Demetri Martin – Jon Stewart’s Latest Spin-Off Guy

There’s something not quite right about Demetri Martin.

Martin’s brain seems to be routed through the non-sequatur with a side trip to crazy town. The comic’s roots clearly dig down to stand-up star Steven Wright and “Far Side” creator Gary Larson.
He may look like a typical board boy with his cute little cereal bowl hair cut down to his skater shoes, but that brain’s constantly churning with odd little takes on life.

The former Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart staff writer gets his own sketch show Important Things with Demetri Martin at 10:30 Wednesdays on Comedy Central. Martin, who would need to chug an entire Starbucks inventory to get excited, serves up his cool observations in a deliciously level manner. And speaking of coffee, he can make a drawing of coffee spin off in a variety of comic directions just by adding a few lines making it hot coffee or speeding towards you hot coffee.

Guess you’d have to see it.

Important Things come from Stewart’s Busboy Productions company. This is only the second series picked up through Stewart’s agreement with the cable channel. The first resulted in a show called The Colbert Report.

Martin should be pounding out his own distinct comedy path soon. The series was set to air last year, but the writer’s strike and a starring role in Ang Lee’s upcoming film Taking Woodstock put Important Things on hold.

First off, Martin wants people to know a few things about him.

“Some stats. I’m 5’11, I dropped out of law school. I have extensive food allergies, seafood, poultry, nuts. It’s pretty serious, anaphylaxis, it could kill me, but I’m still pretty tough despite that,” Martin, 35, says. “If I avoid those foods, I can hang with anybody. I’ve got a lot of stamina.”

The son of a Greek Orthodox priest, who died of cancer when Martin was 20, grew up in New Jersey knowing that he probably wasn’t the kind of person who was going to become gridiron star.

“My grades, coupled with my inability at team sports, would probably put me in the nerd category,” he admits.

He almost opted for a traditional career as an attorney after graduating from Yale with a degree in history, but dropped out of New York University law school to take a shot at comedy. The funny guy found his spot in the world of stand-up and in comedy, and even gets a big screen premiere in the upcoming Lee film where he plays concert promoter and gay-rights pioneer Elliot Tiber.

“What a weird, unbelievable opportunity. I’m just trying to get some small parts in movies, to get some chops, to see if I can hold my own in a scene with a trained actor,” Martin says. “And I get the call (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Lee). This guy made people run on the tops of trees. This is a talented person.”

Lee cast him as the lead in the film, which freaked Martin out just a little bit.

“I didn’t really act much before, so my first thing was you’re going to be in the ’60s and you’re Jewish and you’re gay, so just know that you’re going to make out with a guy,” Martin says. “So, wow, that’s a crash course in acting. That’s a triple. But it was cool.”

His new show, Martin explains, is a “thing show.” He chooses a thing, and then chats about it. Some people wouldn’t be able to pull of a show about, say, power. But Martin’s got it covered.

“People are arrogant,” Martin says about power.

Like they see a bird in flight and decide to toss it into a cage “and make it crap on old information.”

“Bears like honey. So what do we do? We serve honey out of a bear,” Martin observes.

Yes, Martin has the power. And he’s not opposed to using it.

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Making out with Anna Torv

There’s always the odd question popping up during the twice-yearly Television Critics Association Press tour in Los Angeles.

Even so, few expected someone to ask actress Shelley Conn what it was like to make out with Anna Torv, best known to American audiences as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on the Fox show “Fringe.”

Shelley’s here promoting her BBC America series “Mistresses,” a sizzling drama about four friends who met in college and whose lives have taken dramatic turns. But all have one thing in common: infidelity.

Jessica (Shelley) is a beautiful bi-sexual woman who engages in a hot romance with the character of Alex (Anna). After a bit of sophisticated stuttering, Shelley sort of went on about being professional and all that sort of stuff.

But she felt Anna certainly stepped up as an actress. And she plans on getting in touch with Anna while she’s here in L.A.

“Women watch the show, but men buy the DVD’s,” says creator SJ Clarkson. “I suspect they are lookng for the extras, but there aren’t any.”

The show premieres at 8 p.m. Friday Feb. 20 on BBC America.

