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Fall 2012 Review: Beauty and the Beast

28 Nov

Beauty and the Beast is the CW’s loose revival of the 1987 series of the same name starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman.  I know little beyond the basic premise of the original series, so we’ll ignore it from now on except to note how unlikely of a revival it is, and that Hamilton and Perlman actually went on to have really solid careers, so kudos to them.

Kristin Kreuk known for her performances as Lana Lang in CW’s Smallville (CW takes care of its own) and as Street Fighter icon Chun-Li (in, well, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) plays Catherine Chandler.  In the opening scene, set in 2003, Chandler, outside the bar where she works, witnesses her mom’s murder at the hands of a couple of mysterious men who try to kill her too until she’s saved by a man-beast. Everyone else (police, relative, friends) thinks she’s made up the man-beast when she describes him after the fact.

In the current day, as the sounds of M83’s Midnight City blare, Chandler is a New York City homicide detective with a partner with a super thick Noo Yawk accent.  Being a detective is clearly her life.  We know this because, possibly due to her workaholic tendencies, her douchebag dude leaves her for another woman in the first scene (we know he’s a douche because he broke up with her by text, and because the Noo Yawk partner calls him a douche at least twice).  Chandler and her partner are investigating the death of a hip NYC fashion editor on the rise, and discover DNA on her body which comes from a dead former member of the military.  Their investigation into him takes them to a seemingly abandoned warehouse where a biochem professor who was an old roommate of the dead military man Vincent Keller resides.  They are suspicious but find nothing.

Later, Chandler finds further reason to check back at the warehouse, and runs into the dead man, realizing that he’s the very same beast-person who saved her when her mom was killed (I actually don’t remember when she realizes this – she has three or four heart to hearts with him.  Sometime before the end of the episode though).  She also finds out that he’s some sort of man-beast hybrid who was a product of some super duper secret government military experiments.  He pleads with her to keep his not being dead a secret, and she complies, convinced that he tried to save the girl rather than kill her.

She tries to investigate her mother’s death further and ends up meeting an FBI agent who worked on the case in a subway station to pick his brain for more info.  In an insane scene, he ends up attacking her and she defends herself against him and two other agents, because there’s apparently NO OTHER PEOPLE ON THE SUBWAY PLATFORM.  Also, meeting on the subway platform would be the worst place ever to meet because you’d have no cell service if you couldn’t find each other.  Anyway, she knocks down the one guy but another throws her on the tracks, where she’s saved by Keller, who does a bunch of shadowy manimal killing.

Nobody seems to take any more time to talk about how she was mysteriously attacked by an FBI agent and two others on the NYC Subway track  and almost run over by a train, even though this seems like it would be a huge deal, but her partner does remark that she didn’t know Chandler took the F train, even though the station was clearly the 1-2-3 Canal Street station – Continuity, people!

Anyway, blah, blah, blah, they solve the procedural murder, and while Keller originally tries to get her to stop looking into stuff because of secret conspiracy danger, eventually they realize they just may need each other’s help after all.

Going forward, presumably, it’s part cop procedural, with Chandler being assisted by her partner, fellow cops, and Keller to solve a murder of the week while also steadily investigating the shadowy government conspiracies that resulted in Keller’s transformation and the murder of Chandler’s mother.

I didn’t really enjoy the show.  For the concept to be successful, the show should have been a lot more fun to watch.  I have no problem with any particular actor, but the show just seemed relatively lifeless.  Arrow, the other new CW show, could have easily been similar in character to Beauty and the Beast; both shows heavily feature conspiracies, and both have types of masked superheros in Green Arrow and the Beast.  However, I enjoyed Arrow much more; Beauty and the Beast was overly serious and heavy and not very rewarding.  The characters didn’t seem particularly interesting and the Beast was a little bit too brooding initially for my taste.  I was much more interested in finding out what Green Arrow’s mom was up to after finishing that pilot than the conspiracy theory in Beauty and the Beast, and the murder of the week could have been taken out of any procedural on TV.

I could watch it again; it was far more mundane and generic than unbearable, but I have no particularly reason to.  The only aspect that seems potentially interesting (the characters and writing didn’t stand out) is a nice juicy complex conspiracy plot, but there’s probably a fairly low possibility of that anyway.

Will I watch it again?  Nope.  It wasn’t awful, but I think that’s enough for me to say.  It met the watchable standard, but not really anything else above that threshold.

