New Shows: July 5 - July 11

THIS WEEK: Dangerous Acts -- Finding Carter -- Extant -- Kidnapped for Christ -- Welcome to Sweden -- Working the Engels -- The Almighty Johnsons

The New Shows color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

My Dysfunctional Family (CMT)

The ‘90s: The Last Great Decade? (National Geographic)
Aerial America: Alaska (Smithsonian)
Man Finds Food (Travel Channel)
Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour (NBC)
Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (CMT)

Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus (HBO)
The Belarus Free Theatre is a group of writers and actors who struggle to protest against the dictatorship in Belarus. What they are doing is incredibly dangerous and much of the footage shown during this documentary is tough to watch. The threats are so great that four of the ensemble are now living in exile in England and the United States. Incredibly moving and frightening, I recommend this film although you will not walk away from it a happy person.

The 7D (XD)

Finding Carter (MTV)
A teenager discovers that she was abducted when she was three and goes to live with her “real” family. I expected to hate this, so imagine my surprise when I found myself shedding tears at the end of the second hour. The characters are wonderfully drawn and, for the most part, manage to avoid being parodies of themselves. Kathryn Prescott plays the lead and is a find. Her American accent rivals Hugh Laurie’s and her ability to convey complex emotions simply with a look is astonishing for one so young. My roommates got sucked into this as well; the three of us agreed that this needs to be a series record for the time being.

Inside The Walking Dead (AMC)
Married at First Sight (FYI — a new channel, formerly the Biography channel)
Restaurant Startup (CNBC)

Extant (CBS)
Billie reviewed the pilot and liked it much more than I did. Watch the pilot and decide for yourself.

American Fringe (National Geographic)
American Muscle (Discovery)
iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party (The CW)
Mansion Hunters (Reelz)
Rowhouse Showdown (FYI)
Tiny House Nation (FYI)

Kidnapped for Christ (Showtime)
A truly terrifying documentary about only one of the hundreds of schools that use “behavior modification,” or abuse as many of us call it, to “cure” kids who are gay or who have other issues deemed by their parents to be severe problems. I was shocked watching this and was astonished at how wide spread these programs are. Not easy viewing, but worth your time.

Welcome to Sweden (NBC)
A successful accountant follows his Swedish girlfriend to her homeland. As a fish-out-of-water tale, it could be worse. The acting is not the greatest I have ever seen, but there is a current of goodwill that I enjoyed. The show is much more about heart than it is about belly laughs, but there are some funny moments. I won’t follow it, but if you are looking for a sweet, rom-comesque sitcom to get you through the dog days, you could do worse.

Working the Engels (NBC)
A man dies, leaving his family $200,000 in debt. Naturally, this family of misfits all join forces to keep his law firm running and to pay it all off. This is truly dire. The premise is old; the performances are beyond bad; the jokes continually fall flat. Don’t bother with this one.

Beasts of the Bayou (Discovery)
Celebrity Damage Control (Reelz)
Handsome Devils (Investigation Discovery)
Leah Remini: It’s All Relative (TLC)
Pawnography (History)
Snack Off (MTV)
World Food Championships (FYI)

The Almighty Johnsons (Syfy)
This import from New Zealand tells the story of a man who discovers on his 21st birthday that he and his family are the reincarnations of the Norse gods. It’s trying hard to be a combination of witty and dramatic — too hard. The pilot is all exposition, unsurprisingly, but I didn’t get a real sense of the characters either. This one has a rabid fan base in New Zealand, but I won’t stick around long enough to find out why.

A Question of Innocence (Investigation Discovery)
Kurt Metzger: White Precious (Comedy)

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


sunbunny said...

"Her American accent rivals Hugh Laurie’s" THAT is high praise indeed. His is the best I've ever heard. I was going to give this show a skip (despite Alexis Denisof) but the way EVERYONE is going on about it I might just have to give it a try. :)

mazephoenix said...

Aww..cute kitty.

Gavrielle said...

I agree about The Almighty Johnsons, Chris. We do sometimes make good shows in NZ but that isn't one of them. I couldn't make it through the pilot.

Off to investigate your other picks - many thanks!