(S01E01) I have faith in Bill Lawrence. I know that he's a guy who doesn't want to put out shows that are crap, and that if something he produces is crap (hello, sixth season of Scrubs), he cops to it and vows to improve.
That being said, I really, really hope he has the time to work his magic on Cougar Town. Because what I see from the pilot are the bones of a good show, but one that's going to need some time to develop.
I like the actors. I like the premise. There were a lot of funny lines. I even like the fact that Lawrence re-shot certain scenes to make them sound like they're from a more female point of view. But even in the pilot, you can see signs that this show can devolve into something more cartoonish than real, and right now it's a 50-50 shot that it'll do just that.
I should preface this review with something basic - I am in no way whatsoever an animation buff. I didn't watch a lot of cartoons as a kid and now that I'm a big boy, my Adult Swim knowledge stretches about as far as Aqua Teen Hunger Force with the occasional episode of Sealab 2021 tossed in. So... I guess I know a little. Enough to say that Sealab's mastermind Adam Reed definitely has a hit on his hands with his first stab at a half-hour show in FX's Archer.
So if you're looking for a treatise one why Archer's flash animation or cell-shaded stop motion freeze-frame whatever-it's-called is superior vs. parochial and clunky, then this is not the review for you. I'm basing my review on content alone and seeing as how Archer won't be back for its official premiere until January, we were very fortunately given more than enough to whet our appetites.
When FX initially picked up six episodes of its first foray into animated comedy, the plan for Archer was to pair it with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Since that greenlight, two things happened.
First, FX got trigger-happy and greenlit a whole bunch of other shows (from the likes of Louis CK and Don Cheadle). Second, and more importantly, according to FX it turns out that from start through post, it takes almost a whole month to complete one episode of Archer. With Always Sunny premiering this Thursday night at 10PM ET on FX, slotting in Archer's six eps suddenly became impossible. So the plan has changed. Instead of pairing Archer with Sunny mid-season, FX plans to launch its fantasy-football themed sitcom The League instead. However, if you were looking forward to seeing Archer, I've got some good news.
During the pilot episode of the new FOX drama Mental, Annabella Sciorra's Dr. Nora Skoff tells Chris Vance's Dr. Jack Gallagher that his recent decision to strip down butt-naked to help a patient deserves some of her Harvard business school advice - ask for royalties because the video of it is sure to be more popular than Paris Hilton's sex tape. To that, I offer some insight from a Syracuse University TV production graduate - there's a reason FOX held off on premiering Mental until the summer. It's not very good.
Better Off Ted, ABC's new workplace comedy, debuts Wednesday at 8:30PM ET. However, the timing of the show's release couldn't be more fortuitous... or disastrous, depending on how you look at it. The show revolves around an ethically inept conglomerate, Veridian Dynamics, and as a result, viewers will unavoidably end up thinking about everything that's wrong with our economy - from Bernie Madoff to AIG to Enron (a stretch yes, but still relevant). As a comedy, it's a decidedly glass half-full approach. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when most viewers will probably have more in common with a glass half-empty mantra. Will it work? I'm thinking yes.
Nathan Fillion deserves a break. Sure, he's had a successful career with memorable guest turns in recent hits such as Lost and Desperate Housewives. And sure, he's got cult hits like Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog under his belt, too. However, as of late, the well has run dry for Fillion (Drive, anyone?), and let's be honest - a man cannot live off of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place residuals alone. So I'll say it again - the man deserves a break. Castle, unfortunately, is not that break.
(S01E01) "Just pretend it's carve-your-own steak night at Sizzler." - Jax
FX is taking a fairly big gamble with Sons of Anarchy. With their trademark drama The Shield ending its seven season run this fall and their other two big hits (Damages and Rescue Me) pushed to 2009 because of the WGA Strike, the network is in dire need of some fresh buzz. The one thing they have going for them? Even FX's previous flops (Dirt, Starved, Over There, Thief) were better than a lot of other things on TV and Sons of Anarchy certainly fits that mold. Once the fall season is in full swing, the only network competition will be CSI: NY, as I don't see Lipstick Jungle or Dirty Sexy Money getting in the way. Sons has the potential to do well. It'll just rest on creator Kurt Sutter and how he plans to make the show appealing beyond this pilot episode.
(S01E01) "If you were a man, I'd be worried." - Patty Hewes
Granted I saw this episode about two weeks ago, but after watching it again tonight I think it's pretty clear that FX is on to something big here. On paper, the numbers proclaimed Dirt to be a minor success for the FOX owned cable station. Let's be honest though -- Damages has Dirt beat by a mile and then some. It didn't take much for Patty Hewes (Glenn Close as good as she's ever been) to knock Lucy Spiller off of her tiny throne but it appears that FX has a new reigning female lead. Frankly, I'm terrified of her.
(S01E01) "Takes life. Seriously." What a great tagline. Just a simple play on words and it tells you everything you need to know about the show. I'm worried though. Dexter is good. In fact, it's really good. That's why I'm worried. Why? Because Showtime has a nasty little habit of canceling great shows. There was The Chris Isaak Show. Then Dead Like Me. The most recent casualty? Huff. All three of those shows were spectacular. And you know what? Dexter is better than all of them. So, yeah... I'm worried.
Not sure how long these are going to be available, but right now you can download episodes of 24 for free from MySpace. It's being sponsored by Burger King, so I assume it's only for a limited time. Two episodes are available to download or stream, and they're good ones if you ask me:
- Day 1: 12:00AM to 1:00AM, the pilot episode.
- Day 5: 7:00AM to 8:00AM, the season five premiere.
Eventually, MySpace will begin to offer more episodes of 24 for the standard $1.99 per episode.
And on a semi-related note, your Jack Bauer fact of the day: "One time Jack Bauer went into a Burger King and ordered a Big Mac. And he got it."
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