Christian Slater, My Own Worst Enemy
The question, and it's a fair one, nags at many of this season's new series: How long can they keep it going? It applies mostly to shows adapted from limited-run overseas hits (Life on Mars, Worst Week, The Ex List, Eleventh Hour, Kath & Kim), but is especially pertinent to NBC's nonsensical spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy.
Reminiscent at times of The Bourne Identity or Face/Off, to name a few movie influences it does not improve upon, the beyond-high-concept Enemy asks us to believe Christian Slater as a cold-blooded assassin named Edward who doubles, when a switch in his brain is flipped, as a milquetoast family man named Henry.
More on Worst Enemy and a look at Harry Connick Jr.'s Lifetime movie Living Proof after the jump`
The question, and it’s a fair one, nags at many of this season’s new series: How long can they keep it going? It applies mostly to shows adapted from limited-run overseas hits (Life on Mars, Worst Week, The Ex List, Eleventh Hour, Kath & Kim), but is especially pertinent to NBC’s nonsensical spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy.
Reminiscent at times of “The Bourne Identity” or “Face/Off,” to name a few movie influences it does not improve upon, the beyond-high-concept Enemy asks us to believe Christian Slater as a cold-blooded assassin named Edward who doubles, when a switch in his brain is flipped, as a milquetoast family man named Henry. For the record, he’s more credible as Edward.
But credibility has little to do with Enemy, which calls upon Edward’s boss lady, Alfre Woodard, to spout this exposition: “We manifested a divergent identity, dormant in a sealed-off portion of the medial tem
And the wannabe hits just keep on coming. The fall rollout continues in full force this week, especially on Thursday night, where three new network series based on shows from England and Australia finally arrive after months of retooling—in the case of Life on Mars, involving a complete reshoot. But network TV isn’t all that’s keeping us busy. USA Network has molded its beach-book miniseries The Starter Wife into a weekly page-turner, while PBS’ Masterpiece continues on its yearlong roll with a terrific political thriller.
Life on Mars
Airs Thursdays, 10/9c, ABC (also online via video.tvguide.com)
Previously on: BBC America. How’s the remake? Surprisingly good, considering the buzz after the show switched producers. This captures the original series’ vibe nicely, as modern-day detective Sam Tyler (the appealing Jason O’Mara) is hit by a car and wakes up in ultragritty “Serpico
As if Sundays weren’t busy enough, with ABC’s splendidly re-energized Desperate Housewives leading the network pack and AMC’s Mad Men firing on all cylinders through late October, HBO and Showtime are now locked in a fierce showdown for pay-cable dominance. The one thing their shows tend to have in common—including HBO’s sexy-funny vampire mystery drama True Blood, which I’ve already flipped over—is a risk factor. These are bold, edgy works I’d mostly hate to miss. Thank heavens for On Demand.
Season: 3 Worth the price of admission? Without doubt. This saga of a vigilante killer (the chillingly charismatic Michael C. Hall) who works for the Miami police is TV’s most perversely clever twist on crime drama. This season isn’t as sharply, scarily plotted as the near-perfect second year, when we kept fearing Dexter’s dark secrets would be exposed. Bu
It’s premiere week, and now is the time for all good TV fans to come off the ledge, having been left dangling all summer (or longer) by cliff-hangers. Here’s a quick look at how well a few notable shows are restarting the clock.
House (Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox) My favorite sort of cliff-hanger is the emotional crisis, and House delivered a whopper in the shattered bromance of doctors House and Wilson. Wilson still blames House for the tragedy of his bitchy girlfriend Amber’s death, and in the first episodes, he’s in a fleeing, not forgiving, mood. “There’s a world beyond you,” says a liberated Wilson. Meanwhile, House is already shopping for a new mate. The situation is comic yet dramatic, as House is almost dangerously distracted from his medical-sleuth work. Some powerful stuff, but many of us are even more impatient for House to reunite his old team (the marginalized Cameron and Chase). The newbies just aren’t cutting it.
