Periodical TV Review No.1

As I spend far too much time watching quite a lot of American TV drama, I thought I might start providing irregular updates about what I’m currently watching and what I make of it.

1) Smash (NBC, pilot) – I’ve only seen the pilot of this new musical drama. It’s apparently produced by Steven Spielberg, but let’s face it EVERYTHING is produced/executive produced/catered by Steven Spielberg so that means sod all. He was probably having a chat with a mate down the pub who told him about this project, he said it sounded pretty good so he was asked if he could put his name on it and in return his mate would buy him a drink. Stephen thought that sounded an alright deal, so here we have the new series brought to us by Stephen Spielberg himself. All of that aside, it’s pretty decent in its attempt to be a more grown up and sophisticated Glee. It revolves around an attempt to create a new Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. It’s slickly made and gives a sort of inside look at show business. The pilot was perfectly watchable and well made and I’m sure this will find an audience but it didn’t quite grab me enough to decide it was something I feel like pursuing. But I’ve got a feeling this will do well and the show will indeed go on.

2) Friday Night Lights (Season 3) – Friday Night Lights finished it’s 5 season broadcast on NBC last year and like a lot of people, I’d barely heard of it. But let me tell you one thing – it is the best TV show you’ve probably never seen. After a slight dip in Season 2 after the absolutely magnificent, superlative surpassing Season 1, Season 3 has bounced back to the emotional heights and utter beauty of one of the most touching, poignant character dramas ever seen on TV. From one angle it’s a high school sports drama, but it’s so, so much more. Harry and I have been planning some extended FNL related content for this blog for a while so expect that to be put up eventually as we can’t stop raving about it. Taylor Kitsch (aka running back Tim Riggins) (above) is all set to emerge from relative FNL obscurity and become one of the biggest names in Hollywood in the next couple months with leading roles in two MASSIVE blockbusters: John Carter and Battleship. It’s an absolute mile away from small town Dillon Texas, but he’s got that Hollywood look and like all the actors on the show he certainly has the ability so fingers crossed he does well and FNL might be discovered by a wider audience as it deserves. As far as I’m concerned: bring on Season 4.

3) Mad Men (AMC, Season 2) – So I’ve FINALLY just finished the second season of the critically adored 1960s  drama. It’s taken me a hell of a long time to get through this season if I’m honest, and it took me quite a while to get through the first season which tells me something. I know, I know – how could anyone not be completely in love with Mad Men? Ok, it’s good, watchable, wonderful to look at but it always feels rather distant and alienating which draws me out of it a bit. I find it impossible to really empathize with the characters, which might be deliberate, I’m not really sure. What I do know is each season doesn’t feel like it has much of an arc or direction, it just sort of moves along at its own, incredibly patient pace with extra-marital affairs galore. That being said, the Season 2 finale did have some wonderful, delicate moments and Don Draper’s natural magnetism will certainly draw me in to Season 3, although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fulfill my pledge of being up to date for Season 5 in time, which begins mid-March on AMC.

That’s all for now but hoping to make this a regular feature. Any feedback then please let me know.

By David Rank


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