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The Walking Dead’s Passing Resemblance to Lost

27 Nov

 

Warning:  Walking Dead and Lost spoilers ahead.

It dawned on me while watching the last couple of episodes of The Walking Dead, that the current situation in the show bears a striking resemblance to certain periods of Lost.  These similarities are not necessarily one for one, but rather in overall feel as well as certainly matching elements of both shows.  Granted, I’m stretching a little bit here and there, but just follow along with me.

First, the Governor and his people are the Others.  The Governor is Ben.  The post-Apocalyptic southern landscape resembles the Island in the fact that danger lurks everywhere outside of protected areas, and that resources are scarce and technology is limited.  Like the Others, the Governor’s people live some semblance of a normal life, unencumbered by the constant dangers and shortages faced by those outside (Jack’s group in Lost, Rick’s group in The Walking Dead).  The Governor, like Ben Linus, is clearly an archvillain, from the viewer’s perspective, but we don’t know his exact history (at least in the first couple of seasons of Lost), and clearly he didn’t necessarily start out with the intention of being evil (well, neither thinks  of themselves as evil, but let’s say, their intents were not purely negative like a true evil villain).  Also, it seems that many in Governor’s group don’t know exactly the full story about the Governor’s motives and villain-ness; it also seemed that way for Ben as well in Lost, though that may just be an impression I got, especially in the episode (the first episode of the third season, A Tale of Two Cities) that showed some of the Others at a book club when Oceanic Flight 815 crashed (more of the Others obviously knew something was going on, but I’m not sure how obviously villainous it was to all of them, at least at first, there were innocents, like Juliet).  Like Lost, our good guys are composed of a rag team group of strangers who didn’t know each other until a tragic set of circumstances, nad have to band together to stay alive.

The interrogation scenes with Glen and Maggie have no exact parallels, but remind me of not one but two major interrogations in Lost.  These are when Jack’s crew had Ben locked up, without knowing his identity, for the last few episodes in the second season, when Ben claimed his name was Henry Gale, and when the Others captured Jack, Sawyer and Kate early in the third season, and particularly when Juliet interrogated Jack (by the way, if we’re really stretching this out, Rick is obviously Jack and Daryl clearly a much nicer Sawyer).  As in Lost, in The Walking Dead, we know these two groups are going to clash at some point, as the much weaker good guy crew dares to take on the much stronger bad guys.  There’s something not quite right about the Governor and his crew, which is exactly the feeling that viewers developed with the Others, even besides their simply being antagonists – the idea that they’re up to something fishy and underhanded aside from just wanting to defeat our protagonists.

Of course, Lost spent a lot more time developing these groups (the Others are around by the end of the first season, while the Governor doesn’t enter until the beginning of the third of Walking Dead, though the latter is on cable, and the episode count per season is significantly less) and then went way off the rail afterwards (time travel, um, purgatory, nuclear explosions).  Lost involved elements of the supernatural that aren’t present in Walking Dead.  Walking Dead involves the science fiction of zombies, and that’s about it.  Many of Lost’s best episodes were when the Others were still mysterious and when Ben’s creepy stare and constant lies-that-might-be-part-truths were captivating instead of tiring and repetitive (why did anyone ever believe Ben by the end of the show?).  The combination of the human dynamics amongst people who don’t know each other yet must work together set against the tension between opposing groups and the continuing plot mysteries that kept audiences guessing, anticipating, and theorizing were what made Lost so tantalizing, and what The Walking Dead does on its best days.

To its credit, I think The Walking Dead has soundly avoided the problem of biting off more than it can chew, plot mystery wise , and having source material, even if it’s not entirely faithful to it, probably helps a lot (I think the lack of limitless supernatural elements helps as well).  In addition, it smartly stayed away from the flashbacks, which I, and I realize this is a divisive opinion, always hated.  We can learn all we need about the characters from their actions at the present time.

I admit, the comparison is a stretch at times, but I do think Lost viewers will recognize at least a feeling in The Walking Dead right now which resembles some of the magic of the earlier (and best) seasons of Lost.  The show, which has had its share of issues over the first couple of seasons, has had its strongest half season so far.  Hopefully Walking Dead will continue its positive run of episodes;  for the first time in a while, I’m really looking forward to the next episode, the midseason finale.  So, kudos, The Walking Dead (and visiting the Lost wikipedia page just reminds me again of how Lost made me crazy (like visiting an ex’s facebook page) but that’s for another day).

