Greetings to the New Show: “Bored to Death”

You may recall that, during my TCA press tour wrap-up, I declared the panel for HBO’s new series, “Bored to Death,” to be the funniest of anything presented to us by any cable network. But in fairness, I also admitted during my coverage of the panel itself that, at the time, I still hadn’t actually seen the show, though I was still willing to take what I’d seen in advance clips and heard from the panelists and say, “Basically, if this show isn’t a hit, then it’s at least destined to be remembered as one of the greatest cult sitcoms of all time.” I think I’m still pretty safe in sticking with that theory, but now that I have seen the first few episodes of “Bored to Death,” I have to admit that, although it gets a good head of steam during the second episode, it’s rather slow-going when it comes out of the gate tonight.

HBO’s press release for the series summarizes “Bored to Death” thusly: “Jonathan Ames, a young Brooklyn writer, is feeling lost. Heʼs just gone through a painful break-up, thanks in part to his drinking, canʼt write his second novel, and carouses too much with his magazine editor. Rather than face reality, Jonathan turns instead to his fantasies – moonlighting as a private detective – because he wants to be a hero and a man of action.” That doesn’t really do tonight’s premiere justice, though. Things do kick off with Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman) watching his girlfriend move out of their apartment, but it’s in a moment of quiet desperation – and with a coffee cup full of white wine – that he spontaneously decides to put an ad on Craigslist, claiming to be a private detective. Despite admitting that he’s not licensed, he nonetheless gets a call in short order, and he’s off on his first case…though it’s probably not a good sign that his client, before their first meeting is over, has asked, “Are you sure you’re a detective…?”

As with all first episodes, we spend more time setting the stage than anything else. We meet Jonathan’s best friend, comic book illustrator Ray Hueston (Zach Galifianakis), as well as his boss, magazine editor George Christopher (Ted Danson), but the predominant purpose of tonight’s premiere (“The Stockholm Syndrome”) is to give us an idea who these guys are and what roles they play in Jonathan’s life. Rest assured that, in the subsequent couple of episodes, they will find a much larger place within his new profession…and also rest assured that, if the premiere of “Bored to Death” does indeed leave you feeling like its title, the odds of the sensation continuing next week are few.

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

Five “must-see” new shows of the fall season

Our lead TV writer, Will Harris, is doing a bang up job of previewing the fall season as it grows closer, but I thought I’d throw in my $0.02 by mentioning the five new series that have me pumped about the fall lineup.

In order of premiere date…

1. “Community” (NBC), 9/17/09
Anyone that is a fan of Joel McHale on “The Soup” already knows about his foray into scripted comedy this fall. IMDB describes the plot this way

Jeff (Joel McHale) used to be a lawyer. When the state bar association revokes his license for having fake college credentials — he floated by on his degree from Colombia, but is legally obligated to earn one in America — Jeff enrolls at Greendale Community College. Intent on taking the easy way out, he forms a study group in a half-assed attempt seduce a pretty girl (Gillian Jacobs) and tries to coast on through. What he soon ends up with, aside from a coffee klatch of sad clowns, is a second chance at an honest life.

The trailer looks great…

The series seems to be going for a feel like that of “The Office,” though obviously that’s a tough standard to live up to. McHale has star potential, and he should bring a significant fan base over from “The Soup,” which he is going to continue hosting for the time being.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2009 Summer Press Tour Wrap-Up: Cougars, Muppets, Vampires, and Gordon Ramsay, Too!

God bless the TCA Press Tour, where the television industry gives critics from throughout North America the opportunity to play with the folks who live and work in Hollywood. The tour allows us a remarkable amount of access to the stars, producers, directors, and writers of the various shows currently taking up residence on the various cable and broadcast networks. Yes, while I may spend 48 weeks out of the year feeling like a nobody, for those four weeks – two in the summer, two in the winter – which are taken up by the tour, I’m at least made to feel like I’m a somebody. (Really, though, I’m not anybody.)

This was the first time the summer tour had been held after Comic-Con rather than before, so there was a certain amount of grumbling about the fact that the fans were getting a certain amount of information that would’ve ordinarily gone to the critics first, but it must be said that the networks did a pretty good job of pacifying us. And, besides, aren’t the fans supposed to come first, anyway?

Although the content that I managed to accrue during the course of the tour will continue to come your way for quite some time to come, what you see before you is a summary of the highs and lows of the event, mixing stories you may have already read on Premium Hollywood with many that I simply haven’t had a chance to discuss yet. As ever, it was a heck of a good time, full of the kind of moments that leave me grateful that I managed to get that journalism degree from Averett College back in 1992, pleased as punch that Bullz-Eye and Premium Hollywood have given me the opportunity to cover the tour, and, most of all, that there are lot of great readers out there who seem to enjoy the tales I bring back from these strange TCA adventures that I’ve embarked upon.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

TCA Tour, Day 3: “Bored to Death”

HBO’s “Bored to Death” panel wins the award for Most Likely To Make Me Want To Watch My Advance Screener When I Get Home, but, then again, it’s already a testimony to how freaking busy I was before I left for California that I couldn’t find the time to check out a series that features a triple-threat cast of Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis. When the panel kicked off with this trailer, however, I knew that, even though much of my pre-TCA time was spent trying to help my wife put together our daughter’s 4th birthday, I’d clearly spent that time poorly.

By the way, that was obviously a joke about spending my time poorly (the party was a huge success), but I’m completely serious about wanting to watch the screener as soon as I get home. In addition to the trailer, though, every single person on the panel was hilarious…even Schwartzman, who appeared via satellite due to filming commitments on “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

HBO’s nutshell synopsis of the series…or, at least, the opening paragraph of the press release for the show, which generally tends to be about the same thing…reads as follows: “Jonathan Ames, a young Brooklyn writer, is feeling lost. Heʼs just gone through a painful break-up, thanks in part to his drinking, canʼt write his second novel, and carouses too much with his magazine editor. Rather than face reality, Jonathan turns instead to his fantasies – moonlighting as a private detective – because he wants to be a hero and a man of action.” The idea of Schwartzman as a man of action is funny enough in and of itself, but then you’ve got Danson as the aforementioned magazine editor, Galifianakis as Ames’s eccentric best friend, and a premise (and cast) which lends itself to high-profile guest stars. Basically, if this show isn’t a hit, then it’s at least destined to be remembered as one of the greatest cult sitcoms of all time.

Oh, and did I mention that Jonathan Ames is actually a real person? True story. He’s apparently a rather prolific author, in fact. (My apologies: I wasn’t familiar with him before this.) Having listened to him chat during the panel for “Bored to Death,” I think it’s fair to say that the stars of the shows are going to be in good comedic hands. Personally, I was convinced of this when he was asked to explain why the show – which would appear on the surface to be anything but boring – was given a name which so readily offers journalists a chance to fire back with snarky punchlines.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts