Review: Constantine

John Constantine’s business card describes him as “exorcist, demonologist, and master of the dark arts” although he’s thinking about changing the last one to “dabbler rather than master”. That pretty much sums up NBC’s new supernatural drama Constantine. It’s loosely based on the movie Constantine starring Keanu Reeves and the DC comic Hellblazer. Constantine is played by British actor Matt Ryan you probably not seen before. The characters are basic pentagram drawing, salt sprinkling, holy water splashing, Latin spouting demon hunter. His sidekick Chas is a cab driver who apparently can come back from the dead. We don’t know the full back story on that one yet. Chas is played by Charles Halford who has recently appeared in my roles in Agents of SHIELD and True Detective.

In the opening episode, Constantine has checked himself into a mental hospital so he can get electroshock therapy to try to convince himself that demons don’t exist. But when a demon leaves him a message that the daughter of a former friend of his is being targeted, he checks out to go rescue the princess so to speak.

There is nothing that sets this above any other demon hunting character or show you’ve ever seen. At least not after watching one episode. I suppose if you are an undying (no pun intended) fan of the genre you want to check this out. So far I would rank it slightly better than SyFy Channel’s Dominion but not as good as CW network’s Supernatural which is currently in its 10th season. Supernatural has great humor, drama, and characters that over 10 seasons you really come to appreciate not to mention the awesome 70s rock soundtrack. So if you want to demons, go with Sam and Dean Winchester on Supernatural and only check this out if you can’t get enough demon hunting.

The show will probably find an audience because it airs right after Grimm and I will watch a few more episodes to see if it comes up with anything interesting but for now I’m giving it a weak “could be watchable” rating.

Review: Marry Me

NBC produced a half hour preview of its new fall season that was hosted by the stars of their new sitcom “Marry Me“. During that preview they introduce themselves as the stars of “NBC’s new hit comedy ‘Marry Me'”. That’s a pet peeve of mine. People who don’t understand the meaning of the word “hit”. It makes me want to hit them (different meaning of the word “hit”). How can the shell be a hit if it hasn’t even aired yet? So the show already had one strike against it going into it. Having already fallen in love with the new couple comedy “A to Z” I went into this one with a huge chip on my shoulder.

The entire first episode was essentially a single joke, the consequences of which plays out over the entire episode. It’s one of the most clichéd gimmicks in all of sitcomiry (okay so I made up that word). In the opening scene Annie and Jake have just come back from a romantic vacation in Mexico and she goes off on a rant complaining that Jake did not propose to her during this romantic getaway. In the rent she reveals that they been dating for six years, she’s 32 years old and her eggs are dying, and he needs to get off his ass and propose to her. As she is ranting and running around the apartment she has her back turned to him and doesn’t see that he’s down on one knee with a ring in his hand trying to tell her to turn around and look at him. She continues to ignore him and then goes on to ranting about family and friends who make fun of them because they’re not yet engaged. Along the way she says all sorts of nasty things about those family and friends. After she FINALLY turns around to see him ready to propose then all of those family and friends who she has just trashed (including his mother) pop out from behind their hiding places to say “surprise”. They’ve heard everything. So it’s all of the extremely clichéd situations of every situation comedy you ever seen all rolled into one scene. As silly as it was I have to give them credit for pulling off the biggest one of those I’ve ever seen.

After everyone leaves, they decide that that was not their official proposal because he didn’t want to have to tell that horrible story of how the proposal went for the rest of his life. He promises to re-propose in a few days and then that will be the official one. She then decides that the only way to “fix this” is for her to propose to him. So she goes to his place of employment to propose to him in front of all his colleagues and along the way reveals that they had just spent a week in Mexico. However he had told his boss he needed off work because his father was sick. This gets him fired from his job so now she’s real and another proposal story.

We then get to see some flashbacks of how they met and various events along the way. The flashback gimmick works pretty well and is not a distraction. In fact in this case it makes a little more interesting. By the end of the episode they do get officially engaged. It remains to be seen how much of the story is told “present-day” and how much in flashback.

