First Look/Last Look

666 PARK AVENUE (TV Review)

First Look/Last Look

In “First Look/Last Look,” I’m doing quick and dirty reviews of a few TV pilots. While I hope this experiment yields at least one show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Spoiler Level: Low

Last season, I spent 12 glorious weeks reviewing American Horror Story, the messy, misogynistic, stunningly bugshit FX series about the most severely evil house in America, and the several dozen people (alive, dead, and dumb) who lived there. "Stupidly pretentious, embarrassingly unrestrained, and chaotically unfocused," I wrote, "this is a basic cable Hell for good actors who have made bad choices." Continue reading

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ELEMENTARY (TV Review)

First Look/Last Look

In “First Look/Last Look,” I'm doing quick and dirty reviews of a few TV pilots. While I hope this experiment yields at least one show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Spoiler Level: Safe

OK, I know my audience fairly well, so let's just get this out of the way: no, the new CBS series Elementary (Thursdays at 10/9c) is neither a direct rip-off of, nor anywhere near as good as, the BBC series Sherlock. It has been widely reported that CBS approached Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the creators of Sherlock, about doing an American adaptation; when they were turned down, the network just went off and created its own modern-day retelling of the Holmes story. Continue reading

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LAST RESORT (TV Review)

First Look/Last Look

This fall I am continuing my “First Look/Last Look” series, doing quick and dirty reviews of a few TV pilots. While I hope this experiment yields at least one show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Spoiler Level: Low

I'll be disappointed if Last Resort, the new ABC drama premiering tonight at 8/7c, turns out to be the best pilot I watch this year, but I'll be surprised if it isn't in the top five. Ambitious, well-acted, genuinely thrilling, and boasting the kinds of production values rarely seen on TV, Last Resort is polished, powerful, and enjoyably preposterous. It's impossible to take it seriously, but it could be a lot of fun. Continue reading

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REVOLUTION (TV Review)

First Look/Last Look

In “First Look/Last Look,” I will once again be doing very quick reviews of a few new fall shows, panning for gold in the fetid riverbed of the 2012-2013 network television season. While I hope this experiment yields at least one show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Revolution, the new NBC series from creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and executive producer J.J. Abrams (Lost), is absolutely fascinating…

…for about 70 seconds. Continue reading

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY – S1E1-2

In “First Look/Last Look,” I am doing quick reviews of selected new fall shows, panning for gold in the fetid riverbed of the 2011-2012 network television season. While I hope this experiment yields at least one new show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Warning: Contains spoilers.

At the moment, I'm categorizing this review as part of my "First Look/Last Look" series, meaning American Horror Story (Wednesdays, 10PM EST on FX) is not a show I'm going to be reviewing regularly. But the truth is, after being appalled by the first episode, I still went back for the second, and I'm really not sure I'm going to be able to resist writing about this from week to week. American Horror Story is so bad, so over-the-top and batshit-crazy, that it's almost irresistible. Continue reading

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TERRA NOVA

In “First Look/Last Look,” I am doing quick reviews of selected new fall shows, panning for gold in the fetid riverbed of the 2011-2012 network television season. While I hope this experiment yields at least one new show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

Warning: Contains spoilers.

I consider it part of my sacred responsibility as an uncredentialed internet crank to remember that there is an important distinction to be made between shows that are bad and shows that are just not my cup of tea. I try very hard to remember that there are other demographics, other tastes, other expectations for television besides my own, and that my dislike for a program doesn't necessarily mean that it sucks. Continue reading

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THE SECRET CIRCLE

In “First Look/Last Look,” I will be doing very quick reviews of selected new fall shows, panning for gold in the fetid riverbed of the 2011-2012 network television season. While I hope this experiment yields at least one new show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I’m not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

In a recent Doctor Who review I made a distinction between entertainment and art, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of room for both in my viewing schedule. I tend to only write about shows that fall on the more substantial side of the spectrum, but I'm a sucker for well-told genre fiction that aspires to be nothing more than a fun and addicting ride. Continue reading

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RINGER


In "First Look/Last Look," I will be doing very quick reviews of selected new fall shows, panning for gold in the fetid riverbed of the 2011-2012 network television season. While I hope this experiment yields at least one new show that I will want to add to my regular viewing—if not reviewing—schedule, I'm not holding my breath. Call me pessimistic, but, in most cases, I expect my first look to also be my last.

I was, and remain, a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon's brilliant series about female empowerment and the horrors of high school. But Sarah Michelle Gellar was never the draw: she was perfectly fine—and occasionally exceptional—in the title role, but Whedon's writing was the real star of the show. Gellar—particularly in the later seasons—often seemed like the cool and vapid center of a more colorful and talented ensemble of actors.

So the promise of Gellar's return to television without Whedon—after a big-screen movie career that included some forgettable comedies, a couple of Grudge movies, and two Scooby-Doo epics—didn't exactly fill me with excitement. And it must be said that Ringer, her new series, does not represent an artistic leap forward for her career. Continue reading

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