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Series Preview: APARTMENT 23

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Series title: APARTMENT 23 (formerly titled “Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23″, which was like the best title in TV history EVER)

Series airing: Midseason. Probably earlier, when ABC’s new comedy block on Tuesday is bombing.

Series description: After a naïve Midwestern girl’s big city dreams are dashed her first week in New York, she finds herself living with her worst nightmare in this hilarious, contemporary comedy about a female odd couple who are surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters. June (Dreama Walker) moves to Manhattan for a dream job and the perfect company apartment, only to have them disappear in a puff of reality, thanks to a CEO from the Bernie Madoff school of embezzlement. Deep in debt and out on the streets, June scrambles to land a job and place to live. It seems her luck has turned around when she gets hired at a coffee shop and finds Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a charming, vivacious roommate… with the morals of a pirate. She swindles June out of all her savings, but she and her snarky friend, James Van Der Beek (playing himself), soon learn that, just because June’s naive, she isn’t stupid. June ingeniously turns the tables on Chloe, who is so shocked about being scammed herself that she decides to pull June into her colorful band of friends. Sure, it’s all dysfunctional, bizarre and overwhelming, but so is New York City. And with the help of Chloe and the other oddballs around her, June might just learn the survival secrets she needs to make it there.

Series expectations: When I first heard that Dawson is playing himself, I was thinking about a network TV version of EPISODES. Maybe the king of Van Der Memes will be able to spoof his person, like Matt LeBlanc was able to do in his premium cable comedy. But after seeing the trailer and hearing what APARTMENT 23 is all about, I’m not even sure if James will be in the center of all attention in every episode – and if he’s living through more than just one season, if ABC should renew it. Even more, I don’t know if it was necessary to put a “TV star” in a major role, playing himself, or if his appearance have a deeper meaning in the series. James could only bring the show some insight, when it actually plays on the business of being a TV star, like EPISODES did. Other than that I don’t expect much from the show. Krysten Ritter is one of my favorites since her days on VERONICA MARS, and Dreama Walker is the talk of the town since her talk-worthy appearances in THE GOOD WIFE. The two girls don’t have any troubles in playing crazy and dorky characters with moments of leading a bitch war against another, and I’m confident that the two will have a great chemistry in the show, delivering a back and forth, sometimes awkward, sometimes hilarious, sometimes even ridiculously awful. I just hope the two live up to the current hype of singlecam comedies.

Series prediction: If APARTMENT 23 would be a show on FOX, it would have been a great companion to NEW GIRL. Both shows are similar, both FOX’s comedy has the better edge and the lead of being the better comedy. NEW GIRL has chances to become a good comedy ratings-wise, and so has APARTMENT 23. It just depends if ABC places the show on their new comedy block on Tuesdays, probably paired with another multicam-sitcom (which would be a bad pairing, but since ABC fails in scheduling for a couple of years now, it seems to be the predicted move), or replacing a bomb on Wednesdays. APARTMENT 23 would probably be a good fit for COUGAR TOWN, but at the end who knows where the comedy will be slotted. I’m gonna predict a 2.4 ratings opener with A18-49, as long as it won’t have a DANCING WITH THE STARS lead-in or something…

Conclusion: Krysten and Dreama make me want to watch the show, and I will. Now it only depends, if the show is gonna be really good not to bore me, or I will be bored. And I really hope James is a funny guy on screen, and not just on his Memes Gifs.

 

Written by Christian Wischofsky

June 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Pilot Review: LOVE BITES

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Season 1, Episode 1
Date of airing: Jun 2, 2011 (NBC)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.64 million viewers, 1.0/3 with A 18-49

What is anyone expecting from a TV show, when you were following all the bad news surrounding the production and delay of the premiere? First the exit of Jordana Spiro, after her character was supposed to be one of the two main characters; then the exit of showrunner Cindy Chupack, as well as the pregnancy of cast member Becki Newton, which led to changing the show contentwise; the cut-back of 13 episodes to only 9; and then the rescheduling into the summer months, which led the actors to land pilots elsewhere. That’s the tragic story of LOVE BITES, beginning with an interesting way of telling love-related storylines in a somewhat-anthology, ending in the sure-to-be-cancelled section on NBC, in the middle of summer, where nobody is watching anything. Now here’s the sad part: I liked the pilot. And here’s the sad question: Why are most of the refreshing shows like LOVE BITES (THE EX LIST comes to mind) always bound to fail?

Furthermore, I asked myself the question why I actually liked the pilot, after I was expecting to absolutely hate it. The answer was easy: The pilot doesn’t take its stories very seriously, and there’s no sense of authenticity and message. LOVE BITES is a show, which finally wasn’t made to hammer something into your brain to take with you, instead it just wants to entertain. It wants to be funny, heart-warming, light, and uncomplicated. It wants its cast to be charming, its stories to be refreshing, and its audience to experience happy endings. During my review of FRANKLIN & BASH I wondered why a summer series is not able to put the clichés aside for at least a couple of episodes. LOVE BITES gave me another way of handling clichés: It plays with them in an unexpected way and makes them humorous. As if the writers wanted to have a series full of cliché-parodies.