There’s reasonably good chemistry between costars Casey Wilson and Ken Marino. She is also currently a very of the film Gone Girl but is better known for her role in the recently canceled ABC sitcom Happy Endings. He is relatively unknown but has appeared in the adult swim series Children’s Hospital. Some sitcoms rely more on the supporting cast then the main characters in order to succeed. This one includes Tim Meadows from SNL and Dan Bucatinsky from Web Therapy as Annie’s gay parents. JoBeth Williams plays Jake’s mother. They might add something interesting to the mix.

Compared to the other new romantic comedies this season “A to Z” and “Manhattan Love Story” this one is stronger on the comedy than the romance. As always the real test is “Did I laugh?” and be in place and I did. Given that I really like A to Z and that Manhattan Love Story is growing on me, this one might not make the cut on what I’m watching regularly. But it does show a little promise so I’m going to give it a rating of “Could Be Watchable”.


Review: Cristela

Having already been disappointed in two other ethnic sitcoms this year (black-ish and Jane the Virgin) I went into ABC’s new Hispanic sitcom Cristela with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. While this isn’t exactly must-see-TV, it does have some potential. The show is created by, written by, and stars Cristela Alonso who has more credits as comedy writer then as an actress. In this ABC sitcom she plays a girl named Cristela who is in her sixth year of law school. She lives with her mother, her sister, brother-in-law and niece as she’s trying to make ends meet and go to school at the same time. The show starts with her applying for and getting an unpaid internship with a prestigious law firm. Her new boss is marginally racist but knows that he is and jokes about it. One of the other new interns is his daughter who upon seeing Cristela presume she’s part of the janitorial staff. Even her father thinks the daughter is a dimwit.

The jokes are extremely cliché. The laugh track is annoying. But on occasion it did have some really funny moments in it that had me laughing and the live audience as well. If the show ever get the following in the audience gets used to the characters, they may not need to use the laugh track as much.

I guess if you’re trying to compare it to something I would call it an Hispanic version of “2 Broke Girls” with only half as many girls. By the way as silly as it is, I happen to love 2 Broke Girls. So for now I’m giving this one a tentative cautious “I’m watching it”. But then I’m a sucker for silly sitcoms. Like I said my only criteria for judging such shows is “Is it funny?” and it places this one was.

Review: Jane the Virgin

I didn’t have very high expectations for show titled “Jane the Virgin” about a girl named Jane who is a virgin but gets pregnant. Either it was going to be a miraculous Virgin Mary type situation which would be creepy or it some sort of gimmick. This was the gimmick type. Jane Villanova is a 20-something-year-old latina girl who is saving her virginity for her wedding night. She lives with her mother and grandmother, works in a hotel, watches Hispanic tele-novellas, and as a connoisseur of grilled cheese sandwiches. Seriously.

During a routine visit to her gynecologist, the doctor is so obsessed with their own personal life that she accidentally artificially simulates Jane thinking that she was a different patient. Jane is a pregnant with the last bit of a sperm sample of a guy who had cancer so this is his last opportunity to have children. Suddenly Jane’s life is like one of the tele-novellas that she likes to watch.

If this was a half hour comedy they might be able to pull it off but unfortunately it’s an hour long show with too many characters to keep track of despite a voiceover narration and some on-screen graphics that try to help you keep track of everyone. It doesn’t work. Not the narration, not the graphics, not the plot, not the humor.

The whole thing was so ridiculous and not funny and not romantic that I gave up on it 45 minutes into the one-hour episode. By now you might’ve guessed my rating is “Skip It”. If you absolutely must watch an Hispanic new comedy show you might want to check out Cristela reviewed here.

