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February 11, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-11

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6A - Monday, February 11, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4

"Hello? Yes, this is doctor."
Tedious

M

Tm

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yet an
day m
ticular
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the cri
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cancel
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ite gen
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plete w

New TNT What's intended to set "Mon-
day Mornings" apart is a minor
aedical drama twist on the generic genre. Every
week (on Monday mornings, if
has no pulse you couldn't guess), the surgeons
of Chelsea General Hospital are
By ALEC STERN subjected to "mortality and mor-
Daily Arts Writer bidity" meetings. During these
meetings, Dr. Hooten (Alfred
onday Mornings" gives us Molina, "Spider-Man 2") reviews
other reason to hate Mon- the cases of recently deceased
ornings. It has been a par- patients and interrogates the doc-
'ly tough tors who cared for them. The
or medical series is based on a book written
S. ABC by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and
the doors Monday is created by perennial television
"Private Momi presence . David E. Kelly ("Ally
ce" after McBeal"), whose recent misfor-
sons, and Pilot tunes on the broadcast networks
itical pan- (remember "Harry's Law"?) led
and quick Mondays at himto pursue his first cable series.
lations 10 p.m. Though there's nothing special
X's "The TNT about the script, what really drags
Doctor," "Monday Mornings" down are its
V's "Emily insufferable characters, not one
s, M.D." and NBC's "Do No of which is likeable. Molina's Dr.
'(which was cancelled this Hooten is as sadistic a chief of staff
after only two episodes) as his Monday morning meetings.
eopardized this fan-favor- Ving Rhames ("Mission: Impos-
are. TNT hoped that a new sible") could not be less believable
nd its new series, "Monday as Dr. Jorge Villanueva, the mor-
ngs," could give the genre a ally sound surgeon with a tough
needed reinvigoration. They exterior. Dr. Napur (Sarayu Rao,
1't have been more wrong. "NCIS: Los Angeles") gives new
onday Mornings" is a meaning to the word annoying,
-fest and lacks al'most whileDr. Park (KeongSim, "Glee")
aspect that has propelled is written so stereotypically that
like "Grey's Anatomy" and the character is borderline rac-
e" to become hits. The first ist. Likewise, the lead of the show,
f the series leaves viewers Jamie Bamber ("Battlestar Galac-
ne resounding feeling: indif- tica"), does nothing special as Dr.
e. Viewers will recognize Tyler Wilson.
ot only has the show been The first of the meetings focus-
before, but it's been done eson the case of a female patient
better than this. Is "Monday who had been under the care of
ngs" the worstshow on tele- a particularly inept physician.
'No. However, it is a com- The other doctors have even
vaste of time. nicknamed him "007" because,

)flday
of his apparent license to kill.
Fans of "Grey's Anatomy" should
realize that Kelly ripped this off
directly from the ABC series. In
the pilot episode of that medical
drama, the doctors gave George
O'Malley the exact same nick-
name (for the exact same reason).
What should serve as an intrigu-
ing introduction to highlight
the show's premise, the open-
ing meeting just emphasizes the
harsh and unpleasant nature of
both the "M&M" meetings and
the show in general. Apparently,
the doctors at this Portland, Ore.
hospital aren't allowed to make
mistakes when presented with
rare medical cases.
The series also seems unsure
of what kind of medical drama
it wants to be. On the one hand,
a "Grey's Anatomy"-type show
is unapologetically soapy: Doc-
tors move from one to the other,
having sex in on-call rooms and
arguing about their personal
lives over open patients in the
O.R. On the other hand, "House"
and "ER" are more medically
focused. "Monday Mornings" is
in its own world, struggling to
find any kind of balance.
The existence 'of this show
is downright perplexing, par-
ticularly because it does noth-
ing worthwhile in the entire
first episode. Much like the
characters, the show has zero
redeeming qualities and the pilot
doesn't even graze the surface of
compelling drama or thought-
provoking characters. Without a
doubt, "Monday Mornings" will
eventually end up the victim of a
Monday morning meeting itself,
with a TNT executive having to
answer for this colossal failure.

Is that rib sauce or blood?
Cable-quality 'Cards'
deals Netflix a winner

By SAM CENZHANG
Daily Arts Writer
"House of Cards" has the
sort of pedigree that puts the
audience on notice. The show
makes no pre-
tense that it's
anything other
than a star House of
vehicle for two- Cards
time Academy
Award winner Netflix
Kevin Spacey
("American
Beauty"). When the credits
roll, the cinematically shot and
frenetically plotted "House of
Cards" feels like something
much bigger than television.
Of course, "House of Cards"
isn't exactly television. Netflix is
transforming from content plat-
form to content producer, and
its evolution doesn't start small.
For one, every episode of "House
of Cards" is available, right now.
It's an obvious prestige project,,
starring an established movie
star in Spacey, who's sure to gar-
ner serious consideration for an
Emmy. In today's ludicrously
crowded field of Best Leading
Actor in a w candidates, that's
praise about as high as possible
for the credibility Spacey brings
to any project.
Spacey completely dominates
the first two episodes by virtue
of screen time - sheer pres-

