Category Archives: American Television
Dear David Tennant: the next time you’re cast in an American drama series and some network honcho tells you to lose your beautiful Scottish brogue, you fight it.
My own biases aside, there’s much to be said about Fox’s new drama Gracepoint. I don’t want to be yet another person stuck in the abysmal “British originals trump American remakes” mindset, nor do I necessarily want to focus on how foreign Tennant’s accent sounds to me, a fan of both his run on Doctor Who and the original Broadchurch, from which Gracepoint is directly influenced. But in its relocation from the English county of Dorset to a northern California town, it seems to have forgotten parts of itself along the way.
The pilot episode of Gracepoint is structurally almost identical to its cousin. Young mother Beth Solano (Virginia Kull) wakes up one day to discover her son Danny is mysteriously missing, and makes the usual calls and inquiries into his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Detective Ellie Miller (Breaking Bad alum Anna Gunn) returns to work after a vacation to find that the job she was being considered for has been given to Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant With An American Accent, whoops, there I go. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.). Carver is an out-of-towner hoping to put some demons of an undetermined nature to rest, and Miller is rightly pissed that he’s muscled his way into her limelight. But these characters’ normal lives all come crashing together when Danny Solano’s body turns up on a Gracepoint beach, jump-starting the worst breakdown of “love thy neighbor” in TV history.
Fair warning: spoilers.
Series finales are always bittersweet. It means that a beloved show is coming to an end but now we don’t have to suffer all of those emotional traumas. Generally, series finales tend to be great masterpieces that tie all loose ends. This year, on the other hand, we were presented with rushed and just down right disappointing series finales. It seemed like as each show ended, you’d hear someone on the Internet commenting, “well this beats [insert show that recently ended] for worst finale ever”
I’m going to get this one out of the way. I have not watched this show, but I plan on watching it one day. I’m not going to go into why it was terrible in fear that it will ruin something from the first four seasons. That’s when you’re supposed to stop watching Dexter, right?
With British programs becoming more popular in the United States, Americans are noticing more and more that a British show can run for 10 years, but only have 32 episodes. A show produced in the United States usually accomplishes that feat in a season and a half, which typically takes place over the course of 18 months. This occurs because British series, which an American would call seasons, range from 6 to 8 episodes; it’s not uncommon for shows to then go on a two year hiatus. American networks like to bang out as many episodes as possible as quick as possible because 100 episodes is the magic number for syndication. Neither system is bad, but the British way of making television has some distinct advantages.
Ever since 2005, Stephen Colbert has been ruling late night television on Comedy Central. Next year he will be leaving his post after ten years to take over for David Letterman on Late Show. This is a drastic change for Colbert, whose current show is a satirical version of The O’Reilly Factor. Will his current rapport with his audience get in the way of his success as himself on CBS?
Letterman announced his departure not even two months after Jimmy had taken over for Leno. I cannot say that I was surprised that by Letterman’s retirement. Everyone knew Fallon was going to be some serious competition. Fallon is more relevant and appealing to the precious 18-49 audience. He has a social media savviness that Letterman doesn’t have. So when Letterman “unexpectedly” announced his retirement, CBS needed a host that would supersede Jimmy’s popularity. Colbert already has a large and loyal audience from his show on Comedy Central, which make him a very good choice for Late Show.
Game shows are my second favorite genre. There’s nothing quite like a contestants spontaneous response. Most of the time, contestant’s give normal answers. However, every once in a while you get responses that are either a joke or one that makes the contestant realize that yes, they did say that out loud. Here is a list of my favorites.
5. Jeopardy! – Ho
With only two episodes left in this season, The Walking Dead has finally started to answer some questions that have been bugging viewers since the midseason finale. Last night’s episode focused on Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith. On their way to Terminus, they find a home in the middle of nowhere. It seems to be the perfect place to start over; it’s secluded, has a water pump and a propane tank, puzzles, a doll, a big comfy dad chair. Basically everything is going to go back to normal, right? Of course not.
