“The Long Bright Dark” – True Detective

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 21.11.38With its pilot, True Detective presented us with one of the strongest openings we’ve seen this season. We were fully prepared to be disappointed – HBO can, quite often, in aiming for drama and gravitas, leave its viewers with only a sense of what a show could be like and an almost bitter taste in their mouths (Boardwalk Empire, for instance, was perpetually building itself up to be a show it never became, constantly making promises it didn’t or couldn’t keep). Not so with this one. Despite a slow start, and some early trepidation on our part, True Detective showed its true colors in ample time.

A brief summary to get you up to speed: the series will take place largely in flash-back mode, with modern-day police (played by Michael Potts and Tory Kittles) interviewing veteran detectives Martin “Marty” Hart (Woody Harrelson, Cheers, Now You See Me) and Rustin “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, Magic Mike) about the first big case they worked together – the apparent occult murder of a hooker – which took place in a small town populated by former cast members of Treme. Hart and Rust have been brought in and that old case has been dragged up because of the discovery of the victim in an eerily similar crime. The problem? Rust and Hart supposedly caught the killer the first time ‘round. That original case will obviously form the basis of the series (we’re assuming that this will be a one-season-only type show, although, if it goes the way we think it might, there is possibility for follow-up seasons with a drastically different format).

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“Always and Forever” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.38.01 PMDisappointingly very little new from this premiere episode of The Originals. It was essentially a rehashing of the backdoor pilot that aired mid-VD last season (which you can read here to save us from having to write it again), but from Elijah’s point of view. This perspective gave us little new to be excited about, retreading old ground with very little imagination. The only new scenes to offer any additional expectation came in the very final moments, as Klaus daggered Elijah to get rid of his weaknesses (typical, power-hungry Klaus. The show can’t have much to do with the Original Family if they’re all daggered, though, so we’re not quite sure where this is going. With any luck, Rebekah will make her appearance next week and we’ll get more of a taste of where this is going) and Marcel’s secret weapon – which is keeping the witches in line – was revealed to be an incredibly powerful witch (or something).

We hope we’re not going to have to watch every episode twice this season, and we hope it regains that same sense of fun it had during the backdoor pilot. We’re doubly hoping that we won’t have to watch this episode again next week from Hayley’s perspective. Maybe that will be the entire first season… watching this episode from every perspective possible. Though as long as they maintain the fantastically New Orleans soundtrack, we’ll probably be happy. – K

Quoteworthy: “There is no power in love. Mercy makes you weak. Family makes you weak. If I am going to win this war I have to do it alone.” – Klaus (in desperate need of a hug)

“Pilot” – The Crazy Ones

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 11.36.24 AMWe had high hopes for the premiere of The Crazy Ones. We love Robin Williams. And we’ve been hoping for something worthwhile to grab Sarah Michelle Gellar up since Buffy came to an end. This might be just the ticket. We’ve long appreciated her comedic chops (her classic comic timing always shone through on Buffy, giving an otherwise dark character moments of light) and this is the perfect exercise to allow her to stretch those funny muscles. The Crazy Ones also looked exactly like the comedy we needed – smart, witty, and not aiming for the lowest common denominator.

And we weren’t disappointed on any front. Although the humor does, sometimes, turn a little base – Zach (James Wolk, Mad Men) seems to exist purely to be the instigator and butt of jokes about sex – it never feels like it’s reaching. It never feels like the writers will do absolutely anything to make absolutely everyone laugh. They don’t mind if you don’t get it, or if it doesn’t appeal. They know they’re funny. Though it’s hard to imagine a person who wouldn’t be drawn in by Williams’ trademark impressions and off-the-cuff, scattershot humor.

Also working in the show’s favor is its heart. First and foremost, the writers seem to be working on an almost Sorkin-esque level of inspirational speeches. ‘Greater things’ already seems to be the watchword of the show (the title of which, The Crazy Ones, refers to the famous Apple commercial of the late 90s) but, obviously, at this early juncture it’s hard to tell if that will be an ongoing theme of the show or was just this episode. In addition, the central relationship between Gellar’s Sydney Roberts and her father, Simon (Robin Williams), is instantly tight and sweet. There’s no conflict there, or, at least, nothing serious. They clash a little in work styles, but Continue reading