The Sad Decline of The Office

21 Nov

I’ve been reading some Onion AVClub episode recaps about Seinfeld, one of the best comedies of all time, and I’m getting to the last couple of seasons, and while Seinfeld’s last seasons had great moments and some very good episodes, they clearly weren’t as consistent as Seinfeld at its peak, and there’s some very interesting reasons for it, that tv writers would be wise to study.

There’s a lot more to say about the general ends and declines of shows, but that’s for another article.  Today, this had me thinking more specifically of the sad decline of The Office.  I’ve been a consistent defender of later seasons of The Office, but there’s no defending it anymore.   The show is mediocre at absolute best and I’m probably only watching this season because it’s the last, and because I’ve watched the whole show and I still have very fond feeling towards it, which makes its struggles all the more frustrating.  The Office is that baseball or football player who starts struggling as they age, and you convince yourself, that it’s just a matter of time til they start at least resembling a shadow of their former self, and then eventually come the conclusion that they’re probably done (think Jason Bay on the Mets).

What has particularly surprised and disappointed me was how rudderless the show has seemed since Steve Carell and his iconic Michael Scott character left at the end of Season 7.  I had thought of the idea of replacing Michael Scott a couple of seasons early as a way to keep the show fresh and forestall decline, because his character had a lot of inherent limitations (which just makes it more impressive that Carell kept him consistently tolerable enough) but the way the writers handled the post-Carell era make me glad they held on to Carell as long as they could have.  It’s just disheartening that given Carell’s growing film career and the fact that he could have left at any time, the writers couldn’t have cobbled together a better succession plan.

Last season was a total mess, as the writers threw a bunch of ideas at the wall with a frustratingly low percentage of success, like a lousy shoot-first guard in the NBA (Nick Young?).  James Spader’s Robert California was an amusing one-joke character that got less and less funny in every episode he appeared in.

New boss Andy has become an entirely different character that sometimes isn’t even a character, changing his personality to serve the needs of a particular episode, and has been portrayed too often a poor man’s Michael Scott, rather than as his own character.  New character Nellie was just terrible, and increasingly irritating as the season went on.  The subplot involving a random new female character (Jordan?) hitting on Jim completely missed the mark.  The plot involving Darryl trying to get with random warehouse worker Val?  Swing and a miss.  The show said goodbye to Gabe at the end of the season, one of the few highlights of the last couple of seasons.

I, for some reason, had hope for this last season, because knowing exactly how many episodes there are left can often be liberating for a show, even a largely non-serial comedy, just in the ability to put everything out there.  However, if anything, this season has been even worse.  The two replacements for Kelly have done nothing for me and the strange plot of the non-Clark Duke employee slowly establishing a rapport with Erin while Andy acts increasingly erratic I don’t really understand and don’t have any interest inn.  Andy has evolved further into Michael Scott territory, and as much as I’ve always liked Ed Helms, it both makes me appreciate Carell, and wonder why they can’t create a consistent character for Andy.  Jim and Pam just have nothing left; the major plot this year involves Jim wanting to leave work to start a new company with his friends in Philly, but it’s really hard to care.  The show has tried, for some reason, I don’t understand at all (non-refundable contract?) to redeem Nellie, deciding to simply forget completely how irritating and terrible a character she was for her first few episodes.

There’s not to say there aren’t occasional laughs to be found; it’s just that they’re fewer and farther between than ever before.  Erin is possibly the best part of watching the last few seasons of The Office, and Dwight’s ridiculousness holds up better over time than the antics of Jim, Pam, and Andy.  I laugh at these occasional moments when I watch now; but if this was the show I was watching new from the beginning, I have a hard time thinking I’d keep watching.  Anyway, I still hope against hope that the second half of the last season will leave us on a better note, but they haven’t provided much reason to keep watching.

Fall 2012 Review: Arrow

15 Nov

The titular Arrow is DC superhero Green Arrow, on whom the show is based, although I don’t know exactly how close.  My knowledge of Green Arrow is more or less limited to his name, Oliver Queen, his city, Star City, his sidekick, Speedy, and the fact that he and Green Lantern had a well-known comic in the ‘70s where he was liberal and Lantern was conservative.  I probably know a little more if I rack my brain, but I decided to leave it at that for this viewing and review, and save any further Green Arrow research for after.  So I’m not sure how accurate this show is, and can’t be angered/buoyed by changes made/not made for better or worse.

