TV Catch Up – Off the Map, No Ordinary Family finales, Body of Proof, The Killing, The Good Wife, Breakout Kings

 

Lots of shows to catch up on, including the final episodes (probably ever) of Off the Map and No Ordinary Family, shows I liked quite a bit but failed to find an audience.

No Ordinary Family went all apocalyptic as Lucy Lawless got a name (which I can’t remember now..Teresa?) and a dastardly plot – to find out how the Powell family got their powers for keeps and to then kill them. However, the melodrama surrounding this including JJ kidnapped, shape shifting humans, taking away powers, double crosses etc was just rather desperate and forced.

The cast already have their next jobs lined up and I hear the sets were torn down, so it is unlikely the show will return and we will find out howthose government agents knocking on their door asking for their assistance will play out. So where did this show go wrong? I still maintain the lack of chemistry between unlikely sweethearts Julie Benz and Michael Chilkis was a problem, but more of a stumbling block was the plotting. The show has one concept – the super powered Powells – but the storylines were never strong enough. The two superhero sidekicks were a lot of fun and actually for once, the kids were ok, but the long terms story arcs were very weak, and sadly Lucy Lawless cartoon villain was just under developed and uninteresting. Ah well, diverting fun.

Unlike pretty much anyone else, I really liked Off the Map a lot. Just finished watching was is undoubtedly the last episode. This show appeared unloved by critics and audiences, but for me, Caroline Dhavernas and Mamie Gummer were always worth watching. The younger guy (can’t remember his name) even grew on me a bit. Medical shows are ten a penny, and it could be argued Off the Map offered little new, but I enjoyed the medical dramas and the interactions of characters I came to care about. Mamie Gummer in particular really impressed me with her dramatic and comedic acting. I hear she will be returning to The Good Wife later this year – excellent news, her guest role was another in the long line of brilliant Good Wife Guests.

Last time I reviewed Body of Proof, I remained to be convinced. Having seen two more episodes, I am enjoying the show a lot. Dana Delaney’s character is slightly more rounded and less know it all obnoxious, the support cast are being developed a bit more and the cases are interesting. Still not terribly original, but Delaney carries the show well although I hope they don’t make her too warm and fuzzy!

The Danish show The Killing (or Forbrydelsen) was one of the real tv highlights of the last few months for me when it aired on BBC4 (and on iPlayer where I watched most episodes.) AMC’s US remakes hit the airwaves last week in a 13 (rather than 20) part story that actually was pretty respectful of its Danish mother.

I never actually managed to see the very first episode of the Danish show, but to me the US version is VERY similar! I was surprised to even hear the same music – the 24-ish drums near the end of the episode to ramp up the tension. The Larson’s flat about their removal firm looked very similar – frosted glass walls – and knitted jumpers on the female lead also paid homage to the original.

(Little side note, the lead is renamed Sarah Linden – very similar to the lead character is Karin Slaughter’s best selling crime novels, Sara Linton.)

The show has kept the tone of the original well, with a slow but gripping look at the effects of the crime of the police and the family, and teased us with the political side too – Billy Campbell is no Troels Hartmann but he has the slightly wounded integrity of his Danish ancestor. Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton are pretty good  as the parents of the renamed Rosie (I am a little puzzled why the 19 year old Nanna is made into the 17 year old Rosie. Making her younger alters the effect just a little – slightly more child than young woman but an odd change in my opinion.)

I have yet to be convinced that Mireille Enos will be as good as the awesome Sofie Gråbøl but she is suitably unglamorous but with a certain appeal. Denmark’s Sarah Lund ended up being wonderfully driven and alarmingly single minded to the point of obsessive. Will the American Sarah Linden be as (at times) almost unlikeable?

With a shorter run of episodes, some of the plot diversions will be missed out, but I am curious to see how closely they stick to the Danish template. The tone, pace and performances were pretty good, and hopefully it won’t go all gung ho!

The Good Wife had a fairly quiet episode this week that built up the tension over Kalinda’s past fling with Peter Florrick – which was a one night thing we learned this week. Carey now knows, Eli and Alicia both awre aware that there is another woman – a co-worker – in Peter’s past, but once it is revealed to be Kalinda…oh boy! Interesting that Carey, who has been a big Kalinda supporter this season, questions her pretty harshly over whether the affair was why she became friends with Alicia. Surprise, surprise Kalinda doesn’t answer, but from her expression, I think she truly cares for Alicia as a friend. Of course whether that was her orginal intention towards her who knows.

Michael J Fox returned for the third time (looking quite healthy this week) and his character Louis Canning became the latest to offer Alicia a job away from Lockhart Gardner. Once the Kalinda news breaks, will she jump ship? Probably not as the firm IS the show. Also back is the best judge, Dennis Hare as peacenik judge Abanarthy. I love him, he is so hilarious!

Breakout Kings is from the producers of Prison Break, a show I came to late but loved. However, for me the series is like a lesser version of the now axed Chase. I find the two lead marshals very macho dull. Only Jimmi Simpson brings any verve to the group of cons recruited to help catch runaway cons. The episode featuring Robert Knepper playing the wonderfully repellent T Bag – his Prison Break character – was by far the best. The plots are fine, but less action packed than Chase and while that show was pretty weak on characterisation too, I liked the tough no nonsense Kelli Giddish more than this bunch of con catchers.