No more Rush, Dallas; Twin Peaks returns; More Shameless, Lies, Episodes, Mistresses, Dead, Defiance, Dominion; RIP Hooks and Un-Cola Man

Haven’t had much time to catch up on entertainment news because I’ve been busy watching and reviewing new series. Even the series which I didn’t particularly like, I’m going to give them a couple more episodes and after every new series that I’ve reviewed has had at least three episodes I will do a recap and see if any of the shows have gotten better or worse.
Probably the biggest entertainment news is that the David Lynch surreal crime drama Twin Peaks is returning as a limited series on Showtime. Check out the first link
Also any fans of Pixar movies absolutely must see this video linked here. It theorizes a strange connection between all of their movies. Very very cleverly done.
Meanwhile in the links below read
Interview with producer of Twin Peaks about shows return
Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 23
Interview with “Fitz” about what his character is going through on Agents of Shield
Spoilers from Inside Line dated September 23
Interview with Bones producer about major character they killed off in opening episode and why.
Postmortem interview with producers of Masters of Sex after season 2 finale and looking forward to season 3
Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 30
Interview with Sweets about his departure from Bones
Spoilers from Inside Line dated October 3
Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated October 7
Also of interest but not in the links below
HBO series True Detective will star Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell a new storyline
SyFy Channel has ordered a new series called Hunter based on the Alien Hunter books. Produced by Walking Dead Producer Gail Anne Hurd
CBS has renewed reality show Big Brother for two more seasons
SyFy Channel has renewed Defiance and Dominion for another season. We are well pleased.
Starz series Outlander will return for its second half of the season April 4
John Ratzenberger from Cheers will have a recurring role on CBS sitcom The McCarthys
ABC has renewed summer series Mistresses for season 3
Yvette Nicole Brown is not returning to Community when the show moves to Yahoo streaming next season. She will be a regular in the CBS reboot of The Odd Couple.
Showtime series Shameless, House of Lies, and Episodes will all return January 11
Tim DeKay a.k.a. The Suit from White-Collar will guest star on Agents of Shield
Fox has cut its reality series Utopia to one episode per week earlier than expected
Michael Rosenbaum a.k.a. Lex Luther from Smallville has a new sitcom on TV land titled Imposter where he plays a gay preacher
USA Network has canceled “Rush” and I’m disappointed. Kind of liked it. It was sort of Ray Donovan meets Hank-Med.
Sally Kellerman who played Hot Lips in the movie version of MASH will appear on Young and the Restless CBS soap
TV land has canceled its Jamie Presley sitcom Jennifer Falls after one season
Elizabeth Perkins from Weeds will guest star on How to Get Away with Murder as a defendant
Starz pirate series Black Sails season 2 begins January 24. Already renewed for season 3
Hollywood Game Night has been renewed for season 3. One of my guiltiest guilty pleasures
TNT has canceled Dallas after 3 seasons. Couldn’t care less
Showtime has ordered a limited series return of David Lynch classic Twin Peaks!
Sarah Wayne Callies a.k.a. Lori from The Walking Dead will star in a USA Network pilot Colony. Set in modern-day LA during an alien invasion.
Atlantis returns to BBC America November 15
Nat Geo is producing Killing Jesus based on the Bill O’Reilly book. Kelsey grammar will play King Herod. True Blood’s Stephen Moyer will play Pontius Pilate and Haaz Sleiman who was a bad guy on Covert Affairs will play Jesus
The Walking Dead has been renewed for season 6.
The Walking Dead spinoff will be a bit of a prequel covering the earlier days of the apocalypse but with new characters in a different location.
From the creator of American Horror Stories, FX has ordered a new series American Crime Story. The first 10 episode season will cover the O.J. Simpson trial. Like we need that.
Peter Fonda will guest star in an upcoming episode of The Blacklist
MTV is canceling its series Awkward after season 5
Amazon has renewed its new series Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor for season 2
CBS has renewed Under the Dome and Extant and we are very well pleased on both accounts.
CBS has canceled summer legal drama Reckless after 1 season
RIP SNL veteran Jan Hooks at age 57
Jason Ritter will return for an episode or two in the final season of Parenthood
ABC has given full season orders for black-ish and How to Get Away with Murder.
Starz basketball theme series Survivor’s Remorse has been renewed for season 2
