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More Mini Reviews of New Fall TV Shows

Submitted by on September 23, 2011 – 1:41 am 12 Comments

Went through the DVR again today and here’s what I saw.

Prime Suspect

Phew, it’s not terrible! I’m sure I wasn’t alone in approaching this with trepidation. The original BBC version and Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison had such a huge impact on me, how could this American adaptation measure up? By being a different show. After a few minutes, I stopped comparing the two and settled into appreciating Maria Bello’s performance as New York homicide detective Jane Timoney. Bello is a ball buster and has the acting chops to make Timoney tough without looking like she’s trying too hard. Bello’s presence is strong enough that she’ll elevate the show just by walking and talking.

It did seem anachronistic that the male cops in the precinct were so sexist toward her, insinuating that she slept her way onto the squad. What year is this? Granted, it’s based on a show that first aired twenty years ago but this version is set in the present. Male chauvinists are probably still everywhere, but since Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson has been commanding a whole division of male detectives with respect on The Closer for years, the sexism felt like a step backward in time and not a very interesting source of conflict. Let’s hope Timoney proves herself to them soon and that storyline can go away. Nerd verdict: Bello is in her Prime.

Person of Interest

There are many impressive names attached to this show—Jonathan Nolan (Oscar-nominated co-writer of Memento and the Batman movies with his brother Christopher), Oscar-nominated Taraji P. Henson, Lost‘s J.J. Abrams and Michael Emerson, etc. But the MVP is star James Caviezel. He can be the most interesting person in a scene without saying anything. At the beginning of the pilot, his character, John Reese, is sitting on the subway looking like a homeless man, minding his own business when a bunch of thugs get on. Reese is completely still and may even be drunk or half asleep, but somehow Caviezel manages to exude an intensity that lets you know an explosion is about to happen. That intensity and stillness are what make him so riveting. His eyes are more expressive than his words sometimes, and when he does speak, it’s often in low, soft tones that just make him more intimidating. The premise of two men having foreknowledge of crimes and teaming up to prevent them is different enough to make this show intriguing, and I hope the formidable Henson will get more to do in future episodes. Nerd verdict: Caviezel makes Person very interesting.

Charlie’s Angels

I don’t know where to start with this one. The atrocious acting? Cheesy dialogue? Just overall what-the-hellness? The original was no masterpiece but it was campy fun. This one played it straight and was determined to give us one cringe-inducing moment after another. Worst offender was Ramon Rodriguez as Bosley. He must have gone to the Adam West school of acting because he kept pausing in weird places while saying his lines, as if he were waiting for his closeup before he would complete the dialogue. Minka Kelly has one facial expression and a monotone that indicated no emotional inner life. Rachael Taylor has the two most dreadful lines in the pilot: “We’re angels, not saints,” and “I didn’t know my heart could hurt this much.” I didn’t know my head could hurt this much until I watched this show. Nerd verdict: Lifeless Angels.

Unforgettable

This is the type of show I’d probably watch if it were the only new programming among a night of reruns. Poppy Montgomery stars as Carrie Wells, a former NY cop who has HSAM—highly superior autobiographical memory—which allows her to remember everything she’s ever experienced. Well, except who killed her sister when they were kids playing in the woods. Apparently the trauma is blocking her memory. Anyway, she helps solve the murder of a neighbor and it looks like she’ll be back on the force by the next episode and working alongside her former flame, Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh).

Though Carrie’s ability is unusual, this is a pretty standard police procedural, in which you can figure out who the villain is at the half-hour mark and aren’t thrown by any of the red herrings. The pacing is somewhat slow and dreamlike, especially when she’s revisiting her memories to bring up facts. Montgomery needs to relax into the role more; right now she’s doing a lot of affected readings. The most interesting thing for me is that actress Marilu Henner is a consultant because she has HSAM (for more info, go here) and will be appearing on the show later this season as Carrie’s aunt…who has Alzheimer’s. Nerd verdict: Unforgettable‘s title is hyperbolical.

Did you watch any of these? What’d you think?

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12 Comments »

  • Your take on Charlie’s Angels cracks me up. You express precisely what I thought the show would be. I never had any intention of watching that one, but you’ve got me interested in the Caviezel show.

  • le0pard13 says:

    I missed Prime Suspect last night because of the return of The Mentalist (a guilty pleasure of my wife and I). I’m going to look for it online.

    I’ll keep watching Person of Interest. Interesting concept, but an opening episode that got a little clumsy with its execution. However, what you say about it is why I plan to continue watching (and hoping).

    Thanks, Elyse.

  • I loved Person of Interest and was more happy that Grey’s was a 2 hour special. I am so torn, been a Grey’s fan forever but Person of Interest is like the perfect thriller book.

  • EIREGO says:

    Person of Interest looked and played well, but I’m not sure it can sustain the momentum for me.

    ANGELS – Whoever directed, edited or greenlighted this show should be taken into a back alley and thrown in the dumpster. Really bad. I actually guffawed about every other minute.

    Prime Suspect was indeed a joy to behold. I get the sexist issues you had with the show, but I remember the original had it as well and, well, I’ve always heard a squad room was a boys club anyway. Bello’s character looks like she can hold her own and I’ll tune in again.

    Unforgettable was not. Which is sad because I love Poppy Montgomery.

    BTW: Did you get to see REVENGE? Felt like a show that should be on the CW.

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    Naomi—I was hoping I’d be wrong about Angels because I grew up with the original. Oh well. I’d like to hear your thoughts on Person if you do tune in next week.

    le0pard13—How was Mentalist? I wanted to watch it but the DVR was already recording two things in that hour. And the show isn’t online anywhere. Drats.

    Marce—I recorded Grey’s and have it on deck for tonight. Have you watched it?

    EIREGO—I have seen Revenge. I might tune in again because I like watching horrible people get their due and want to see how Emily will carry out her vengeance. But the show isn’t dynamic enough yet so I’m not sure how long it’ll keep my interest.

  • Person of Interest is starting here soon, so I’ll be tuning in. So will Charlie’s Angels and I was tempted to watch just so I could point and laugh, but I don’t think I can bring myself to. {I really enjoyed the original, though! I wanted to be Sabrina.} Thanks for the previews, PCN!

  • Poncho says:

    I’ve read both your “Fall TV reviews” and I must say I mostly agree with you:

    * Ringer has me somewhat hooked because SMG is (very) watchable. She’s been the only real good thing about the show, and I somehow want to know what’s up with Siobhan. But it is very campy, indeed! I mean, it’s CW, isn’t it?
    * I was cracking from the first moment I saw Dennings in 2 Broke Girls and I’m glad Caroline’s not just a dumb blonde, but a dumb blonde with a degree in business! HA!
    * Loved loved loved the new Lily. I wasn’t so sure during the first episode, but the instant where she said “MY daddy!” on the second ep I was hooked!
    * Person of Interest has me on board as well, Jim Caviezel is indeed incredible in his scenes. I hope it brings some appreciation to this very underrated actor.
    * I was expecting some sort of failure for The X Factor and it came true. And THAT’s why I rarely watch audition episodes.

    And that’s about it. I still have to catch Prime Suspect but otherwise, the other shows don’t really interest me that much. Well… except Charlie’s Angels which I will have to see and tell my mom to stay away from.

    But then, thanks PCN! Fantastic post, as usual!

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