100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

January 24, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8A - Monday, January 24, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

TV Rs iEW
Harry's' is a crime

NBC's latest lawyer
show lacks logic
and realism
By JACOB AXELRAD
Daily Arts Writer
Ah, lawyer shows. It appears
that, regardless of the countless
number of courtroom dramas
strewn across
the screens of
the TV world,
our appetite Harry's Law
for characters
dueling it out Pilot
in trial will
never wane; or Mondays at1 p.m.
at least, pro- NBC
ducers will
never tire of shoving this tried
formula down our throats.
One of the latest in the genre
stars none other than the great
Kathy Bates ("Titanic") as Har-
riet "Harry" Korn in NBC's
midseason replacement "Har-
ry's Law." Created by David E.
Kelley ("Ally McBeal," "Bos-
ton Legal"), a seasoned veteran
when it comes to legal dramas,
the show denotes the strange
acts of fate that befall a recently
fired patent lawyer attempting.
to turn her life around.
Harry is unfulfilled with her
so-called "dull" life as a patent
lawyer, despite being one of the
best in the country. Evidently, her
boss senses this sentiment and
performs the gracious act of fir-
ing her. This is where things get
weird - like, absurd-plot-points-
weird.Within moments ofher fir-
ing, two near-death experiences
land Harry in the hospital (she
miraculously has no injuries or
broken bones), where she begins
to rethink her life. A few repeti-
tive voiceovers later, she has set
up shop as alawyer in a neighbor-
hood slum of Cincinnati with her
assistant Jenna (Brittany Snow,
"Hairspray") running a high-
end shoe store from the same
location. In short, she beconws a
"shoe store lawyer."
Harry subsequently decides
to lend her legal services to
the poverty-stricken individu-
als who comprise her new area
of residence. With her plucky
assistant at her side and a new-
found partner in Adam Branch
(Nathan Corddry, "United
States of Tara"), she's ready to
fight the good fight and give
a voice to criminals who, we
learn, are really just good peo-

Supernaturally boring
By PROMA KHOSLA selves an apartment that plays mal carcass a la Remus Lupin in "A
Daily TV/New Media Editor host to the.ghost Sally (newcomer Very Potter Sequel."
Meaghan Rath). She serves no real Aidan's backstory is also the
As painful as it is to admit, we purpose in the pilot other than to most compelling; by comparison,
live in the Age of the Vampire provide a third supernatural con- it looks like the writers barely
- the era of "Twilight," "True dition and a female influence in tried on behalf of the other char-
Blood" and a predominantly male cast. The acters. Josh left his family, Sally
"The Vam- ** * character starts out annoyingly misses her fianede ... boo hoo.Aid-
pire Diaries." bubbly, thrilled to finally be in the an's dark past includes a wedding
For the most Bn Human presence of beings who can see reception-turned-massacre facili-
part, the col- her. She's so annoying that when tated by a formidable Mark Pel-
lege genera- Pilot she actually cries about her condi- legrino, who does an excellent job
tion is just old d tion, the effect is too alarming to being the bad guy after trying to
enough to have Mnndays'a9 p. elicit audience sympathy. It comes keep evil at bayas Jacob on "Lost."

bypassed this -
obsession in
favor of wizards and superheroes
and other cool things. But it is this
age range that SyFy targets with
"BeingHuman," anAmericanver-
sion of the British show about a
vampire, a werewolf and a ghost
tryingto lead normal lives.
Vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer,.
"The Mist") and werewolf Josh
(Sam Huntington, "Superman
Returns") come off as an unequal
duo of male alpha and bumbling
sidekick. Josh's jokes are more
annoying than laugh-out-loud
funny, but at least his condition
allows Aidan a few deadpan one-
liners about his friend's irritability
and how lycanthropy - the ability
to transform into a werewolf - is a
"useless condition."
"Being Human" unfolds as a
bro-show for the first 10 minutes,
before Aidan and Josh find them-

off as self-pity instead of an actual
predicament. Sally and Josh both
feel too sorry for themselves to
be interesting characters, espe-
cially with Sally's mood swings
and Josh's perpetually worried
expression.
If the show is trying to send
a message about its fantastical
beasts, it's that vampires are sexy
and brooding, werewolves are
wily and unfortunate and ghosts
can't really do anything. After all
the hype about three fictitious
beasts living together, the vam-
pire takes priority. Aidan's voice
narrates the opening montage
and the episode focuses more on
him than on the other two leads.
He accidentally kills a girl in the
cold open, an incident that defines
his actions throughout the epi-
sode. This haunting crime almost
makes farce of the sight of Jpsh
waking up naked next to an ani-

Another
vampire show
with no bite.
Even though "dramedy" is
an accepted genre these days,
"Being Human" doesn't quite
know what it wants to be. Some-
where between the casually
teasing back-and-forth between
supernatural creatures and the
intense, self-pitying monologues,
it's easy to get lost between all
the characters and their baggage.
Even though we're given plenty of
backstory and suspense, there's
just too much to keep up with and
care about in the pilot. After all,
we're only human.

