In Hollywood you're only as good as your last flick, and Dragonfire Films exec Peter Dragon has hit bottom with his $150 million bomb "Slow Torture." His only hope to get back to the way things were is the shoot-'em-up film "Beverly Hills Gun Club," and the only person that will help him is ex-child star turned hooker Wendy Ward. Written by
Jeff Cross <email@example.com>
Very much in the spirit of "The Newsroom" (Canadian sitcom, 1996), this is not only the best show of the new Fall lineup, but possibly the best show of the last few decades. I am very critical and would never say such a thing lightly.
Kudos to FOX for, rather than pushing the envelope in the direction of greater sensory stimulation, going the other way--daring to air a show with limited music, few seasick-inducing camera movements, little overt emotion and no laugh track. These four elements, once used to spice up programs, have come to be relied upon exclusively. The nature of the new lineup makes it obvious that even if the viewing public have not yet been dumbed down to the level of monkeys who have lost the ability to detect nuances of character, speech and plot (and whose attention can only be held with bells, whistles and flashing lights), Hollywood certainly believes we have and treats us accordingly.
Thus the more refreshing the arrival of "Action," which bucks the bread-and-circus trend with true sophistication. The persistent AMORALITY of the characters in an era of extremes on either end ("7th Heaven" vs. "Beavis & Butt-Head," for instance) is a relatively new concept. Instead of doing a 180, so to speak, from morality to immorality or vice-versa, the show is able to sustain this 90-degree variation and make it believable.
Fine acting ability along with well-written scripts allows the characters to convey abundant meaning through raised eyebrows, intense looks, sly grins, double-entendre and body language. In fact rarely does anyone break a smile. Thus there is no need to hammer the viewer over the head with laughter, crying, screaming, hollering, or slapstick. There is bad language, but just as violence supported the plot in the film "Die Hard" instead of the other way around (which is customary), the cursing merely supplements the script rather than being its bread-and-butter. And amazingly, the crude frankness of the characters does serious damage to the concept that Hollywood is a plastic town full of phonies who never speak their minds. Indeed, most of the superficiality is to be found in the characters on other shows.
But, tuning in each week is a bittersweet experience because you realize that few shows that reach such a high level (e.g., "Homicide") pull in the numbers, so the next few episodes may be the last. Or, as happened with "The Newsroom," the creative types behind the project may just decide one day that they're tired of this and move on to something else.
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