Tuesday, March 19, 2019

TV: ABC and Colbert fizzle while NOW APOCALYPSE sizzles

It shouldn't be that hard to do a show fueled by sexual chemistry.  Maddie and Dave (MOONLIGHTING), Sam and Diane (CHEERS), Dean and Sam (SUPERNATURAL) . . .  Sexual chemistry may be like lightening in a bottle but it does happen.


Just not on ABC's WHISKEY CAVALIER.  The premise is that the FBI and the CIA work together and, as hijinx ensue, so will laughter.  We're all for anything that mocks the CIA but there's not an honest laugh to be found in this weekly, hour long show.

Scott Foley tries hard to bring the charm he provided on SCANDAL but there he acted opposite live wire Kerry Washington.  On WHISKEY CAVALIER, he acts opposite 37-year-old Lauren Cohan who's been working professionally for over fourteen years yet has failed to impress even once.  In scene after scene, Ana Ortiz sparkles in a supporting role but the camera's always searching in desperation when it zooms in on Cohan who often has a glum or foul look on her face as though someone forgot to clue her in that this show is supposed to be a comedy.

Just as four tires are required for a car to drive smoothly, two leads are required for a show that plans to rely on chemistry.  Scott Foley is a lead, yes.  But Lauren Cohan?  She's not a lead.  She's someone's who has been hired for a role she's all wrong for and every episode is an attempt to shoot around this reality.

More than anything, WHISKEY CAVALIER is a retread of SCARECROW AND MRS. KING if Meg Foster had played the Kate Jackson role.

WHISKEY CAVALIER is pure hokum and a rip off of every other show you've ever seen.  The only way it would ever work is if there was sexual friction between the leads.  Sadly for ABC, there is none.

About the only thing sadder than WHISKEY CAVALIER would be last week's THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT where the host tried to shame US House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Stephen Colbert: Why do you want to be president of the United States?

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: Because as a soldier I know the cost of war and the most important job the president has is to be commander in chief.

Stephen Colbert: Do you think that the Iraq War was worth it?

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  No.

Stephen Colbert:  Do you think that our --  Do you think that our involvement in Syria has been worth it?

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: No.

Stephen Colbert:  Do you believe that -- Do you believe that ISIS could have been defeated without our involvement and support of the local troops there?

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: There are two things we need to address in Syria.  One is a regime change war that was first launched by the United States in 2011, covertly led by the CIA.  That is a regime change war that has continued over the years that has increased the suffering of the Syrian people and strengthened terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS because the CIA was using American tax payer dollars to provide arms and training equipment to these terrorist groups to get them to overthrow the government.  So that is a regime change war that we should not have been waging --

Stephen Colbert:  So but if -- 

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  The second --

Stephen Colbert: -- someone like Bashar Assad [cross talk] or engages in War Crimes against his own people, should the United States not be involved.

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  The United States should not be intervening to overthrow these dictators and these regimes that we don't like, like Assad, like Saddam Hussein, like Qaddafi and like Kim Jong Un.  There are bad people in the world but history has shown us that every time the United States goes in and topples these dictators we don't like, trying to act as the world's police, we end up increasing the suffering of the people in these countries, we end up causing a loss of life -- both American lives and the lives of people in these countries, we end up undermining our own security. [. . .] to speak of the trillions of dollars spent on these wars that we need to be using right here at home.

The Iraq War veteran is running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and she's got serious issues to discuss like Medicare For All, ending endless wars, addressing climate change, etc. but all the talk show host wanted to discuss was whether or not she thought Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was a "war criminal."  Way to avoid addressing real issues.  Two things stood out -- one, how Colbert looked like the corporate whore interviewing Jay Billington Bulworth in Warren Beatty's BULWORTH and, two, how coming off as a pedophile in STRANGERS WITH CANDY worked to Colbert's advantage but does nothing for him on a late night talk show.

Serious issues elude the clown Colbert.   So much eludes him.

And for someone who makes his show about belittling Donald Trump, maybe he should learn to listen to others?  It's a talk show and Colbert's not interesting enough to carry the hour by himself, so learn to listen.

The chemistry Colbert and ABC can't manufacture, NOW APOCALYPSE parades.

STARZ's new show is a stand out.  Every now and then in the cookie-cutter world of TV, a show comes along with its own look and NOW APOCALYPSE has its own look.  More than that, however, it has a look that should advance visuals in TV.  It's vibrant and powerful. It's as revolutionary in the visual as Hal Ashby's COMING HOME was in the audio.  The choice of the songs and the way they were utilized changed film and that's the sort of impact NOW APOCALYPSE should have on TV.  Yes, HERE'S LUCY was a breakthrough in terms of color all those years ago but that was all those years ago.

Filmmaker Gregg Araki has worked in TV before (RIVERDALE, 13 REASONS WHY, AMERICAN CRIME, etc.) but this is the first time he's done more than direct.  He created NOW APOCALYPSE, directs every episode and co-writes each episode with Karley Sciortino (of VICELAND's SLUTEVER).

In a thirty minute format, the show follows its young cast around as they learn about themselves and the world around them.  The three leads are Avan Jogia as Uli, Kelli Berglund as Carly and Beau Mirchoff as Ford -- all three performers are talented and appealing.  Uli lives with roommate Ford -- and has the hots for Ford but Ford's involved with Severine (Roxane Mesquida) while Carly's involved with Jethro (Desmond Chiam).

Carly wants to be an actress -- even if she lacks the talent or ability to pretend she's interested in the performances of others in her acting class.  Ford wants to be a screenwriter.  Uli, when not doing night security, wants to figure out what his dreams of an alien invasion may mean or, as he puts it, "On one hand, I can't shake this gnawing dread -- this feeling that there's something going on just below the surface of everyday life.  But, on the other hand, I do smoke a lot of weed."

He also sees things.  Like an alien raping a man.

Ford sees little.

Even when he's fixing Severine dinner, Ford sees little.  He's right behind her but he never notices that his astrobiological theorist girlfriend is looking at photos of UFOs.  He also has trouble seeing that she wants an open relationship until she spells it out for him -- shortly before setting him up with a female friend to have sex with while she watches.  "You have the world's most magnificent cock," she tells him.  "It's so magnificent, in fact, I'd feel guilty keeping it all to myself."

Uli's alien dreams probably have something to do with Severine's secretive work and maybe even have something to do with Gabriel (Tyler Posey), the guy he's trying so hard to establish a relationship with -- but outside of mutual masturbation, little appears to be happening, not even texting.

Uli may be confused but NOW APOCALYPSE is sure footed and determined.  It's also the most interesting show of 2019 so check it out.

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