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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

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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

Review: Adventure Time, Clarence and The Day My Butt Went Psycho

Adventure Time: B+
Clarence: A-
The Day My Butt Went Psycho: C-

Gotta Gotta See It Adventure Time Promo (screenshot via Youtube)

Gotta Gotta See It Adventure Time Promo (screenshot via YouTube)

Who would’ve thought Teletoon of all places would try to revive Must See TV? Well, maybe they haven’t exactly brought it back, but their Thursday evening block seems to be heading that way. The network grabbed top performing mainstays like Adventure Time and new series such as Clarence and The Day My Butt Went Psycho in what they dub Gotta Gotta See It or Can’t Miss Thursdays.

When you tune in, chances are you won’t mistake any of their shows for the latest Disney/Pixar movie. The animation on Adventure Time, Clarence and The Day My Butt Went Psycho is rather crude in comparison to the best out there, which often rivals live action footage. Animation isn’t exactly where these series were meant to wow though. That’s even the case for Adventure Time, arguably the block’s or even the network’s signature show; that series often looks as if it was doodled by a grade schooler. These shows make up for the unimpressive animation with imagination, and just being more fun overall.

Adventure Time title card (screenshot via YouTube)

Adventure Time title card (screenshot via YouTube)

Adventure Time's Finn and Jake (screenshot via Daily Motion)

Adventure Time’s Finn and Jake (screenshot via Dailymotion)

Gotta Gotta See It/Can’t Miss Thursdays kicks off with Adventure Time at 6 p.m., which is quite an out there show. All logic is thrown out the window to the point that it’s like a bad acid trip. The series follows Jake The Dog, who is able to talk and transform into things instantly, and a kid named Finn The Human, who wears a hat that appears to have animal ears. Jake and Finn often find themselves in surreal situations with oddball characters in barren looking surroundings. Even with the rather lacklustre animation and random premise, you’ll have a hard time having more fun with anything on TV. Continue reading

Review: Black-ish gets it all wrong

Black-ish title card (screenshot via iTunes)

Black-ish title card (screenshot via iTunes)

D-

One of the many aggravating black stereotypes weaved into the pilot (screenshot via iTunes)

One of the many aggravating black stereotypes weaved into the pilot (screenshot via iTunes)

The pilot of Black-ish is a complete miss. It reinforces negative stereotypes about black people and has a rather ass-backward view of what a black family is, or should be. In fact, by the time the show made it to the fist bump barely two minutes in, I was already so neck deep in stereotypes that it was nearly enough for me to say fuck this and throw the first thing I could at the screen. The program doesn’t only reinforce stereotypes, but aggressively defends them. It’s so bad that Black-ish comes across as an angry, foolish tirade, essentially saying black people are losing their identity and things like urban music, big butts and hip-hop dance crews are exclusively for black people. Not only that, but it’s an absolute outrage other people are becoming involved with them.

Even if this is a comedy I can't believe the main character is getting outraged that Kim Kardashian comes to mind when people think of big butts (screenshot via iTunes)

Even if this is a comedy I can’t believe the main character is getting outraged that Kim Kardashian comes to mind when people think of big butts (screenshot via iTunes)

But, hey, excuse me; none of those things really have anything to do with being black. Being black is having a community behind you who loves you unconditionally, fighting for equality and what’s right, and overcoming years of injustice. Nothing can change that, especially something as meaningless as Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke being considered urban artists and Kim Kardashian being the first person who comes to mind when you think of a big ass. (Ugh, did I really have to say that? Come on people.)

We're coming closer than ever to the dream of equality and this show seemingly wants to throw that all away (screenshot via iTunes)

We’re coming closer than ever to the dream of equality and this show seemingly wants to throw that all away (screenshot via iTunes)

While I suppose you could argue some of those things are small facets of black culture, why is it a problem that they are getting mainstream acceptance to the point where we don’t think twice about people from other cultures getting involved with them? Isn’t that in a way what many of our forefathers have dreamed about: A world where black and white are no longer segregated in their own silos.

Now that we’re getting closer to the dream, to turn around and bitch about it is silly at best and infuriating at worst. Not only does it not make sense, but to use that as a premise of a show alienates a lot of people outside of the black community (and some within as well). It’s almost as if the series (or at least this episode) wants to set the civil rights movement back 50 years. If you think all that’s offensive on its own, that’s just a tiny slice of the idiocy of the pilot. Continue reading