ence and the particularities
in the show's storytelling. He
commands the screen as Fran-
cis Underwood, House Major-
ity Whip and Representative
from Gaffney, S.C. Not only that,
he also directly addresses the
audience, which by itself is not
at all innovative. Indeed, the
show isn't even the first whose
title starts with "House of" to
employ 'a protagonist-narrator
played by an Academy Award
nominee. (That dubious dis-
tinction belongs to Showtime's
disappointing "House of Lies"
and Don Cheadle.) However,
the device, as worn-out as it has
seemingly become, suits "House
of Cards" and its star perfectly.
The dialogue is overwrought,
appropriately so for such a mas-
ter of ham as Kevin Spacey.
There are moments, though,
when it threatens to veer from
overliterate into unlistenable.
The first two episodes are filled
to bursting with exposition,
plotlines and characters, all of
which seem to demand a sub-
stantial amount of screen time.
When the camera centers on
Spacey, and the rest of the world
drops away in the moments
when Spacey breaks the fourth
wall, the show and Spacey are
given room to breathe. Lines
that threaten to become corny
are instead delivered lightly,
with a wink, and we become

RELEASE DATE- Monday, February 11, 2013
Los Angeles Times Daily
Edited by Rich Norris and Joy
ACROSS DOWN 34 Le
1 Tip, as one's hat 1 New-_: India's 36 Lo
5 Empty spaces capital 37 Pa
9 Subsides 2 Hunter iss
14 Suffix with switch constellation 39 Re
15 Wilson of 3 Heads on beers dis
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16 Texas shrine 6 Informed (of) ha
17 Tall tale teller 7 Attack, aswith 49 Ch
18 "Deck the Halls" snowballs Ab
syllables 6 Stockingtear 51 Pr
t9OTear to shreds 9 Military practice 0wl
20 Residential loan 10 Visitohfrom atar
23 About to happen 11 Treat jet lag, ANS
24 Bronzetfrom a perhaps
day atthe beach 12 Earthbound S T
28 Rene'strend Aussie bird R E
29 Appear to be 13 Dip, as bread in S E
31 Lingus: Irish gravy
carrier 21 Dad's partner
32 Russian fighter' 22 "Lemme__!" D I I
ets 25 Vocalist Judd E C t
35 "I'd like to hear 26 Reallystrange C AI
the rest' 27 Bride's purchase C Hc
38 Italian violin 29 Baserunner's A N
maker option
40 Squeak stopper 30 Scat legend
41 Rigsnon the road Fitzgerald I T
42 1974 Jimmy 32 Flagship store at W
Buffett song New York City's I NI
45 Reasonsfor Herald Square S E
extrainnings 33 Wordsfrom one S TI
46 'Tastesgreat!" with a bad hand xword
47 Pot's inspiration
48 Sow or cow 1 2 5 0 5 5
50 Whatsocial 141
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52 Curtail 17 1o
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62 Twice-monthly
fide 42 4s
63 Paths of
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65 Showsome so snJ
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66 "That makes 58 so nne1 65
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ownership ByGailGrabowskiandBruceven
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ristmas, e.g.: 59 Precious stone
br. 60 Big name in
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complicit in the joke and are fur-
ther drawn into Frank Under-
wood's web. The arch glance
to the camera trademarked by
"The Office" 's John Krasinski
has never served a more crucial
pacing and structural role.
David Fincher ("Zodiac")
was hired to be David Fincher,
and these first two episodes
are very David Fincher indeed.
There are too many examples of
directorial pyrotechnics to list,
from shots outside the Rayburn
building to a scene inside a dirty
hovel. When it comes down to
it, Fincher is one of the preemi-
nent directors of his generation,
and his directorial work here is
exemplary. Unfortunately, his
directorial involvement with
the show ends with the second
episode, so there is at least some
concern that this may be the
visual high point of the entire
series's run.
A 13-hour
Fincher film
you can watch
on your laptop.
Fincher's ascension to the
ivory tower of executive pro-
duction, however, won't damage
the show irrevocably. Any show
would be better off with Fincher
calling the shots, but the nar-
rative momentum created by
the first episodes isn't merely a
function of masterful direction.
Despite the inevitable pacing
hiccups created by an overload
of storylines, Kate Mara ("Dead-
fall"), Robin Wright ("Enlight-
ened") and Kristen Connolly
('The Cabin in the Woods") all
deliver excellent undercard (as
it were) performances, and they
are the biggest draws outside of
the event horizon that is Spac-
ey's presence.
Though Netflix provides a
unique delivery system for the
show, "House of Cards" by no
means revolutionizes the form
of serialized drama, even though
there's no weekly wait for the
next fix. It hits all the notes one
would expect from a season-
long production, despite being
made available like a 13-hour
film. Every episode is comprised
of small problems that are
solved and fit into a larger tap-
estry, slowly'unraveling over the
course of a season. Anyone who
has ever watched television will
know exactly what this is like;
"House of Cards" is essentially
a glorified procedural. Despite
that, the show is compulsively
watchable, exquisitely shot and
deftly balances restraint and
melodrama. Reports of weekend
binges through all 13 episodes
are quite common, and that's
really all the endorsement you
need.

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