The Middle (TV Series 2009– ) Poster

(2009– )

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Heaton hits a home run
Bernnard_Black11 October 2009
Often times an actor or actress gets associated with an iconic role, a role they basically continue to play over and over, no matter what show or movie they're in. Happily, this is not the case for Patricia Heaton in her new show "The Middle". Her new character, while still a wife and mother of three, is much different than Debra Barone, the character she played for 9 years in "Everybody Loves Raymond."

In Debra, Heaton developed a character identified by her sharp, sarcastic wit, razor-sharp tongue, explosive temper, sexy appearance and a love-hate relationship with her husband and his family. Debra's problems were dealing with her passive-aggressive mother-in-law and her over-the-top intrusiveness, or the little "moral superiority" battles with Raymond. Because of this limited source for trouble and tension, the problems they had, while funny,were not down-to-earth, day-to-day problems most average families worry about.

In Frankie, Heaton has created a character who is more of a mother than a wife, and is on the same level as her husband instead of above him. That makes a huge difference in the tone of the show, and it's quite refreshing. The problems this family faces are problems most families can identify with, from struggling with bills and worrying about work to having a kid who just can't seem to get it together and find his or her place in the world. Frankie doesn't have time to worry about who didn't put up a suitcase or to fake a boob job to prove some minor point; she has to work together with her whole family just to get by. They face each crisis together, and sometimes have to settle for a less than optimal solution. But at the end of the day, they love and support each other in sweet, often surprisingly tender ways.

While not laugh out loud funny, the show has a sweetness and reality to it I find enjoyable. It has the same feel as old classic sitcoms from the 70's and early 80's, an era many consider to be the Golden Age of sitcom television. I think the biggest draw for me, though, is that I LIKE this family; I'd like to live next door to them, and get to know them. And really, can you say anything better about a show than that, that it makes a family so real and so genuine that you'd be happy to have them as neighbors? I hope the show continues and only gets better.
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Very underrated, innocent family comedy
crazydude19892 September 2012
I really wish ABC would promote this show more, and give the actors credit for their work. They have been robbed of Emmy nominations twice. I honestly enjoy Modern Family but I don't get why that show gets a million Emmy nods every year. Anyway, I've been watching since day 1 and have loved it since. Frankie Heck is the harried car-saleslady mother of 3 kids, living in the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. She is always trying to get the kids to bond, while trying to get by herself, as she and her husband Mike don't make a lot of money and their house is always a mess. Axl, the oldest, is a typical lazy, sarcastic teenager who is almost always making fun of his sister Sue, the middle teen daughter. She is very optimistic and bubbly, but nobody really knows she exists, and can never make anything out of herself, especially at school. Finally we have little Brick, who's nose is always stuck in a book and doesn't really have any friends, but if he does make a friend, they're even quirkier than he is. And they are always trying to compete with their practically perfect neighbors, the Donahues. I think we can all relate to this show in some way--the house is always a mess, the mom doesn't always feel like cooking so she brings home fast food, there's those neighbors who are like the perfect family that you've always wanted to be, and the kids don't always get along. It's not laugh out loud funny but I still tune in every Wednesday. And it is NOT a ripoff of Malcolm. That show was about 4 brothers, one of them being a genius. And they lived in California whereas the Hecks live in the MID-west. And they're middle-income, and this show is focused on the mom, trying to do her best to support her family. This show also has more positive vibes. If it didn't have the word "Middle" in the title, people probably wouldn't say a word, right? 8/10.
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Best new show of the season
horrorfilmx14 October 2009
I had no particular hopes for this show. Of all the sitcoms on ABC's new "Wednesday Comedy Night" this is the one I expected to like the least, so it came as quite a surprise how funny and entertaining the pilot episode was. It moves along nicely and the cast is excellent. I always thought Heaton was talented but could never really enjoy her on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND because her character was, quite frankly, an unendurable bitch. Here she has a chance to project a little more warmth and likability and really shines. The real charmer in the cast is Eden Sher as the teenage daughter, a marvel of gawky authenticity. I fear THE MIDDLE may be just a shade too subtle for audiences who tastes run to fart joke and similar crudity, but more discriminating viewers should definitely check it out.
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Finally, a show I can watch with my family.
bglynch_9915 October 2009
I'm guessing the family portrayed in 'The Middle' is not the norm but they certainly are closer to 'real' people than most sitcom characters or, for that matter, most 'reality' show contestants. The children are not perfect nor are they drug addicted or sex-crazed or alcoholic or parent-hating brats. The oldest son hanging out in boxer shorts? My son did that. The middle child, the daughter, trying to find her place in the school social order but often coming up short? Who hasn't failed at something in life? And the youngest child, the little boy who often repeats things in a whisper, is sweet and loves his parents. These kids make you laugh both from their unintentional humor and from recognition. And I especially like the fact that each episode ends on an upbeat note. The family members, no matter what crazy circumstances they may find themselves in, love each other and accept their lot in life without bitterness and anger. Far removed from the pop culture norms we've been fed lately, people living in 'The Middle' may actually exist after all.
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Wonderfully original, entertaining, and satisfying new comedy!
LeonardOsborneKael2 October 2009
Supernaturally talented Patricia Heaton may be doomed to playing the long suffering wife now, as far as television goes -- but she is SO good at it. After who knows how many seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond she appears to have completely mastered the role. And who's complaining? I would never have thought there was so much fertile ground left for family comedy but the writers seem to have tapped a whole new vein. Patricia Heaton being one of the most talented humans ever, your expectations are high on anything new from this lady. No disappointments here! Great story - great imagery - sizzling dialog - wonderful character work from a top-notch cast. Where are all these brilliant new kid actors coming from? Atticus Shaffer is simply miraculous in his role as the ... "unusual child". There was so much entertaining content in this half-hour (or about 22 minutes, I guess, minus the commercials) that I felt like I'd watched a class A feature film comedy. It's not going to be easy to maintain this level of excellence but if they even get close, I'll be a huge fan. Can't wait to see the next episode!
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Real and Funny
mareller-15 November 2009
You'd want to see this show because of the household names, Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Chris Kattan, Brian Doyle Murray, and you'd be pleasantly surprised by the writing. We all "know" the harried mom, laid back dad, "under achiever" kids, but within a twenty minute episode I realize how really well the writers capture the frustration and absurdity that goes with life in "the middle". This program doesn't fit the "oh poor hapless daddy" sitcoms, the kind Bob Newhart would NEVER do, and that's why I've been watching it. Because they have a real mess of a home and wear clothes you do see in the newspaper insert ads, these are some real people dealing with some way out there kinds of characters in situations which are hilarious and sometimes heartwarming, without being mushy. This is one show I look forward to each week!!
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Really enjoyable comedy
Jim15 December 2009
There's a number of shows that I record every week and this is one of them. Whenever I go to catch up on watching shows that were recorded, there are some that are starting to feel like a chore to watch, but I always looks forward to watching this one.

