TV Reviews

Review: Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] is unlike anything you’ve seen before

Gaming Show [In My Parent's Garage] title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

C

Gaming Show's Jesse and Ian play MLB 14: The Show

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage]’s garage doesn’t look much like a garage. It’s more like a TV show set, which is probably what it is anyway. (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] is a series that’s as unusual as its title, and that’s mostly because it’s a weird mismatch between your standard video game or geek culture TV program (think something like The Anti-Gravity Room or EP Dailyand a kids’ sitcom or sketch comedy show.

Gaming Show's Julia interviews a woman dressed up as Super Mario at Fan Expo

The Gaming Show logo totally looks as if it was printed out on a sheet of paper by an inkjet printer and taped on the mic in this Fan Expo segment (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show—Top 5 Ways to Gloat [Brag] When You Win

Gaming Show has a few sketches thrown in to the mix, like this one on how to gloat when you win a game (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Sure, Gaming Show has interviews, event coverage and video game sneak peeks and tips, but it also has random scenes thrown in seemingly just for the sake of being funny. There are several where the hosts (Jesse, Julia and Ian) play video games amongst themselves with a lot of the humour arising when one host loses to another. In the second episode they use the gimmick more than once, and in at least two instances it just appears to be a sly way to shoehorn in an expert to share some gaming tips.

Brett Lawrie on Gaming Show [In My Parents' Garage]

Brett Lawrie does not look like he’s happy to be on Gaming Show (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Nintendo's Seth McMahill on Gaming Show

A fuzzy Seth McMahill chatting with Gaming Show’s Julia (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

For example, early in the second episode, hosts Jesse and Ian play the PS4 version of MLB 14: The Show, however, Jesse is losing 10-0 to Ian. Now playing at bat as Blue Jay Brett Lawrie, Jesse calls the real-life Lawrie for help, and he gives him tips on how to prepare for the specific pitcher throwing balls his way. In another segment, Julia calls Nintendo Pokémon expert Seth McMahill to get advice for the latest Pokémon games as she’s similarly losing in a Pokémon battle to Jesse. McMahill tells her she can import Pokémon from earlier games and Mega Evolve them.

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Review: The Fall

The Fall title card (screenshot via Bravo GO)

The Fall title card (screenshot via Bravo GO)

B-

If I learned anything from The Honourable Woman, it’s that the Brits like their dramas slow—I mean really slow, like moving at a snail’s pace. After some quality time with the second season premiere of The Fall, my belief was only cemented.

The Fall tends to squander precious air time with numerous scenes like this where the killer makes breakfast (screenshot via Bravo GO)

The Fall tends to squander precious airtime with numerous scenes like this where the killer does menial things like make breakfast (screenshot via Bravo GO)

Much like CBC’s The Honourable Woman, Bravo’s The Fall is an import from BBC Two, and both shows don’t mind taking their time to get to the point. On The Fall, it’s particularly comical. For example, the show spends over a minute on a dialogue-free scene consisting of only walking into a bedroom and opening a box. Then there are similarly dull scenes involving riding a boat, waiting for a train, boarding a train, walking around slowly (or worse standing completely still), cooking breakfast and making a cup of coffee that just eats several minutes of the show. Actually, if you manage to come across The Fall during the wrong moments while channel surfing, I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought it’s a cookery show (as the Brits might say), a Maxwell’s House commercial or some sort of show on transportation.

With the number of pointless scenes in the episode even the actors look bored (screenshot via Bravo GO)

With the number of pointless scenes in the episode, even the actors look bored (screenshot via Bravo GO)

The Fall‘s slow pace is all quite different from broadcast TV shows from this side of the pond. I’m thinking things like How To Get Away With Murder that grip your attention for almost the full hour. I suppose since BBC Two has the luxury of not having to worry about adverts, they can keep in meaningless scenes, just for the sake of being artistic, or whatever. However, as a viewer I wish they’d just get on with it.

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Review: Marry Me, Cristela and Package Deal

Marry Me: B
Cristela: C+
Package Deal: C

Marry Me title card (screenshot via Global GO)

Marry Me title card (screenshot via Global Go)

Marry Me is unmistakably a comedy, and that’s a good thing for the most part considering there are way too many dramadies and watered-down sitcoms on the air right now that really make you question if the show you’re watching is actually supposed to be funny.

Marry Me, however, bombards you with joke after joke after joke after joke. With so many, they’re often hit or miss, and the sheer number of them may just exhaust you.

This was in the title sequence because why not I suppose (screenshot via Global GO)

This was in the title sequence because why not I suppose (screenshot via Global Go)

There's a lot thrown into the show just for the sake of being funny like this yoga instructor (screenshot via Global)

There’s a lot thrown into the show just for the sake of being funny like this random yoga instructor (screenshot via Global Go)

The show’s humour also often falls between just random jokes or awkward humour. For example, while the debut episode was mostly about the couple’s botched proposals, there are somehow jokes about the Challenger explosion, Paula Deen using the N-word and having a time machine to save Princess Di. Then there’s a bunch of other ones based around awkward situations like that yoga instructor who had a slew of meaningless compliments and when Annie (Casey Wilson) gets her boyfriend/fiancé Jake (Ken Marino) fired by blurting out that he took her on a vacation (as Jake told his boss his father was gravely ill to get the time off). Continue reading

Review: A to Z is awfully familiar

A to Z's funky title card (screenshot via NBC)

A to Z’s funky title card (screenshot via NBC)

C

To say A to Z is a lot like How I Met Your Mother is to say ketchup is a lot like catsup. The two shows are so alike it’s uncanny.

