what i watched last week
pushing the edge

episodes and shameless

Showtime introduced two new series last night, one of which intrigued me enough to bring me back for a second round, the other which I’m not so sure about.

Episodes is a comedy about bringing a popular British comedy to American television, with Matt LeBlanc as a version of himself. I didn’t find it all that funny, and its targets … well, make that target, because there is only one, Hollywood television and its stupidity … its target is too easy. And they don’t do enough with it. Action, with Jay Mohr, was far better, in part because it was so mean-spirited (which is appropriate for the material), and also because it was, you know, funny.

Shameless is a dramedy (not sure I’ve ever used that word before … wow, does it stink) about a poor family in Chicago, and is itself actually a British series brought to American television. I don’t know the original, so no comparisons here. The extended family at the center of the show is charming in a messy kind of way, which is the main reason I’ll be back next week. Emmy Rossum is remarkable as Fiona, the oldest child of the drunken father played by William H. Macy. She’s extremely pretty, but in a human way … her face is expressive, and she uses it to create a complex character. My biggest concern, looking ahead, is how they deal with poverty. There’s a chance Shameless will quickly become an R-rated, mostly-white version of Good Times, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I know they want the show to be uplifting in some way. But I’m hoping for some darkness, too.


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