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Patrick Swayze back in the hospital

Critics packed the small meeting room, ready to take a first hand peek at Patrick Swayze who is starring in the A&E series “The Beast,” premiering Thursday.
The actor has gone public with his battle with pancreatic cancer, a disease that offers a limited prognosis.
But minutes after the session began, A&E announced he had checked himself into the hospital with pneumonia. The producers said they think it’s just a bump (“We’ve had mornings like this before,” says a producer. “We follow his lead. We shoot when he’s ready to work.”).
All 13 episodes were already shot with Swayze.
The pilot was shot before the network discovered he had cancer, but was picked up after the news was released.
“He’s been an inspiraton for me. I can’t help by to respect him,” says co-star Travis Fimmel. “He’s an inspiration for me. He makes the little things seem so unimportant.”
He added that “the sickest thing about him is his jokes.”
The series is a cop show with Swayze playing tough guy Barker who may or may not have gone rogue. The pilot was shot around Christmas and then the network picked it up. Which was about the same time when Swayze checked into Stanford Medical.
The decision went around to stay with Swayze, who is giving the performance of his career in this meaty drama.
An A&E rep says that they took the added financial risk to work with Swayze and that another actor was never considered for the role. Which begs the question – what happens in the future with Swayze apparently .
A&E will run 13 episodes with Swayze in the lead. If they get picked up for a second season, they intend to continue with Swayze depending on his health.

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Amy Sedaris Makes Us Laugh

“You guys look so weird.”
Thanks Amy. Amy’s at the January gathering of TV writers in L.A. to chat about her latest project, “Make ’em Laugh: The Funny Business of America” that airs on Jan. 14 on PBS. She’s being asked about hosting a late night show.
She says nobody asked. Hard to believe, but hey, if she says so, I believe her. Now someone wants her take on the future of comedy.
“I don’t think about (comedy), I don’t look at the big picture. Guess I’m the wrong person to ask,” Amy says. “Where do you think comedy is going?”
We think it’s going pretty well with Amy up on stage, making crusty critics giggle. She says she finally got a computer about four years ago because she needed help with her beloved rabbit and nothing was open.
“Now I can go to iChat and hold my rabbit up and say, ‘See this scab? What does it mean?’ ” Sedaris says. “I’m getting there. I’m getting there.”
She says she knows about the Web site amysedarisrocks, but she doesn’t go it because “what if I see something and get upset?”
But she doesn’t think the woman who does the site, Katie, would write anything bad about her.
“She likes me so she’s probably writing nice things,” Amy says. “But I still don’t go on the site and read things. If I wanted to read things about me, I’d go in a bathroom stall.”
Oh Amy, you make me laugh so.

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America’s Next Top Model Needs to Get its Freak

On America’s Next Top Model…zzzzzz….

Yeah, you heard us. The zs. The Big Sleep. After investing a lot of time into our once favorite guilty wallow this season, we’re at the breaking free point. There’s only three episodes left before the Nov. 19 finale, and we can’t believe we’re still watching. Must be that OCD kicking in.

In the season, all anyone could talk about were the absurd antics of Tyra Banks – you remember the silly mad scientist skit and the drooling Sleeping Beauty/wicked witch/Prince Charming fiasco. Never thought we would miss Tyra’s over-the-top attention grabbing, but at least it provided a bit of entertainment.

We’ve come to expect the expected from Tyra when it comes to kitschy tangents, and we can deal with that. Bring on the cheese, because the full buffet just isn’t cutting it. Even the bored to their gourd judges can’t whip up any passion. If Miss J can’t get riled up, there’s no hope for sour noted fashion photog Nigel Barker, who seemed to have given up on this crew a long time ago.

And yes, we know that ratings-wise, the show is doing fine. Well, fine for the Can’t Watch network. It’s still a bottom feeder, but 4 million plus watch each week, and lately those numbers have looked pretty good to the CW. But the buzz has long since left this swarm.

Last week, ANTM went all Amazing Race on us, with the girls running around Amsterdam on a where-did-they-put-our-house search. Then they did a little cable trash bit with the rub-a-dub-dub, three models in a tub action. But even going into the Red Light District for a fashion shoot couldn’t turn up the heat on this show.

The only person giving out some much needed wattage on the show was hootchie momma Sheena, who was bounced for her inability to distinguish the difference between high fashion and soft porn. We’ll admit, it’s a fine line. But we’d rather watch sassy Sheena than pickle faced Elina, who should have been winging her way back to the states if there was any justice in the world.

