Thanks to another cold outbreak at the Sepinwall compound, column-writing has been at a minimum this week. Matt handles the lead item of today's All TV, which is a (negative) review of NBC's "Amazing Race"-meets-"Da Vinci Code" rip-off "Treasure Hunters." I handle the back half of the column, including a short review of A&E's "Touch the Top of the World" (biopic of the first blind man to summit Everest) and Dane Cook's "Tourgasm," which I really only liked during the performance snippets.
In the home stretch on the pilots. Preliminary thoughts -- say it with me, these aren't reviews, since too many things can and will change before September -- on "Men in Trees" and "Let's Rob..." after the jump...
"Men in Trees"
Who's In It: Anne Heche, John Amos, Abraham Benrubi, James Tupper, and others
What It's About: "Northern Exposure" by way of the collective filmographies of Meg Ryan, Ashley Judd and Sandra Bullock, with Heche as a relationship guru who discovers her fiance is a cheating louse while on a trip to an Alaskan town where the male/female ratio is 10/1.
Pluses: Heche has dialed down the crazy to acceptable degrees, and judging by Marian's favorable reaction, they handle most of the rom-com tropes fairly well. "Northern Exposure" fans will be very pleased by blatant homages like a sexist macho pilot in the Maurice mold and an eager young DJ who's a cross between Ed Chigliak and Chris in the Morning...
Minuses: ... or they'll be annoyed at the blatant rip-offs. Very little male appeal, and I say that as a guy who digs "Grey's Anatomy."
Who's In It: Donal Logue, Mick Jagger, Sofia Vergara, Murmur from "The Sopranos"
What It's About: A lifelong loser decides to take hold of his destiny after watching an E! documentary about Mick Jagger's fabulous apartment, and recruits a posse of fellow losers to rob the Rolling Stone.
Pluses: Mick Jagger does a wonderful job of playing Mick Jagger (it's the part he was born to play, baby!), portraying himself as the worst kind of self-absorbed celebrity brat. Writers Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman from "Ed" have fun depicting Logue (who played Phil Stubbs in the second version of the "Ed" pilot) as a man blissfully unaware of his own limitations. Good throwaway jokes like the gang plotting the heist in a "Jewish supply house" filled with giant replica menorahs.
Minuses: Mick, who as of now will only appear occasionally, is far and away the best part of the show, and the scenes with the regular characters suffer in comparison. A little too obviously derivative of "My Name Is Earl," notably Logue having his life-altering revelation while watching a celebrity on TV.