6A - Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
New History series fails to 'Decode'
doesn't try and
By LINDSAY HURD
Daily Arts Writer
History's latest attempt at excit-
ing reality TV has led the channel
down the path
ing the hid-
den secrets Brad Meltzer's
of our nation.p
But they never DeCOded
come close to Thursdays
it, and admita
as much the 8p.m.
entire time. History
author Brad Meltzer takes a page
right out of his ownbooks for "Brad
Meltzer's Decoded," and sets out to
help solve some of the nation's big-
gest mysteries. Or at least he talks a
lot about them. Meltzer does none
of the decoding himself. Instead,
his "crew," consisting of Christine
McKinley, Buddy Levy and Scott
Rolle, searches out the informa-
tion and tries to solve the mystery
while Meltzer just sits in front of
a green screen, yakking away like
Meltzer and crew try to uncover
the truth about the location of the
missing White House cornerstone.
Not exactly a mystery everyone
knows about - or wants to know
Besides the fact that the crew
spends most of its time in a car
pretending they have somewhere
to go, the way they go about solv-
ing these so-called "mysteries" is
so ridiculously simple that any kid
with a library card could get justas
far. When they visit the masonry
headquarters, they make it seem
like it's a big deal to get a tour, but
the guide explains that anyone can
come in and use the library.
"Decoded" is trying to branch
out from History's usual info-
style TV shows in which experts
in the field sit and tell the story,
but the change clearly isn't work-
ing. Cheesy suspense music paired
with less-than-stellar revelations
about the "case" make it hard
to believe anything worthwhile
could come out of the program.
They should have stuck to the
usual format, telling people what
is known and what is still left to be
It's a direct rip-off of "National
Treasure," but much more bor-
ing (which is a bit understandable,
given they have to stick to actual
facts). The cornerstone in the
White House is not exactly a grand
mystery, and the team didn't man-
age to even to prove where it is. If
they don't even solve the mystery,
what's the point of watching? Melt-
zer simply endsthe show by saying,
"Because the White House corner-
stone is still, for all intents and pur-
poses, missing, it retains its power
as a symbol." No, Brad, it doesn't.
The only thing that could pull
this show out of the gutter is if
it found some better mysteries
to investigate, mysteries it could
actually solve. Starting offthe pre-
miere episode of your new show
with a story about a lost brick that
ends up still being lost is less than
anti-climactic and is aggravat-
ing as hell. If your show is called
"Decoded" there'd better be some-
thing to decode.
From Page 5A
sing so much about, he rhymes,
"The belief is that I'm living
out a millionaire's fantasy with
phantoms and Ferraris in the
driveway / But you see the pain
and the change of the same man's
sanity / Your vision jaded by the
Grammys on the mantelpiece."
The track suggests the rapper
has become disillusioned with
the rap game he used to run.
A couple of vapid throwaway
tracks like the boring, wannabe
club hit "Poppin'Bottles" and the
(ironically) unimpressive track
"Amazing" weigh down the sur-
prisingly layered No Mercy. But
these are small missteps on an
album filled with strong, well
produced tracks. It's a shame
that T.I. won't be able to prop-
erly celebrate the release of this
album since the judicial system
ironically showed him no mercy.
.But if the rapper's latest work
is any indication, TI. will "Get
Back Up" in no time.
Next on "Decoded": "Where's my goddamn hair?"
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RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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