Posts Tagged ‘usa network’

I am still a devotee to USA Network, and enjoying White Collar, Covert Affairs, Burn Notice and Royal Pains.  They are all very silly: rat pack con man helping out the FBI, ex-Coyote Ugly gal spies for the CIA with her blind side-kick, burnt spy sets up A-Team in Miami, and doctor makes house calls to the working class of the Hamptons. Candy floss TV at its best.

I haven’t been bothered to watch either Falling Skies or Outcasts. Falling Skies got so-so reviews, and from what I’ve read is fairly forumalic. With Outcasts I accidentally read a spoiler and I found out that the one cast member I was most excited about being in this series dies in the first episode. Given how prominently he featured in the promos that was a total bait and switch. Leverage episodes are piling up on the DVR as I want to finish watching season 3 first, and I’m hoping that the new Torchwood epis will end up on Netflix before too long.

Eureka is probably the show I am enjoying the most. The crazy adventures of the scientists in Eureka, and good old sheriff Jack trying to keep up and fix all their messes. It’s such a cute nerd fest, and funny. I’ve started to dip into Warehouse 13 but I am not sure about Alphas. Two episodes in, and I fear it will end up going to the way of Heroes. I don’t really care about any of the characters or their super powers. The flip side of Alphas is Haven which has such well drawn out characters, and a solid underlying mystery that it is worth staying up for.

And finally PBS/BBC’s Zen about the Italian detective Aurelio Zen. My word those Italian cops are corrupt but so well dressed and good to their mammas. Loving Rufus Sewell as Zen who because he is a Venetian is not fully accepted by his Roman colleagues. It’s beautifully shot in Rome and I can almost taste all the espressos being consumed. It’s a shame that the BBC cancelled it so we will only get three episodes.

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Between Alex starting a new job, and my inability to be on my feet for any length of time I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be having a pretty quiet summer. Netflix, TV and air conditioning will feature heavily (as will iced coffee, cake and swollen ankles) but given that once our little hybrid cylons arrive in October it’s probably good to cherish this time… of being able to watch TV uninterrupted.

Traditionally summer isn’t the greatest for new programming as the Networks shut-up shop but thanks to basic cable it doesn’t look too bad (even though there will be no Mad Men) and the shorter seasons makes for tighter plots (hurrah for no filler episodes) . A mix of returning favorites and some new shows, plus I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll end up working our way through some of our favorite box sets (e.g. From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific) will get us through till fall.

Covert Affairs (June 7th, USA) – A candy floss spy show with Piper Perabo as the naive rookie agent, and the criminally underused Anne Dudek as her homely sister. This is the second season and it’s not overly taxing though you can loose yourself trying to figure out how Perabo manages to run and fight in her super high heels (one for the Mythbuster team me thinks).

White Collar (June 7th, USA) – A Manhattan fairytale about an FBI agent and his ‘Catch Me If You Can’ “reformed” art thief side kick. Beautiful shots of NYC, charismatic leads but not enough con artist trade craft for me.

Outcasts (June 18th, BBC America) – I am somewhat on the fence about humans escaping Earth to resettle a new planet but it does have Jamie Bamber (BSG’s Apollo) so will have to give it a shot.

Falling Skies (June 19th, TNT) – Humans vs. aliens with Dr. Carter. Again will give it a shot but sadly Spielberg’s association does not guarantee that it will be entertaining especially after his awkward MTV Movie Awards appearance to push Super 8.

Burn Notice (June 23rd, USA) – Everybody’s favorite yogurt consuming burnt spy is back. The plots can get silly but it’s hard to tire of glamorous Miami, explosions and Bruce Campbell.

Leverage (June 26th, TNT) – The fourth season of the adventures of a band of merry con artists. This does have enough trade craft but I felt like the series has lost it’s way from the first season (I think Nate’s ex-wife needs to reappear and more Mark Sheppard).

Royal Pains (June 29th, USA) – This is probably as close as I’ll ever get to bespoke medical care and holidaying in the Hamptons. It’s patient of the week formula mixed with medical MacGyver high-jinx make it an enjoyable frappucino.

Torchwood (July 8th, Starz) – (Captain) Jack is back! Am so wary of the Americanization of Torchwood but given how hit and miss the BBC series was this could be the adrenaline injection needed but then again it could be a right mess.

Alphas (July 11th, Syfy) – Okay so I am still pissed at Syfy for canceling Caprica AND Stargate: Universe, and I ignored their version of Being Human on point of it being non-original programing but I’m curious about Alphas. Could it be a better version of Heroes? I’ll give it an episode or two.

Eureka (July 11th, Syfy) – I love Eureka so much that I am willing to re-locate there to sling coffee at Cafe Diem, and they’ve probably got the best public schools in the US. I know it’s formulaic with the geniuses causing a different world ending disaster every week and normal old Jack having to come to the rescue but it’s just so much good hearted fun.