Like How I Met Your Mother, the narrator of A to Z was the star of a late 80s/early 90s sitcom. In A to Z’s case, it’s Katey Sagal of MarriedWith Children fame, opposed to How I Met Your Mother’s Bob Saget who is arguably best known for Full House.

Also, like How I Met Your MotherA to Z tells the story of a relationship. It seems like an epic story that’s bound to be told to their kids someday. Actually, the show is already presented as if it’s a story. In one of her narrations Katey Sagal straight-up says, “Let me tell you a story.” Her narration also gives us one of the cheesy reasons for the show’s name. “This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship from A to Z,” she says.  Continue reading

Review: The Honourable Woman is gracefully idiotic

The Honourable Woman title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

The Honourable Woman title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

D+

Oh boy, was I ever disappointed in this show. The Honourable Woman looked like it would’ve been an intelligent, thought-provoking series, but instead it was an illogical, pretentious, slow-moving drag. It’s rather awful and I wondered why the CBC even bothered to pick it up. Reruns of the fifth estate or The Nature of Things would likely be more interesting than this BBC Two summer series.

Good luck finding The Honourable Woman. While it is listed in the CBC app, there are no episodes available. I tried and failed to get it on CBC's site as well (screenshot via CBC)

Good luck finding The Honourable Woman. While it is listed in the CBC app, there are no episodes available. I tried and failed to get it on CBC’s site as well (screenshot via CBC)

Actually, I’m not even sure the CBC wants you to watch The Honourable Woman. I couldn’t find it available in the CBC app and I couldn’t get it to play on their website. I managed to get a copy via SundanceTV in the US, the American broadcaster of the series. They made the first episode available for free on the American iTunes store and managed to misspell the title as “The Honorable Woman.” I’ll never understand how the Americans are always randomly leaving the letter “u” out of words. I did find the program later on Rogers Anyplace TV’s app though.

I should've known that once a show opens like this that it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

I should’ve known that once a show opens like this that it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

When it comes to the show however, The Honourable Woman acts as if it wants to put you to sleep right from the first scene. That scene in particular is just a shot out of a door looking out at roofs with satellite dishes. In retrospect, I should’ve known from then that this was going to be a painful hour of TV. Continue reading

Review: How To Get Away With Murder kills it

How To Get Away With Murder title card (screenshot via CTV GO)

How To Get Away With Murder title card (screenshot via CTV GO)

A

Don't touch your phone or else you might miss how this thingy is important (screenshot via CTV GO)

Don’t touch your phone or else you might miss how this thingy is important (screenshot via CTV GO)

When Shonda Rimes, the creator of How To Get Away With Murder, was questioned about the series’ lengthy name and how it would ever manage on social media sites like Twitter, she famously said “we don’t consider a hashtag when we’re writing a title.” Truth is, I doubt any of the series (or at least the pilot) was created with social media in mind. This likely isn’t a show you’d want to live tweet, as it demands your full attention. Turn off your phone, put the kids to sleep, make sure you have some snacks handy because you won’t want to miss a thing.

How did Professor Keating's husband wind up dead? Well I hope you were paying close attention (screenshot via CTV GO)

How did Professor Keating’s husband wind up dead? Well I hope you were paying close attention (screenshot via CTV GO)

I watched the pilot twice back-to-back and it still feels like a third go at it would bring even more things to light. It’s quite dense in that way, but the pilot was so well paced, you might not even notice how tightly packed the show was until the very end. The plot also jumped around through time frequently, so you’ll want to pay careful attention to be able to piece things together, and boy, is there ever a lot to piece together. There’s so much in the pilot that CTV knows a few of you could’ve been lost and assembled this handy guide so you’ll be on top of things for the upcoming episode. Continue reading

Review: The Next Step stumbles

The Next Step title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

The Next Step title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

D+

In an interesting take on the “Previously On...” segments of TV shows. The characters do voiceovers of what they did previously as they dance on screen (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

In an interesting take on the “Previously On…” segments of TV shows, the characters do voiceovers of what they did previously as they dance on screen (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

If you think teen dramas are bad, wait till you come across a Canadian teen drama, then you’re in for some fun. Take the soppy storylines, dreadful acting and silly drama over spilled milk and multiply that by the CanCon crap factor, then you’re in for a shitfest that will make you want to gouge your eyes out.

Somebody has been practising their shocked/surprised face by watching a lot of reruns of The Hills (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Somebody has been practising their “I’m so shocked, surprised and hurt when I caught you kissing someone else” face by watching a lot of reruns of The Hills (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Family, for whatever reason, decided to create their own. Apparently their sitcoms (and their Disney Channel imports) weren’t insufferable enough. So enter The Next Step, a series on a dance crew coincidentally named The Next Step. The crew seems to constantly rehearse in efforts to make it to “nationals.” If it’s not that then there’s unnecessary drama and people randomly dating and breaking up. The show seems as if it wants to be a Degrassi or Glee-light at times. It’s just that everything here is sanitized for Family’s younger audience.

The Next Step uses a faux documentary format, perhaps so the writer(s) can easily move along the plot by having the characters just talk to the camera (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

The Next Step uses a faux documentary format, perhaps so the writer(s) can easily move along the plot by having the characters just talk to the camera (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

The Next Step suffers in the acting department though, which isn’t that great and almost laughable at times. It’s awkward, clumsy and puts a hamper on the show, making a few scenes difficult to watch. At least most of the cast can dance though. Continue reading