Oliver Queen has just been rescued, when we come in, from an island where he spent five years after a shipwreck in which he was the only survivor.  A super rich twenty-something playboy beforehand, Oliver changed profoundly on the island (seems plausible enough that five years on an island alone could do that), but he’s trying to convince many people he hasn’t, especially not telling them about his city-rescuing alter ego, a dude in a green hood with mad archery and not-getting-killed-by-guys-with-guns skills (which he gained on the island somehow?  I’m willing to suspend disbelief for a comic show).  He was apparently inspired by his dad (played by evil Homeland vice president Jamey Sheridan), who was on the boat too, and did everything he could to ensure that Oliver lived, pushing him to make up for all the bad that the family company had done after he was rescued, and somehow transmitting a very Revenge-like list of villains that have something come to them.

He reconnects with the people in his life, introducing them to us as they get reintroduced to him.  There’s his mom, who is now married to a former partner of his dad’s (if this was Castaway, she’d be Helen Hunt, and the new husband Benjamin Bratt).  There’s his sister, nicknamed Speedy (hint, hint?), who may have developed a drug problem in Oliver’s absence.  There’s his best friend, Tommy, who wants to rush Oliver right back to his playboying ways, throwing a big party to celebrate his return.  And finally, there’s his ex-griflriend, Laurel, now a do-gooder lawyer fighting for legal aid, whose sister died in the shipwreck, where Oliver was cheating with her, on Laurel.  Oh, and she’s now kind of seeing best friend Tommy.  Awkward.

We know he’s out to get all the people on his list, but no one else knows yet, and he shows his island-gained bow and arrow abilities in a couple of nice action scenes, taking out a shady corrupt businessman from the list and his legion of guards.  Oh, and his mom apparently was behind a kidnapping of him, which he escaped from towards the beginning of the episode.  So that’s about something.

I know more about comics that most people, but less than anyone who has ever seriously read comics, so as I said, I’m not judging this with the comic in mind.  I thought there was a chance that I would like it based on the little I knew and assumptions I made in my head, and I did enjoy it, which I think that’s more of an achievement than it seems.  I didn’t think it was great or a cinematic achievement or was blown away by it or plan on immediately telling everyone I know to watch.   I am going to watch the second episode though, and that’s pretty good; only a few series get that far every year  (the TV show equivalent of getting my Top Chef jacket and making the main competition – sorry, just watched first episode of new Top Chef season).

I enjoyed the set up and I think there’s promise in exploring the mysteries behind the shipwreck, his history, and what his mom is out to get, and I liked the characters and actions scenes enough to feel like I wanted to watch another episode after this first one finished.  There’s not much to the characters right yet, other than the broad strokes the episode generated – reformed playboy, debaucherous best friend, legal aid maturing ex, troublesome sister, but I think what kept me interested most was that it seemed to hit the right feel between serious and light and feeling comic book-y, where broad strokes, at least to begin with, are part of the natural order.

Random note:  The three things we see Tommy refreshing Oliver on which happened during his five years on the island –  Super Bowl winners, Black president, Lost ending (which, rightly, he doesn’t understand).

Will I watch it again?  Yeah, I think I will.  It’s not an instant must-watch by any means but it’s certainly at least on the level of Revolution which I gave a few more episodes, and I’ll at least give it two or three more and see if I stay intrigued or fall away.

Fall 2012 Review: Cuckoo

7 Nov

Cuckoo is a BBC comedy (BBC 3 to be precise, but please don’t ask me what the difference is) about a normal-ish family trying to get along with their weird new son-in-law.

While I was watching the first episode, various comparisons kept coming to mind, but my brother crystallized it best –  Cuckoo most closely resembles Meet the Parents in reverse.  Instead of a normal, if easily intimidated and sometimes awkward, workaday guy, being forced into bizarre uncomfortable situations with a super weird and intense parent of his fiance, it’s about a normal workaday family, the father, especially, being forced into bizarre uncomfortable situations with a super weird and intense son-in-law his daughter brings home after marrying him during her gap year abroad (could you get more UK than gap year?).

While the rest of the actors haves some British cred (Greg Davies, who plays the father, is the head of sixth form in other recent British comedy hit, The Inbetweeners), the only one known to Americans is Andy Samburg, who plays the new son-in-law, who calls himself Cuckoo (hence the title).  While I imagined Samburg would play his standard doofus-y type character which I thought would fit seamlessly into this plot, he plays just as ridiculous and over the top a character, just not what I was expecting in that vein from him.  He’s a super arrogant, super non-self aware, eastern-philosophy type, pretentious and with no basis in reality.  His work is writing his magnum philosophical opus, and he casually insults the father unwittingly within just a couple of days of knowing each other (how this is unwittingly is a mark of how extreme the lack of self-awareness is) by calling his beautiful English countryside shit, compared to all the beautiful places Cuckoo has been, and by calling the father a worker, while he, Samberg, is a thinker who works on a higher plane while the workers handle more menial tasks.

