LB Sees Some March TV Premieres

Calvin-on-writing…And all I can say is that if I’d had any realistic hope of finding some new shows to watch regularly, it would’ve been dashed.

Yes, it’s true. My lowest expectations proved to be too high. Cases in point:

BATTLE CREEK:

The Good: Um, nada. Sorry.

The Bad: A cop show that seems to have been written by 12 year olds for 9 year olds. The structure of the first couple of episodes more or less followed the procedural pattern. Ditto the characters. Except that nothing about the show rings true not only in regard to what’s happening but also in re why it’s happening and to whom it’s happening. Not a real human being reacting like a real human being anywhere to be seen. Just a bunch of big babies kibbitzing badly.

Conclusion: BATTLE CREEK is a cop show for those who like to have shouting on in the background while they eat their popcorn. It seems to have set the bar pretty damn low (“Let’s do a procedural!”) but still hasn’t come close to meeting it. And the fault, dear viewers, lies in the writing.

SECRETS AND LIES:

The Good: It’s not as terrible as BATTLE CREEK. At least here the characters behave like they’re a little bit older. Early teens, say.

The Bad: There’s a story here. I know there is. But it seems to have been devised by chimps who’ve never even bothered watching humans interact. About anything.

Conclusion: SECRETS AND LIES raises dullness to a new level. Do people still say “Meh?” “Meh” is where this one stands.

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH:

The Good: There are only two characters to have to watch and listen to.

The Bad: Those two characters refused to die by the end of the second episode. And believe me, I wanted them to. These selfish, stupid egocentric creeps bear no relationship to any genuine homo sapiens.

Conclusion: You know a comedy’s in trouble when the funniest scene in it is a visual shit joke.

CSI: CYBER

The Good: The theme song is one of The Who’s best.

The Bad: Quick cuts and pulse-pounding music isn’t storytelling, but it rules the hour this show somehow manages to take up. Combine that with Patricia Arquette’s apparent sleep-walking-and-talking problem, a CSI team composed entirely of re-cast stock figures from other CSI shows, and the complete lack of anything resembling rising action or a climax, and what’ve you got? CSI: IDIOCRACY, that’s what.

Conclusion: Aargh!

DIG:

The Good: Well, the hero looks heroic in a Daniel Craig kind of way, but….

The Bad: Know what DIG reminded me of? It reminded me of all the terribly written, poorly thought out Kindle e-books that keep appearing on Amazon.Com. The ones about ancient conspiracies that have set up an evil that’s going to wipe out everything worth living for sometime in the immediate future, all of which use the same tropes and stock characters, both good and bad. Except that DIG isn’t written nearly as well.

Conclusion: Early in the opening episode we are treated to the world’s longest, most meaningless chase through Jerusalem (natch), in which the hero proves beyond a shadow of the doubt that he can’t do his job. Putting him right in line with the makers of the actual show.

I was going to wait to write this after I’d seen the upcoming BLOODLINE, but that one doesn’t debut till next week and I haven’t figured out a way to get myself to watch it even then.

While talking about CSI: CYBER above I mentioned the 2006 feature film IDIOCRACY. It’s about a moron (literally) from our time who finds himself in the future, where society looks just like it does in 2006 but is, well, dumber. So dumb that the moron is now the smartest person on the planet. As I look at what I’ve written here I realize that there’s an explanation for the disheartening mindlessness of these new shows. Due to an inter-dimensional anomaly, possibly caused by evil conspirators who began working on it a couple of thousand years ago, contemporary TV has become a repository for TV series created specifically for viewing by the residents of the – or at least a – very real Idiocracy.

Either that, or the sensibility of Judd Apatow and the mindlessness of KNOCKED UP and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN have seized control of all of TV’s executive suites. nothing else makes sense.

Watch these shows if you must, brothers and sisters. But as that old, familiar feeling of, “WTF? I can write like this!” floods you, don’t you dare start writing to prove it. I absolutely guarantee that you already can write better than this. And you owe it to all of mankind to keep it that way.

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide.

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television.

Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC.

Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including – yes, it’s true – Emmys.