Monday, October 13, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'My Own Worst Enemy' review

In today's column, I review "My Own Worst Enemy":
"My Own Worst Enemy" isn't remotely good enough to be as stupid as it is.

It's the sort of show where if you stop for even 5 seconds to think about what's happening, you'll realize none of it makes any sense. A Michael Bay movie can get away with assertions you might want to question -- Alien robots might talk like rappers! A 66-year-old Scotsman might be able to kill dozens of trained mercenaries by himself! Josh Hartnett is a credible leading man! -- because there are so many pretty pictures and loud explosions to distract your brain from properly rebooting. A mid-budget NBC drama starring Christian Slater doesn't have that luxury. There are plenty of dull passages where it's impossible not to ask who these people are, why they do what they do, and -- between this show, "Knight Rider" and "Kath & Kim" -- how much contempt NBC must have for its own audience's intelligence.
To read the full thing, click here. Not going to do a separate post tonight, so comment here if you watch the pilot.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw the pilot (it's up on Yahoo) and agree that if you stop and think about most of what's going on it doesn't make any sense. But I was still entertained. So I'll give it a few weeks to see where it goes. The thing that impressed me the most was how genuinely creepy Mike O'Malley managed to be.

Jennifer said...

I think I have to agree with Anonymous that the plot doesn't make any sense, but it was fun to watch. I still found it more entertaining than the other new shows this season.

jim treacher said...

I have to say, Alan, this whole review was awash in ambiguity. If you didn't like it, just say so already!

But seriously, folks, I might have to pop in my Jekyll DVD instead of watching this. Or, probably, Heroes.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this was your intention Alan, but the first big paragraph is repeated.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't know if this was your intention Alan, but the first big paragraph is repeated.

Wasn't that way this morning. Must be an NJ.com bug. I fixed it. Thanks.

Dan Coyle said...

O'Malley's turn as a darkly sardonic, self-absorbed coke addict in 28 Days proved to me he could act, even if he's not particularly funny.

O'Malley must studied some addicts' behavior, because his smug "i don't have a problem!" attitude in the group therapy sessions seemed ripped out of RL.

Nicole said...

This sounds like a bad mashup of Jekyll and Alias. I suppose that I will watch the pilot and determine if it's any worse than Knight Rider.

Pamela Jaye said...

I just saw Aaron Barnhart's review:

"It's not nearly as bad as I thought."

followed of course by
"How's that for a recommendation?"

do you think the networks are using Don Draper's perfect secretary's patented Expectation Management?

(I didn't read most of the review (since it quickly went into detail) I was just looking for a reason... (which, without detail, I'm not going to get, right?)

Hopefully it wall vanish quickly if it'd truly awful, and Private Practice will stay (just for something non-objectionable to watch. just cause it's better doesn't mean it's good) and Chuck will survive (cause I really like Chuck - and my friend who doesn't watch prime time TV series watches it (best promotion ever: Morgan hits on your niece in a Boston bar!(couldn't it havebeen Chuck/Zach instead?)))

Pamela Jaye said...

I think I have to agree with Anonymous that the plot doesn't make any sense, but it was fun to watch.

also it had a good beat and it was easy to dance to - i'll give it a 75.

seriously I can't believe I might try it since I swore off spy shows after Mr & Mrs Smith was cancelled. (Chuck's a geek - I can't help it! I like geeks!)

Chip said...

I expected the show to be horrible and on queue for freshman cancellation, but a tvguide profile on the show made it interesting and I watched it for free on itunes. I wasnt pleasantly surprised but the pilot was enjoyable enough for me to stick around for the next couple of weeks until I decided to stay or leave. I was pretty disappointed that the writers didnt present a clear reason for the dual identities though, instead of techno jargon about how they did it, the question of why should've been answered in the first half hour of a show that's asking for a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Kenrick said...

reviews like these just make me miss journeyman all the more! sorry, i just can't seem to let go....

i just watched season one of dexter and i am really liking it, so at least i still have new (to me) stuff to watch.

Stef said...

I liked it. Sure, it's no Alias, but even Alias was only brilliant for about 2 seasons. (Once they brought in Vaughn's wife and fast-forwarded 2 years it all went downhill.) But, like the first few commenters, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief and major questions (like is Henry's entire job a cover? does he actually think he's doing any work?) and keep watching if it keeps up at least this level of entertainment. I like Christian Slater in this. And heck, it's better than Heroes.

Michaelangelo said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy it, Alan. I found it really piqued my interest. And I thought the scene with him as Henry in Russia while the carnage unfolded around him was well done. I'm highly interested to see where this goes.

M.Chavez said...

After hearing Slater interviewed on Howard Stern this morning I had to give it a shot and I have to say I liked it a lot. Maybe some of you will laugh but Slater's acting chops really helped make the show hum. It's improbable, fantastical, etc., but the pacing was great and Slater's take on a "fish out of water" was quite neat. If they can keep it going I'm so there. It's on my TiVo season pass list for now.

Nony M said...

You know what my favorite part was? When two veteran Russian agents were all like, "What's that, you say? After sending a team of spies to steal our precious secret-agent suitcase, your government allowed their top agent to bury that suitcase in a remote area rather than, I don't know, store it in a secure government facility for study? And, not only did the agent go old-school hiding the thing (hiding it from whom, one might legitimately ask, since no one seemed to expect our arrival) -- not only did he hide it cleverly under 6 feet of dirt, but the agent used his cover identity's SUV and then left his shovel and a GPS tracker in the trunk for his unknowing cover identity to find? Sure, that sounds totally plausible -- let us follow you to this remote location!"

grand-sophy said...

The most telling part of my reaction to this was pausing it halfway through to check my email, just because I remembered I hadn't checked it yet. True Lies was able to pull this off because it was a hugely over-the-top domestic comedy; does this show even know it's supposed to be funny? Or at least exciting? Slater has an interesting face, but quirky eyebrows can only get you so far. More differentiation of his characters would be helpful, and more emoting in general. Shouldn't his Henry be completely freaked out?

Big Bill said...

Thank God they still make TV shows for "JOE 6pack". I read through these 'reviews' and couldn't believe how deep some of you want your TV to be. I get plenty of reality on the other channels, not to mention at work. I want un-reality. For me, that's the idea of TV. Take me to a place I can't go in my life. To wake up and find out your really a spy with dual personalities. How cool would that be. If you want deep, inspiring, and 'real life' watch LIFE TIME. If you want HARD TO BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING, COOL TV watch this show. =)