what i watched last week
the further adventures of customer service

the hour (season finale), terra nova (series premiere)

These shows have nothing in common, but we watched them both tonight, so I’ll say a few words.

Terra Nova isn’t quite bad enough for me to give up yet, but about 20 minutes into the 2-hour pilot, my wife asked how I would make it through 120 minutes when I was already making fun of it after 20. There’s a pretty simple equation here: dinos good, family bad. The dinosaur effects are fine, and there are some Dinos Attack! scenes that are pretty exciting. But this being Steven Spielberg, it’s really about Family, and this family is about as interesting as the Robinsons of Lost in Space. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stick with this show if the ratio is 7 parts Family to 1 part Dinos Attack, but it sure feels like that’s the direction the show is headed. Grade for premiere: B-.

The Hour is a BBC show that just finished its first season on BBC America. It was a six-parter with plenty of good acting, good plotting, good atmosphere (it takes place during the Suez crisis in 1956). It has an interesting cast (Dominic West, ex-McNulty from The Wire, Oona Chaplin, and, in the lead female role, Romola Garai, who is exquisitely real looking). It’s not as good as Mad Men, to which it was compared (foolishly, I think), but it’s close enough to count, and yes, it’s coming back for a second season. Look for it when it hits your favorite streaming site … six episodes, come on, you can knock that off in an evening. Grade for Season One: A-.