Tonight was a bad night for TV. Two shows on the DVR that I really tried hard to make myself like, but I just couldn’t do it.
“Bionic Woman” is just plain not good. It’ll trick you at first, because if you hear the overall concept (minus the belligerent hacker lil sister), and just catch glimpses of it, you might think it has potential. And if I didn’t mention it yet, the star is really, really pretty. But it just keeps on failing. I’ll watch one more episode just because it looks to be Bionic Starbuck-centric, but after that I’m dropping it.
I hope I’m not spoiling it for anybody, but the boring but generally likable fiance of the boring but generally likable star apparently died sometime over the last week — since he just had a clearly non-fatal bullet wound at the end of the pilot, I’m guessing he had a sudden aneurism or something. And it’s too bad, because somehow his dullness combined with hers to make a character who wasn’t exactly interesting, but was at least more appealing than everybody else back at Super Secret HQ. Miguel Ferrer, and a holy-cow-I-never-saw-that-coming Asian guy who’s a martial arts expert, and a harsh woman who drives a GTO, just can’t make up for Oscar Goldman.
And I hate to kick a jackass when he’s down, but if you’re trying to bring in fresh exciting new blood to invigorate your show, Isaiah Washington is a bad, bad choice. And then having him exchanging banter about What Color Is Your Parachute? is just embarrassing.
I hope I don’t end up sounding like Isaiah Washington when I say that watching “Pushing Daisies” just gave me the creeps all over. I watched it on the recommendation of a commenter here, and I really wanted to like it. But as I was afraid of, I had about the same reaction to it as I had to Wonderfalls. It was just way too fey and precious and pleased with itself. (And I’m the guy who loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer!)
Barry Sonnenfeld was Barry Sonnefelding the hell out of it, and it showed. Really high production values. Clever concept. Smarter-than-average dialogue. Clearly distinct from anything else on network TV. And a good bit of it hit just the right tone for a romantic black comedy.
But come on. Even Wes Anderson would call out the show for being too affected. And it’s all so brightly-colored but with a sinister undertone!, complete with the narrator from the Walgreens ads. And the characters banter with puns about rumination. And it’s just full-to-bursting with that insufferably confessional, blatant allegory, the same kind that drags down Tim Burton’s “I’m a tortured soul ’cause I’m different!” movies. Here you’ve got a woman who lives with her eccentric spinster aunts. And a taller, thinner Kevin Spacey-looking guy who was close to but tragically separated from his mother and emotionally distant from his father, who falls into a gloriously romantic but completely non-sexual relationship with his spunky dream girl.
By the end of it, I was overcome with the need to eat a steak and read Maxim.