One of the first questions that last night’s episode answered was why Carol was teaching the children how to fight. To put it simply, it’s because of Sophia. Carol described her as “not having a mean bone in her body”. She wasn’t capable of killing anything, which was her downfall. Now that Carol has two surrogate daughters, she doesn’t want the same thing to happen to them. Carol can see a lot of Sophia in Mika, in that she cannot bring herself to kill people invading the prison or even a deer except she has no problem killing walkers. Lizzie, on the other hand, cannot bring herself to kill a walker, but can kill people. And animals, Lizzie kills animals too for some reason; probably because, as Mika put it, she’s not right.
Speaking of which, we also learned that Lizzie was the one feeding walkers outside of the prison. Which doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone since she has pretty much been friendly with walkers since she was introduced. So friendly, that she gets upset when anyone kills a walker. We see her have a near emotional breakdown after Mika shoots a walker right in front of them. Luckily, Mika calms her down by telling her to look at the flowers right next to her. Then she screams at Carol for putting down a walker that Lizzie was playing with. It’s hard to believe an eleven year old could hold that much crazy, but she does.
Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead showed how it’s going back to its roots. The show, finally making its way to the comic’s second compendium, picked up where it had left off in the midseason finale. The prison is destroyed and the group is split up. Rick and Carl are together, Daryl is with Beth, Glenn and Maggie have each other and Tyreese is with the girls. Michonne, on the other hand, is alone again. Each episode looks as if it’s going to focus on a few of the groups at a time. This week focused on Rick, Carl and Michonne.
Rick isn’t doing too well after being beaten up by The Governor. He has a hard time putting down a walker, and Carl ends up shooting it. Rick scolds him for using bullets because they no longer have a stockpile of ammo. He takes Carl into an abandoned home to recover. Carl just wants his father to take him seriously. Rick then sleeps for most of the episode, forcing Carl to prove that he can live without Rick. So, of course, Carl gets into trouble because it’s in his nature.
The Walking Dead is finally going back to the comics for its midseason finale. For the last two weeks, we’ve seen what The Governor has been doing since we last saw him, which has basically been to find a new group to lead. The episode starts out with The Governor lying about how Rick’s group is made up of horrible people. He quickly convinces the group to kill them in order to take over the prison. They don’t question him and blindly follow him to absolute destruction, which really shows that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
During the last two weeks, it seemed like The Governor had changed. He was caring for two women, Lilly and Tara along with Lilly’s daughter Meghan. The Governor was very paternal toward Meghan, not only because he’s “dating” Lilly but because Meghan is kind of like a replacement for his late daughter Penny. Meghan certainly saw The Governor as a father figure, even going as far as drawing an eye-patch on to a king piece from her chess set. It was her little way of showing how important piece of her life. It wasn’t until after her death that fans were certain that the Governor that we all know was back when he showed no remorse as he prevented her reanimation.
For the past few years, it seems that every new television season brings at least four remakes of older television series. While the practice of remaking shows may have made sense in an era where no one could re-watch the old version, nowadays, it doesn’t make sense. Do you really want someone to reinterpret an old favorite when you could easily watch the original in reruns, on DVD, on Netflix, or through less legitimate services on the internet? Probably not.
To be fair, there are a few successful remakes. The most unlikely was Hawaii 5-0. No one, except CBS saw it being successful, yet it averages around 10 million viewers. Dallas is successful because it is just the Ewing clan 20 years later, so it’s more like a continuation than a remake. Out of all the remakes in the last 10 years, Battlestar Gallactica, which took the original concept and made it darker, was probably the most successful. However, the success of all three shows is the exception to the failure of most modern remakes.
Every fall, a new TV show arises that millions of people are horrified that it has seen the light of day. The words “American remake” send terror through any anglophile’s heart the same way it does with “cancelled.” While everyone else is cowering in the corner watching some maniac serial killer movie marathon, we watch our beloved British TV shows being butchered by American hands. Which leave us all wondering: are any of these remakes really necessary?
I, like millions of other Americans, have no problem watching British television. British humor is known for being deadpan. Apparently, deadpan is synonymous with “incomprehensible” in the minds of network executives, which causes remakes to dumb down jokes so that Americans can understand them. Having to make jokes more obvious is part of the problem that American remakes fail. We don’t need to be pigeon holed as stupid.