Upcoming American TV shows

So, I got to see the a couple of episodes apiece for two new shows last week - one of them a big network show (ie one of the main channels in the US) and the other a smaller cable offering. The big surprise? I didn't hate either one, although as you'll see I did lean towards the edgier cable show. More on that one shortly.

Harper's Island is due to launch in the Summer on CBS in the States, the station which airs a multitude of crime drama (CSI, Without A Trace, NCIS etc) and hit reality franchise Survivor. I mention this because in some ways, this is an attempt to make a dramatic version of the latter, as well capitalising on the audience's known appetite for the former.

It's essentially a murder mystery series about a group of people getting picked off one by one by a mysterious killer on an island. No big name stars as such, but fans of British drama might recognise one of the main characters as our very own Elaine Cassidy who starred in Channel 4's great if short-lived drama Ghost Squad.

Have a look at the trailer here:

Like a cross between the movie Scream and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, Harper’s Island is perfectly decent, good-looking fun. Although populated by stereotypes and horror movie conventions, it's slick and pacy (with a pleasingly high body count) to keep you watching and guessing who's behind the various stabbings, beheadings, burnings and so forth...! Plus, you get complete closure and answers to everything at the end of the 13 episode run, which is rather refreshing to my mind. Don't get me wrong, I adore Lost (and I'm a big fan of Damages, Fringe and several others) but I haven't the headspace for more complex and intricately plotted drama. Thankfully, nothing to worry about on that front here. Just sit back, switch off and enjoy lots of attractive young things bumping uglies and getting bumped off.

No idea yet who will end up broadcasting this is in the UK - it would look perfectly at home on E4 or Sky One. Time will tell...

Show number 2 is Nurse Jackie - a new Showtime drama. Showtime are the cable channel which have produced Dexter, Californication and Weeds. All good if you ask me, and obviously more daring than the big network station series are allowed to be.It stars Edie Falco (from The Sopranos) as a bolshy, opinionated, talented and flawed emergency room nurse working in a New York hospital. Not much to look at yet, although this is a very very small taste if you're keen.

With her addiction to painkillers and predilection for deciding what constitutes the right way to act (forging a deceased bike courier's signature on a donor card, flushing the severed ear of a violent patient down the toilet), Jackie reminded me of a female (albeit less extreme) cross between Dr House and Dexter - both unique and compelling TV characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the show - it's very funny at times and rather touching at others - and I think it'll be a small, perfectly formed pleasure when it finally hits the screen.

One last thing - I was going to include something on my current favourite British TV show but RGB beat me to it - Being Human is my telly amour of the moment - it's utterly fab and Russell Tovey cracks me up, and makes me cry occasionally too. I heart the other two as well - I've liked Lenora Crichlow since she was Sugar in Sugar Rush and although I've never happened upon Greg Chillin before, he's very easy on the eye. Lots to love here - watch it! It's on the iplayer if you've missed any too.


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