If you haven’t guessed yet from just the description so far, well  the show doesn’t really work.  It doesn’t really work on either of two primary levels, idea and execution.  It starts with kind of a simple, stale idea, and doesn’t bring anything particularly new or innovative to the idea nor even take advantage of what humor can still be mined out of that existing idea.

It’s really difficult to understand what the daughter, Rachel, sees in Cuckoo, but even taking that as a given and putting it aside, it’s just not very funny.  Rachel really wants her parents to like him, but she’s amazingly oblivious to his inappropriate and weird comments, and not even really trying to make excuses for his behavior, like you’d think someone would.  There’s lots of sitcom standard miscommunication, where two characters are talking on different frequencties, and we the viewer realize this at the time, while they realize this later on, and there in allegedly lies the humor.  Primarily at one point in the pilot, the father thinks he’s convinced Cuckoo to take some of the father’s hard earned money and leave for good, for Rachel’s sake, so she can have an ordinary university life, where Cuckoo naturally doesn’t get what the father’s saying at all and uses the money to buy a ridiuclous truck, and soon the father realizes he’s wasted his money but has to claim otherwise to save face with the rest of his family for are trying to be more considerate to Cuckoo.  Cuckoo’s so wacky and oblivious!  It’s awkward for everyone without being funny to compensate properly.

Will I watch again?  No.  It wasn’t awful; it mostly was stale instead of cringe-inducing, and there were one or two moments where I laughed.  It just wasn’t very good and was rather disappointing; I’m not sure I had any reason to expect more from this show, but for some reason (likely that I generally like Andy Samberg) I did.

Fall 2012 Review: Chicago Fire

24 Oct

 Chicago Fire (I’d make an MLS joke here, but no one would get it, in fact I’ll spell out Major League Soccer, which has a Chicago Fire team because I think most people don’t even know what MLS stands for) is about a group of firefighters and paramedics in Chicago.  In the first five minutes, we see one of the team die in a fire, and two of primary figures at the firehouse are at loggerheads a month later over responsibility for the death, while trying to live on with their daily responsibilities at work and home.

The rest of the hour is a day in the life the crew.  They fight fires and rescue people, putting their lives on the line every job, while taking the risk that if they make the wrong decision in the heat of battle, it’s on them.  We learn about life at the firehouse and the mostly bonding but occasional infighting that goes on there, between the different cliques,including  the regular firefighters and the rescue squad.  The new guy comes in and the other firefighters show him the ropes, horse around, and have a couple of laughs at his expense.  The revered veteran chief  (played by Eamonn Walker, better known to me as Said from Oz) offers wisdom, and does his best to separate the fighting parties when conflicts arise and unite his men (and women, but mostly men).

Our main firefighter, Matthew Casey (played by House’s Jesse Spencer, who shed most of his hair and his native Australian accent for the role) has trouble at home, as he’s quasi-possibly-separated from his fiancé, (which he hasn’t told any of his friends/coworkers), due at least partly to the impact of his friend and fellow firefighter’s death.

Man, being a firefighter is some seriously heavy shit, but they have their moments of levity as well.  There’s the towering  highs of saving a little girl’s life from a dangerous car accident side by side with the painful lows of another firefighter getting injured and requiring serious surgery, along with the feel good tomfoolery of watching their chief fight in a fire-police boxing match.   Then, just in time, when a fire strikes, the two enemies from the beginning unite in the heat of battle.

We’ve seen this show before, it’s just usually with cops and sometimes doctors, rather than fireman (I haven’t seen Third Watch but I imagine this is similar).  It’s fine.  It is what it is (an irritating expression, but still apt here).  There’s families, there’s hurt, there’s that camaraderie that only comes from being members of the same tribe that puts their lives on the line every day.  We’re meant to feel like we’re getting an insider’s view on the special relationships that go on inside that firehouse and that our emotions are on the line every time they step into a blaze.  There’s nothing that lifts this show above the realm of the generic though, no outstanding dialogue, or artistry, or characterization.

