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New Shows: June 21 - 27, 2014

THIS WEEK: Almost Royal — The Last Ship — The Musketeers — Rising Star — The Case Against 8 — Freedom Summer — Tyrant — Mystery Girls — Taxi Brooklyn — Young and Hungry — Hey Bartender — A Leap of Faith — Girl Meets World

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

Almost Royal (BBC America)
Georgie and Poppy Carlton are English aristocrats traveling through the United States. The humor (I use that term loosely) derives from their idiocy and the reactions of those whom they meet. It goes too far. They start in LA and, while doing a bike tour of the stars’ homes, Poppy keeps insisting that she and her brother are “friends with benefits.” Their tour guide keeps trying to set her straight. Either the tour guide is just that gullible or it is all staged. Either way, I didn’t make it through the first half hour.

Kid President: Declaration of Awesome (Hub)

The Last Ship (TNT)
A virus has wiped out 80% of the world’s population. Luckily, one navy ship has been on a secret mission in the Arctic and has not been infected. On board is the scientist who must create the vaccine to save what’s left of our world. While Eric Dane and Adam Baldwin are fine as the leads, the rest of the cast is a bunch of walking clich├ęs spouting dialogue you have heard before. If you are looking for a sci-fi summer escape, this might be for you. I’m going to give it a miss.

The Musketeers (BBC America)
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. I have been waiting for the summer show to fall in love with and this is it. Fun on every level, there was nothing I didn’t like. The four men are handsome and swashbuckling. The women are faceted and are treated with respect by the four men. There are sword fights and big hats with feathers. Most of all, there is a great deal of humor and just plain excitement. I loved it and instantly promoted it to a series record on my DVR.

Rising Star (ABC)
Oh goody! Another singing talent show. We don’t have enough of those on our airwaves. But wait, this one is different. In this one, I get to download an app and vote live. The show proved it was live by having its dull host, Josh Groban, talk about the US World Cup tie with Portugal. There are three judges, each of whom is there for a fat paycheck and no other reason. One more problem, what about those on the West Coast? What effect will they have on the voting? Absolutely none.

Frankenfood (Spike)
Mega RV Countdown (Travel Channel)
Miracle Landing on the Hudson (National Geographic)
Secrets of Underground London (PBS)

The Case Against 8 (HBO)
I became a lawyer because the law can change the world for the better. This outstanding documentary tells the story of the lawsuit that overturned Proposition 8. Through interviews with the lawyers and the plaintiffs, we see the human side of this very important issue. It also shows that, with the right lawyers showing them how to do it, The Supremes can occasionally make the right decision.

CeeLo Green’s The Good Life (TBS)
Fat N Furious: Rolling Thunder (Discovery)
Operation Change (Oprah Winfrey Network)

Freedom Summer (PBS)
A very good episode of American Experience that talked about the drive in the summer of 1964 to register black voters in Mississippi. It could have done with a bit of editing, but some of the interviews were fascinating and the story is one we should all know. I enjoyed it, but felt the message would have been more powerful in a shorter piece.

Tyrant (FX)
I went into this expecting to hate it and was pleasantly surprised. The lead character is deeply flawed, the reason for which is saved for the ending twist that made me gasp. The dialogue is a bit stilted, but the acting is very good and the sets are exceptional. This is a show that I will continue to watch for the time being as I want to see the development of one of the most interesting characters I have come across in a while.

Abby’s Studio Rescue (Lifetime)
Botched (E!)
Motor City Masters (truTV)

Mystery Girls (ABC Family)
Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth reunite for a sitcom about two former television stars now running a detective business. It doesn’t get much worse than this. The writing is dreadful and the meta jokes get very old very quickly. Pass on this one.

Taxi Brooklyn (NBC)
Yet another police procedural set in New York. It is fairly standard fare, until we meet Leo. He is the taxi driver in question; he is very clever; he has a sense of humor. Played by Jacky Ido, this is a wonderful character I would like to see more of. Being a realist, however, this is a show premiering on a Wednesday night in June. No need to get too invested…

Young and Hungry (ABC Family)
A young, broke food blogger goes to work as a personal chef for a multi-millionaire. There is nothing objectionable about this show, but nor is there anything that makes it a stand out. The jokes and characters are all ones you’ve seen. Not bad; not great.

Best Bars in America (Esquire)
Million Dollar Listing: Miami (Bravo)

Hey Bartender (Showtime)
A documentary about the cocktail bar revolution. As someone who has spent far too long standing behind a bar, it made me roll my eyes a bit. There is a fair amount of self-aggrandizement that got old quickly. Yes, bartenders are there to make good drinks and keep the customers happy. In general, however, we are not rock stars, a term that was used far too often in these ninety minutes.

A-List Vacations (E!)

A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special (NBC)
An interesting documentary about the surgeons pioneering regenerative surgery. The stem-cell controversy is addressed at length; but, if you watch this, you will walk away with an enormous amount of respect for both the doctors and the patients who are paving the road to the next big thing in medicine. I was impressed.

Girl Meets World (Disney)
Luckily for all of us, sunbunny reviewed the pilot. It was a bit OTT for me.

Zapped (Disney)

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.


  1. Yay. Musketeers! Much love for the show..and Peter Capaldi as the Cardinal..can't go wrong with that.

  2. Most reviews of Tyrant don't seem very enthusiastic, but I will give anything Gideon Raff is involved with a try. His Prisoners Of War is what Homeland was based on and is about, oh, a million times better (and I like Homeland!).

    I've managed to ignore Musketeers thus far, but you've intrigued me now. I'll definitely give it a shot, especially if Peter Capaldi is in it. Thanks, Chris!

  3. Capaldi is great in Musketeers. And it has such good-looking Musketeers, and oh how I love this Milady. Even Constance has more sass than she usually does. Sorry for going on about this. After 2011's disastrous Musketeers movie I'm glad to see something closer to the source material. Yes, I'm a bit of a Dumas geek.
    Hmm, Tyrant sounds interesting. Thanks for that Chris. Will check it out.

  4. Gavrielle -- I agree that Prisoners of War was excellent. I often recommend it to people who have run out of steam on Homeland.

    mazephoenix -- Capaldi is brilliant as the Cardinal, infusing the character with enough humor that I don't imagine him twirling his mustache. I was impressed with how the characters of both women were written. They are smart; they are resourceful; but, most importantly, they are treated with respect by the men around them.

    I have been telling everyone I know to watch The Musketeers. It's been a while since I fell so completely in love with a show based solely on the pilot. I can't wait for the next episode.


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