Yes, yes, I’ve been falling well behind in reviewing new shows. Missed some pilots. Life is full, mostly in good ways.
- Century City is a basic law drama set in the future, with lawyers facing the complexities of life brought on by new technology. Judging from the first episode, they seem to have let these complexities keep them from remembering the law. In the pilot, a man’s drink was spiked with nanodevices that would transmit to the spiker the feelings when the spikee made love to his lady. The pilpul of the episode was over whether they could charge the spiker with rape, or whether he’d get away scott-free. But until the claim came up that the spikee was voluntarily spiked, no one even thought about charging him with the various offenses involved in spiking a man’s drink with invasive technology. Sigh. Some casting the piece likes me, though, given the ongoing presence of Hector Elizando and the likely-recurring role for Robert Guillaume as a judge.
- The Stones: years ago, Nick At Nite had a great contest. They were looking for people whose lives were sitcommy; the person whose life made for the best sitcom would get an actual single episode produced about their life. The winner, as I recall, featured a divorced couple who, in their old age, both have to move in with their same offspring – certainly a reasonable sitcom premise. The Stones dances close to that, with Robert Klein and Judith Light playing a recently divorced couple living in close proximity (I missed the exact details, having caught the second episode but not the first.) And in the hands of the able director Jim Brooks, they end up with… not much. Occasional flashes of humor, Klein and Light know their way around the characters, but they’re forced to act like, well, sitcom characters rather than real people to get the friction. They shouldn’t have to. Moments of humor shine through, but not enough.
- Wonderfalls is a series that I should like, judging from the critical response and associations being made. It falls into the category of supernaturally-delivered-mission-of-the-week shows, in the tradition of Early Edition and Tru Calling and the far superior Joan of Arcadia. In this case, the missions come via talking toy animals, who annoy her and give her goals in obscure ways that only make sense once the goal is achieved. The animal concept is cute and works, but the agent they are sending on missions is an annoying slacker who may be amusing herself, but is largely annoying me. “Quirky” seems to be a major goal here, and some of it works, but not all of it. Tim Minear is behind it, and he was one of the key guys on Angel – a show which is only now finally approaching its potential, apparently in his absence. (Most shows give you a final season that make you feel it was time to wrap things up; Angel offers up a final season that makes you wish all of the seasons had been this good.)