theatervine: Dean Winchester dying - Supernatural S1 (hero by monticora)
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By Todd VanDerWerff January 17, 2011

"There Goes The Neighborhood, Part 1"
season 1 , episode 1

B av club rating B- reader rating based on 6 ratings
Being Human debuts tonight on SyFy at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Matt Zoller Seitz, in this year’s Movie Club feature at, explained that the films of 2010 had him rethinking his prejudices about Hollywood remakes. In particular, he was impressed by how much he enjoyed the Let The Right One In remake, Let Me In, a film that took the same basic storyline, characters, and set-up of the Swedish film (since, indeed, both were based on the same novel) and created something that was interested in different things, that played up new moments and items, that found its own things to say about the basic idea of a young vampire and the boy who falls for her. Seitz’s argument was that we might start thinking of remakes as cover versions. No one terribly objects when a band covers someone else’s song because it likes that song so much, and indeed, there are many covers that are almost universally accepted as better than the original versions. Why can’t the same be true of film remakes?

Well, in a time where seemingly every British, Australian, or Canadian show with a vaguely interesting premise is getting remade for the American audience, we might as well start asking that question of television remakes, too. Just eight days ago, we saw an interesting remake of the British series Shameless, one that is struggling a bit to get on its own two feet, but one that is clearly finding lots of fun in adapting the series it’s based on. Tonight, remakes of both Being Human and Skins launch, and the similarities between the two are so striking that if we had a system that easily allowed for posting dual reviews of TV shows, I’d just write one piece for the both of ‘em. They’re both promising. They both have moments when they seem like they’re finding their footing and escaping their parent series. They both struggle with moments that are pretty much shot-for-shot remakes. They’re both shot in Canada. And so on.

Being Human, of course, is about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who live together in an apartment. On paper, this sounds kind of terrible, but as executed, it’s surprisingly entertaining, with a fun sense of how these “monsters” might actually exist in a world that was unaware of them. The original series had a surprisingly light touch for the subject matter. Sure, it had the requisite pseudo-scary moments and the not-too-complicated mythology that’s the hallmark of shows like this, but it also had some fun banter between the three leads. (It’s here I’ll mention that I’ve only seen the first season of the original, though the producers of the U.S. version have also limited themselves to only those six episodes, choosing to completely avoid further information on where the original went to better differentiate themselves when the time comes.) Because this is the U.S. and goofy banter with a hefty side of mythology is one of those things we do pretty well, that’s what the producers of the new version—led by Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke—have chosen to emphasize. It works better than it has any right to.
theatervine: Ian Somerholder (ian 5 by purposeicons)
[personal profile] theatervine
That's right, Andy's bringing Sexy back....

By Todd VanDerWerff December 9, 2010

"The Same Old You"
season 2 , episode 10

I don't know if you heard the news, but Cougar Town's going away for a while, starting in February, when Matthew Perry's Mr. Sunshine pops in for a short run. The producers are trying to put a positive spin on things on Twitter, and I get why they're doing so. (It keeps everyone happy and slightly alleviates any bad press.) And, honestly, this is probably better for the show than ABC trying the series out in some new time slot, where it very possibly might bomb. For as much as I believe the show to be one of TV's two best currently running comedies (it's that "currently running" that lets me avoid the also-very-good Parks & Recreation and Louie), it's never going to be a big hit, and it's always going to be reliant on its Modern Family lead-in. That's a problem if ABC decides to use Modern Family to develop new shows on a more full-time basis, but for now, ABC seems protective of the series, as if it knows what it has here and wants to keep the show on the air.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss the show when it goes away for a couple of months. I'm going to miss it like crazy, because as good as Cougar Town got toward the end of its first season, it's really been on a roll in season two, particularly since the Halloween episode. While I wasn't a huge fan of the Thanksgiving episode, tonight's was a nice return to form, playing off some of this season's major themes about finding a second act in your adulthood and groups of friends that function as well as a family might. Granted, when one of the subplots involved two of those friends realizing they might be kinda sorta attracted to each other, the "friends as family" theme can only be stretched so far. But more about that in a moment.
One of the most notable things about this series is the way that it takes Bobby Cobb, a guy who could be a cartoonish villain, haunting the edges of the series, completely seriously. He's Jules' ne'er-do-well ex-husband, and that could make for an over-the-top, hillbilly stereotype. The show indulges in that side of Bobby's character from time to time, and it's almost always funny, but things are even better when the series takes his ambitions and his disappointments seriously. Tonight, the episode came back to the idea of Bobby as a great golfer who just missed his big moment, with the idea that he should head to a local golf tournament and try to qualify for the PGA tour. Bobby's pretty sure he'll just screw it up. He's Bobby Cobb, sure, and that once meant a hyper-confident young guy who was able to stride around like the king of the world and tell his girl he was a "lucky duck." But he's been a screw-up for so long that the phrase "I'm Bobby Cobb" has taken on an entirely different meaning.
More at the source:,48671/#


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