Our favorite part of ANTM is sitting in as the judges confer, each ripping the contestants’ aspirations to ribbony shreds.

Too pretty. Poses wrong. No expression. Too catalogue. Set ’em up and take those pretty babies down. This season, however, the judges have virtually left the building after deeming this group as a bunch of pound puppies who will never be adopted into the fashion world.

And we’ve got to agree with them. There’s not a single snap, crackle or pop in the entire group. In fact, we’re having trouble just remembering their names. Whiny hunchback girl, stubborn lesbian girl, awkward skater girl, fashion challenged blond and the girl formerly known as Brittany – who can remember them as Marjorie, Elina, Analeigh, Sam and McKey?

You can’t must enough personality from the entire group to make for one interesting character. Their subservient behavior had one judge asking Marjorie if she even wanted to be there.

“I just don’t want to spazz out,” Marjorie said.

Oh, spazz Marjorie. Please spazz.

When McKey came out in an interesting tog statement last week, Nigel finally lashed out. Seeing her in a Lady Heather like outfit made him realize there might be more to this gawky mixed martial arts geek than someone who hides behind her hair when she steps up to talk to the panel.

“What I want to know is why we haven’t seen this part of you until now,” says the testy Nigel, finally seeing a woman warrior in front of him, albeit a kind of kinky one.

“Fashion loves a little bit of freak. Don’t make it boring. Don’t make it staid.”

Our point exactly, Nigel.

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Time to Scrub In with release of “Scrubs” DVD

Zach Braff‘s still a little bitter about how the whole season seven finale of Scrubs turned out.

Only 11 episodes aired because of the writers’ strike and NBC’s decision not to renew it. The DVD comes out on Nov. 11.

Scrubs — which is produced by ABC Disney — jumped back to the mothership for Season 8, which has already been produced and will air sometime next year. Instead of going with the planned season finale, NBC opted to air the fairy tale episode directed by Braff as the final, leading some viewers to believe that it was the final send-off episode.

The episode has Dr. Cox telling his son a medieval fairy tale that mirrors his day at work. J.D. becomes the village idiot, Elliot is a princess, Turk and Carla become a two-headed witch and Dr. Kelso is a demon. Since it was supposed to air before the episode in which Dr. Kelso is booted, he’s still seen as the head of the hospital.

“That was really frustrating. It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done, one of the most ambitious things we’ve ever done and then it was sort of got judged as the finale of Scrubs, which it was never meant to me,” Braff says. “NBC decided, because it was sort of a spectacle, to market it as a finale.”

Braff says that just angered the fans.

“The fans were like, ‘That’s the finale? What the hell does that have to do with anything?’ I was a little bummed out,” Braff says. “If it was just a regular, cool out-of-the-box sort of concept show within the season, I think it would have been received a little better than it was.”

Fans can be the judge of that, but right now we’d like to offer up our own top-10 favorite episodes from the past seven seasons.

10. My Night to Remember – In season six, Scrubs did a little clip show of six seasons that made us think of all the reasons why we love this series. The staff of Sacred Heart tries to get a patient to regain his memory, and takes a walk down their own memory lane.

9. My Long Goodbye – Nurse Roberts, who always stood on her faith, causes the staff to have a crisis of faith when she slips into a coma and no one knows whether she’ll wake up or not.

8. My Musical – Take a couple of guys like creator Bill Lawrence and star Zach Braff and give them an episode to share their love of musical theater, and this is what you get. It may have been little more than a stunt, but it was a great stunt.

7. My First Day – This nicely crafted episode introduced viewers to the quirky series, which was so well executed viewers accepted the wacky way Scrubs tells a story.

6. My Unicorn – Matthew Perry made his debut as a director in this touching story about a man who needs his son’s kidney to live – but son Murray is too bitter towards his father to donate the kidney. The dad is played by Perry’s real-life dad John Bennett Perry.

5. My Way Home – This was the 100th episode of Scrubs, and is known for all the Wizard of Oz references. It’s fun trip down the Yellow Brick Road.

4. My Half Acre – This could have been a typically good episode, with J.D. getting set up on a blind date and trying to make sure he avoids scaring her off. But it is Turk’s performance of Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe when he auditions for the hospital’s air band that puts this episode up with the best.

3. My Fallen Idol – Dr. Cox has always been a favorite no matter what the episode, but this one is the best as Dr. Cox struggles to deal with the death of three patients. He comes to work drunk and is placed on administrative leave.

2. My Old Lady – One in four patients die. That’s the statistic that begins this episode that deftly mixes humor and heartbreak. It’s Scrubs at its best, where it goes back to the best of the best, M*A*S*H to prove what a real dramedy is.

1. My Screw-up – Dr. Cox’s beloved brother-in-law Ben, played by Brendon Fraser, appeared in three episodes that could count as No. 1 material. But the final episode we have Dr. Cox talking to him through the entire episode and we don’t discover until the end that Ben is dead. The tip-off came early, however, when he says that his ubiquitous camera will be around his neck until the day he dies. And in a subsequent scene, he has no camera. A classic Scrubs.

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Heroes a Zero and Project Runway Crashes: What happened to appointment TV?

Over lunch at a local burger joint with my TV obsessed pals, I asked if anyone had watched Heroes this week.

Cue the crickets.

Not that long ago, we could have spent hours talking about the shows we loved. Now, it’s like a flashpoint love affair gone cold. A few comments on Mad Men, including the confession by two buddies that they just couldn’t get into the dark drama. No one even knew the top contender on America’s Next Top Model, and not even a whisper about who was robbed on the recently wrapped Project Runway.

And that’s just the top layer of this collapsing cake.

Prison Break was worth watching just to see Wentworth Miller. Even a little WM isn’t enough to cover for a show that brought a beheaded woman back to life. That title has been banned from the DVR for life. One Tree Hill‘s time warp turned the once spankin’ hot show into a silly daytime soap opera.

We used to spout the hug-it-out buzz from Entourage. Now we have to think twice to remember if the HBO show is even on. Still on air, but it’s coming from life support.

So where’s the snap? Where’s that Leg-en-wait for it- dary moments? Right now, the most quotable lines on TV are coming from political candidates.

And that’s just wrong.

We’ve got the Palin-McCain Maverick drinking game. The Joe the Plumber cracks. Even some Mr. Burns-McCain look-alike contests. Next time you hear Main Street vs. Wall Street, feel free to knock back a shot of Jack for me.

What we don’t have are any poppin’ TV series moments. It’s enough to make The Soup hang up its ladle.

At what point did Heroes go from a show we couldn’t wait to see to something that looks as appealing as a term paper? Pass the meds, I think I’m slipping into a coma.

Parkman is walking around with a turtle, for cripes sake. That’s almost as bad as the Twin Peaks log lady. Mohinder has some freaky fly deal going on by wrapping his victims up in cocoons. We don’t know and we don’t care how past and present Peter work.

And how many times do we have to watch Hiro attempt sneaking up on a guy who can see the future, only to get bonked on the bean. Clearly, these writers have been watching too many Roadrunner episodes.

Project Runway just concluded, if anyone was paying attention. Which they weren’t. Because it never got off the ground this year. Kenley’s incessant whining wasn’t even fun mocking material. Tim Gunn couldn’t have looked more disgusted this season if someone had just asked him to wear Wal-Mart apparel.

Bravo’s lawsuit over the series moving to Lifetime seems ridiculous at this point. Open that door, and don’t let it hit you on the backside as you slink out after this stinker season.

Our once beloved Grey’s Anatomy started skidding with Gizzie. George and Izzie? Please. You’d get more heat out of a wet match. MerDer bludgeoned the show. But the real turnoff point came when Callie and Erica hooked up. You can’t jump a bigger shark than turning your hot for anything in pants character into a lesbian.

Although the tantalizing idea of more Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt bringing Cristina Yang to a rolling boil does have me thinking of watching Grey’s live again. For a long time, the episodes just stacked up on the DVR while we dreaded the thought of plowing through them all in a marathon weekend.

So maybe Grey’s will come through.

But in the meantime, the only thing we’re looking forward to is the return of Flight of the Conchords in January. Bret and Jemaine, don’t let us down mates.

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Gross Out TV

Not too long ago, the most disgusting thing you might see on TV would be someone picking their nose. That’s just too tame these days. You can blame it on South Park‘s Mr. Hanky, Family Guy’s barf-o-rama, or, more likely, CSI‘s gross-out of the week, but things have gotten downright tummy turning on television.

