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Rating: 3 (out of 5). CBS brings the 2011 movie , “Bad Teacher” back to life as a comedy TV series starring Ari Graynor as Meredith, a gold digger who has been dumped by her rich husband. When she finds out that she is not getting any of his money because of a pre-nup, Meredith decides to get a job as a teacher where she can scope out a rich unattached dad and return to the lifestyle she has become accustomed to. The critics are mixed on this one though many give it a C if not a failing grade.
Variety calls the series “appealing.” Their only problem with “Bad Teacher” is that “its suffers from being a trifle repetitive in the episodes previewed.” They think that “Graynor’s dilettante is consistently good company.”
NPR says the series is “a lesson on the folly of copying a bad movie too closely.” They say the show “doesn’t work” and this is “not because the film it’s based on was such a stinker.”
The San Francisco Chronicle thinks the show is “funnier than the film” They think the reason for this is because “it’s working in a smaller time frame and also because many of the performances are winning.”
Newsday gives “Bad Teacher ” a “failing grade.” They call Greynor’s character a “transparent cliché” and say the “transition from big screen to small doesn’t exactly work.”
The Sioux City Journal says the show “isn’t as bad as it should be.” They compare Graynor to Cameron Diaz in the movie and Graynor comes up short. They say she “can’t hold a Prada bag to Diaz.” and “She’s more ‘Real Housewife’ than calculating teacher.”
The Colorado Springs Gazette thinks the “cast is solid, with plenty of awkward characters portrayed by actors with excellent comedic timing.” They like Ali Graynor in the role of Meredith saying she “balances her character.”
The Houston Chronicle gives the show credit for being “funnier than the film.” They think there are some “funny moments, and the cast is pretty good, especially the younger actors.”
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says that with “Bad Teacher” the network that was once the one of “classy comedy” is taking “another step toward crassness.”
“Well they got the “bad” part right” says USA Today. They say “unfortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to feel as exhausted and repetitive as Men does after 11 years.”
The New York Times thinks “the premiere episode tries too hard and isn’t as funny as it could be.” They comment on the fact that “the writing loosens up later on, and has some charm.”
The Chicago Sun-Times calls Ari Graynor “adequately amusing” in “Bad Teacher”. They say the series is “decent material to mine for laughs in a two-hour movie, but it wears thin on a weekly basis despite solid performances by the rest of the cast.”
The Washington Post want to know if anyone who saw the movie “Bad Teacher” actually left wishing someone would make a TV show out of it. “Nobody, Yeah, I thought so” they said. They call the show “a predictable reiteration of the film’s central distain for teachers of all kinds.”
The Kansas City Star says that “Bad Teacher” just goes to prove “that you can’t keep a bad thing down.” They think “the show has its funny moments, and the cast is pretty good.” In the end they say the show “ is at its best when teacher really is “bad.” At those moments, it approaches a wicked, and wickedly funny, level of satire.”
The San Jose Mercury News thinks “the show has its moments, along with a solid cast,” but they are pretty sure the general viewing audience “won’t be so hot for Teacher“.
Rating: 2 (out of 5). Catherine Black, a brilliant yet troubled neuroscientist, suffering from her mental illness, is the center of “Black Box,” ABC’s newest drama. While a few critics write favorably about the show, most are more in line with Chicago Sun-Times which says, “this drama is not good.”
Newsday writes, “”Black Box” creates compelling people while smartly pondering identity, relationships, connection — it doesn’t need the amped-up atmosphere.”
The Wall Street Journal notes, “Despite some madly improbable adventures in the hospital’s brain-surgery unit, creator Amy Holden Jones and team have delivered a “Black Box” whose content is both smart and seductive.”
New York Post thinks, “It’s a solid start for a series that holds a lot of promise if given the chance to grow.”
San Jose Mercury News says, “This is a show that has its heart in the right place, but is, ironically, pretty mindless.”
Variety thinks, “Put it all together, and “Black Box” simply isn’t worth seeking out. And if the series hits turbulence, in this case, it won’t require a team of investigators to ascertain what went wrong.”
Chicago Sun-Times notes, “Like “Homeland,” this drama revolves around a brilliant bipolar female — who really likes jazz. Unlike “Homeland,” this drama is not good.”
The Hollywood Reporter writes, “With lame flashbacks (her mother really wanted to kill herself – just you watch her say it, repeatedly) and crazy-people re-enactments, Black Box is just beyond silly. Add in Reilly’s ill-fitting performance and a need to spin around like a ballerina – free from those restrictive pills! – and you’ve got a recipe for never wanting anyone to find this Black Box let alone watch it.”
Entertainment Weekly writes, ”This drama about a bipolar neurologist named Dr. Catherine Black (Kelly Reilly) dreams of being House, but the exposition-packed pilot at times resembles Rob Corddry’s medical spoof ChildrensHospital.”
The San Francisco Chronicle notes, “No, you won’t and shouldn’t laugh at neurological disorders, but there are enough writing disorders to keep you in stitches until someone issues a DNR order on “Black Box.””
According to The Oregonian, “What would really make “Black Box” feel fresh is if, unlike those series, it was bold enough not be tied to the baffling-cases-solved-by-eccentric-geniuses formula. Like its central character, “Black Box” would feel more alive if it broke more rules.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes, “The pilot, written by series creator Amy Holden Jones (“Indecent Proposal”), comes across as a medical melodrama with a hint of the “Homeland” bi-polar story and a desperate plea for attention through Black’s hypersexual episodes.”
The Charlotte Observer writes, “A medical drama or “Homeland?” It certainly doesn’t have the scripts or performances to be the latter, and there is little plausibility in the medical plotlines because of the overheated and badly written bipolar incidents.”
Detroit Free Press thinks, ““Black Box” has the makings of one long head trip.”
According to The Lincoln Journal Star, “We not only see how those stories play out, but how Black’s story does, too. We see how her ailment affects her relationships with her boyfriend (David Ajala) and her family, and what little control she has over her life.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, “In trying to make Dr. Black stand out, “Black Box” has made her insufferable. It’s really all just too much.”
The Gazette says, ““Black Box” is dreadful and is probably the worst pilot I’ve seen in my three years as The Gazette’s media columnist. The show gets slightly less loopy as the series goes on but if “Black Box” isn’t cancelled after two episodes I’ll be surprised.”
Winnipeg Free Press thinks, “Black Box’s storyline is in need of urgent, perhaps life-saving surgical attention. Without it, the prognosis is grim.”
MediaLife Magazine says, “Its clinically quirky heroine makes for a memorable premiere episode, but in later episodes, her flavor is diluted in a stew of typical plot lines and characters, and we’re watching just another good but unmemorable hospital show.”
According to Common Sense Media, “Reilly is compelling in such moments, and it turns what could have been a retread of House into something more interesting.”
A.V. Club gives the new series a B+ rating, and further notes, “It has the potential to grow into something stunning, even if it’s not quite there yet.”
Up & Comers thinks, “This is a show that has its heart in the right place, but it is its mind, ironically, that seems to be missing. And I don’t think Dr. Catherine Black will be able to save this one.”
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Our daily TV show pick for tonight, Thursday, April 24, 2014 is the sixth season finale of "Parks and Recreation" on NBC at 8:00.
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What I'm Watching - Graham Yost
Justified creator/show runner/writer Graham Yost has more than enough to keep him busy, But, when he does manage to find some free time to watch TV, here's what he sits down to view:
Check out our interview with Graham to learn more about this very talented writer.
When he's not busy portraying bad guy Darryl Crowe Jr. in this season of Justified, here's what Michael Rapaport likes to watch on TV:
Check out our interview with the actor to gain more insights into Mr. Rapaport.
Featured TV Reviews
TV Show Review – Bad Teacher
Rating: 3 (out of 5). CBS brings the 2011 movie , “Bad Teacher” back to life as a comedy TV series starring Ari Graynor as Meredith, a gold digger who has been dumped by her rich husband. When she finds out that she is not getting any of his money because of a pre-nup, Meredith [...]