Note:  I keep calling this show Chicago Code, a short-lived cop show from a couple of years ago, that probably nobody remembers, and I didn’t realize I did until I keep calling this show that.

Will I watch it again?  No.  As I said above, it’s fine.  I’m sure some people would like it, and that’s okay. I wouldn’t call it bad as much as I would rather say it just doesn’t stand out.  It’s one of those shows that is exactly what you think it is, and you don’t really need to watch it to know whether you’re going to like it.  It’s more unmemorable than it is good or bad, which is inherently not positive, but compared to many shows, relatively not negative.

 

 

Fall 2012 Review: 666 Park Avenue

22 Oct

666 Park Avenue is a supernatural soapy horror, a super specific genre which happens to mean that the writers have narrow waters to navigate regarding the show’s tone.  If it’s too serious, it’ll be impossible to swallow the level of over the top silliness involved in an evil apartment building, while if it’s too jokey, it loses the scary horror element altogether.  Scary horror and fun but kind of silly horror can be combined (note: Shaun of the Dead, though that’s with satire instead of soap), but it’s a delicate balance.  I definitely think 666 sees Revenge as a model, following the formula of serious plot and soapy personal relations meant to be both serious and fun, but featuring a supernatural theme instead of a rich powerful family conspiracy.  It’s kind of fitting that on the other end of the spectrum from Revenge is ABC’s third Sunday night drama, the pretty bad (although quite successful) Once Upon a Time as a model of what not to do, which takes on fables, but far too over the top and silly, rather than serious, without being either fun or funny enough to make that trade off worthwhile.

Of course, the building isn’t actually 666 Park Avenue; that’d be a little too on the nose.   It’s actually 999 Park Avenue, but looks like 666 in the shadows.   It’s a large, old, building and our main characters Jane and Henry are wannabe yuppies, a young couple with lots of ambition and education but low on funds.  Their prayers are answered in the form of a building manager position at the building, which gets them a free room far above what they could normally afford.

Terry O’Quinn plays building owner/SATAN/SATAN associate Kevin Durand, resembling more later season Locke, when he was actually the Man in Black, then the regular Locke (yeah, I didn’t understand the last couple seasons of Lost either).  Vanessa Williams portrays his wife Olivia.  They’re somehow seeking to corrupt Henry and Jane (I wonder if having them be unmarried rather than married was a nod to the horror trope of disapproving of pre-marital sex?), while Henry and Jane are bowled over by their generosity before they start noticing slightly odd occurrences around the building.

Aside from the main plot of the two building managers getting settled in their new home, the episode plays out almost like a series of Goosebumps stories, which basically all have the same classic horror message:  Be Careful What You Wish For (I can’t find a clip for the life of me, but this always makes me think of the Simpsons Monkey’s Paw episode where Homer wishes for a turkey sandwich, “The turkey’s a little dry…the turkey’s a little dry!  oh, foe and cursed thing, what demon from the depths of hell created thee!”).  The first of two examples we see in the premiere is in the opening scene.  As a demonstration of both Durand’s power and his shady intent, a violinist who apparently had no talent and made a deal for ten years of greatness, is sucked away into the building after his time runs out, although he begs Durand for more.  Second, a man who agreed to kill on Durand’s command to bring his dead wife back to life is, well, sucked into a wall when he doesn’t.  Here’s a tip from someone admittedly not qualified to practice law:  Don’t sign contracts that oblige you to you know, die in ten years, or kill people, or sell your soul to any number of devils, etc.  About every five minutes out of Durand’s mouth comes some attempted witty ominous crack about how all people have needs and wants and must be willing to do what it takes to get them, or some such.

Note:  I do have a lot of doubt about the enforceability of these contracts in a court of law, though I guess that’s immaterial to Durand.

I’m not sure how many of the characters are regulars and how many episode of the week residents there will be, but besides O’Quinn and his wife, and the main two characters, there’s a young couple where the husband is a playwright who keeps staring at some woman in the window, and a young girl who apparently steals things and then maybe sees people’s futures in the items, or something. Going in, with the huge building filled with mostly rich people, compared to the cash poor main characters, I thought there might be an opportunity for some wonderfully heavy handed satire, They Live-style, but sadly, that element seems to be absent.

Will I watch it again?  Probably not.  Not because it was so bad as much as because it’s at least fifth in the picking order amongst new shows.  After one episode, I think it can be a good show but is unlikely to be a great show, and while I think watching the next episodes could possibly be enjoyable, it doesn’t quite cross the necessary threshold at this point.