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Summer TV dramas fizzle, flop

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Summer TV dramas fizzle, flop

Post by jade1013 on Sat 25 Jul - 9:18

Summer TV dramas fizzle, flop

Robert Bianco, USA TODAY 11:03 a.m. EDT July 23, 2015

Maybe reruns weren't so bad after all.

Desperate to counter the ever-increasing competition from cable and streaming services, broadcast networks have littered the summer airwaves with an expanded slate of original dramas, many featuring continuing stories. Unfortunately, with most, continuing is less a joy than a chore.

Start with the best of the bunch, Fox's Wayward Pines, which ends its 10-episode run Thursday (9 ET/PT) as the residents of this last-outpost-of-humanity face extinction. Having discovered they'd been frozen for 2,000 years and were trapped in a city surrounded by cannibalistic mutants, they went into open revolt, prompting the town's creator, David Pilcher, to punish them with all the vehemence of an Old Testament God unleashing the flood.

Well, what did Pilcher expect? Next time you're picking people to lie to and freeze, choose fewer Secret Service agents a group that tends to be inquisitive. Oh, and don't entrust your secret to teenagers, because as we saw from last week's homicidal rampage, maturity is not their strong suit.

If Wayward's "big reveal" seems nonsensical, it does have the advantage of coming straight from the Blake Crouch trilogy and of having been presented to viewers midseason, without undue feints or delays. Idiotic though it may be, by putting it out there early, Wayward allowed viewers to accept it or not, and move on.

Contrast that with the continually confused inanity of CBS' off-the-rails Under the Dome, which long ago left Stephen King's original story behind. Where King's Dome was fairly simple to grasp, CBS's is a mishmash of energy eggs, sex goo, corporate conspiracies and shifting alliances and geography, all pegged to a variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Though considering the nonsensical way the townsfolk behave from week to week, Brain Snatchers might be more like it.

Even at that, Dome may be better than CBS' Zoo a show where any chance of suspense is derailed by risible dialogue and some of the cheesiest special effects this side of Sharknado. Most of the time, the animals simply look bored. And it's impossible to blame them.

Hard as it may be to believe, Dome's three seasons have covered only three weeks in Chester's Mill, a town that has run out of food, but not hair products. It's the opposite of ABC's The Astronauts Wives Club, which has rocketed through five years in a mere six episodes. What you get from Wives are pretty clothes and history at blurred warp speed, with no event or character given a chance to linger or land.

Still, moving too quickly may be preferable to going nowhere slowly, the curse that has afflicted ABC's The Whispers. Unlike Dome, this drama has been fairly clear on its space alien Drill's motives; it's his methods that pose the stumbling block. This is a life force that can manipulate electricity, causing lights to flash, reactors to melt down, and incriminating film to burn. You'd think, then, he could find a more direct path to his desires than whispering to kids.

David Duchovny as Sam Hodiak in 'Aquarius.'(Photo: Vivian Zink, NBC)

On the bright side, it's not as if improvement is impossible. It's still early, but with its central mystery simplified and its domestic soap opera excised, the second season of CBS' Extant could shape up to be more entertaining than the first. A small bar to reach, but a bar nonetheless.

Which may mean there's even hope for Aquarius. Set in 1967, this already renewed NBC series stars David Duchovny as LAPD detective Sam Hodiak, a good man whose response to the decade's changing social and sexual mores is less than ideal. Graced with a sometimes intriguing take on race and feminism and an always intriguing performance by Duchovny, Aquarius can be counted on to deliver a few weekly shining moments where you can sense what NBC saw in it, before terrible ratings caused the network to exile it to Saturday nights.

And then those moments pass, as Aquarius cycles back to its worst idea. One of the criminals Hodiak pursues is Charles Manson, running us through a dully written, indifferently performed version of a story that has been told multiple times before.

That rerun, we don't need.


Credit to original photographer, poster, scanner, site & anyone I may have missed in between

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Re: Summer TV dramas fizzle, flop

Post by sir on Sat 25 Jul - 9:29



Thank you Maria!
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