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New Shows: May 31 - June 6, 2014

THIS WEEK: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Halt and Catch Fire -- Jennifer Falls

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

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (HBO)
This show is always fun simply to listen to the music. This year’s inductees were Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, KISS (hence this week's photo), Cat Stevens (or whatever he is calling himself these days), Hall and Oates, The E Street Band, and Nirvana. The show lasts three hours, so it does drag on a bit. Do what I did and listen to it as background while you do something else. The music is fabulous.

The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom (Lifetime)

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Trying to recapture the magic of Mad Men, AMC has developed another workplace drama. This one is set in the computing world of the 1980s. While the acting was very good, the story was very bad. The show lost my attention about twenty minutes in.

Josie’s reaction in the Agents of D.O.U.X. writing room perfectly captures the problem: “At one point, Lee Pace's character bats a baseball around his apartment. He hits the wall, then the lamp, then the big picture window. As he stared moodily through the shattered glass into the deep dark beyond of the future of computing (and the Dallas skyline), I realized I was watching the clumsiest visual exposition for "he swings for the fences, even when there are none!" I'd ever seen. Then I wondered if he could ever get his security deposit back.”


Famous in 12 (The CW)

Jennifer Falls (TV Land)
A woman executive loses her job and is forced to move back in with her mother. This basic plot seems to be a recurring theme this year and this version did nothing new or interesting. It was relatively amusing, although not laugh out loud funny. If you are looking for something light and frothy this summer, you could do worse. Just don’t go in with high expectations.

CMT Music Awards (Country Music Television)

Conspiracy Files (Destination America)
It Takes A Church (Game Show Network)


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. Halt And Catch Fire admittedly sounds, appalling, but I'm going to have to give it a go. Because Lee Pace.

  2. I've got halt and catch fire on my dvr just BECAUSE of Lee Pace. I'll watch just about anything to see him.

  3. Three times being the charm, I have to ask. Lee Pace? What was he in that I obviously missed?

  4. Lee Pace was in Pushing Daisies. And he's Thranduil in The Hobbit. Legolas' dad.
    He's in Guardians of the Galaxy too.

  5. OK, I've seen Halt And Catch Fire now.


    I co-own an IT consultancy and run a small startup on the side. I wasn't in IT in the period this is set in, but my business partner was, and I'm interested in it. If *I* find this show terminally boring, who on earth is it aimed at?

    I did manage to struggle all the way through the first episode (barely), but had to kick it to the curb close to the beginning of the second one when Incredibly Annoying And Unlikely Girl Programmer said "Wait, what?" In the Eighties? I don't think so. That was the last straw. Lee Pace was great (of course), but his character is also intensely annoying. The whole thing is just...ugh. LEE PACE CANNOT SAVE THIS SHOW THAT IS HOW BAD IT IS.

  6. Gavrielle -- Josie brought the AV Club's review of the third episode to my attention. The following is perfect:

    As Halt And Catch Fire has gone on, the pilot’s promisingly tingly sense of discovery has ossified into a rotely rigid melodrama where underwritten characters make overwritten speeches in service of a plot following a predictable track at a deadly pace.

  7. Chris: the only thing I disagree with in the AV Club's review is "the pilot's promisingly tingly sense of discovery". I would have phrased this as "surely it can't be as bad as this every week".

  8. A lot of critics liked the premiere episode, which astonished me. I felt like I aged 10 years watching it.

  9. This week in funny lines from the AV Club review of the finale of Halt and Catch Fire:

    "After a promising pilot followed by a run of alternately humdrum and ludicrous episodes, the latter half of the season has seen the show get better without ever getting very good."



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