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The People in My TeeVee (part 1)

"Whap?" :: stares uncomprehendingly at TiVo :: You called your premiere episode Whap??? Erm, okay...

I'm going to reserve judgment on the actual storytelling for a week or two, only because they had a literal boatload of characters to introduce, any of whom could be a victim or a murderer etc. etc. (I do find it intriguing that the promos say anyone could be a murderer, immediately laying on the table the prospect of more than one.) So I'm not sure what they could have done other than resort to a laundry list of clichés, punctuated by a couple nasty demises. I'm still going to need a scorecard for a while to keep track of names (no doubt why CBS has handily provided a literal one on its website), but I have basic personalities and relationships to attach to people's faces, which will be helpful even if when they turn out to be Other Than What They Seem.

So, no real opinion on any of the characters yet, other than that they're the standard soapy mix, where the rich are deeply unhappy and/or asshats, and the less-privileged are bravely facing traumatic pasts and/or asshats. (Tangentially, has anyone ever made a Canadian TV Repertory Company bingo card? Surely they must have by now.) It struck me when Madison came into her parents' bedroom that this is the first time I've seen Gina Holden play a character with any onscreen family, distant and dysfunctional as they evidently are. (In retrospect, that was one of the problems with FG -- they brought Dale back to her little hometown, emphasized that to the point of Aura stealing her prom dress, and she didn't seem to know anyone from growing up there except Flash and Nick?) Hopefully Shea will live long enough for more of that to play out.

I did have an odd little epiphany about the evolution of genres. They've been mostly touting this as a Christie-esque bottle-mystery update, and all the elements of that are there save one: There's no Poirot or Miss Marple. Without that person at the center, it rings more like a rich-people soap opera melded with slasher-movie tropes. Which is, as brainiacfive pointed out when I made this observation to him, pretty much what Ten Little Indians is. I mean, Agatha Christie probably wouldn't have had the top half of Harry Hamlin clinging to a footbridge, but that's part of where the update comes in. And that honestly never occurred to me before. Which is perhaps slightly dense of me, as it seems glaringly obvious now, but I've never been a huge mystery buff.

I am, however, considering opening a pool on when the first character makes a suspect/location/weapon Clue joke. Although senses of humor are running a bit thin on the ground in this bunch.

There's also a whiff of a sort of supernatural-free Dark Shadows about it, more than I expect just from the rich-people soap opera part. Maybe it's just the juxtaposition of troubled rich people in a mansion/inn with fishing-town locals in a bar. And the fact that Madison could be a little sister to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's David from the 1991 reboot. I also had that thought when Cassandra Sawtell played Sarah in the BT ep "Gifted," but chalked it up to the general spooky-little-kid demeanor. Which is also apparent here, but she still reminds me of him a lot.

I've seen a couple people saying they had pacing and lack-of-suspense issues, but I was okay with it as an opener, with an assumption that it'll ramp up a bit from here. For the moment, I'm in.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
studiesinlight
Apr. 11th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
>"There's no Poirot or Miss Marple. Without that person at the center, it rings more like a rich-people soap opera melded with slasher-movie tropes. Which is, as brainiacfive pointed out when I made this observation to him, pretty much what Ten Little Indians is."

Very good observations and analysis, both of you!

I've realized recently that as I'm never home from work to watch TV as it airs anymore, and I don't have TiVo, the only things I'm watching are the two for which I've pre-set the VCR, not because there's nothing else I'd like, but because I never get to discover others to pre-set the VCR for!

Well, that and they canceled all my shows again. The one eternal of network television. :-)
wiliqueen
Apr. 11th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know how good a mystery this is going to turn out to be, but at the very least it should be moderately fun to put things together as they go along. Perhaps especially without a designated detective figure.

Basically all you've missed at this point is the pieces being placed on the board. Probably 80% of what we got about histories and relationships is in the character descriptions on the website, so if you decide to add it to recording schedule in week 2, you won't be hopelessly lost.
taraljc
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
I actually started working on a Canadian Actor Bingo Card after seeing this, for a blog post I haven't finished yet. But Callum Keith Rennie is at its centre. Other squares thus far are Keegan Connor Tracy, Jessica Steen, Hugh Dillon, Blu Mankuma, John Kapelos, Laurie Holden, Gina Holden, Dylan Neal, Peter MacNeill, and erm... other people.
wiliqueen
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
I love you a very great deal. :-D But you knew that anyway.

Kari Matchett!

Edited at 2009-04-12 12:30 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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