John Walker's Electronic House

TV Round-Up: Batch One

by on Sep.30, 2008, under Television

Worst Week – CBS

Apparently based on a UK show called The Worst Week Of My Life, this is a nice single camera sitcom with a good cast, nice script, but it’s completely unwatchable. It’s Everything-That-Can-Go-Wrong-Will-Go-Wrong comedy, and it doesn’t matter how well that’s put together, it remains unbearable. The pain of inevitability is too much to bear. So while it’s fun for the first half of the first episode, as our anti-hero somehow ends up naked, in another woman’s apartment, while he’s meant to be at his girlfriend’s parents house to announce her pregnancy and their engagement, that’s as much as I could take. When he’d pissed on the basting goose, leading to the father being knocked out, and then rested at a funeral home, causing him to tell the family that he’s dead… I switched off.

The Big Bang Theory – CBS

Being old-fashioned in the world of sitcoms is a rare treat now. TBBT’s multi-camera, live studio audience, front-facing sets are something from the early 90s. It’s comfortable and fun. And thankfully, funny. While a show about two super-geniuses really needs some smarter people on the writing staff (saying “string theory” is often as close as they get to demonstrating their proficiency in physics), and the premise – their living opposite a blonde waitress with no smarts at all, and the comedy japes that ensue – sounds bloody awful, somehow it isn’t. It makes me laugh out loud, and that’s what counts.

How I Met Your Mother – NBC

Season 4 makes no significant changes to the fantastic formula, and it remains just as great. The confusing combination of multi-camera and single-camera sitcom formats, with an audience tacked on later, is still odd. But the cast is bigger and better than all that. And the format for time-muddling flashback/forward stories is still a winner. Episode 2’s search for the perfect burger does this splendidly – nothing to worry about here.

Gary Unmarried – CBS

A new sitcom from CBS, which is a bit sloppy, but kind of sweet. Man is divorced, has two kids, meets divorced woman with one kid, ex-wife still around, people say snappy dialogue. Possibly the stand-out feature was the realistic writing with the son, but there’s not a great deal more to it than that.

Ugly Betty – ABC

Season 3 starts with a bit of a reset on the cliffhanger of season 2, with Betty dumping both men in her life. But a lot else has changed, with Daniel fired from Mode, now working on a dreadful men’s mag, while Wilhelmina Slater is now in charge. Lindsay Lohan makes her fabled appearance, as is fine. But best is the decision to push the fairytale madness a step further. Daniel’s office is now a baby room for Wilhelmina’s surrogate baby, that looks like it was decorated by Tim Burton. The Mode offices are now so cold that everyone shivers, the sets all icy blue, to satisfy Wilhelmina’s whim. And everything good in Betty’s life is destroyed within the first episode, setting things up a new rock bottom to test her zesty steel. Not enough elaborately insane conspiratorial machinations appearing yet – nothing to compete with season 1’s glorious bandaged figure in the mysterious hospital ward (despite slightly bailing on the reveal, as much fun as the result was). Meanwhile, every scene with Amanda and Marc is, as ever, non-stop delightful.

Knight Rider – NBC

It’s hard to imagine how this could be any worse. A blank screen that punches you in the face every fifteen seconds would be preferable. I loved the awfulness of the original, and indeed the matching terribleness of the recent pilot for this new run. But the first episode proper was such ghastly gibberish as to defy belief. Worth watching an episode just to appreciate how terrible TV can be.

1 Comment for this entry

1 Trackback or Pingback for this entry