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October 23, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-23

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8A - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Xoxo Gossip Queen.
Soapy imagination of
'Reign' misses the mark

Who does Saul call when he has problems?
'Saul' aims to be its
on type of 'Bad'


work or
Are tw
shows e
sons? D
get caui
yes to a
you bet
new TN
a "Brea
Bob Od
ite eu
Saul Go
and pro
who cr
the new
to Gillit
is funn
It's e
want to
sweet d
ing Bad
son of'
to buy
son acrc
ately n
The rel
Saul Go

e AMC spin-off them to find their next big thing. If
we're lucky, maybe Saul Goodman
opes to stand could even be that nextbigthing.
But the successful spin-off is
on its own a rare find. It's a tough balance to
strike - if the new show disap-
MADDIE THOMAS points its audience, you risk taint-
For the Daily ing the image of the original (like
when "Scrubs" let that weird, shit-
you a prominent cable net- ty spin-off under the same name
n the brink of irrelevancy? happen instead of dying respect-
o out of three of your hit fully like it should have). Some
nding or in their final sea- spin-offs are doomed from their
id your buddy Badger just conception, like the "Friends"
ght trying tosell meth to an spin-off, "Joey." The logic sort
over cop? If you answered of made sense: "Joey is funny on
ny of these questions, then 'Friends' so he will be funny in his
ter call Saul! own show!" But an idea spawned
recently confirmed that from good intentions ended up
ament is underway on the being a miscalculation. As any
V show, "Better Call Saul," good television critic in the early
king Bad" spin-off starring 2000s could've told you, "Friends"
enkirk as everyone's favor- worked because it was truly an
phemism-loving, flashy- ensemble comedy. Removing one
earing, criminal lawyer, part from the whole left that part
odman. The show is being floundering, exposed and facing
ted by "Breaking Bad" cre- mixed reviews, ultimately leading
owrunner Vince Gilligan to cancellation in the second sea-
ducer-writer Peter Gould, son.
eated the Saul Goodman Similar worries seem to plague
er. Information regarding today's die-hard "Breaking Bad"
series is limited, but it is fans. I hear a lot of concern over
ted to be a prequel in the whether or not Saul will still work
ng format and, according as a character when he's not acting
gan, it's "more dark than it as a foil to Walter or as a comedic
y." relief in a tense situation. There's
asy to see why AMC would a lot of speculation over whether
lock this down; it's a pretty AMC is just trying to milk "Break-
eal.With the loss of"Break- ing Bad" for every penny its worth.
" this yearandthe final sea- Some are simply concerned that if
Mad Men" looming in the "Better Call Saul" fails in any way,
e (though they did manage the entire "Breaking Bad" name
themselves some time by will be forever ruined. But for
ng "Mad Men" 's final sea- every "Joey" there is a "Frasier,".
oss two years) AMC desper- and when ateam of highly compe-
eeds to reconstruct itself. tent creatives put their reputations
liable and familiar name of on the line for a show, you have to
odman can help keep their trust that they have a few tricks
interested long enough for up their sleeves. "Breaking Bad"

's immense success, including the
recent Best Drama Emmy win, has
solidified Vince Gilligan's reputa-
tion as one of the pre-eminent cre-
ative geniuses in Hollywood right
now. His name is one of the most
valuable in the current industry,
and he's allowing it to be attached
to the new series. If that's not a
sign that he has given his blessing,
I don't know what is.
If there's anything I've learned
from "Breaking Bad" (apart from
meth is bad and stuff), it's that
Vince Gilligan is a man you should
trust. Saul has consistently been
a fan favorite, and lawyer shows
have consistently been popular
(see: "Law & Order," "Boston
Legal" and "The Good Wife").
Honestly, Odenkirk is talented
enough that I'd probably tune in
every week even if "Better Call
Saul" ended up adopting the for-
mulaic structure of "Law and
Order." But we all know there's
too much good material for that
to happen. In fact, the show being
a prequel opens all sorts of doors
for the writers to peek into if they
wish, including the possibility of
bringing Jonathan Banks back
to play beloved hit man Mike
"Better Call Saul" is not going
to be the next "Breaking Bad,"
(mostly because that title has
already been bestowed upon
"Low Winter Sun") but it doesn't
have to be. It's normal to be anx-
ious or skeptical, especially with
something as big as "Breaking
Bad" 's reputation on the line, but
Vince Gilligan's approval should
put fans at ease for the coming
months. "Better Call Saul" can be
independently successful and, in
that way, do its parent show jus-

Daily Arts Writer
Maybe it was naive to settle in
for the pilot of "Reign," the CW's
new historically set series, with.
high hopes.
"The Tudors" D+
is famous for
taking his- Reign
torical liber- pilot
ties (Henry as a
hottie? Please.), Thursdays at
and that was on 8:30 p.m.
premium cable.
Here I was, CW
thinking it was
admirable, even
daring, for the CW to step out of its
comfort zone ofvampires and teen
queens to give viewers something
radically different. Then, the epi-
sode actually started.
In CW fantasyland, Mary Stu-
art (Adelaide Kane, "Teen Wolf")
is cloistered away in a convent
from the age of 9 for her own pro-
tection. Um, no. Since ascendingto
the throne at six days old, the real
Queen Mary had, by all accounts,
an untroubled childhood. She
moved to the French Court when
she was 5 and was consideredboth
clever and highly beautiful. But
why let a little thing like history
get inthe way of a good, juicy plot-
The inaccuracies mount from
there. Perhaps the most atrocious
is the rendering of Francis (Toby
Regbo, "One Day") as a golden-
stubbled, horse- and woman-rid-
ing heartthrob. It's all about the
eye candy where the CW is con-
cerned; nevermind that the actual
Francis - because these people

did exi
and sho
land (I
the pr
agile a
who sh
at the t
ing his
that, b
The on
to follo
no one
ence, t.
been n
thy ("G
her int
CW's M
ing bat
love. S
that sh
But doe

st in reality - was sickly decisions? Sadly, no.
ort. Even Nostradamus isn't The real Mary, Queen of
e. Played by Rossif Suther- Scots, lived a life brimming with
Donald Sutherland's son!), intrigue, from multiple mar-
ophesier looks remarkably riages and commoner uprisings
nd handsome for someone to an eventual execution. If the
ould have been close to SO CW was going to ignore all of
ime. that, why even call this the story
while we're literallythrow- of Mary Stuart? Why not inventa
tory out the tower window, completely fictitious Queen, who
also Sebastian (Torrance would be free to dally with bas-
s, "Heartland"), King tards and converse with unseen
II's (Alan Van Sprang, spirits without personally offend-
rtals") illegitimate bastard ing viewers?
y the way, never existed. Moving on from the mutilated
te thing the CW knows it remains of history, "Reign" isn't
at is forbidden love triangles terrible. Boiled down, it's just a
n brothers, even imaginary teenaged soap opera, with cornets
and corsets ratherthan Constance
uniforms and Prada bags. And as
a point in its favor, it's stunningly
stor thrown filmed. The vistas are sweep-
ing and grand - the series was
of the tower shot on location in Ireland - and
everyone looks terribly beautiful.
window oThere's also asufficient amount
of sex to make it scandalous,
especially when considering the
tween-centric focus. Mary and
most irritating thing about her four BFFs sneak in to watch
"isn't that the series refuses a public consummation, followed
w any semblance of history; by a masturbation scene cut short
was expecting exact adher- while King Henry II looks for 6
hough a shred would have some wall-banging action. So, at
lice. It's that creator and least there's that.
ive producer Laurie McCar- If disbelief is suspended, the
Ghost Whisperer") took a pilot holds up as slightly humor-
ting, compelling and ridic- ous and more than a little ridicu-
smart woman and turned lous. The hope is that the CW's
to a giggling mess. All the young, target audience doesn't
Mary seems to care about is come away from the series believ-
ag eyeliner perfectly, danc- ing there's truth in the subject
refoot and finding her true matter. Otherwise, Queen Mary
ure, she casually mentions ends up as little more than a love-
e has a countryto look after. sick pawn, and that would prove
es that enter into any of her the worst offense of all.

lV R EsV I E W

For theDaily
Starting with the premiere of
"Burn Notice" in 2006, USA Net-
work has made a name for itself
by making easy-
to-digest hours B
of television set
in aesthetically White Collar
bright places.
They have a Season five
small arc that premiere
continues week- Thursdays
to-week (usu- at 9 p.m.
ally covered in
the beginning USA
and the end of
each episode),
but they mainly focus on weekly
cases. Shows like "Royal Pains"
have embraced this model, mak-
ing episodes that are easy to keep
up with, but are not necessarily
"White Collar" has never been
completely . comfortable with
this structure. Over the first four
seasons, it has helped usher in
a change at the network by not
blindly following its strict struc-
ture. It put more of an empha-
sis on the serialized arc and the
character relationships than other
shows onthe network, leading to a
much more interesting and fulfill-
ing show.
The premiere sets up what
should be another solid season.
The previous season ended with
FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim
DeKay, "Party of Five") arrested
for a murder he did not commit;
and the premiere deals with crim-
inal Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer,
"Chuck") trying to save him from
going to jail. Neal makes a deal


with a c
man (p
come ai
in retui
with h
At th
most co
Over th
the wri
ship wi
not tota
on scre
in their
tures it

riminal named the Dutch- ship. The . writers put some
layed by the always wel- obstacle between the two (usually
nd always amazing Mark involving Neal keeping a secret),
rd, "Supernatural"), and, creating tension between them.
rn for dealing some gold They use the same outline for each
by Neal) and assistance season, but the variations they use
is upcoming appeal, the are different enough that the rep-
san set Peter free. etition is not a problem.
e center of the show is the Even with the already strong
mpellingelement:the rela- plot, a good case of the week can
between Neal and Peter. make a huge difference. This
te course of four seasons, week's case, involving Peter look-
ters have built a relation- ing into Neal's theft, was enter-
here, even when there is taining enough. It wasn't gripping
1 trust, the two characters television, but 'Neal working
one another. Watching around Peter's investigation to
and DeKay work together cover up his theft was fun to
en is amazing, and the watch.
try they have built shows It doesn't aim to be one of the
interactions on screen. best shows on television, and it's
not, but "White Collar" is enjoy-
able and lightweight. It's great to
ht et solid watch Bomer and DeKay work
together. Even if the show has
:ertainrnent. done the "Neal does illegal things
and keeps it from Peter" plotline
before, there is enough to differ-
entiate it from similar arcs in the
ite Collar" usually struc- past, making the show better than
s arcs around this friend- the average USA procedural.


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