I was never a fan of "Everyone Loves Raymond" so I never saw too much of Patricia Heaton, but she's really very good in this show. I think most of the characters in this show are really well cast. I think Eden Sher as the daughter "Sue" is terrific. She's such a lovable nerd. Neil Flynn who plays the husband "Mike" is funny and believable. Atticus Shaffer as the youngest son "Brick" is pretty bizarre, but somehow I find myself laughing at him, especially when he repeats to himself in a whisper, the last word of his sentences. I can't explain why, but it's funny to me every time he does it.

I hope the show doesn't get old for me. I've watched the first 9 episodes so far and haven't been disappointed yet.
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A Home Run
barbadosdagny9 April 2010
Thank you, ABC, for putting a great group of comedy writers together to support this all star cast. Barbara Heaton as the used car saleslady mom and the janitor from Scrubs as the dad are the best parents I've seen on t.v. in a long time. The 3 children are given meaty characterizations to play and I hope they will win many awards. The kids and the other supporting cast (including Chris Kattan and the car lot boss) couldn't have been cast better. Every show gives me old fashioned belly laughs and inspiration that, like this family struggling to survive in the middle class (the reason for its name, not named for the middle of the country in which it takes place) we can all learn a lesson in what makes families strong.
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Good fun, good laugh and an incredibly good programme!
T-edwards12928 August 2012
Even though I'm 13, I love The Middle, even though I don't think I'm apart of the target audience. It makes me laugh very much and it's the same story with my younger sisters. We have many episodes recorded at home! The plot lines are very real and very funny and amusing. The characters are also very realistic. I also love how it isn't always comedy and that there's a little bit of other genres too, but still it's mostly comedy. I love watching The Middle as its, entertaining, hilarious, fun and gets me in a happy mood. Sometimes I can also relate to the story plots such as the house looking a complete mess and wanting all the new trends! I also like how Patricia Heaton, who plays Frankie Heck, narrates during parts of the show. It's something different and I like it! They are the many reasons why I love to watch The Middle! Overall I cannot put anything else in the review except for I love it!
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Patricia Heaton rises up as the star of her own show!
Syl2 October 2009
Emmy winner Patricia Heaton plays a mom, Frances, better known as Frankie in the Middle of the country in Indiana. She has three children with her husband. They both work jobs. She's a car salesman and he works in an office. They have a daughter who tries to achieve or win but always loses. An awkward youngest son who she uses an actual sale to pick him up from school because she or her husband forgot to pick him up. Her oldest son, Axel, doesn't wear his shirt around the house and only comes down to eat. I could relate to this story. I think her role of Frankie is far more interesting than her other roles. Her home is not in order physically and the family lives in the middle of the country. The show starts off with Frankie wearing a superwoman costume because her youngest son, Brick, has said that his mom is his hero. It's not a bad show but you should all watch it if you have families or live outside Hollywood as most of us do. I like seeing her back on the air. She is the star and expect to see her name next year for an Emmy. She's got another shot at it. This show is funny, witty, and off-beat enough for Emmy voters.
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jimmy eat this show
joelseeman1 October 2009
just got done watching ''the middle'and in all seriousness. i thought it was great a funny show from a mothers point of view. think ''Malcolm in the Middle'' but instead of his point of view the moms. i thought the kids were funny the daughter especially. me personally i thought this show works on many levels and would be surprised if it doesn't get picked up for a second season.i mean there is always crappy shows that get picked up. this one this one has potential with patricia heaton as the lead role is great. personally i thought raymond was a terrible show but she was good and is more realistic in this role. whats that we have more the janitor of one of my all time favorite shows scrubs. yes the funny witty hilarious janitor from scrubs plays the role of the father in this show. he's likable as the dad who doesn't really care about much but means well. so all and all i liked in 9/10.
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Finally!! A good family show!!
Lisa Habig11 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I am so pleased that there is finally a good family show on the air that doesn't promote social/political stances and shove their viewpoint in everyone's face! Patricia Heaton is back and with a vengeance! I have been a fan of Ms. Heaton's every since her days on Thirty Something and Everybody Loves Raymond. Her comedic timing is dead on and her facial expressions suit the moment perfectly; not to mention that her acting skills are per near flawless. When you watch this show, you can really feel what the family is going through and that is, at least in part, due to Patricia Heaton's performance.

Eden Shur as Sue Heck is brilliant! I was the Sue Heck of my school and remember vividly trying out for everything and always failing yet I always stayed optimistic that eventually, something would turn out :) My parents were always supportive of me as well although I'm sure my school years debacles were a source of humor for them as Sue's are for her parents. Charlie McDermott is hilarious as Axel..oh my gosh! He reminds me of my high school boyfriend. Neil Flynn and Atticus Shaffer are wonderful as well.

I enjoy this show completely and hope it stays on the air for a long time!!
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Maniac-931 January 2012
This show is so awesome and totally rocks. This isn't you're over-hyped new sitcom, this blows all of those type of shows out of the water. Their is no lame actors like David Spade or Seth Green on this show, those guys just bounce around from one bad sitcom to the next without any actual skill while doing so.

