Tag Archives: preview

Guntucky: TV Review

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CMT’s “Guntucky” series, celebrating family and firearms, suffers from an uncomfortable and unavoidable association with the tragedies at Sandy Hook, in Boston and in West, Texas.

CMT’s Guntucky was originally meant to air in January of this year, but was unsurprisingly postponed after the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the week before its new premiere date, tragedy struck again: this time not guns, but bombs at the Boston Marathon, followed by a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, more violence in Boston and bomb threats around the country. Guntucky trades in both guns and explosives, but the problem with its presentation is not in the story of a family owned Kentucky gun range, nor in the hillybilly entertainment, but some of the more insidious implications. “America is the greatest country in the world,” an Argentinean man says after the range allows him to blow up his boat on their property, “because you can pretty much do whatever you want.” … READ MORE

DEFIANCE Preview; New Syfy Series Is Also a $100 Million Joint Gaming Venture

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There have been many attempts to marry the TV and gaming worlds with interactive features that encourage viewers to immerse fully in a fantasy universe.  Most don’t take.  But the Syfy channel and game developer Trion Worlds are betting big — like a reported $100 million big — that their collaboration of science fiction TV show and first person shooter MMO will turn out to be a hit.

Defiance is set a mere 33 years in the future, where humans now live side by side with a number of alien races.  The world looks exceptionally different than it does now, with alien technology augmenting our science, and something called the “Pale Wars” destroying much of the planet.  St. Louis, it turns out, is one of the only refuges of civilization left, but those within its gated walls still have plenty to fear.  Hit the jump for more on this new series, and whether it’s worth a watch. … READ MORE

Call Me Crazy: A Five Film: TV Review

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Lifetime’s star-studded but emotionally exhausting short-film collection about mental illness is a mixed bag.

In 2011, Lifetime debuted Five, which, through five short films, chronicled moments in the lives of women with breast cancer. The cable network collected recognizable names and faces on both sides of the camera for the project, with mixed results. In his reviewTHR‘s David Knowles called it “a heavy-handed therapy session,” and while there certainly are moments where that feels true in Five‘s follow-up,Call Me Crazy (this time about mental illness), its earnestness should not be dismissed. … READ MORE

DA VINCI’S DEMONS Preview; David S. Goyer Puts A Modern Spin On An Old Master

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Something about Da Vinci’s Demons, a new 8-part Starz miniseries, felt very familiar as I was watching its first two episodes.  The handsome, fit young man, the flowing blouse (chest always exposed), the leather “tunic” that really just looks like a regular modern leather jacket, a portrait of a genius as a young, lusty rogue — yes, I’ve got it: it’s Shakespeare In Love!  Tom Riley, as Leonardo da Vinci, is particularly reminiscent of Joseph Fiennes in his portrayal of a young and lusty William Shakespeare, and it’s neither a wholly good or wholly bad thing.  Hit the jump for my preview of this upcoming drama (which is worth a watch) and why, as it says, “history is a lie.” … READ MORE

Bet on Your Baby: TV Review

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ABC’s new competition series is supposed to spotlight the kids, but it’s the parents who, unfortunately, get most of the focus.

Neil Gaiman wrote, “I would like to see anyone, prophet, king or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time.” The same is true for babies, and the unpredictability of young children is something that TV has been trading in for a long time, particularly the long-running CBS series Kids Say the Darndest Things. Now ABC has gotten in the game with Bet on Your Baby, a game show where one parent guesses how their toddler (placed in “The Babydome”) might react to a challenge (stacking cookies, spinning in place, knocking down certain color blocks) coaxed by the other parent. … READ MORE

The Moment: TV Review

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Former NFL Quarterback Kurt Warner plays cheerleader in this USA series, encouraging individuals to take the chance to pursue their dream jobs.

If you’ve paid much attention to professional football in the last decade, you’ll know the story of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, Super Bowl MVP award winner and former bag boy. The latter part is what most people find compelling about Warner, that he never gave up on his dream even when he was bagging groceries. He eventually rose through the ranks of the Arena Football League before being signed by the St. Louis Rams to the NFL in 1999, and going on to glory. USA’s new reality series The Momentplays on this idea of hard work paired with golden opportunity. The series is hosted by Warner, who helps give nine people a second chance at their dreams. … READ MORE

Ready for Love: TV Review

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Executive producer Eva Longoria offers NBC’s answer to ABC’s “The Bachelor” in a glossy spectacle that truly focuses on dating as competition.

ABC’s dating show juggernaut The Bachelor has dominated its genre for a long time, but now NBC is attempting to launch a rival network franchise with Ready for Love, a new Eva Longoria-produced dating series. NBC’s show shares some aspects with that “other” show (which it references with appropriate catty disdain in the opening moments), but makes this endeavor wholly its own, for better or worse. … READ MORE

Forever Young: TV Review

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Ashton Kutcher’s take on ”The Real World” pairs young and old in what amounts to a beer pong-fueled extended visit with the grandparents.

TV Land, the channel for people who enjoy reruns of classic television (and shows devoted to Betty White), has tossed its hat into the reality TV game with Forever Young, a Real World-esque series (TV Land is owned by MTV parent Viacom) that puts five people under 30 and five folks over 70 in a house together to see what happens when people stop being polite and start needing Depends. … READ MORE

Kristen Schaal Live at the Fillmore: TV Review

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Her first comedy special was just as horrific as she warned, but it has to be seen to be believed. Or is the joke on us?

Kristen Schaal, perhaps best known to most people as the strange and extremely inappropriate Hazel on 30 Rock, took on San Francisco’s Fillmore for a one-hour Comedy Central special — her first and, she says, her last.

Schaal, who also has been a Daily Show correspondent and voices the role of Louise on Bob’s Burgers, spent a lot of timetweeting before the special aired to discourage people from viewing it, calling it “a nightmare” and telling her friend Kurt Braunohler for Vulture: “It definitely didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. Because it went badly. I just can’t even believe they’re going to air it.”

MR. SELFRIDGE Series Preview; Good Old-Fashioned Entertainment

 

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Mr. Selfridge, the latest PBS and ITV collaboration, chronicles the exploits of the man who founded the famous high-end Selfridges department store in London, and in doing so, changed our understanding of modern merchandizing.  The series ran at the first of the year in the U.K. to mixed, though generally favorable reviews, and having personally consumed the entire ten-episode series in a matter of days I can say unequivocally that it’s worth watching.  Mr. Selfridge doesn’t ask much of its viewers, but it’s a sprawling drama adapted by Andrew Davies (who has adapted pretty much every British miniseries you can think of) from a novel, and the series’ sumptuous costume designs and whirling stories are greatly entertaining.

Hit the jump for what Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage) has to offer, and why the women of the series end up stealing the show. … READ MORE