Wednesday, April 28, 2010

'Happy Town' review: Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review "Happy Town," which premieres tonight on ABC. Not a fan, and it won't be part of the blog rotation as I move over to HitFix (nor would it have been were I staying here). Feel free to discuss the premiere here if you watch it tonight.

17 comments:

Jeff W. said...

Thanks for taking another bullet for us. You saved me at least an hour of my time.

Christian said...

I really had high hopes for that series (because I like the premise and the actors) so it's really a downer for me that apparently it's not too good (you're not the only reviewer who said that. Though the one I trust the most).
I guess I'll still watch at least the first few episodes (and if only for Amy Acker) but my hopes aren't that high anymore...

Matt in Raleigh said...

I didn't watch Life On Mars - so just went to the wiki for it. Wow! What a cluster of series ender - on that fact alone I think I'll pass on the latest from them.

Chrissy said...

As someone who watched every episode of Harper's Island, I'm pretty sure I've lost my rights to criticize anything, ever. But this show, much as I want it to be crappy fun, looks just crappy crappy. I think the fact that Amy Acker isn't in any of the commercials is a bad sign.

However, I have it TIVOed and will probably watch at least a few episodes, at least. My tolerance for shite is pretty high when there are people I like in the cast.

dez said...

It looks so much like a rehash of "Harper's Island," which burned me as a viewer with its pulled-out-of-our-asses explanation, that I just have no enthusiasm for or desire to watch. And given just how much crappy TV I'm willing to put up with (original SyFy movies, e.g.), that's saying something.

J said...

Every time I see M.C. Gainey anywhere (most recently in a Burn Notice episode) I cannot stop saying, "We're gonna have to take the boy."

It passes the time.

From the initial teaser ads, it looked like Stephen King+American Gothic ("Someone's at the door. He says he's gonna have to take the boy."). But then the ads added mention of "The Magic Man."
The Magic Man of Happy Town? Really? At least I've got a new nickname for my dealer.

Anonymous said...

Don't we get a version of this show practically every year? Besides the already mentioned Twin Peaks and Harper's Island, ABC had Push, Nevada a few years ago and NBC is running a show called Persons Unknown this summer about people trapped in a small town. ABC also had a pilot a few years ago called Secrets of a Small Town, which was in the same vein.

Chrissy said...

Network executives clearly fear the small town like nothing else.

We keep making jokes about the Muffin Man whenever the ads for this show come on. Which of course leads to Arrested Development humor. So, the show's been good for something, anyway.

Zack Smith said...

I warned you about this show, Alan! The critic's path is fraught with peril.

Despite this being perhaps the best age for quality TV of all time - leaping over the Golden Age of the 1950s, the newly-mature sitcoms of the early 1970s and the revolution of drama in the 1980s -- in the space of a mere week we have new shows from both the OCTOBER ROAD guys and Eric Shaeffer.

There is always a downside to progress.

Incidentally, the pilot script to OCTOBER ROAD showed up online -- out of masochism, I read the damn thing. It is, if possible, even more pretentious than the show itself. It's weird, the creators clearly think they're doing some clever, slightly intellectual human comedy, and what comes off is a generic soap with the worst dialogue known to man.

http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/October_Road_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf

Several novelist friends of mine have tried reading this and cannot get past the first page. Dare at your own risk.

Eldritch said...

Pity. I guess I had high hopes this show would be excellent because Amy Acker is in it. It seemed like such a shame when she left "Dollhouse" for this show. Not that it makes much difference, I suppose, in light of "Dollhouse's" cancellation. She just missed appearing in a few "Dollhouse" episodes in the second season.

But she's such an appealing actress, I was also hoping this new series would be an opportunity to see her regularly again. Not to mention that I like quirky.

If "HappyTown" fails, it will take a while for her to find another role.

vortexgods said...

Actually reading your review of this pilot, which appears to follow the Moe Szyslak definition of post modern ("Weird for the sake of weird") led me to a realization.

Breaking Bad is the best horror series currently on TV.

rosseau said...

@Zack: I took your suggestion and decided to read that script. Made it to the top of page 2. Just. Couldn't. Take. It. The script..."crackles with a nervous intensity that belies an incredlible stillness." Wow, these people got paid for that? I almost want to tune in to Happy Town to see if it'll have dialogue that awful. The character descriptions in the script should be a hoot too.

Henry said...

I'm intrigued by the show a bit just 'cause of the interesting promos, but even now I'm starting to question one thing: How do the people get the "Happy town" nickname out of "Haplin, Minnesota"? Just 'cause "Hap" is in the front of both words? Doesn't make much sense to me. Not a good sign when you want to get someone hooked on a show.

phillip.wells said...

"It insists upon itself." - Peter Griffin

Anonymous said...

I watched the first episode last night and I liked it. I'm intrigued. I look forward to the next episode. Maybe it'll end up being terrible but for now, I'm in.

Matt S. said...

not that anyone's reading--but i saw it--and will prob end up sticking with it for the next couple of weeks (by which point i'll be too knee deep into it to pull out anyways)

ummm despite that i can't really find anything positive to say about it other then it held my interest and kept me from wandering over to south park and ugly americans for that hour----

it all came across like Needful Things----actually it could've been Needful Things the tv show.
we'll see if Sam neil ends up being the devil i guess.

LittleSister said...

From the second episode I screamed, "Needful Things"!! I was just on the 'net seeing if there was supposed to be a correlation between the two. (You know, small town, a sheriff, bipolar emotions gone wild, objects that make people act crazy), etc. ... It's entertaining...I just dont see how the show will last forever without obliterating the whole town.