The story is about a lower middle class family from Indiana. Patricia Heaton is the lead of the show as the mom, Neil Flynn from Scrubs fame as the dad. The kids on he show are Axl who's the oldest who's a lazy jock, Sue is the overambitious daughter with no real skills but that doesn't stop her and Brick is the bookworm youngest who says the same thing to himself twice.
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Please watch it for your sake.
rachitta juneja7 April 2011
I have seen a lot of the popular shows out there. i mean A LOT. and i have come to the conclusion that ABC sucks at advertising. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS. one of the most underrated TV shows. it grows on you. 11 on 10. the characters are amazing. everybody is amazing. cant find a flaw in a single character's portrayal. special mention to 'Atticus', the kid who plays 'brick'. he is a genius in the making. the writing is clever. and i guarantee in the 20 minutes you will be spending you will fall off your chair at least once. i just want this show to get its due success. and for the people who are complaining the interval between shows is long - start showing your support, you won;t have to complain. and lastly i'm disappointed with the 7.8 rating. guys is it at least a 9.4.
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One Heck of a show; definitely not your average comedy.
mpv20102 September 2011
The best thing about this new series is that it doesn't take itself at all seriously. There are no hidden agendas and there's very little sentimentality; which is quite refreshing to see in an American sit-com as all too often the viewer is comforted with the nicer side of life! Patricia Heaton (Frankie Heck) may be reprising the role of an unappreciated wife, but this time she's different, she's let off the leash and has real bite. She also narrates the show which is a kinda cool. Frankie's husband is Mike Heck (Neil Flynn) a Quarry Manager that's a little too laid-back for Frankie liking, but the pair gel very well and they do seem to still love each other after having three kids. The eldest is Axl, a typical teenager who wants to be a rock star or playboy to the stars. Of course he's completely deluded and isn't exactly a grade-A student, but what he does have going for him is his sporting prowess. He appears to be in all the sports teams. He's also very loyal to his family, but it's very subtle; you have to watch to see what I mean. Sue Heck is the nearest thing to Meg Griffin in real TV. Continually in a state neurotic insecurity and anonymity; Sue repeatedly fails to make any impact regarding after school activities – she literally tries-out for everything! Yet, she struggles on with incredible tenacity, a quality that's quite inspiring to see. Unlike Meg, Sue is pretty, slim and glasses free; but at 14, she still wears braces. Everyone (including her tutors) can never seem to remember her name or face, this only exacerbates her self-consciousness and anxiety. Look out for how delighted she is to make the school cross-country team (albeit contrived). The final component of the Heck family is Brick, a 9 year old loner with a reading fixation. Brick doesn't suffer fools lightly, he's very selective about to whom he speaks and he comes across as an evil genius in the making. Brick is very forgetful and shows little interest in anything other than his books. Nevertheless he's an interesting character and not cutesy which is always good! For me though Sue (Eden Sher) is the real gem in this new sit-com; she's very amusing, stupid and naive, yet her never say die attitude is heart-warming and a delight to see. I hope The Middle goes for a few more seasons, just to see how Sue gets on!
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Pleasantly Surprised
susiq062321 November 2010
The only reason I tuned into this show was for Neil Flynn. I was a huge fan of his character as Janitor on Scrubs. I had little hopes because I was not a huge Patricia Heaton fan. I have found now that was not her fault, but the fault of the writers of Everybody Loves Raymond. They made her such a hard to like character that you could not help but dislike her. I mean who would have stayed married to her? Anyway, I digress, The Middle is rather charming. I find myself constantly rolling my eyes (in a good way) at Axl, cheering for Sue and trying to guess what Brick will do next. The Middle is a great example of the average American family trying to stay afloat in today's economy. They portray the way most of us in my age demographic grew up in the Midwest. I am astounded as someone who spent Jr. High and High School in Iowa at just how accurate they are. I will be around watching for as long as they keep the show on the air.
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terrible terrible show
alphallama10 September 2010
This TV show seems to be dead set on taking the previous crown that Malcolm in the middle had rightly earnt. The problem with this show is the characters are very weak and in no way have any of the charisma the characters from Malcome in the middle commanded.If anything this show makes you miss the original Malcolm in the Middle show more. Yes you will smile yes very occasionally you will laugh but the show just doesn't seem to hit the spot and my wife pretty much hit the nail on the head when she walked in the room and said "is it trying to be Malcolm in the middle ? because if it is it isn't doing a good job" Its not often i will sit down and comment/review a TV show but i feel so let down by this show i just had to voice my opinion on it. I really have tried to like this TV program but i have now just ran out of patience with it.
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christian jones5 May 2014