First story: “First Time”
Probably the weakest of all three stories, since it was too normal for the pilot. But I liked the chemistry between Annie (Becki Newton) and Cassie (Krysten Ritter). I wondered why the two weren’t sisters from the beginning, and instead just friends. Maybe the humor of Annie’s pregnancy could have come over better, if the two really were sisters (the FRIENDS syndrome, when Phoebe was pregnant with her brother’s girlfriend’s babies). The romance story between Cassie and Jordan (David Giuntoli) was sweet, and it tells us (hey, there was a tiny message after all) that lies during a first encounter can help you build a relationship – at least for a night. The story somehow reminded me of BEFORE SUNRISE, just with more humor, and an awkward Cassie, who expects to be fucked, but has to realize that her new man might be one to keep. I t was just a shame that Becki Newton didn’t have much to do in this story, and that it was mostly all about Cassie. I loved the moments with Annie talking about “carrying the baby for her sister and her husband” – the perfect story for a mother-to-be without the father at her side (I’m curious if that’s becoming a continuous storyline in Annie’s string of stories throughout the only season), and actually funny and charming.

Second story: “First To Go”
Probably the story, which could have been better, when it would have played out all its strength. The whole vibrator thing was funny, especially when Carter (Kyle Howard) and Kell (Steve Howey) were in the sex store, about to be beaten by all the technology, which was actually better than themselves (that’s the fear all men have). The scene was even more funnier with Charlyne Yi as the store owner (she probably was) – I’m starting to fall in love with this girl, and I’m hoping that Steve Howey, whom I liked in SHAMELESS, will have at least another episode, just so the next one can play with the two characters. But since none of the cast of the middle storyline is in the title credits, I rather believe this story was just there to tell another story, without ever being continued in another episode. But I would love to, because the middle story had the best cast – I’m still waiting for Lindsay Price to get a challenging role in a real drama show (maybe she could change to premium cable)

Third story: “First On The List”
Definitely the best story in the pilot, thanks to Jennifer Love Hewitt, and thanks to the fact that she didn’t star as herself. The story of the famous “celebrity list” was funny to see, because it looked like an instructions manual of how not to talk to your number-one-celebrity on a plane, but then it all changed, and Judd (Greg Grunberg) and Jen suddenly had a great chemistry together, leaving their real lives out of the plane for the flight and having some fun. At the end, it was an instruction manual of how to talk to a celebrity, and when you have the world on your side, the celebrity just broke up with their partner and is out for some revenge, with sex involved. In addition the story proved that LOVE BITES is everything but real: What man could say from himself to have had no sex with the ghost whisperer, but telling anybody in the world that they’ve had sex on a plane flight to Miami? Curiously enough, I’m mentioning FRIENDS again, which had a similar storyline involving the celebrity list – now I wonder if there might be more FRIENDS references hidden in the pilot or in the rest of the series, or if it’s just me.

All in all, my expectations were exceeded. I never would have believed to have a funny and charming show with LOVE BITES. Unfortunately, it’s the next show of this kind after THE EX LIST, which won’t return for a second season. 8/10

It's not her first time

There's no sex in the plane

Written by Christian Wischofsky

June 3, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Breaking Bad – Season 2

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Check here for the review of the first season.

The experiment gets out of control in the second season of AMC’s Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston shatters suburban stereotypes in his performance as chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walt White. As danger and suspicion around him escalate, Walt continues to straddle two conflicting worlds: A ruthless swirl of drugs, murder and mayhem on one hand, and a complex and emotionally fraught domestic life on the other. In the no-holds-barred world of Walt White, the end justifies the extreme.

Episode 01: Seven Thirty-Seven
Interesting episode, and it felt like a normal episode, like the sequel to the last episode and not really like a monster-hammer-uber-cool season opener. But I am thankful that it’s not. Breaking Bad still concentrates more on the characters and their relationship.
Hank (Dean Norris) and Marie (Betsy Brandt): I hope both of them are getting an interesting story this season, because they managed to get more interest into the characters. And it is nice that Skylar (Anna Gunn) and Walt have exactly the same problems like Hank and Marie – but Skylar is pretty much more into the search for a reason, why the marriage won’t work at the moment.
A shame that I am spoiled, or I would ask myself what the beginning is meaning; but I can’t begin something with the little sex scene of Walt and Skylar in the kitchen. He almost was about to hurt her.
The rest of the episode (the main story arc involving Tuco [Raymond Cruz]) was good. Not only Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) get paranoid and try to prevent from being killed by him (interesting episode cliffhanger, btw), but Hank as DEA at the crime scene with the two bodies. And especially Jesse trying to open the revolver (hilarious) and Hank seeing their rob from last season from the eyes of a security camera (“It’s a barrel, roll it!”). Some hilarious scenes in here and a lot of dark character drama. The second season begins like the first season ended. 7,5/10

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