Haven (July 15th, Syfy) – I haven’t read the Stephen King novella from which Haven is based so I don’t know how faithful it is or where the story is going but the twist at the end of last season was intriguing enough to have me tuning in this summer.

Zen (July 17th, PBS) – Sadly the BBC canceled this Italian detective series after one season but I still think it’s worth watching if only for the excessive consumption of espresso.

[Drafted whilst I was on the train yesterday but needed to tweak at my desktop and insert a few snaps.]

I am currently sat on the Adirondike AmTrak watching the countryside “whiz” by as it makes its way home to NYC. All I can think is that all these pretty trees and hills (and lakes for all I know) are playing havoc with my 3G connection.  Eleven hours on a train is a good opportunity for reflection.  The last two weeks have been busier than usual, though given that the usual is normally chained to my desk study any trips out side of the flat are the height of excitement.

Things kicked off two Wednesdays ago when I found out (via Twitter) that some of the Comedy Store Players were in town for a one off gig for NY BritWeek. The Players are an improv group from the Comedy Store in London (hence their name The Comedy Store Players – doh!) and I first saw them there seventeen years ago. SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO! Oh my how some of them have aged, how old did it make me feel when they were still using the same material from the 90s, and even though it is improv there is a strict format that they follow. All that being said it was a fun evening and made all the more exciting by two special cameo appearances: Eddie Izzard and Mike Myers. These new additions threw the rhythm off which jazzed things up a bit. Izzard though king of improv standup was a little off kilter working with a group but Myers was really the best if the bunch, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him doing his on stchick some time (despite how much Wayan’s World etc annoys me).

There was no rest for the wicked because then morning after the improv night I was out of the flat by 7am in order to get a Royal Pains event at Greenly Square (interesting observation Greenly Square is actually a triangle). To mark the second season of Royal Pains USA Network organized a shirt exchange in the city (again I found out about this event via Twitter). Your donation of a gently used shirt (which goes to HELP USA) triggered USA Network to make a $10 donation to Doctors Without Borders AND you receive a $50 Lacoste gift card. Call to action was as easy as pie and well worth the hour wait (I just need to win my pedometer challenge so that I can make up the difference for a shirt). Plus, whilst I was waiting I got to see the three leads milling about – all before I had my coffee.

Then on Friday night we start our blitz on the World Science Festival. Over the course of three days we saw the ‘Science of Star Trek’ panel,  watched the Mathemagician do tricks with the golden ratio, saw lots of things being smashed thanks to liquid nitrogen, swung by a NASATweetup, and went ‘Back to the Big Band: Inside the Large Hadron Collider’. The StarTrek panel was fun but could have done with a Q & A session but the LHC panel was amazing (even if they didn’t touch upon FlashForward). The moderator knew his stuff (or enough to bluff his way) and was able to involve all the panel through out (Star Trek had been stilted in parts and one participant didn’t say a peep for the first hour). It was a thought provoking weekend and made me want to brush up on my physics.

So you think I’d rest there but oh no on Monday night I head out to a White Collar (yes, another USA Network show) panel at the Paley Center for Media. Because of this bloody pedometer challenge I walked from SoHo to 52nd Street – only 6,000 steps (v. disappointed). The panel was short but sweet (saw a few clips for season two) and Willie Garson is pure gold! So entertaining.

Then on Thursday we took the train up to Montreal for the F1 race and now we are slowly making our way home, and our adventures in Montreal can be a post for another day.

The Good

  • Returning favorites: Chuck, Burn Notice & Psych. I loved the last 3 episodes of Chuck, though could do with more Casey (though not sure why a Col. is still  in the field that would have never happened in The Unit or in Bands of Brother). Clever handling of Intersect 2.0 so we get an upgraded but flawed Chuck but still waiting to see how they work in Subway.
  • Fresh blood: Human Target, Caprica, Pacific & Spartacus. I was impressed by the Caprica pilot; it has big shoes to fill after BSG but with the strong cast and writing I think it could turn into a worthy prequel.
  • I stopped watching 24 a couple of seasons ago as it just got too tired and predicable but am tempted to tune in this weekend as Jack will be tearing up NYC and Starbuck will be working CTU. Perhaps she can teach Jack about air-locking since water boarding is so 2009

The not-so-good

  • I quite like White Collar but I thought we’d find out more about the grafting side of cons and each episode leaves me a little disappointed
  • NBC has managed to create a hit drama with the fallout over late night chat show spots. Surely the simplest way to solve it would be create a new Law & Order franchise to run in the 10pm slot with all 3 late night talk show hosts.  Leno and Fallon can make up the experience-rookie cop partnership, and Conan can be the sharp tongued DA that we all prefer. That would leave Sam Waterson free to take over the Tonight Show