Animated Guardians of the Galaxy series coming to Disney XD in 2015
I almost forgot to mention CBS has canceled Unforgettable
Katie Holmes returns as Jackie Kennedy in a Reelz four part miniseries sequel of The Kennedys
Fox has ordered a full season pickup for Gotham
American Horror Story has been renewed for season 5
WGN America series Manhattan about the building of the atomic bomb has been renewed for season 2.
Game of Thrones after hints that Tywin Lannister might not have died on the throne after all. May return.
AMC is picking up a British channel 4 series titled “Humans”. An adaptation of a Swedish sci-fi show will run eight episodes.
Broadway version of The Lion King has grossed a record $6.2 billion beating out previous Phantom of the Opera
JJ Abrams will produce a streaming series for Hulu titled 11/22/63 based on the Stephen King novel
Brian Singer will direct X-Men: Apocalypse for Fox
Michelle Yeoh is joining the cast of Cinemax’s Strike Back final season
The “Real Genius” movie franchise is getting a reboot as an NBC comedy series
Sasha Alexander a.k.a. Isles from Rizzoli and will guest star as one of Lip’s professors on Showtime’s Shameless
The FAA has approved the use of unmanned drones for Hollywood production.
Penn and Teller magic competition show Wizard Wars will get six more episodes on SyFy Channel
Rutger Hauer will have a recurring role on the ABC fairytale comedy Galavant
Amazon prime will premiere season 2 of Alpha House October 24
The FCC has canceled its NFL blackout rules. You can now see non-sold-out games locally
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon will move to Phoenix for a post-Super Bowl broadcast just like he did when the Super Bowl was in Indy.
Yvonne Strahovski former girlfriend to Chuck and Dexter will appear in the ABC 10 part series Astronaut Wives Club coming midseason
Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, and Maya Rudolph are among the voice cast for the upcoming Angry Birds feature film
Star Wars Rebels animated series has been renewed for season 2 on Disney XD
USA Network has renewed relationship drama Satisfaction
Nicholas D’Agosto will play Harvey Dent/Two-Face in upcoming episodes of Gotham
Nik Wallenda will be blindfolded as he walks between skyscrapers in Chicago on Discovery Channel November 2
Steve Martin will receive AFI Lifetime Achievement Award
The Farrelly brothers are joining the reboot of HBO’s Project Greenlight
RIP actor/artists Geoffrey Holder also known as the Un-Cola man from 7-Up commercials. Died of pneumonia age 84
There will be a “The Purge 3” film coming soon. Why don’t they just day indoors?
Legendary TV is developing a series based on the computer game Myst
TNT will begin airing older episodes of NBC’s monster hunter series Grimm
Craig Robinson, brother-in-law of Pres. Obama, joined ESPN college basketball commentator ranks
NBC has ordered additional strips of Mysteries of Laura and Constantine
Tom Welling a.k.a. young Clark Kent from Smallville will star in a film The Choice based on the Nicholas Sparks novel
Victor Garber will recur on The Flash as Doctor Martin Stein
Legendary TV is developing a reboot of Lost in Space for a TV series.
AMC has abandoned all unscripted TV shows except for Talking Dead and Comic Book Men
Animated comedy Archer will no longer call it’s nemesis spy agency ISIS after terrorist group co-ops the name.
Marvel comics has canceled Fantastic Four comics just before new movie is released by rival studio
Fox will make a TV version of the classic Tom Hanks film Big
Classic videogame Tetris is being made into a live-action movie. How? Why? Who cares?
Chris Rock will host SNL November 1
Twin Peaks on Showtime: Exec Producer Mark Frost Talks Returning Cast, Storyline and (Much) More
Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Castle, Outlander, Bones, Grey’s, Walking Dead, Chicago PD, Arrow and More
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Star Weighs In on Heartbreaking Twist, ‘Darker’ Season 2
Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Scandal, Once, Mentalist, Vampire Diaries, Reign, The Flash, Homeland and More
Bones Premiere Shocker: Find Out Why [Spoiler] Had to Die
Masters of Sex Finale Post Mortem: EP Talks Surprise Returns, Bill’s Secret and More [Spoiler] in Season 3
Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Vampire Diaries, Walking Dead, Bones, Bates, Dixie, Chi Fire, Witches and More
John Francis Daley Opens Up About Sweets’ Shocking Bones Exit: ‘I Feel Like I Lost a Part of Me’
Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Arrow, Supernatural, Once, Fosters, Chi Fire, Reign, Shameless, Gotham and More
Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Castle, Bones, Flash, Good Wife, Hannibal, Horror Story, Homeland, Gotham and More

