One of the reasons that I stopped doing the regular reviewing thing is that there is just too much TV today to really stay on top of it. Saw a figure quoted earlier that more than 350 original scripted series had new episodes in 2014, when you count all the cable channels, the major streaming sources, and so forth.
But I have been watching things. And just having come off a batch of watching new things, I thought I’d do some running down, for the two people who still have this one their watch list.
- The Nightly Show fills the old Colbert Report slot with news commentary humor and discussion, focusing on minority issues. On the first episode, the news humor is quite good. Host Larry Wilmore is a smart and talented man… but his voice grates on me a bit. We’ll see if I get used to it. The discussion panel was a mixed bag at best; you could tell when each of the night’s panel members were Saying The Thing They Had Prepared To Say, hanging it however loosely on the question or conversation of the moment. Overall total, on the good side. And here’s a weird confession: I was kind of hoping to not like this show, as liking it means two hours a week of watching it.
- I’ve watched several of the non-kiddy Amazon Original pilots of this batch, and as everyone’s telling you, The Man in the High Castle is the one worth watching. It’s an alternate history take set about a decade after the Allies lost World War II. It’s well put together… but my main thought is that whoever the production designer is has just found a dream job. “Here, combine Nazi design and Japanese design with 1960s US.” What more could you ask for as a design assignment?
- The other originals I watched: despite having some good people in the cast, Salem Rogers doesn’t work. If you saw Bad Teacher and Bad Judge, well, they would’ve called this one Bad Model, but they forgot to cast Ryan Hansen. A supermodel returns from extended rehab and proceeds to terrorize her former assistant and act entitled. It feels compressed and just not funny. Down Dog, about a vapid yoga instructor, deals actually in some of the same realms of that wacky Hollywood, but is mellower, less abrasive, more smoothly done, and still not funny. Cocked uses a standard formula of the offspring who left the family business but must come back to save it and deal with wacky relatives (example: Arrested Development.) It’s got Brian Dennehy in it, which is a good thing, and Jason Lee, which is inconsistently a good thing. It tries for a mix of humor and drama, but alas the humor is not that funny and the drama is contrived. Some nudity for those that like it (although it’s of Symbolically Sexy women for a scene’s needs, rather than being actually sexy), some small LGBT content for a key but unconvincing plot point. It’s not a show that I would be surprised at getting a few seasons for a while, but I doubt I’ll be watching.