Feb 19, 2013


Bates Motel (A&E) is a new TV series produced by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and it's supposed to be something like a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (Ed Gein again, huh?). The series features Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Spiderwick Chronicles) as Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) as Norma Bates. Bates Motel premieres on the 18th of March. 

Orphan Black (BBC America) is scheduled to premiere on the 30th of March. It's about an orphan named Sarah (played by Tatiana Maslany) who happens to witness the suicide of her exact double, which later turns out to be her (?) clone. She assumes the dead girl's identity to get her money, but inadvertently becomes involved in some sort of deadly conspiracy. 

Da Vinci's Demons (Starz) is a historical fantasy about early life of Da Vinci created by David S. Goyer. The first episode air on the 12th April.

Hemlock Grove (based on the novel of the same title) is another creation of Netflix, a thriller this time. Like with House of Cards, all the episodes are released at once (April 19). Famke Janssen, Bill SkarsgÄrd and Landon Liboiron are featured in this show.

Feb 9, 2013



There are no words to express my anger and frustration caused by this series, so what I'm about to write may be quite emotional and lacking structure.

Plot: The Majority Whip, Francis (Frank) Underwood (D) (Kevin Spacey), doesn't get the position of Secretary of State, which was promised to him during the campaign, so he focuses on getting even a more senior position in the administration anyway. He has a wife, Claire (Robin Wright), as psychopathic as he is, who's running a non-profit "humanitarian" organisation that helps deliver water to the Third World countries, and a nosy reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), whom Underwood screws and uses to leak some materials (at times fake) about his opponents.

It's a good thing Netflix released the whole season at once, otherwise there'd be no way I'd watch it all. From the beginning I thought of it as of something lame, banal, with poorly written dialogues and unrealistic situations, but because there aren't many ongoing shows about politics at the moment, it still seemed  watchable. Around the sixth episode it started to annoy me a lot, but since I've already invested so much time into this I've decided to finish it, which wasn't a good decision, apparently, - I was literally furious when the closing credits appeared at the end of the last episode. Do you know what I wanted to see in the finale? Frank Underwood being brutally murdered. The more blood the merrier. Alas, there was just a crappy cliffhanger instead.

Why did I hate it so much? Well, there is a number of reasons, not the least of which is the annoying, unsympathetic main character. I hated  him from the opening scene when he strangled his wounded dog, just like later in the series he killed a useless, broken congressman. What surprised me though, was that it felt like the creators of the series adored Underwood. Otherwise I don't know why he kept winning, even though there were no grounds for that. He kept speaking to the camera (I hated when he did that), saying some pathetic bullshit about his alleged power, but he never felt powerful to me, instead, he felt deluded and thus pathetic. He was capable of dirty tricks, no doubt, but those could have only succeeded if all of his opponents were morons. I mean, seriously, an accusation in writing an anti-Israel editorial in a school newspaper over thirty years ago? A brick in congressman's window? A boy killed at the time of teachers' strike, who "should have been in school"? A leaked education bill? In real life none, ABSOLUTELY NONE of this would have worked the way it did in the series. And every time I desperately wanted Underwood to lose; as I said, I fucking hated that empty, moronic, self-absorbed, cheeky bastard.

The characters in House of Cards are incredibly strange, whatever they do or say (especially say) makes very little to no sense. That is especially true with Claire. Her Louboutin shoes the camera often focuses on explain her character better than her lines or her actions altogether. The relationship between her and Frank is weird, to say the least; I'd understand if they'd never talk to each other when not in public, but instead they seem to have some kind of love while openly cheating on and using each other. She overuses a pronoun "we", she plays with the feelings of a photographer, who's in love with her for some reason, and she acts like a Hitler when at work. Nice.

To emphasize the dirtiness of his character, Frank chooses to eat in a shit hole and spends his free time in a gloomy cellar; worthless Zoe lives like a white trash with rotting food and spiders all around, and the moment she realizes that, her affair with the is doomed. That's when she finally turns into a real reporter, although previously she clearly stood against all the journalistic values heavily promoted in The Newsroom. Sadly, we never get to learn if she buries Underwood before he gets to her. But one thing I know for sure: if there is a season two, I'll stick to reading recaps. I've had enough of watching.

Feb 2, 2013


As I already said, most of the new series are rather bad, and this affects very negatively on my will to recap. So I'll just write a short summary of what I think of winter premieres.

Utopia.  Unexpectedly amazing. I'm not a big fan of long episodes, because of my short attention span (they normally lose me after forty five minutes), but it never feels long with Utopia. It is as exciting and mesmerizing as it is delirious, and its best feature is this incredibly bright, colorful, psychedelic picture, which drags you to the madness and ridiculousness of the story.