Review: A to Z

So far this season we reviewed two half hour romantic comedies such as Selfie and Manhattan Love Story and neither has been completely satisfying. After watching a couple of extra episodes of Selfie it is better than I originally thought. And I still have hopes for Manhattan but to paraphrase Star Wars “Those aren’t the rom-coms you are looking for.” However if the initial episode is any indication and you are looking for a good romantic comedy, “A to Z” starring Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti might fit the bill. You might recognize Feldman from 30 episodes of Mad Men or 38 episodes of Drop Dead Diva neither of which I watched.

Like many shows we reviewed, it has a gimmick. Actually a couple of them. First of all the main characters are named Andrew and Zelda hence the title “A to Z”. The title gimmick also plays into the names of each episode and presumably the total number of episodes. Each episode is a letter from A-Z such as “A is for Acquaintance” and “B is for Big Glory” and “C is for Curiouser and Curiouser”. Presumably there will be 26 episodes although this list on only has through “E”. Also an opening voiceover declares “Andrew Lofland and Zelda Vasco will date for eight months, three weeks, five days, and one hour. This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship from A to Z.”

The plot starts with a chance meeting between the two main characters but then we reveal that perhaps they had met before and that their meeting was “destiny”. This is not a new theme for Cristin Milioti because she was the infamous “Mother” on “How I Met Your Mother“. We had said previously that the only standard by which we judge a sitcom is whether or not it’s funny. Similarly for a romantic comedy it has the dual task of being both funny and romantic. This one seems to deliver. Maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for stories where “we were destined for each other” is the theme. But the chemistry between the two is real and the show has a reasonable number of laughs.

I had previously compared Manhattan Love Story to one of my favorite romantic comedy TV shows “Mad about You”. This show is a much better comparison to that story. It also favorably compares to the romantic parts of HIMYM without all of the over-the-top comedy which at times ruined that show.

On my rating system this one gets a “I like It”. However you have to be in the mood for a romantic comedy and buy into the destiny plot. I do.

Review: Bad Judge

Having seen the films Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton and Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz, I suspected that the new sitcom Bad Judge was going to be another gross out comedy with lots of vomiting and toilet humor. I expected Kate Walsh’s character to be really sleazy and doing crooked deals. As it turns out the title of the show is a bit of a misnomer. Don’t get me wrong she is a crazy character who likes to have sex in her chambers with expert witnesses and she does like to party all night and coming to court with a nasty hangover. But as it turns out she does her job very well. As can be seen from the preview she does engage in some creative sentencing. Guest star Chris Purnell is convicted of bigamy and she sentences him to take a course in feminism while wearing a T-shirt saying “I am a serial bigamist”. To which he replies “How my going to pick up chicks wearing that?” This is even after his two wives have testified in his defense saying what a good husband he is despite the fact he had this whole other family behind the back.

In addition to the party hardy type of character that she is, the only plot line in the opening episode is that she keeps getting interrupted by phone calls for a 12-year-old kid whose parents she had sentenced to jail. The kid keeps getting in trouble at school and she keeps defending him. Her boss, another judge, keeps admonishing her that her job is not social worker that is actually a judge and she should not get involved in the lives of her defendants or their families. She ignores him and continues to help the boy.

