Steven Soderbergh spent most of his movie career making formulaic B-movies better than they had any right to be. Now he does the same thing for TV in a pretty but (so far) predictable new series from Cinemax.
CBS is not even attempting to make the Sherlock Holmes story fresh: that is not the point. All they are trying to do is to use the Sherlock Holmes brand, cynically, to make us interested in yet another formulaic, cookie-cutter crime drama.
Stupidly pretentious, embarrassingly unrestrained, and chaotically unfocused, this is a basic cable Hell for good actors who have made bad choices. It's a fiasco, but it's kind of fascinating, and way, way more fun that it has any right to be.
I had big hopes for "Terra Nova," which promised excellent production values, a decent cast, and a potentially-intriguing sci-fi premise. Unfortunately, the pilot episode spends two banal hours dumbing its potential down into lowest-common-demoninator television pap. It's not horrible: it's just not good.
There's a reason so many of these supernatural shows center around teen characters: though no one since has worked the metaphors with the sophistication or wit that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" did, the intense drama of high school politics, adolescent longing, and burgeoning sexual power lends itself naturally to stories of good-and-evil, magic, and mythical destiny.
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