Not worth a shot

I barely made it thru the pre-credits sequence before abandoning this disaster. An over-edited introduction sequence presenting a bunch of wacky rich guys and their k-razy sex problems. Set to a jaunty salsa beat we find out that: one CEO is sleeping with his ex-wife! One CEO has to track down missing shrimp or he won't get to sleep with his wife! One CEO's company mixed up children's vitamins and Viagra!

One viewer just tuned out. Literally the only reason to DVR this show is that Grey's often runs long.


Strikes Two and Three

Bad week for pilots. First, K-Ville turned out to be "Cop Show... with Gumbo!" and now Kid Nation and Gossip Girl underwhelm as well.

Child labor laws! Seedy reality TV waivers! Legal loopholes! With all the controversy swirling around this show, I buckled myself in for a thrill ride down the delicious depths of network exec depravity. What I got was marginally more compelling than JD Roth's "kid Survivor" program, just set in a fakey Olde West ghost town. Turns out the only shocking thing is how boring Kid Nation is.

There are occasional "eww" moments, like when the kids have to haul carts full of "frontier supplies" and we watch one writhe in the pain of a charley horse. There are occasional "aww" moments, like when the youngest kid decides to leave, quivering out the words "I'm only 8. I'm a third-grader. I think I'm too young to be doing this." But mostly there are... no moments. Just a bunch of kids participating in poorly-themed competitions for a gold star and a phone call home. While I'm not one who's been sounding the drums against this show from the start, it does turn out to be a little icky to subject children to reality show scrutiny. When the ten-year old beauty queen says she wants to "make this a better world by bringing world peace to Africa with all the orphans" and that "the No. 1 place that needs world peace," it's laughable, but it's that need-to-take-a-shower-after kind of comedy because, you know, she's ten. Slotting the punkass 14-15 year olds in as the show's "villains" feels similarly unseemly. Overall, this societal experiment is about as effective as Peter Brady's volcano.

Sex! Power! Money! Teenagers! You'd think it'd be a tasty mix, but unfortunately this cocktail doesn't go down anywhere near as easy as the martinis that main character Serena swills in the opener. It's got a good pedigree, too - developed by the The O.C.'s Josh Schwartz from a successful book series starring a lead from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, narrated by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell. And it all adds up to... nothing.

It's not unwatchable, but the pilot provides no compelling reason to tune in. It's well-shot, so the locations look almost as pretty as the cast, but it's got no teeth. A bitchy drama set among the privileged prep school set is fine, but it'd be nice if you had someone to, you know, root for. Plus the titular hook (hee hee... titular) is way overplayed. The conceit of a blog that everyone reads that tracks everyone in it prolly plays pretty well on the page, but on screen it paves the way for silly scenes where the camera tracks around a bar as everyone reads their Sidekicks and says things like "what's Gossip Girl saying?" or "did you read Gossip Girl?" or "OMG Gossip Girl!" while the narrator says things like "seen at the bar - S and B reading their Sidekicks like they were the latest Harry Potter - who knows what it's about? Well, me... Gossip Girl!" Yeah, yeah, it's the myspace/facebook generation... I get it already. What I don't get is why I should care.


The Road to K-Ville...

...is paved with good intentions. Good actors (Anthony Anderson out of his mugging mode and Cole Hauser, who actually managed to be pretty good in 2 Fast 2 Furious) with a good cause (shed light on the post-storm struggle in New Orleans... and pump money into the local economy). Previews looked good. Boy, I wanted to like this show.

Boy, I didn't.

It's not a disaster, just a well-assembled failure. Shot entirely on location, it looks beautiful. But written entirely in cliches, it sounds ordinary. Aside from the setting, you've seen this story a thousand times. It's Cajun Lethal Weapon, complete with mixed-race buddy cops... who are willing to do anything to get get the job done!!! Detailing the plot of the pilot is pointless, because if you've ever seen a cop show, add a po-boy sandwich and a shot of bourbon and you've seen this one.

So does it pass the Pilot Hurdle? Nope. The show's not entirely hopeless, I suppose, but it doesn't show enough promise to wait to see if it finds its sea legs. I wish K-Ville well, but it's one and done.



The less said about this show, the better, as it was pretty uninspired start to finish. The few things worth mentioning?
  • The fact that, to a man, everyone seemed annoyed at having to present and accept awards in the round
  • The fact that the show's graphics were eerily reminiscent of I, Robot (which, for conspiracy nuts, was also a Fox property)
  • The fact that Emmy voters inexplicably continue to love Boston Legal
  • The fact that Fox censored Sally Field speaking out against the war, treading into a dangerous "thought it was a free country" grey area in the name of appeasing the FCC
Highlight of the show was Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert "giving" Steve Carell the absent Ricky Gervais' award. Everything else... not so much.

I'd say wake me for The Grammys, but even I don't watch those.


And the Mashy goes to...

Fresh from their lowest ratings ever, MTV reinvented the Video Music Awards for the mashup/myspace generation. They took a traditional awards show and shoehorned it into The Palms in Vegas. They took several suite parties and crammed them on top of a traditional awards show. They took a bunch of stars and dropped them into several suite parties. And so on.

With all the revision in the air, what were the results? As always, eh. Some interesting performances interspersed with even more nonsensical awards. The mashup vibe continued thru the show (Rihanna with Chris Brown, Rihanna with Fall Out Boy, Rihanna with pretty much every award) along with some random drama in the form of Kid Rock trying to mash Tommy Lee's face up.

Speaking of random, the surprise special guests were neither. The much-ballyhooed Britney Spears "shocker" was that she seems to have pretty much gotten herself back into shape and pretty much lost any of the musical appeal that made her a star. The super-secret, bigger-than-big show closer was... wait for it... a collaboration between Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado and... Timbaland (who's previously collaborated with... Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado).

Yawn. Wake me for the even less relevant MTV Movie Awards.