Last week I watched K-Ville and Gossip Girl, neither of which were particularly impressive. Gossip Girl felt like a retread of the O.C. only with less interesting characters. And Kristen Bell's narration felt awkward and distracting. It's fine for what it is I guess, but what it is just doesn't interest me much.
In her blog, television writer Jill Golick enthusiastically deconstructed the K-Ville pilot, praising it for its structural elegance. What's interesting to me is how she managed to completely overlook the fact that it's just not very good. Sure, the structure's technically adept, but that doesn't necessarily translate to compelling writing.
Which is a shame, because I think it's great to have a prime-time drama focusing on the situation in New Orleans, and even better that it's actually shot on location, a la Friday Night Lights. And it is a beautifully photographed show that uses the setting to lovely effect. Unfortunately, it's also about as subtle as an anvil to the head.
K-Ville is a show that's just plain trying too hard. Instead of letting the shadow of Katrina delicately inform the story and characters, it constantly beats you over the head with it like an ABC Afterschool Special. The story is trite and completely predictable--everything that happens is exactly what you'd expect to happen in a mediocre cop drama. Worst of all, there's no actual complexity to the characters, no matter how hard they work at furrowing their brows somberly, and consequently most of the scenes fall flat.
Cole Hauser does all right with what he's got to work with, but Anthony Anderson just doesn't have the range to carry his half of the dramatic weight. And none of the actors are from anywhere near Louisiana, which shows painfully in the way they struggle with their accents. This, my friends, is no Friday Night Lights.
Thanks to Amazon Unbox I also got an early glimpse of Bionic Woman, Journeyman, Life, and The Big Bang Theory. And of those four the one I was least expecting to enjoy--Life--was the one I enjoyed the most. On its face it's pretty much a standard cop drama, but Damian Lewis is fantastic and edgy and delightfully fun as the lead. Journeyman and Bionic Woman were both okay, but I'm going to have to watch a few more episodes before I decide if it's worth sticking with them. The Big Bang Theory may be okay once it finds its feet, but in the pilot the characters are painted far too broadly and while I did actually laugh once or twice, some of the jokes were just plain offensive to me as a geek. Note to the writers: watching Battlestar Galactica is not, in and of itself, a punchline.