First of all, this show is so exaggerated, bad acting, and lack of originality. I really tried to like this show, watching enough episodes, but i see this so exaggerated. Also, this show is a bad copy of a very funny show "Malcolm in the Middle". Malcolm is far more funny and original. This show is a copy for many reasons. First, the name. Other is that the main character relate the episode. Another thing is the characters. Brick looks like Dewey. Mike is also similar as Hal.The setting is the same as in Malcolm. Also the families are in the same social class and have the same economic problems. In this show, the characters are weak and boring. Also the character of Sue is so exaggerated and foolish. This show will never be as funny as Malcolm in the Middle. So, if you've already seen Malcolm, i don't think you'll like this show.
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how can anyone with a brain like this?
thesandman-886-184723 March 2015
this show is so awful. I can't even watch it. I mean where is the humor? it's just awful the jokes. the family with their pithy dialogue. is rubbish. what was ABC thinking of having this on their station? I mean, the writers can't even write. did they think "oh gee. I should really make this TV show. for others to watch it" give me a break. I can write a way better sitcom,TV show than this and I'm not even a writer. ABC. please cancel this awful show. I don't know how this is on the air. I've tried and tried to watch it and every time. I'm like "I feel like I am lowering my IQ watching this" I knew this sitcom would be awful since, Rosanne created it. this is the worst The series features Frances "Frankie" Heck (Patricia Heaton), a working class, middle-aged, Midwestern [2] woman and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn), who reside in the small fictional town of Orson in Southwest Indiana. They are the parents of three children, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher), and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).[3] The series is narrated by Frankie, initially an under-performing salesperson at a used-car dealership and later a dental assistant. Her stoic husband Mike manages a local quarry and serves as a stabilizing influence in the family. The children are quite different from one another: oldest son Axl, a popular but under-motivated and cynical teenager, does well in sports but not in academics; daughter Sue is an enthusiastic young teen but chronically unsuccessful and socially awkward; and youngest son Brick, an intelligent but introverted compulsive reader with quirky behavioral traits.
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This show shucks nuts, yes "shucks" them
perry benton7 April 2015
This show is horribly boring, I've attempted to watch it on several occasions each time worse than the previous. The show, while well cast, is poorly written in that it fails to do the sole thing the show is made for- to produce laughs. It tries too hard to be funny and it's just not, in fact, it's hard to tell when you're supposed to laugh because there's just nothing in the show that is clever or funny. The episodes are short yet they seem to drag on as the characters just sort of f**k around. The characters are fairly annoying and dumb which should make for an interesting show, it works in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" So shouldn't it work for this show? Well no, it doesn't, at all, sense is a word that seems to have escaped their vocabulary. Some shows can be clever and dumb at the same time and they are hilarious, this is not one of those shows. For better quality viewing, watch the show previously mentioned or the brilliantly written original comedy "Louie".
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The best family comedy
PurpleAlbatross10 July 2011
I'm sorry I have to disagree with previous reviewers who do not like this show. I was an absolute devotee of Everybody Loves Raymond and Patricia Heaton deserved her awards in those days, but this to me is a far better show because the message in the end is usually positive and family-affirming. Yes I was at first put off by the crazy kids too but watch for a while and you'll see they have incredible talent, as does the whole family. Every cast member is a real character, but Frankie Heck steals the show every time. It really is a matter of taste and I hope the producers realise this appeals a LOT to middle class families. All the situations the Hecks get into are SO real, and Patricia Heaton is absolutely at her best, completely believable and hilarious.Brilliant, brilliant brilliant.Love it to bits. Laugh out loud stuff. Renew this programme!
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this is my all time favourite series, and i am old
m_a-6275630 October 2016
I live in NZ and we used to have the middle on tv2 6.30 5 nights a week.well now its on once or twice a week. I can tell you my life was so much better for it when on 5 nights. I screamed with laughter and tears most nights ,it really made me so much happier. the writing,acting everything about this show is brilliant you end up loving these crazy characters so much. and sometimes you cry as there are touching emotions that you so relate to because you are human and the script and portrayal is so human wow its the best i want it to go on forever and cant bear the day coming when it ends. I will get the box set and watch every day for the rest of my life
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Malcome in the Middle, without the Malcome... or the class.
Michael17 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
You have to be kidding me with this series? The only joke is the series it's self, where is the class where is the character and what is it with these TV shows now days where the narrator has to spoon feed you the episode.

