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100 Shows

Great but not my cup of tea. Good but not good enough. Just plain bad. Cancelled too soon to tell. Not enough hours in the day. Shows I tried and abandoned.



Wayward Pines

Started off strong, but the last 1-2 episodes were so incredibly awful they bordered on satire -- to the point that we hysterically laughed our way through most of the finale. Haven't seen such sloppy, ridiculous, illogical plotting (of the type where the hero has two seconds to save the earth yet stands around moronically chatting about it for a minute before springing into action, cause otherwise there would be no drama) on TV since the 90s. Which incidentally is where Matt Dillon should have left his career; what a strong contender for the Keanu Reeves Most Wooden Acting Award. At least the writers had the sense to **EDITED BECAUSE SPOILER** for next season. Afraid his character's son might be just as bad though. That bit where the **** fell on **** in the elevator shaft was pure unadultered comedy, thanks to the timing/camera angles. We wonder whether he, too, suffers from the one-facial-expression-only syndrome... time will tell. Positives: it was nice to see the lovely Shannyn Sossamon onscreen, and the concept is cool. Thank god they didn't keep us waiting forever for the mystery payoff à la Lost or Persons Unknown; it takes a few episodes, but worry not, all is indeed revealed. Still, would've thought that in this golden age of TV, audiences would've become too sophisticated for such poorly executed melodrama. I might pick up the book on which the series is based, but I won't be tuning in for Season 2.

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

Young & Hungry

Watchable in a vaguely entertaining way if you're desperate for some switch-off-your-brain TV. But every character is a (bordering on offensive) stereotype, the same plot points are repeated over and over, and a lot of the emotional development rings false.


This series should come with a warning label: "will elevate blood pressure".

If I'd bothered to read the reviews of Amber before watching it, and if I'd known of the [SPOILER] that seems to throw everyone into a rage once it's over, I might still have watched it, just out of curiosity. And then I would have been really annoyed with myself for not listening to the reviewers. Instead, I went in all unknowing, and can direct my annoyance firmly at the people who wrote it.

Does it have any redeeming qualities? Sure, some. Let's see: Amber's hair/outfit is cute, which is good because you get to see it over and over again. Um. The actor who plays her dad is easy on the eyes... ?

OK, if I'm to be fair, he and the rest of the cast were perfectly decent-to-good, possibly great, actors. Unfortunately, it was hard to focus on the acting through the terrible plot, which had me alternately bored to tears and confused by a sloppily constructed nonlinear narrative which, despite its twists, turns, and fake-outs, failed to disguise some unforgivably large holes. I will grudgingly admit that the mother's emotional journey was quite well handled -- but the father's was so ludicrous that it overshadowed the nuances of her grief.

The writing does not even succeed in its main (purported) intent: to show the effect of Amber's disappearance on the town and community in which she lives. Yes, we do explore the effect it has on her parents; we also see (in brief bits and pieces) its effect on the parents' best friends. But events in the lives of the two Garda police investigators in charge of the case are dealt with perfunctorily (almost as though the writers were as bored by their one-dimensional characters as I was), a B-plot involving an illegal immigrant (which fails to tug at the heartstrings, though it should) is borderline unbelievable and largely isolated from the main storyline, and any further effects on the community at large are merely tantalizingly hinted at, then left dangling.

This is in fact the crux of what is wrong with Amber: it presents us with individual, isolated strands of plotline -- some, perhaps, even quite good. But unlike other shows of the genre (namely Broadchurch and The Killing) it makes no attempt (and I mean, NO attempt) to weave these strands together into the multilayered, complex, and compelling tapestry we've come to expect.

Never mind that one strand that will have you seeing red...

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.