At this point, it’s a little early to see just how funny this show is going to be or not. It is clear it’s not in the same vein as other “bad” comedies. Seeing Kate Walsh run around in skimpy underwear is enough to keep me watching another episode or two. Having said that she would probably sentence me to wear a T-shirt saying “I’m a dirty old man who watches TV shows just to see women in their underwear.” Guilty as charged your honor. For now I’m rating this “I’m watching”

Review: Mulaney

Imagine a sitcom about a standup comedian who lives in the New York apartment. His two best friends are guy and a girl (he doesn’t date the girl). He has a next-door neighbor was a crazy character very tall and another friend who is a chubby guy. The show is named after him. It features clips from his standup routines. What an innovative concept? I wonder why no one has ever done that? Oh wait… They did. I guy named Jerry Seinfeld 25 years ago. But this isn’t a review of his sitcom Seinfeld. It’s a review of Mulaney starring standup comedian John Mulaney and the description that I’ve given is 100% accurate. John Mulaney was a bit player on Saturday Night Live in the 2010-2011 season and was a writer from 2008-2013 on SNL. He also does standup comedy.

It would take lots of guts to try to re-create the success of one of the most successful sitcoms ever created. But apparently that’s what they’ve tried to do. After all it’s been 25 years and even though Seinfeld is shown in reruns, perhaps a new younger generation would like their own version. There was a half hour special on NBC before the show premiered that featured some of his standup routines and introduce you to the cast of characters. After seeing some of his standup in this special and on various talk shows where he has promoted the show, I was thinking perhaps it might indeed be a worthy successor of Seinfeld although nothing will ever take its place.

This show might have the potential to be a hit sitcom because it has all of the right elements. This one has a couple of big points in its favor mostly in its cast. In the show, Mulaney’s character is a writer for a game show host played by Martin Short and if you like Short’s style of comedy (and I do) then that’s a big plus. Also the goofy next-door neighbor is played by Elliott Gould. He plays a flamboyant gay man named Oscar. The female friend Jane is played SNL veteran Nasima Pedrad. His sidekick Motif is also a standup comedian played by Seaton Smith who is new to TV but has done standup. The chubby friend I referred to is Andre the drug dealer played by Zach Perlman who looks like he’s trying to be a Zach Galifianakis clone.

I really liked standup routines from the special. Some of them were also featured in the opening episode. The supporting cast is reasonably good. But there’s a big problem. Mulaney can’t act. Even though he’s written every word of the episode himself, his delivery comes across like a fourth grader reading aloud out of their history textbook. He seems to be able to deliver his material in his standup routines adequately well but somehow when trying to play his character you keep wondering if he’s reading it off of cue cards or something.

My hope is that in future episodes Mulaney is able to relax into the part more and not come across as so stiff. For the time being I’m going to watch just to see Martin Short and Elliott Gould either one of which can crack me up. So for now my rating is “I’m Watching It” but I’m afraid it’s going to fall pretty far short of Seinfeld’s legacy.

Review: Gracepoint

Normally I don’t put my recommendation in the review until I get to the end however in the case of the new Fox network miniseries “Gracepoint” I’m starting out saying it is rated “I Really like It” which is my second-highest rating behind “Must-See”. The reason I can be so confident about the show after seeing just one episode of the 10 hour miniseries is that I’ve already seen it before. Know the studios finally have not noticed my blog and started sending the screeners in advance (although I wish they would). This show is based on a BBC series titled “Broadchurch” which I have seen on BBC America.

