Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring show reviews

Every Spring the networks roll out some new shows trying to fill the gaps left by the failed Fall shows. Hope springs eternal--maybe this time they'll find something that catches on! But from what I have seen so far...I'm not sure we have any big hits. Here are some capsule reviews of some of the new shows I've managed to catch!

Resurrection: what would you do if your long dead loved ones suddenly started coming home? Looking the exact same as they did at the time of their death and with no memory of anything since their unfortunate...accidents? This set of circumstance is the central plot of ABC's Resurrection, which is actually not too bad. In fact, it's pretty good, if a bit meandering.

In the small town of Arcadia, Missouri, people are starting to come back from the dead. Not like zombie hordes, but one or two people here and there. They aren't hungry for brains, but just want to get back to their lives. Except they've been gone for quite some time...and their families aren't sure whether they are the same. All the medical tests seem to indicate and they are normal healthy humans, but clearly something strange is afoot.

Well, that's not ominous at all.

I am enjoying this show more than I thought I would, I think in part because it's way darker than I expected. Not everyone who has come back is a good person and the show is doing a nice job of teasing out subtle clues about the how and why of the resurrections. I genuinely want to find out what happens next and to know what the hell is going on. The cast is also pretty great, especially the always good Omar Epps as a US immigration agent (random, I know) who finds himself at the middle of the mystery.

Resurrection airs Sunday evenings at 9:00 EST and you can catch up with all the episodes over on the show's website.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge: Syfy's new show is clearly trying to capture the same magic as the fantastic Face Off. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work for me.

In JHCSC, the contestants are challenged to create and fabricate creatures that are Jim Henson-y in style. Human actors/puppeteers bring the creatures to life (usually from inside the large puppet body) and they are "shot" on a soundstage in the Jim Henson studios in front of the panel of the judges.

I like the concept, but the show just doesn't have the same entertainment value as Face Off. Maybe it's because the challenges are a little more limited as they are constrained by the muppet-style of the overall show's conceit, but I just find it hard to get into. I'll give it a few more episodes, but unless things pick up I don't think I'll stick with it.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge airs Tuesday evenings at 10:00 EST on Syfy.

Turn: It doesn't really matter if this new AMC show is terrible (it isn't), because I am going to watch it no matter what. There are two reasons:

1) It takes place during the Revolutionary War, a criminally un-represented area of American history in movies and television.

2) The cast includes JJ Feild who played the dreamy Mr. Henry Tilney in the BBC's most recent adaptation of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. You bros might know him as "the English guy in the beret" who was part of Captain America's team in Captain America: The First Avenger.

It takes a real man to rock a cravat. 

The good news is the show isn't terrible, hurray! It is a bit confusing though, so make sure you are sitting on the thinking side of your couch and are paying attention. It's not really the type of show you can just have on in the background while you wander around your apartment picking up and putting away all your shoes.*

The show tells the story of America's first spy ring...which sounds fancy but really just means it's about this farmer (Jamie Bell, sans Billy Elliot dancing shoes, alas) who lives in British-occupied New York and ends up reluctantly spying for the Continental Army. I say reluctantly not because he was a British loyalist, but because he basically just wants to live with his family and grow cabbages or lettuce or something. But you know, these things happen. And I guess he ends up forming something called the Culper Ring and inventing modern spycraft? This is all according to the show's website. After the first two episodes the spies have only just figured that maybe hanging a special petticoat on a wash line isn't the best way to communicate with each other. Baby steps.

Anyway, it's enjoyable if a bit complicated, but the attention to detail in the sets and costumes is nice. Also, JJ Feild. So you should watch it.

TURN airs Sunday evenings at 9:00 EST on AMC. You can watch the two episodes that have already aired over on the website.

*Just me?

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