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Hell on Wheels, 2 Broke Girls, Boss (07\11\2011)

Posted by The TV Critic on 7 November 2011 | 0 Comments

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2 Broke Girls - 108 - and the hoarder culture

I can infer why Max found hoarding so much fun but it wasn't self evident. And I think it needed to be if you were going to make a dozen jokes out of it. Otherwise it just seems like a sad condition surrounded by lame jokes.

The Johnny stuff was interesting. For a first season it might be odd to have a relationship begin for Max so quickly. So I kind of understand why it ended before it began and why Johnny was painted as kind of a bad guy but not a douche. It was all a bit middling. I would like to have seen more of Johnny and Max being together and just chatting and bonding. Then we would get a sense of the relationship they could have had.

Right now I could imagine 2 Broke Girls benefitting from a bigger cast one day. I've already made my feelings clear on the diner crew but Caroline and Max would benefit from talking to characters besides one another.


Hell on Wheels - 101 - Pilot

Hell on Wheels is a Western drama set around the building of the Union Pacific railroad just after the Civil War. It is an AMC show, the home of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. However Hell on Wheels was a disappointment. It felt broad and the dark things that happened weren't given the context to be dramatic.

Our main character, Cullen Bohannon, is on a quest for revenge which immediately makes me frown. I think revenge is the most overused and overrated motivation for characters in film and TV. It can be done well but more often than not it is an excuse for killing without addressing the serious consequences of taking life.

We don't really learn much about him in this episode. Well, we do learn that he freed his slaves before the Civil War began. So be in no doubt that he is a good guy, even though he is about to kill a bunch of people.

The confrontation with his new boss at Hell on Wheels (a town being built for the railroad employees) felt very rushed and of course freed slave Elam was there to save the day. Elam was seeking revenge too for the murder of his friend which happened earlier in the episode (which was also rushed). There was also an attack by Cheyenne Indians on a forward camp which yet again felt rushed and not remotely as dramatic as it should have been.

Another aspect of the pilot which really fell flat was Colm Meaney playing Thomas "Doc" Durant the man in charge of building the railroad. I thought Meaney was pretty bad and the dialogue given to him didn't help. The character seemed entirely generic as the corrupt capitalist trying to make as much money from the construction as possible. He bullies one of his employees and fires him in a scene that felt cheesy and predictable. The episode ended with Durant giving a soliloquy to an empty carriage about how he was happy to be vilified by history despite achieving this great feat. Again it just felt like the writers thought they were supposed to have a grandiose speech but had no appropriate content or moment to have one.

The final problem for me in watching Hell on Wheels is that I recently watched Season One of Deadwood. The comparisons were not pretty on any criteria you can judge. The dialogue and direction stood out particularly. Hell on Wheels felt like any modern movie. Whereas Deadwood was shot at a more deliberate, un-dramatised pace that felt in-keeping with the time it was set in. Similarly the dialogue here felt generic and modern at times where Deadwood created a sense that the people we were watching were from another world.

All in all I was very uninspired by everything I saw. I will keep an eye on how it develops but this was a poor start.



The Boss - 104 - Slip

Again the stuff with Kane losing control was fascinating to watch. Kelsey Grammar is plays all the little facial expressions really well.

The rest of the story remains quite complicated. That complexity is something of a barrier to entry into the story. I was lost over the Ezra Stone stuff. The man being held by the police was then whisked away by Kane's mysterious assassin which didn't help.

I don't know what to make of Zajak yet. His non-photo op with the farmer seemed to present him as the candidate who genuinely cares about people. It's difficult to say that though when he is cheating on his wife. Then in steps Cullen to try and muddy the waters in opposition to Kane. We see some old businessmen also fishing for information on Kane's competence when they meet with his wife. Our journalist friend Sam is also getting closer to landing some serious punches.

I do understand the story being told. Kane's political future is becoming ever more dicey as his hold on reality is loosened. However this all brings me back to the major problem with the show which is that I don't care about the characters. Kane is a rich and successful man and the whole State would be sympathetic if he told them the truth, quit his job and spent his remaining years enjoying life in whatever way he could.

But instead he is going to cling to power with all his fading might. That may make for an interesting story but it also makes him look foolish. Here he believes he has said one thing when he actually said the opposite. Seriously, how can he continue in his job after that? Surely it's too risky to go on?

I will continue to write about Boss if it continues to intrigue me but if these reviews disappear then you know why.

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