The Americans. Talking about long episodes. By the end of the pilot I didn't know what to do with myself. And all this time I kept thinking "Do we really need all these flashbacks?", "Do we really need to hear the entire In the Air Tonight?". The story is about two Russian spies, who "pretend" to be an American family from the suburbs. The guy leans toward betraying his motherland (what can you expect from a person with transvestite-ish eyebrows), while the girl stays firm, although I can't stop thinking that if she was a good spy, she'd get rid of him immediately. They are not allowed to say a single word in Russian (but there seems to be nothing wrong with drinking vodka) to avoid the risk of blowing their cover. The pilot rolls around the traitor they had to catch and deal with while not letting the FBI agent from counterintelligence, who moved into the next house, suspect anything. To sum up: if they manage to cut the crap, this series might actually get watchable, as of now it's a little boring and far-fetched.

Banshee. A masculine version of Revenge. If you like fights and don't care for the story to be in any way realistic, Banshee is the right show for you. Tough guys, sex, crime, torture and a much uglier version of Milla Jovovich as the heroine: that's pretty much what this series is about.

House of Cards. Yesterday Netflix released all the thirteen episodes of its first original series and I watched three of those. I recognize it's a big step for Netflix and I'm glad that they are trying to go in that direction, but objectively it's not particularly good. The essence of the story is fine and it's even shot quite OK, but I can't emphasize enough how poorly it's written. Especially the dialogues. They are not even pretentious, they're simply inhuman, people just don't talk like that! Even if they are politicians. And what's the deal with Kevin Spacey's character talking to the camera all the time? It just diminishes the effect of what's going on; when the character interrupts his supposedly emotional speech, which makes people cry (!), to notify us, the viewers, of his real agenda, I stop being inside the story, I'm suddenly above it. To sum up, this series just made me realize how much I miss Boss.(*bursts into tears*).

The Following. I think there's something fundamentally wrong about making the villain of the show more likable than the main protagonist, especially if your story is about a serial killer, who happens to draw inspiration for his murders from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. There's nothing original about how the story is told, and I fail to imagine a person who would like this series.

Cracked. After suffering from PTSD a police officer is forced to work with a psychiatrist, and together they dedicate their lives to catching literally crazy murderers instead of just shooting them, which apparently is the common practice in Canada. Trivial procedural.

1600 Penn. A "comedy" series about how the president of the United States is also human. His smartest daughter had one night stand and is now pregnant, his oldest son is clearly retarded, his trophy wife is self centered and the other two kids are irrelevant. Neither compelling, nor funny.

Deception. Boring Revenge with black people. Nuff said.

Legit. I'm not a fun of Louie (and stand up comedy for that matter) and Jim Jefferies's Legit is even worse. But I'm sure that people that watch it love it.

Way to Go. A Brittish black comedy about three young guys who are quite successful at wasting their lives. The irony of the series is that they start an assisted suicide business to help those terminally ill. It requires adjustment to the accent and it's not that funny (though I had a few laughs).

On a brighter note, Archer is back and it's hilarious!

Feb 1, 2013


The midseason has been quite a disappointment so far, there's only one gem plus two somewhat watchable shows  in the pile of new TV series. What''s ahead doesn't excite me either; anyway, here's a summary of what's coming.

Netflix's own series House of Cards, featuring Kevin Spacey, Kate Mara, Sandrine Holt and Robin Wright premieres today, February 1st. It's a political drama about Frank Underwood, a ruthless Republican Democrat in Washington plotting against the president. I don't believe it's going to be better than Boss, but who knows.

Monday Mornings, a medical drama created by David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal), premieres on Monday (obviously), February 4, on TNT. I don't think I'll watch it, I doubt there's any angle to the usual blood, death and "we're saving lives here" sort of thing.

Conspiracy lovers might find Zero Hour (released on February 14) interesting, although to me the trailer seems a little (?) dull. The series was created by Paul Scheuring (Prison Break), Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott and it features Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin and Anthony Edwards. The plot doesn't strike as original, man's wife is abducted, so he has to decrypt a treasure map to save her and humanity (bleugh).

The first episode of Cult airs on February 19 on CW. Investigative journalist Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis, “The Vampire Diaries”) has learned to live with his younger brother Nate’s relentless string of obsessions, especially his latest rant that a hit TV show intends to harm him. However, when his brother mysteriously disappears, Jeff takes Nate’s paranoia seriously, and in the process uncovers the dark underworld of the TV show “Cult” and its rabid fans. Okay.

Golden Boy (debuts on February 26 on CBS) is about how a young cop managed to become a police commissioner in no time and what was the price he paid for this. Frankly, it's hard to imagine why would anyone want to watch that. Underachievers must resent this.

I already wrote about Red Widow and its premiere date is practically a month away (March 3). It's about a woman who gets deeply involved with organized crime after her husband is murdered in front of her eyes.