Saturday, August 12, 2006

More fall previews

The Black Donnellys -- Young Irish thugs-in-training steal stuff, brawl with each other and everyone around them and pine after the girl next door. Tommy is trying to keep his wayward brothers out of jail, or the hands of the Italian mob, while they do everything they can to wind up there. His brothers are so incredibly stupid, it's obviously a losing battle.

NBC is counting on this one to be a winner, but I don't see it. It's all "Goodfellas" flashbacks and artifice.It can't seem to build any momentum and the parts dn't seem to come together. It's a pre-"Sopranos" mob drama -- like nobody realized the bar has been raised for this kind of show and murky visuals and tough talk aren't enough anymore.

Kidnapped -- The teenage scion of a wealthy family is abducted in a professional, albeit bloody, heist. Which leads directly to this choice bit of diaglogue: "Look, I know a guy. Or I know of a guy. He's a specialist."

Hee. Pretentious, stilted, utterly unbelievable. Kind of fun.

There's more, too: "You're not very good with people, are you Mr. Knapp?" "No, but I'm good at finding them." There's a bunch more like that, too. If you're a connoussier of cheezy lines, this is the mother load.

"You the accountant?" "I balance the books, yeah." Take a guess what happens next.

"I followed procedure." "Yeah that's the problem with you people and your rule book. You don't understand that you're the only one following the rules."

And, my very favorite thing ever, it ends with a montage.

The Nine -- The nine survivors of a botched bank robbery struggle to put their lives back together. At the start, this so seems like a spoof. I'm not sure a spoof of what, but a spoof. And then it takes a very dramatic (OK, overly dramatic) turn that will make you wonder where the heck this thing is headed.

This is a big gamble for ABC. There's some good stuff here, but the unknowns outweigh the knowns and it seems like it will be hard for audiences to get a grip on the characters and the storyline. I don't even know if this is a relationship drama or an action thing or what?

Six Degrees -- "In New York City, they say you're going to walk by the person you're goign to marry three times before you meet them." Yeah, so now you know the gimmick -- although be aware that the intertwining stories are played more for pathos than humor. The characters don't really resonate and some of the acting is just bad. It's all strangely blah, despite some decent ideas to work with. Now it does have Campbell Scott, who I always love, although he's not doing much beyond looking scruffy. Wish the rest of the cast were as good doing nothing.

Friday Night Lights -- I didn't read the book, didn't see the movie, don't usually like fictional football (XFL anybody?), but this one's a keeper. If you don't know the story, it's based on a nonfiction book about a season at a school in the heart of Texas, where high school football is as serious as breathing. The kids turn in outstanding performances, the director tugs at your heartstrings expertly, the cinematography is great. If you don't love this pilot... um, I've got nothing. You just should love this pilot.


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