Archive | January, 2013

DO NO HARM Review; NBC’s Jekyll-and-Hyde-Based Series Could Have Promise

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Like Sherlock Holmes, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydehas been done and redone to death.  But also like Sherlock, there are still ways to modernize it and keep it fresh.  Whether Do No Harm is one of those who can do so well remains to be seen.  Viewers of the BBC series Jekyll, healmed by Sherlock and Doctor Who scribe Steven Moffat, will find a lot of similarities with Do No Harm.  But the later series has the opportunity to not turn into the same messJekyll eventually became (within six episodes!) if it just sticks to the basics.  Hit the jump for more on this updated classic. … READ MORE

THE AMERICANS Recap: “Pilot”

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The Americans capitalizes on two great American loves: spy thrillers, and stickin’ it to our old Cold War foe, the former Soviet Union.  It’s not all as simple as that, though, since the protagonists are, indeed, Russian, and they are here to fight against all things Americans.  But The Americans combines elements from two of the best shows currently on TV, Breaking Bad (with the hidden darkness of seemingly vanilla suburbanites with close encounters with federal agents) and Homeland (embedded terrorist sleeper agents) yet comes up with a few twists of its own.  The show came out with a strong pilot that sets up much to come — hit the jump for more on the premiere and why “the moon is nothing, getting into space is the real accomplishment!” … READ MORE

Southie Rules: TV Review

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This A&E Docu-series about South Boston goes heavy on MTV-style caricature.

A&E’s new docu-series Southie Rules, about a South Boston clan looking to preserve their way of life, is the latest in a long list of niche-neighborhood shows that run the gambit from documentary-approach appreciation to uncomfortable exploitation. On that latter end, one reason (of many) a series like MTV’sBuckwild is so unfortunate is because the cast doesn’t seem in on the joke. But the cast of Southie Rules, who have some shades of the Jersey Shore, seem very self-aware.

THE FOLLOWING Recap: “Chapter Two”

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The Following drew big numbers in the ratings with its premiere last week, and delivered during its initial hour an incredible number of plot points and situations (and gruesome murders) to keep us interested.  While many (myself included) lamented the shoehorning of Poe with awkward expositions to explain the motivational canvas serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) was using to exact his evils, the actual idea of “the following” that he had amassed to do his bidding seemed worthy of further viewing.  This week the show pushed Poe to the background slightly (though his work was probably still too present) and focused more on the following itself, which presented a few surprises.  Hit the jump for what went right, and why I wish they would stop harping on Nevermore. … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 5 Recap

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Well, after my jolly assertions about “Downton Abbey” last week, we were given an exceptionally sad follow-up. But, to keep spoilers hidden, I will instead talk about some of the other things this jam-packed hour gave us.

There were a lot of subplots scattered throughout the episode that portend interesting things to come, from Edith’s column to Isobel taking on Ethel as her latest do-gooder project, to the love triangles (squares? hexagons?) forming in the Downstairs kitchen as well as Sherlock, Jr Anna getting her big break on the case … READ MORE

“The Good Wife” Season 4, Episode 13 Recap

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Another fantastic week for “The Good Wife.” “The Seven Day Rule” was an episode that probably worked ok on its own, but seemed designed specifically to benefit long-time fans with a complex narrative (not seen all too often on network procedurals). It incorporated familiar aspects and faces (particularly the appearance of Neil Gross, the CEO of ChumHum, one of the show’s favorite Google-esque targets), but it also played upon old rivalries and set up plenty to come … READ MORE

GIRLS Recap: “Bad Friend”

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Did anyone count the seconds Shoshanna and Jessa turned up on screen in this episode of Girls?  More than twenty, but less than a full minute, surely.  The problem with any episode that focuses entirely on Hannah is that Hannah is, by far, the least likable of the foursome.  In small doses she can be fine — the cold open was a thing of beauty to anyone who works in, or pays close attention to, media.  Hannah, looking to do some kind of Woody Allen-esque “I just want to talk about how awkward I am” piece, or maybe some kind of long-form old-school journalism is told, “have a threesome with strangers you meet off of Craiglist.  Or go on a cocaine binge.  Just an idea.”  Hit the jump to see how that played out, as well as why you should “look at the doll and describe her!” … READ MORE

Swamp Pawn: TV Review

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CMT’s new hybrid series — a mash-up of series like “Swamp People” and pawn shows — manages to find its own distinct, and very likable, voice.

You only need to add “Amish,” “gold” or “housewives” to the title of CMT’s new six-part docu-seriesSwamp Pawn to make it the ultimate mash-up of other successful reality franchises. Pawn shows, of which there seem to be an infinite number (both Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn have their own spinoffs) have become a mainstay of programming, but somehow Swamp Pawn unexpectedly finds its own distinctive niche among the throng. … READ MORE

ATLwood: Gird your loins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman have landed

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Sightings

Jake Gyllenhaal was spotted at ‪the Whole Foods on Ponce‬ Thursday. He and Hugh Jackman are here filming Prisoners. (As ATLwood friend @UnchainedFoodie summed things up, “Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal are filming in Atlanta, so be on lookout and don’t fall in puddles of estrogen forming all over the city”).

- According to a friend, Jackman is living in Decatur right now, and has been spotted at a gym nearby … #EyesPeeled

Ludacris was spotted at Whiskey Blue at W Atlanta – Buckhead on Saturday night, while five-time World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield was a patron at the W Midtown on the same night (and, reportedly, dancing it up) … READ MORE

The Taste: TV Review

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Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson are among the judges on ABC’s cooking competition, which features professional and nonprofessional competitors.

ABC’s new cooking show The Taste – a conceptual hybrid of Top Chef and The Voice – is anchored by some formidable talent behind the judges’ table. Since viewers cannot, regrettably (or in some cases, thankfully) taste the food, the engaging nature of the judges and their overall likability means a lot. While some names certainly are familiar (including the most popular judge Anthony Bourdain, as well as British food writer and TV personality Nigella Lawson), not everyone might be as familiar with French chef Ludo Lefebvre, who the show introduces as having trained at “the West Point of French cuisine,” or the happy-go-lucky successful chef and restaurateur Brian Malarkey. But overall, it’s a good mix … READ MORE