Do the CW’s call letters now stand for Conspicuously Wealthy? You might think so, considering the network’s most hyped buzz magnets: the decadent, sophomore cult fave Gossip Girl and the new-but-familiar 90210 (paired on Tuesdays with the tragically bland Privileged).
When unspoiled 90210 ingenue Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes of the wide, gorgeous grin) had a first date in a beau’s private jet, I couldn’t help thinking: Take that, Gossip brat Blair Waldorf! But wait. Blair (pouty Leighton Meester) came back from summer break in Europe with a British lord in tow. Everywhere you look, it’s Clearasil Dynasty.
Times have changed at 90210’s West Beverly High, though some of the faces (Kelly! Brenda!) haven’t much. Annie doesn’t even make it to her first homeroom before she sees a former summer crush being sexually serviced in the parking lot. Sandy and Danny this isn’t—just l
The new season isn’t wasting any time getting started, with Labor Day week the catalyst for at least 10 major network and cable series, new and returning, to get a jump on the fall rush. The list includes the CW’s Gossip Girl, America’s Next Top Model and the new 90210 (not available for preview); HBO’s Entourage; and a delightful two-hour Bones set in London (9/3, 8/7c, Fox). This week’s scorecard focuses on an eclectic array of shows finding new twists on the crime-drama format. (All but True Blood are available online via video.tvguide.com.)
Prison Break Season premiere: Monday, 9/1, 8/7c, Fox
TV’s most ludicrously overextended caper series reinvents itself again in Season 4. It’s now “The Dirty Dozen” (give or take a few bodies), as our fugitive heroes are reunited in the United States and recruited by feds for a
Get the party started. With the CW’s 90210 remake and a new season of Gossip Girl right around the Labor Day corner, TV’s fountain of frisky youth is overflowing with buzz. Getting a jump on the competition this month: a sophomore year for ABC Family’s cutesy, chirpy GREEK and, more than earning its viewer discretion warning, BBC America’s shockingly bawdy teen romp Skins.
Skins goes places that would make even those jaded Gossip Girl brats blush. Think a British “Superbad,” or a debauched “Ferris Bueller” clone, to get the flavor of this gritty, anarchic, proudly profane and desperately funny study of public-school buds who often sound like they took vocabulary lessons from South Park. (My screeners include subtitles for when the raunchy dialogue flies by too fast.)
The ringleader of this group’s mischievous misadventures is 17-year-old Tony (Nicholas Hoult, the former chil
Would it be a crime if some classic TV shows were to stage their comebacks in the medium that made them famous and for which they’re maybe better suited? Such wishful thinking came to mind as I headed to the movies several times over the summer, hoping for a nostalgic escape, but ended up yearning for the good old days when these shows were still on TV, where they belong.
With the disappointingly drab “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” I left wanting more. With the criminally overlong box-office hit “Sex and the City” movie, which felt like an unnecessary one-season-too-many of contrived breakups and makeups, I wanted less. With the charmlessly heavy-handed “Get Smart” remake, starring a bland Steve Carell as a—would you believe—smart Maxwell Smart, I wanted something, anything, to evoke the ’60s spy spoof’s cheeky spirit.
My expectations were greatest for the new “X-Files” movie, given my fo
People love taking their science fiction seriously. (Just check out any report from the latest Comic-Con if you doubt it.) But there’s also something refreshing about sci-fi shows that have little more than fun on their escapist minds.
BBC America’s fanciful new creature-feature series Primeval and Sci Fi Channel’s whimsical Eureka share a cheeky irreverence as they ground their mind-blowing misadventures in a modern world where the fantastic is commonplace. When Eureka’s harried sheriff declares of humanity, “We so don’t rule,” it’s a laugh line shrouded in a shudder.
In Primeval, fearsome prehistoric beasts and icky CGI creepy-crawlies invade today’s London, squirming through shimmering crystal windows—“a door between time zones in the world’s history,” as the show’s scientist hero Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) puts it. When he and his team leap through the prism