May. 2nd, 2011

kitsjay: (Screw Canon)
I've been watching a lot of TV recently and might as well make it (semi)productive. So, onward!

The Listener

This is a pretty obscure show as far as I can tell; I stumbled upon it accidentally, but so far it's fairly impressive. The premise is that a young paramedic, Toby Logan, has always been able to hear people's thoughts. He starts putting this into use by saving people/preventing crimes/etc. It's kind of that bland feel-goodness of Early Edition, for the two other people who watched that show.

Toby is a genuinely likable character, though I feel like he's a little too likable. He seems to be the perfect guy: a good friend, a decent person, all that jazz. I'd appreciate a little bit more development, either in the sense of flaws, or even more, backstory. They've dropped hints, but he's so underdeveloped right now that they should be dropping anvils to make up for it. Still, I hope that once they do start delving into his character, it will be pretty awesome.

The other characters are unremarkable. You have the stereotypical suspicious, jaded woman detective; the best friend and sidekick, who actually has some pretty funny lines; and the lusted after off-again-on-again girlfriend, who so far is the absolute blandest character. The only thoughts we hear from her are bitchy and since she has no further development... well, I tend to think of her as "the bitch". There's a professor who apparently helped Toby when he was younger control his power, but they haven't gone much into that (again, backstory people! It'd be nice).

I'm also psyched because it's the first show I've seen with something like this wherein the person-being-told-the-truth reacts like any other person would:

"You can read minds? That is so freakin' awesome!"

Exactly. Same goes for mermaids, H20!

Grade: B-

Breakout Kings

This show is basically Criminal Minds meets Leverage. It's about a unique team of convicts, each with their own special talents, who help to catch escaped fugitives under the U.S. Marshals.

The pilot and first few episodes were a bit rough, needlessly so. For one, the convicts aren't allowed to escape (um, duh) and so when one gets caught, he's immediately thrown out. Apparently they thought that wasn't enough, though, because they threw another one out by the second episode. I expected the first to prove the point, but the second seemed... awkward. Like the actress didn't test well with audiences or something. I don't know.

Anyway, since then, it's picked up. The leader of the group, Marshal DuChamp, is actually a well-rounded, interesting character without creating a "haunted past" or anything like that. The child prodigy and psychologist Dr. Lowry is the most interesting of the convicts, followed by Shea, then Erica. I've read complaints that said Shea wasn't "specialized" enough, which I can see, but at the same time, I really like his character. Your mileage may vary. For one thing, they tried setting him up to be an "entrepreneur", then inexplicably dropped this to concentrate on his "street smartness".

I would like to see more of a showcasing of their individual talents (so far, really only Lowry has done this; Erica's seems to be... running fast and being emotional about her daughter), but I feel like it's got potential. It's also got some pretty funny lines.

Grade: B

Breaking In

So far, this has been my favorite of my new finds. I love Brett Harrison, but he seems to be a bit of a bad luck charm. He was Lily's creepy neighbor turned boyfriend in Grounded For Life, then played the main star in Reaper (gone too soon; RIP, Reaper). He has a knack for finding brilliant shows, which then don't last out two seasons.

He brings his usual charm in this show about a slacker-hacker who is recruited by a "security firm" which tests security of homes, businesses, you name it through any means necessary. Christian Slater is absolutely hilarious in it, as is the resident office prankster and nerd, Cash, and the jock-but-still-sweet Dutch, played by Michael Rosenbaum.

The only problem is that poor Brett, though he's magnificent at it, seems to be typecast as the nice guy who always finishes last. He's pining after the girl of the group, who is so forgettable I don't remember her name. I don't remember the girl's name in Reaper, either, but at least she had personality.

Rather than show us this girl's personality, we're treated to multiple people saying, "She's crazy!" or "She's awesome!", while she has maybe five lines, two of them manipulative, in the first two episodes. When will TV writers get that Being a Love Interest does not count as characterization and development? Erg.

Despite that, it's very funny, very clever, and I'm sure this all means that it's going to be canceled soon, so watch it now.

Grade: A-

Workaholics

This show was awful. I barely made it through the first five minutes (in which there was a shot of a nipple, a dick joke, and a dollar bill wrapped around poop). The only reason to watch this shlock is if you have some burning need to know what would happen if third graders could join frats and someone turned their sense of humor into a TV show. None of the characters were likable, the humor was so low-class it was insulting, and I predicted the entire episode from the first two minutes (I looked it up later; I was being serious about the whole not being able to make it through the first five minutes thing).

It's trash, plain and simple.

The only thing it had going for it was the fact that I never knew my intelligence could be insulted so fast, so far in so few lines.

Grade: F-------

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