"Can you hear me now?"
ple who've been neglected by
society.
If the description sounds
confusing, that's because it is.
It seems that in the despera-
tion to create a somewhat-orig-
inal legal series, a variety of
gimmicks were thrown into a
blender. What came out was
a disjointed pilot that's more
likely to leave viewers gagging
than feeling any sort of emotion
toward the characters.
For starters, there are the end-
less speeches - monologue upon
monologue about life, morals and
fate is strewn about the episode,
with almost the same frequently
as Jenna's out-of-place shoe ref-
erences. Tirades about the state
of poverty and race in this coun-
try are unoriginal and take away
from any kinid of plot that could
possibly hope to develop. Harry
represents her clients in court
not, it seems, with any prior legal
knowledge, but with genuine
emotion and heart. This would
be fine for an audience that has
no idea what a courtroom is. One
only needs to watch an episode
of "Law and Order" to pick up at
least a few sentences of legal jar-
gon, while "Harry's Law" has vir-
tually none.
And sadly, Bates herself can't
save this sinking ship. While
her reputation on stage and in
film leaves no question about
her casting in the lead role, she

walks through the episode in
a stiff and stilted manner. Yes,
she's supposed to be playing a
curmudgeon, but this doesn't
excuse a lazy performance, espe-
cially from an Oscar winner.
The one saving grace comes
in the form of Corddry's Branch.
After accidentally hitting Harry
with his car, (again, the no-inju-
ries phenomenon goes unex-
plained) he, too, decides to turn
his life around - abandoning
his job as an up-and-coming
attorney at a high-powered firm
and joining Harry in defending
the downtrodden of Cincinna-
ti's streets.
Corddry easily steals every
one of his scenes with his ener-
gy, motor-mouth delivery and
sharp comic wit. Despite the
fact that he too is forced to give
sappy, unrealistic speeches, he
injects the episode with a level
of enthusiasm and candor that's
otherwise frighteningly absent.
The pilot opens with Harry
saying, "They say the moral of
the story comes at the end. But
ask me, sometimes it comes at
the top, in the middle and you
just don't get it until the end."
Unfortunately, all that we get
at the end of the "Harry's Law"
pilot is an unintelligent, unorig-
inal legal drama that haphaz-
ardly simplifies and steals from
its numerous predecessors of
court dramas.

NPeek-a-boo!"
NBCssupeherostiner

Altmans country covers shine

By ELIOT ALPERN
Daily Arts Writer
At the age of 63, Gregg All-
man has been through enough
trials and ordeals to make even
a professional
blues musi-
cian feel inad-
equate, filled Gregg
with petty Alman
problems. As a
founding mem- Low Country
ber of the '70s Blues
Allman Broth-
er's Band, he Rounder
has dealt with
the stereotypical rock star battle
with drugs and has struggled
through six divorces, including
a famous separation from Cher
after a four-year stint. His fel-
low bandmates Berry Oakley
and brother Duane Allman died
at age 24 in motorcycle accidents
(eerily, just blocks apart). In
2007, Gregg was diagnosed with
Hepatitis C, and earlier this year
he underwent a liver transplant.
Yet, through the illness, deaths
and personal problems, he found
the time and the perseverance to
concentrate his troubles into a
true-to-heart blues album.
Low Country Blues is a com-
pilation of 11 covers (including
songs originally composed by
Muddy Waters, B.B. King and
Skip James), along with one
written by Gregg Allman him-
self. None of them are fancy
or overly showy, as one might
expect from a rock god-turned-
blues veteran. There is a pure
grit and an honest vulnerability
to his approach that takes what
was once just a good voice and
makes it the weapon of a great
t I

singer. At times, Allman seems
a little in over his head (like in
R&B ballad "Please Accept My -
Love"), but it's nice to see him
stray outside of his comfort zone.,
And when he strikes the right
emotional chord, even the least
empathetic of listeners can feel
the suffering that emanates fromP
the southerner's classic blues
vocals.
From the first staggered
strums of guitar on the cover of COURTESY OF ROUNDER
Sleepy John Estes's "Floating "Blind Man," the ultimate
Bridge," Allman lets you know emotional test for any musi-
that Low Country Blues is exactly cian. Though Allman seems to
that - the blues courtesy of the hold back for the first minute,
Deep South. While the instru- he cuts loose once the music
ments generally remain constant picks up and gives the listener
throughout the album (drums, the chance to hear a singer at
guitar and piano, with the occa- his best. The following song,
sional horns and organ), it's All- "Just Another Rider," feels
man who conforms his voice to like it would fit properly in the
match the atmosphere of the Allman Brother's Band cata-
song. "Little by Little" harkens logue, but it also seems to find
a niche in Low Country Blues.
Co-written by Gregg Allman
A 11 a and bandmate Warren Haynes,
Gregg it's a clever inclusion of classic
p rsnal trials Allman Brothers in Gregg's solo
endeavor.
come through Allman seems to feel right
at home in the heartbreak and
in solo album. melancholy of a genre with roots
that date back almost to the
era of his own birth. His latest
album leads to the notion that
back to the early days of rock, he has finally found an effort in
with swinging piano and a train- which to pour his troubles. In
engine rhythm - both of which Low Country Blues, Allman has
Allman matches stride for stride. revived a sound that has limped
Yet, in the ensuing "Devil Got along since its glory days, much
My Woman," Allman is right in the same way he has revived
back with the patented torment his own solo career. Amid all his
that suits the similarly tortured troubles, Gregg Allman has cre-
instrumentation. ated something for both himself
Midway through the album, and his listeners to fall back on
Allman tackles Bobby Bland's during tough times.

