They’re remaking that…. again? (Digging the grave!)

NBC has green-lit a pilot for a remake of The Munsters.

Now, those of us who pay attention to all the crap that’s been on TV have seen previous remakes of this. Edward Herrmann may be a better actor than Fred Gwynn was, and Sam McMurray and John Schuck may have been more naturally cartoons, but neither of them carried off what was needed to make Herman work. Whatever made The Munsters work to the extent it did just hasn’t been there (of course, with The Munsters Today, the fact that they spent about 37 cents on the whole production may point to a source of their troubles.)

But this one is coming from Bryan “Pushing Daisies” Fuller, so perhaps it will be a surprise. But do we really need a new Munsters? Isn’t the old Munsters just as Munstry as it needs to be?

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Detroit 187 – that’s more than triple Hawaii’s score!

Police procedurals work, commercially. They’re followable, they have inherent dramatic tension, you can watch one in reruns and follow it. That’s why there’s a metric ton of then.

Detroit 187 just adds more to the vast quantity already airing. It’s better made than some, but not in any way that brings it above being a commodity.

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 4:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Why The Today Show rules

We here at Nat’s TV have an official, if previously unstated, policy: we love any show which dedicates several minutes to promoting our new book. Keep that in mind, Law & Order: Los Angeles!

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  


Bluebloods is about a family of cops… and apparently not very smart ones. Tom Selleck plays a cop at a the top. When one of his cop sons beats up a suspect, thus making everything that happened later on the case “fruit of the poisoned tree” and making it almost certain that the perp will go free, what does topcop do? He keeps the same son on the case, to find evidence that isn’t derived from what happened and thus generate a conviction.

Ummm, no. Even if the son were not a screw-up, wouldn’t you put another detective on it? So that there’s at least some sliver of a chance that any new evidence won’t be seen as being inspired by the improper events and thus further fruit of said poisoned tree?

The drama in this feels very manufactured. The events are all TV cop rather than real cop. There are some familiar faces on board, but they just remind us of better cop shows they’ve been on.


Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 5:56 am  Leave a Comment  


If a mere 2 million of the readers of this blog had watched Lone Star last night, it probably wouldn’t have been canceled. Now it’s gone. >sigh<

Four episodes remain in the can. We’ll see if they get them out to the public somehow.

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  


Outsourced, the new Thursday NBC comedy, faces a tricky problem. About an American who goes to India to manage a low-grade consumer call center. So when you take people who are not generally depicted on American TV and depict them as lovable losers, you face the obvious risk of coming across as rather bigoted, or wallowing in stereotypes.

Logically interpreted, they avoid it by making even the Americans some form of awkward character, and by showing some highly competent Indians… but in doing so, they set up their main acceptability problem. Those Indians are competent at passing for American. Everything we see is from the very little window that Americans have on India. India may have a large section of the call center market, but it’s a nation of over a billion people; those workers are a small slice of the population. We don’t go outside the call center, although we do look out the window once to learn that cows are allowed to roam free… but the pilot shows no sense that India exists beyond what we already know about it through our little window on it. And to the degree that the wacky characters present a problem to our American lead, it’s not because they are Indian, but because they aren’t American and don’t understand being American.

But it is the pilot. The fish-out-of-water character is just being thrown into the deep end. Umm, wait, no, bad mixed metaphor. Perhaps he will get the bigger picture as time goes on.

Beyond that concern, it’s okay. The characters are individuals. There are moments of comedy in there, and moments of desperation in trying to build comedy (to a certain degree, making the call center one for a novelty products catalog is about as desperate as a whoopie cushion in attempting comedy). Time will tell if the interactions really build the characters and intercharacter relationships, or if all the workers end up being a Greek chorus of silliness. It could grow, and I’m willing to give it the time to let it try.

Still no unquestionably solid comedies this year. We shall see — it seems to me that in recent year, comedy has been better served by mid-season replacements than by start-of-season shows.

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 6:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Watch Lone Star tonight

Lone Star

It’s the best reviewed show of the new season.

And having just watched the first episode, I can tell you that it’s the best first episode I’ve seen this season, nudging Terriers out of first place.

And here’s the damned stupid thing about it – they’re already talking about canceling it. After just one episode has aired. Now, I can see that if you know you’ve produced a pile of crap, but a show that is this recognizably good? You give it a chance. You get it out there any way you can – stream it, put it on Netflix, whatever it takes, knowing that a fair portion of the people you can get to watch it will keep on watching it. Yes, there’s a time when you throw in the towel, when good isn’t good enough… but you don’t start talking about it after episode one. Sigh.

This is the tale of a con man born and raised, who finds the opportunity, the temptation to go straight. It’s about family – his family, and the wealthy oil family he’s entered into. It’s not flashy, it’s not just cheap fun (though it has a bit of that). Music is used nicely. Camerawork reminds me of Friday Night Lights, which is a good thing.

Sorry I didn’t review it earlier, but the first run I had a recording problem; luckily for me, they reran it… late night, Saturday, where no one is going to stumble across it. Would that I could’ve warned you before it aired.

But #2 airs tonight. Watch.

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shazbat My Father Says

A sign that your “the most annoying person in the world” comedy isn’t working – when that central character is actually the least annoying character on the show. The dad in this show has the Shatner confidence, and is largely a guy who just wants to be left alone. which I can certainly understand given the people he’s dealing with.
My favorite thing about this pilot? That the Wall Street II ads in it were tailored to the show. I always like that (although I dislike the show being tailored to the ads.)

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 6:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Mike & Mollie

For most subclasses of human, when they first get on TV, the focus is on how they’re different from everyone else. So, say, Billy Crystal’s character on Soap or Mister Humphries on Are You Being Served? were defined as nothing but gay (well, until they made Crystal not-gay), but eventually we get characters with a wider range of attributes.

The overweight never went through that path. Oh, there’s been one or two just-fat folks along the way, but we’ve had more Roseanne and Dan Connors, Nero Wolfes, and so forth. But now Mike & Mollie fills that historic void, with two lead fat folks who are about nothing but their desire to lose weight and be together. They each have jobs (both government employees – he’s a cop, she’s a teacher), but those are just frameworks for talking about their weight.

This is on right after Two and Half Men, which is convenient, because I’m about to dump that show as well; the end of last season showed that the show had ground down, with Charlie Sheen’s character in a constant drunk state. Add that it’s less fun watching Sheen when he’s proving to be an ongoing shmuck in real life. Gave it one last chance with the first episode of the new season. Now, it’s off the watch list.

Published in: on September 26, 2010 at 5:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Better With You

The base concept of Better With You is that we get three couples – a just-forming one, a together-for-a-decade one, and an old married couple – and we see the contrasts between the joys of the new relationship and the acceptance and possibly even bitterness of those locked in for the long haul. We’ve seen this concept before, more than once, and the fact that I cannot quickly name the shows says more about the success of those shows than about the quality of my memory.

This one is making a reasonable stab at being a bit more, perhaps. The three couples are family – younger sister and her new beau, older sister and her long-term POSSLQ, and aged parents. As such, there’s a little of how-we-protect-each-other-in-the-family play going along with the what-couples-are play. The cast is generally good, with the strongest player being the POSSLQ.

The younger daughter’s beau is supposed to weird, but it’s less like he’s weird and more like he’s a character from a different sitcom, with a different acting style. He’s Joey Trebianni (which perhaps is not that much of a surprise; this episode was directed by James Burroughs – I don’t know whether this is his new series for the year, or whether he was just brought in for the pilot as he so often is. I know he directed the pilot of the I’ve-not-yet-watched S#!t My Dad Bleeps.)

So this one comes out medium, overall. It would actually get a bit better if they avoid the explicit young couple/mid couple/old couple comparisons, make that subtext rather than text.

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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