The story is a murder mystery that begins when a 12-year-old boy is found dead on a beach at the bottom of the cliff in a small seaside town in northern California/England (depending on which version you seen). The detective investigating the crime is played by David Tennant/David Tennant. Yes that’s right, they cast the same famous British actor and former Doctor Who in the same part in both miniseries. However in this one he has to pull off an American accent. He does a much better job than his former Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan and her new American sitcom Selfie. Tenants character, Detective Emmett Carver, has just joined the Gracepoint Police Department taking a job that had been previously promised as a promotion to Detective Ellie Miller played by Anna Gunn you may recognize from 62 episodes of Breaking Bad down 20 where she played Skyler White. Her son is the best friend of the victim. She knows the parents of the murdered boy well. In fact everyone seems to know everyone else in the small town.

I’ve only seen the first episode of the American version and although I’ve not compared it side-by-side scene-for-scene or sentence-by-sentence with the British version, I can tell you that every plot point in this opening episode is identical to the British version. Just as important as the plot is the overall quality of the acting, the casting, and the basic mood of the entire piece is of the same high quality as the British version.

I recommend that you try to catch the first episode in a rerun if there are any or on demand. Of course with the death of a child, it is naturally going to be a real tearjerker. The typical stuff such as a mother coming up to the crime scene screaming for her kid and the cops having to drag her away. Especially well done was the scene between the female detective and her 12-year-old son where she has to tell him that his best friend was found dead. And then the creepiness of the fact that the kid gets out his cell phone, deletes every text message from the dead kid, and then reformats the hard drive of his computer! What is that about? That’s just one of many plot twists you’re going to encounter along the way along with some creepy characters such as the local preacher, local motel owner, and a very creepy guy who rents kayaks and bicycles to tourists actually played by Nick Nolte in this version.

It’s not unusual, especially this season, to have an American remake of a foreign TV series. We’ve already reviewed Red Band Society and The Mysteries of Laura both of which were based on TV series from Spain. Similarly The Bridge and The Killing are based on series from Scandinavia. But in all of those examples the original show within a different language that to my knowledge was never released here in the US. SyFy Channel made a version of Being Human based on the BBC series of the same name but it was an episodic series with only minimal continuing plot lines. They made the American version significantly different enough that Bush right and the actors portrayed it in their own unique ways that they really were different series simply with the same premise. But when I first heard they were going to do a remake of an English-language show that had already been seen here in the US on BBC America Channel on cable, it made me wonder why didn’t they just buy the rights to show the British version? What about a California setting and a lack of British accents was going to bring something new and different to the show? So far the answer is it hasn’t changed anything. But considering how well done the original one was, I guess it’s just an opportunity to bring this amazing story to a wider audience on broadcast TV. For those like me who have already seen Broadchurch, we will watch Gracepoint just to see if it’s any different and to see if they change who the murderer is. And it’s an opportunity to relive a really great series. For the rest of you, bring your handkerchief and prepare to cry from time to time. But hold on to your seat because there are plot twists and you won’t know who did it till near the very end. A wonderful murder mystery that will wrap up well in 10 episodes.

Again my rating is “I Love It” and if you love a good mystery you will too.

Review: Manhattan Love Story

Update: This show was canceled by the network after just four episodes.

I suppose every new TV show these days has to have some sort of a gimmick. For the new ABC romantic comedy Manhattan Love Story the gimmick is we get to hear internal thoughts of the major characters.

Analeigh Tiption plays a girl named Dana who just moved to New York from Atlanta for a new job as a editor at a publishing house. Her former college roommate sets her up on a blind date with Peter played by Jake McDormand. Don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize either of them. Tipton has appeared in the films Warm Bodies and Crazy, Stupid, Love but not much else. McDormand played Evan Chambers in the TV series Greek which I never watched. He also did 10 episodes of Shameless and was in a single season sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?

As might be expected the first blind date was pretty much a disaster but there was some real chemistry between the characters. There’s not really much else to say until we get a couple of episodes into the show. If you can get past that gimmick of the voiceover internal thoughts there might be enough chemistry to make it a reasonably watchable little romantic story. In some ways it’s reminiscent of one of my favorite sitcoms “Mad About You” but so far is not nearly up to that standard. For now will give it a rating of “Could Be Watchable”