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Monday, October 15, 2007

Reviews: Samantha Who? and Viva Laughlin

The last crop of new fall shows debut this week. Here’s my take on the newbies.

Samantha Who?
Premiere date: October 15, 2007
Airs: Mondays @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Imagine waking up one day and having no memory of your job, your boyfriend or your parents. That’s the situation for Samantha Who? As the victim of a hit-and-run, Samantha awakes from an eight-day coma to discover she knows nothing about her life. As she slowly begins to uncover the details of who she is, her findings leave her stunned: She’s an alcoholic who cheats on her boyfriend and takes pleasure in being mean to her secretary. Samantha soon discovers that her old life isn’t necessarily one she’s eager to return to and begins making changes. Christina Applegate shines as the befuddled Samantha. Barry Watson plays her sweet boyfriend. (This part could make me forgive him for the dreadful What About Brian.) Sultry Jennifer Esposito is perfect as the best friend, as is Jean Smart, as Samantha’s overbearing mother. Samantha Who? won’t go down in the TV history books as cutting edge dramedy, but for folks who like the types of shows such as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, this one may be for you.

Viva Laughlin
Premiere date: October 18, 2007 at 10 p.m. on CBS
Airs: Sundays @ 8 p.m. ET on CBS

Give me a musical, Hugh Jackman and Las Vegas, and I’m in. Usually. That was until about 10 minutes in to the pilot episode for Viva Laughlin. It pains me to pan a show starring the loveable and talented Jackman, the yummy Eric Winter, DB Woodside and Melanie Griffith, but I must be honest. This one hurt. As a lover of musicals, I had high hopes. But when the show’s lead, Lloyd Owen, broke out in song to Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas, I was cringing. The actors aren’t singing the songs by themselves, which may be part of the problem. They sing along with the original artists, which makes for some odd sounds and lip movement that doesn’t always match the words of the song. Even Jackman, an accomplished Broadway star, couldn’t make it believable. The show is about a small-time businessman (Owen) who dreams of opening a casino. He’s forced to turn to his rival (Jackman) for financial help. The show is milled as a mystery drama, but the real mystery is why the show doesn’t work, with such a great cast and concept. I applaud CBS for thinking outside the box and giving us a musical, but there are too many other good dramas on the tube this season to spend time at Viva Laughlin.


kim said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't like Viva Laughlin. I was so looking forward to Hugh Jackman. I love musicals, too. I'm gonna watch it, but my expectations aren't high.

stephanie said...

Thanks for the review on Samantha Who. I just watched it and loved it. I hope it does well.

ryan said...

Musicals just don't seem to work on network TV. Remember Cops?

tube talk girl said...

Ah...Cops. Yes, I remember it well. The issue for me is Ryan that musicals do work on network TV, sometimes. Remember Buffy's "Once More With Feeling" and the Scrubs musical episode? Those were top-notch TV. Maybe it only works when audiences already know the charactrers.

Wes said...

What About Brian...that's it. I couldn't remember where I'd seen that guy before. Thank you! Yeah, that show was awful. Unfortunately, I watched it b/c it was JJ.

Anonymous said...

Viva Laughlin

What it’s about: Based on a BBC series called Blackpool, Viva Laughlin is about a guy who opens a brand new casino in a smaller city in Nevada. Did I mention that this is a musical?

What’s good: Oh sweet Lord, how I love this show. If you’d told me that CBS was going to put on an Americanized remake of an interesting but not great Brit-drama and that the characters would spontaneously start singing, I wouldn’ve told you that sounded like certain disaster. To have it turn out to be the best network show of the season (or at least my personal favorite – by a very wide margin – is damn near miraculous.

It’s important to note for the skeptical (though this might not allay any reservations) that the songs are not original compositions, but pop tunes spanning the last 40 or 50 years. “Viva Las Vegas” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another” are some notable ones. The characters don’t lip synch or merely sing…they sing along with the original track, so you can hear both at once…an interesting and confident stylistic choice.

Cast is also great. Lloyd Owen, a british actor with a long career behind him plays the lead, and he’s got just the right amount of smarmy confidence and, when the story calls for it, abject fear. And, somehow, they got Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from Oklahoma!) to play the bad guy! Melanie Griffith makes an appearance as well as a sort of washed-up femme fatale.

Viva Laughlin is totally ridiculous and extremely fun to watch. It reminded me a lot of the early seasons of Nip/Tuck, only without the mean-streak and pretentious aspirations. Oh, and with singing.

What’s not so good: Hell, I don’t know. I just really, really love this show.

Will it be a hit? FOR SURE !!!!!!
Viva Laughlin Preview - New Series From CBS

I know what I like, and I like this Show !!!

You decide if you like Viva Laughlin:

copy and paste or double click on these links:

New Clip on Viva Laughlin:






VIVA LAUGHLIN, the new mystery drama with music, will have a special preview on Thursday, Oct. 18 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) following CSI before moving to its regular Sunday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time period on Oct. 21 to take advantage of a two week window in the schedule without football overruns.

Thursday, Oct. 18
10:00-11:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Special Preview)

Sunday, Oct. 21
8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Time Period Premiere)

tube talk girl said...

I think you mean Coprock, Ryan. Yeah. I remember it! It was pretty unforgettable.

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