Monthly Archives: June 2010

Boner Juice

Everyone who’s anyone has already heard that AMC is adapting Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” as their fourth original series. The pilot began filming in Atlanta this month, and we all woke up a couple of days ago to this sweet little Christmas-in-June…

Isn’t that cool? The show bows in October, so look forward to a lot more of this in the coming months.

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Persons Unknown: I just want my kids back.

Lost giveth and Lost taketh away. The giveth is one of the best shows ever to grace our TV screens. The taketh away is hours and hours of networks trying to find the NEXT Lost. Some, like *shudder* Vanished are horrible right from the start. Others, like FlashForward start with a bang but quickly fizzle out. Will a replacement ever be found? We’re not sure, but we’ll keep looking.

The next show trying to fill that Lost-shaped hole in our hearts is Persons Unknown, which, for some reason is already drawing comparisons to that very same show. And like so many shows before it, it’s not quite as good. But yet, in the middle of all its stereotypical characters and cheesy acting, we catch a fleeting glimpse of promise. How’s that? Let me tell you.

In Persons Unknown, a group of strangers have been abducted by — get this — persons unknown. When they wake up they’ve all been placed in a small town in the middle of nowhere. They’re all alone, if you don’t count the creepy night manager at the hotel they’re staying at or the staff at the Chinese restaurant across the street. They find devices implanted under their skin. And they’re being watched by security cameras installed all over town. Who’s behind it all? Luckily there’s a reporter out in the real world looking into one of the victim’s disappearances, and I have a feeling that with a little luck, he’ll have the whole thing figured out in six or seven seasons.

Unfortunately, we may not have that long, because I have a really hard time seeing this one last past its 13 episodes. And it isn’t entirely because of the show itself. It has to do with it airing during the summer and the amount of promotion NBC is giving it in addition to that. If the show’s continued existence depended only on the content, we might have something to talk about. Because with some work this could really go somewhere.

As things stand right now, Persons Unknown seems a little too polished. It’s as if the entire show was put together with only its promotional pictures in mind. The show can’t simply tell us who these characters are, they have to show us that Jason Wiles is a little rough around the edges and has a shadowy past because, you know, he’s got stubble. I understand that certain characters have a hard time trying to break out of their types, but this cast has really got its work cut out for it. We’ve got Janet, who we can tell is deeply worried about her 5-year old because she says, “I’m just worried about my daughter,” about every five minutes. And then there’s Sergant McNair, who I have a feeling is in the Army because he’s wearing a uniform and says things like, “Sir, yes sir,” and “I’ll go do a recon.”

If the cast can forget that they all come from such different walks of life and concentrate on the fact that they’re stuck in some weird ghost town in the middle of f’ing nowhere, I think they’ll work well together and the show could potentially go far. But just like any other new show trying to find its footing, it’ll take a bit for it all to come together. Let’s hope it doesn’t take too long. Because television, just like Lost, giveth and taketh away.

Modern Family, “Family Portrait”: I wound up with this sorry bunch.

We had some highs and we had some lows, but overall Modern Family was probably the most solid comedy to along in a while, and the first that’ll give shows like 30 Rock and The Office any serious competition at the next round of award shows. But while there’s a lot to say about the show as a whole, I’ll try and keep my comments here limited to the season finale, which aired a few weeks ago, but, what’re you gonna do.

While there was a lot to like about “Family Portrait,” the episode didn’t really feel like a season finale. Claire wanting to take a picture of the entire family was a good way to bring everyone together, but felt a little watered down because the characters spent so much of the episode apart from each other. As I’ve mentioned before, it seemed like “Airport 2010” and “Hawaii” would have worked much better as an endcap to the season.

Even Jay’s short monologue about the family at the end of the episode didn’t feel in any way different from the several others we’ve heard throughout the season, especially when you consider that it isn’t a monologue like we’ve seen before — in which the characters speak to whoever it is filming them — but an interview he’s doing with Luke for a school project.

Comedy aside, at the heart of the show are the family’s relationships with each other, and it would have been much more fitting for that to serve as a centerpiece to the episode. Instead it was the centerpiece of about five minutes toward the end when Claire is finally able to ease up a bit and everyone has a good time throwing mud at each other.

So while it didn’t work for me as an end to an impressive first season, it offered up a lot more when taken as a regular episode. Phil asking Kobe Bryant if he liked being a basketball player was hilarious and was probably the best part of the entire basketball game. I thought the entire Kiss-Cam thing was a little played up in the promos, and didn’t really seem to go anywhere. Next we had Mitchell running from a pigeon that had somehow gotten inside the house. Him chasing after it with a tennis racket — all set to Cameron’s rendition of Ava Maria — may have been the funniest scene in the entire episode. I didn’t think the scenes between Claire and Hailey were comedy gold, but it was nice to see them get some one on one time, and it’s always nice to see Hailey not act like such an airhead.

The episode may falter a bit once you start picking at it, but it was still enjoyable in its own right. I’ll definitely be looking forward to this one returning in the fall. With The Office and 30 Rock both taking dips this season, Modern Family has been one of the only reliably funny shows this year

Stuff I liked:

  • Gloria’s inappropriate dress?! Surely not.
  • I don’t think “The Squirt Locker” works as a joke anywhere outside this episode.
  • “Actually, Where’s Waldo doesn’t stand out. He’s super hard to find.”