By JAMIE BLOCK
Daily Arts Writer
"The Cape" is not the super-
hero show anyone deserves, nor
is it the superhero show anyone
needs right
now - or ever.
NBC has prov-
en once again The Cape
that it simply
can't handle the Pilot
supernatural Mondays at 9 p.m.
or the surreal NBC a m
"The Cape" falls
into place after
"Journeyman," all the seasons of
"Heroes" after the first, "Persons
Unknown" and "The Event" as the
network's newest terrible series
shamelessly pandering to a Com-
ic-Con fanbase.
The show's Palm City isteeming
with hero tropes: villains who talk
too much, secret societies of assas-
sins, handy sidekicks with impos-
sible technology and a band of
misfitswithheartsofgold. Thrown
into the mix isVince Faraday (Dan-
iel Lyons, "ER"), a cop framed as
being a supervillian called Chess.
After everyone in Palm City con-
veniently comes to think Faraday/
Chess was killed, the cop takes on
the hero persona of The Cape - his
son's favorite comic book hero - in
an attempt to exact vengeance on
the real Chess (James Frain, "The
Tudors") and his corrupt corpora-
tion, which threaten to turn Palm
City into a police state. There to
help is a literal carnival of bank
BURGIN
From Page 7A
Their stories are either too
bland or way over-the-top and,
just like bland or over-the-top
novels, they're not my first choice
for entertainment.
Furthermore, musicals
feature really, really talented

robbers led by escapist Max Malini
(Keith David, "ER"), and a corrup-
tion-exposing, sexy young blogger
who simply goes by Orwell (Sum-
mer Glau, "Firefly").
With all the crazy shit that goes
down in this awkward dystopian
setting; it's hard to say which is
more absurd: the implausible
events or characters' readiness to
accept it all as normal. Faraday
finds nothing strange in getting
knocked out by a trainyard explo-
sion and waking up in a distant
circus tent. He doesn't think the
idea of a bank-robbing carnival
is weird either. Masked supervil-
lains are simply accepted truths,
but a masked superhero is decid-
edly notable. And no one thinks
to ask how a random girl living
alone could amass all this impos-
sible technology nobody else has.
There's nothing wrong with pre-
senting an alternate reality for a
superhero story, but it has to be
consistent, believable and well
explained.
Throw on top of that the com-
plete lack of pacing. While comic
books are the obvious inspiration
for "The Cape," that doesn't mean
the story has to unfold like a pan-
el-by-panel barrage. It's just big
event after big event with no room
to breathe, as though the story
were written by an overeager,
comic book-reading child whose
concept of narrative structure is
throwing together as many explo-
sions, fights and one-dimensional
caricatures as possible with no
people.I can't listen to the
"Les Mis" soundtrack without
shivering when Javert and Jean
Valjean vocally duel. It still sur-
prises me that Mandy Patinkin
(who was Inigo Montoya in "The
Princess Bride") has such amaz-
ing pipes as Che in "Evita." It's
not just the orchestral portion of
the music that draws me to show
tunes - it's the vocal expertise
that these songs feature. If I

transitions beyond "and then."
Further supporting the
a-child-wrote-this theory is the
complete lack of subtext in the
dialogue. Every line is either just
a statement of what's happening
or a gimmicky, dumb joke meant
to establish character. But the
dialogue never reveals the char-
acters' inner feelings because it
would seem they have no inner
feelings. Everything is just out
on the surface, plainly stated.
And because there's never any
mystery about why these char-
acters change their identities,
forge their alliances or risk their
lives, there's nothing entertaining
about watchingthem do it all.
Capes are so
last season.
Whichever comic books the
creators of "The Cape" looked to
for inspiration did them a great
disservice. These days, com-
ics have subtext, mystery and
intrigue. They bring readers into
a potentially dark world with
complex problems and no simple
right answers. "The Cape" has no
subtext or mystery - it's a world
more goofy than it is dark - and a
boring,simplistic view ofmorality.
Not only is it a horrible TV show,
but it would make for a horrible,
comic book too.
want to listen to great guitar,
I put on Clapton, Santana or
the Dead. If I want to listen to
a great mash-up artist, I put on
Girl Talk. If I want to listen to
great classical vocals, I put on
show tunes. And I'm no longer
intimidated to admit that.
Burgin wants a castle on a cloud.
To suggest real estate options,
e-mail Irburgin@umich.edu.

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan