day activities, we were treated to the life of Detective Dani Reese. I was a bit concerned about this when I saw the previews because this show is really still in its infancy and a shift in focus for just one episode can throw viewers off. However, as the episode progressed I felt more and more comfortable about the whole setup.
(S01E05) Suspect -- Where is Officer New Money?
Charlie Crews -- Detective New Money, actually.
Forrest Gump. As soon as they showed that feather drifting down to the ground, accompanied by that soft piano music, I immediately thought of the Tom Hank's hit of the 1990s. Then I thought that Forrest and Charlie were a little bit alike. Both have that innocence to them, but they are also quite worldly as well.
Then, a dead woman with angel wings came crashing down from the sky into a parked car (did you see the reaction of those bystanders as she crashed? Good stuff.), and the illusion abruptly ended. And so, another episode of Life comes to pass.
(S01E03) Reese: You got a pest problem?
Crews: He's not so bad. (Charlie talking about Ted)
I am starting to feel the groove of this show and it is beginning to grow on me. While it is a fairly quiet program, the pace of the story is fast enough not to leave me bored. And, while it is a criminal procedural, there are enough light moments, particularly involving Charlie or Charlie and Reese, to mute the darkness that sometimes permeates these types of shows.
(S01E02) I'm trying to figure out Officer Bobby Starks, former partner to Charlie Crews. We know from the snippets of documentary that are interspersed throughout an episode of Life that Starks was one of the people who turned Charlie in for the triple-murder he didn't commit. Now that Crews is out of prison I'm not sure how Bobby feels about that.
I'm sure that he's feeling guilty about turning in his former partner, and he's doing his damnedest to make Charlie feel like nothing has changed between them. Hence, the reason he invited Crews to a barbecue under the premise that his wife wanted him there (Turns out, Stark's wife wanted nothing to do with the man who left his husband without a partner for four years). But, somewhere down deep inside, I have a feeling that Starks is really unsure of Crews' innocence and is rightfully pissed that he got away with it.
(S01E01) After posting my early look at this new NBC procedural crime drama, reading your comments, and thinking about Charlie Crews in general, I have come to the belief that Life may actually have a chance this season. Not because of the crimes he and Detective Dani Reese solve -- hey, a murder is a murder is a murder. Not because of Charlie's mix of innocence and quirkiness. I think what is going to keep people tuning into the program is the whole sub-plot of the series: trying to find out who the heck framed Charlie for the murder of three people.
In today's crowded world of television, procedural crime dramas are a dime a dozen. Actually, make that a nickel a dozen, since there are so many of them. Each one is slightly different than the other, but they all have pretty much the same formula: a crime is committed (on or off screen), the police go in to investigate, clues are discovered, crack forensic and computer scientists discover even more clues, the wrong person is brought in for questioning, and the real culprit is finally brought to justice two minutes before the credits roll.
OK, so the networks have given their upfronts and they've sent out the screener DVDs. These are the pilot episodes of the new fall shows, in not-quite-completed form. Things could still change before they hit the networks this fall, but they give a good general sense of what the shows are about and what they're like.
Today Joel and I start with previews of some new NBC shows: Bionic Woman, Life, Chuck, and Journeyman. More networks and other shows coming soon!
(Photos courtesy NBC.com)
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