Brick will never ever be a Dewey. I dunno, I kinda feel sorry for Patricia Heaton. She was fantastic in Everybody loves Raymond and in my opinion, she was even better in Back to You.

In general I don't find the American humor that great, it all feels dumbed down and pre-canned.

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Just Bad
seanscarr431 December 2011
The Middle seems like a not as funny version of Modern Family or other "dysfunctional family shows".

Within the first five minutes of the show's premiere, I came to a is a clear ripoff of Malcolm in the Middle. The mothers are almost exactly the same! Brick is exactly like Dewey! The setting is the same and the families are in the same situation in terms of money and class.

The jokes in The Middle are dumbed down as if the show was made for 3rd graders to understand. Maybe if you have never seen Malcolm in the Middle, or if you're just uneducated or have something wrong with you, then you might enjoy this show. I honestly couldn't sit through the first four episodes. I'm just sick of this show right now.
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Unoriginal and bland, but expected
Sunderlandtilidie13 February 2011
After watching the Pilot episode I felt like I had already had enough; traces of 'Malcolm in the Middle' are all too evident here and each role in this show attempts to fill the boots of those that feature in the far more successful show, 'Malcolm in the Middle'. None more so than the mother and the father whom both have similar personality traits to that of 'Lois' and 'Hal'. The youngest son, Brick, mirrors 'Dewey' in almost every single way and I feel utterly insulted that I was expected to not recognise the clear hints of plagiarism between the casts that are thrown in your face at every opportunity the writers get to squeeze in another recycled joke.

This show is narrated by the mother, which is similar to how Malcolm narrates 'Malcolm in the Middle'. However, unfortunately, the narration is too miscalibrated with the character of the mother. It would seem as if they were two different characters.

So, if you have watched Malcolm in the Middle in addition to being able to tell your rear end and elbow apart with success, you will more or less be able to tell what the characters are saying with the television on mute (which seems somewhat preferable now). Overall, a very unrefreshing addition to the somewhat dismal arsenal that Sky TV already offer. Did I expect anything else?
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