Intrinsic Enhancement & Angular Balance – New Television – Fall 2011 – Part I

Identifying and enhancing the note of the female antagonist is always an interesting play in order to appeal to the broad demographic but with female leads dominating most of prime time, the angular balance remains making them intrinsic and funny without reverting to a basic standard. Whether it be a retribution-fueled socialite in “Revenge” or 60s-era flight attendants modulating woman’s lib and society with a sense of style, this new crop of shows shows a diversity of vision.

Revenge Using an often used idiom of coming back to take out those who caused your childhood misery is the focus of many a literature and/or crime novel. The key becomes having the resources to pull it off. The lead characte rin this show tries to move back to her original stomping grounds and takes out [figuratively and financially] the people responsible for her father’s death. The soap opera touches of class structure and ideas of romance try to maintain a balance despite an overarching banality to the narrative. Creating a more intrinsic and keen viciousness within the air of a mask-oriented society is a keen art but the access remains within getting your hands dirty while looking great doing it without losing a sense of purpose.

Unforgettable Using a forensic style playback of someone’s memories to create a structure of investigation is a little far fetched but, of course, it depends on the psychology used to make it work. While the texture here has the balance of elements of “Prime Suspect”, the red-haired renaissance of the lead gives the series a bit of verve but has the possibility of wearing itself out as a “forensic light” because everything that the woman sees is immediately circumstantial. However, the idea is to do the investigations in reverse is clever but necessitates the eliminates the idea of probable cause. While there are some good moments, the progressions suffers from similar pains of “Life On Mars” which had a good hook but required too much suspension of disbelief.

Pan Am In following the perception of “Mad Men”, it seems interesting to approach this angle of intrigue and world travel through the notion of flight attendants but the ideal is that Pan Am was very different than air travel of today. Granted the through line is very soapy at times but the use of music and exceptional production value raises the bar. The characters, despite their perceptions, at times seem ambitious yet still virtuous in accordance with the times. The use of specific locations that definitely fall between the beaten path like Haiti and Rangoon definitely balance the idea of more urban destinations like London and Paris. Christina Ricci leads the pack blending a tongue-in-cheek modern virtue that almost puts her at odds with the backrgound she is against but her pinpoint accuracy on what the character believes in resolves any distance. While hanky panky among the ranks, women’s lib and the civil rights movement do intersperse in the stories, the episode progression still resolves to a lighthearted tone. The key is making the relationships and bonds stronger so that when they are eventually torn apart, the emotions will run high.

Up All Night With Will Arnett having less-than-optimum luck with his last two comedy pilot outings, it is great to see him settling in a notion of family comedy that he definitely knows something about. The key of course is a great partner. Despite the initial crank up time, the chemistry between Arnett and his on-screen wife Christina Appelgate, together raising a baby daughter, feels natural especially in their young fun singles-grown-up kind of way. With the addition of Maya Rudolph (who has the most kids in real life of any of the cast members) as a cross between J-Lo and Oprah with as many man problems as necessary to fuel a comedic actress of her like, the balance tends to work because the realities and what the characters want (especially since Arnett is playing Mr. Mom) with their ideas of life before and after baby are exceptionally pinpointed with a grand amount of tongue-in-cheek lunacy.