TV Show Review – Black Box
Rating: 2 (out of 5). Catherine Black, a brilliant yet troubled neuroscientist, suffering from her mental illness, is the center of “Black Box,” ABC’s newest drama. While a few critics write favorably about the show, most are more in line with Chicago Sun-Times which says, “this drama is not good.” Newsday writes, “”Black Box” creates [...]
TV Show Review – Salem
Rating: 3 (out of 5). WGN launches their first original TV series tonight with Salem which brings us back to the 17th century and the notorious Salem witch trials. At the center of the show is Mary Sibley, played by Janet Montgomery, and John Alden, played by Shane West. The two shared a secret tryst [...]
TV Show Review – Fargo
Rating: 4 (out of 5). FX’s “Fargo,” based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 movie “Fargo,” is a 10 episode series with a new case and new characters, but one that “channels” the original film. The series stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a drifter who runs into insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, played by Martin [...]
- TV Show Review – Bad Teacher
New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of April 22, 2014. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Bettie Page Reveals All. Rating: 4 (out of 5). The world’s greatest pinup model, Bettie Page, shares the true story of how free expression became the target of government witch-hunts and how she overcame them to help launch America’s sexual revolution. The film comes to VOD on Tuesday, April 22. While some of the reviews note that the film is lacking in production value, virtually all are impressed with the content of the film. As the Los Angeles Times notes, the film is a “highly watchable portrait.” Starring: Bettie Page, Dita Von Tease, Todd Oldham, Hugh Hefner. Director: Mark Mori. Rating: R. Genre: Documentary. Reviews, video and more.
Blue Ruin. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A beach bum finds his quiet life turned upside down by a very upsetting news, and travels back to his childhood home to seek revenge. Proving to be an ineffective assassin, he ends up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. The film premieres on VOD on Friday, April 25. The critics are very impressed with the film, the majority citing Saulnier’s direction as promising. As ScreenDaily says, “Blue Ruin is distinguished by the way it allies solid storytelling to fine craftsmanship.” Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock, Sidne Anderson. Director: Jeremy Saulnier. Rating: Unrated. Genre: Thriller. Reviews, video and more.
Escape From Tomorrow comes to DVD and Blu-ray on April 29. The film tells the story of a middle-aged American husband and father of two who lost his job. To escape from reality and to keep the news from his family, he decides not to forgo their trip to the happiest place on Earth. But things turn bad when his sanity is challenged and their trip is turned into a nightmare. Interesting if, for no other reason, than to see what a film that was surreptitiously shot at Disney World looks like. Best Buy has the Blu-ray (and DVD) or, if you prefer Amazon for the DVD, click here.
Filth. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a corrupt cop who desperately wants a promotion. He will do absolutely anything to get that promotion, even stealing his colleagues’ wives and exposing their secrets. But when his past begins to catch up to him, he begins to lose control. Watch for Filth on VOD starting Thursday, April 24. The critics were mixed on the film but many were impressed with James McAvoy performance and, according to The Times, “James McAvoy gives his best performance to date as a morally and physically decaying detective in this hallucinogenic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel.” Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Eddie Marsan, John Sessions. Director: Jon S. Baird. Rating: R Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime. Reviews, video and more.
Gambit. Rating: 2 (out of 5). A remake of the 1966 action film, Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz stars in this film about a British thief who discovers that no plan is infallible after he recruits a beautiful woman to help him steal a statue from a wealthy widower. Although his accomplice resembles the target’s late wife, things start to go wrong once their plans begin. The film premieres on VOD on Friday, April 25, and has not won much (if any) praise from the critics. According to The Guardian, “An awful lot of talent has been put to waste here.” Starring: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Tom Courtenay, Stanley Tucci. Director: Michael Hoffmann. Rating: PG-13. Genre: Drama. Reviews, video and more.