Vomiting has gotten to be so common place that you almost expect there will be some up-chucking occuring on any show these days. While
Desperate Housewives
didn’t actually show streaming puke like so many other shows love to do, they did have a discussion of stomach contents during a dinner party Bree threw. She had given her vegetarian grandson a couple of hot dogs that day, and the evidence of her deception was dissected while her guests visible squirmed in their seats.


So in the spirit of the season, we give you the top-10 disgusting scenes that made us feel more than a little nauseous.

10. House can always be counted on to deliver some new piece of gore, from people projectile vomiting the oddest things to bodies practically erupting. But this season they preyed on those of us who wonder if we’ve missed some metal in our bodies before getting into an MRI tube. A young woman had needles in her brain that started tearing out when she went into the MRI.

9. The grand master of gross, CSI and all the franchise siblings, have done so many things we find it hard to pin down the worst offense among the burned, mutilated and decomposed bodies. But what creeped us out was the Quentin Tarantino episode when Nick was trapped in an insect filled coffin. That little excursion continued to bug Nick, and us, every time a critter came close.

8. In Worst Week, Sam Briggs gets lost in the spacious home of his future in-laws during a power outage, only to discover he has mistaken the kitchen for the bathroom. And he’s just peed on the turkey cooking in the oven. Far-fetched? You bet. But try looking at turkey broth in the same light this Thanksgiving.

7. Our aversion to spit is legendary, so imagine how curdling it could be to see Pumpkin spitting into New York’s mouth in a episode of Flavor of Love.

6. Reaching back a few years, you have the season 9 skit from MadTV that could turn everyone off of eggs for their lifetime. Your practically hurl when the TV chef nearly loses it into a vat of eggs and clams. You can still catch The Eggsellent Marathon on YouTube if you have masochistic tendencies.

has left no putrid stone unturned, yet the one episode we remember as the most gut-wrenching in every sense was the one about the morbidly obese woman who was glued to her sofa by her own feces and body fluids leaking out. She has to be surgically removed from the couch.

4. We’re going back to the House again. But you can’t ignore giving a dead guy an colonoscopy, especially when the pressure builds in the body and erupts all over Foreman.

3. Fringe seems determined to up the ick at every turn. It was bad enough when the first episode had a guy vomit into the mouth of a pilot to infect him, then we had skin peeling off revealing the slippery goo underneath the victims. But the pregnancy episode still has us trying to figure out how to burn those images out of our brains.

2. Grey’s Anatomy seldom goes for the gore – and yes, we did see the episode where they guy cut his foot off with a saw – so when the show recently went over to the gross side by showing a face being peeled back during tumor surgery, it hit us right in the gut.

1. Can anyone not get the heebie-jeebies after seeing this season’s episode of My Name is Earl and the woman with the oozy eye? When the eye goo landed in Earl’s mouth during their excruciating sexual encounter, the bile never came so quickly.

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Eleventh Hour strikes out

Rufus Sewell may be best known for period pieces like Middlemarch, A Knight’s Tale and Helen of Troy, says he was tired of being offered parts that always involved horses.

“People generally come to me with edgy characters they throw on horses,” Sewell says. “So the idea of being a non titled, non-over-the-edgy person who actually walk on their own two feet rather than four and someone who is ultimately a good guy but with many layers and complex, really appealed to me.”

He might want to reconsider the option to pony up.

In Eleventh Hour, airing at 10 p.m. Thursday on CBS, Sewell plays Dr. Jacob Hood, a special science advisor to the FBI who investigates science and technology crimes that cannot be solved. So he’s brought in at the Eleventh Hour to solve these mysteries.

Think of it as The X-Files, but without the mythology, the sci-fi or the charisma.

Like Mulder and Scully, Hood and his FBI handler Rachel Young (Marley Shelton) pop on a scene, collect the evidence and solve the crime.

But unlike The X-Files, this is supposed to be taking place in the real world, where the FBI steps in to help solve these impossible cases. Judging from tonight’s first episode and next week’s offering, there hasn’t been much in the way of investigating until Hood comes on the scene and wraps everything up before the clock strikes midnight.

The series comes from CSI franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has had extraordinary success with his procedural shows. Eleventh Hour, based on a four-part British miniseries, has a flatness that never gets you revved up about the characters or the plot. You quickly learn to expect the expected. In the two episodes offered up for review, you could go make a sandwich, come back, and still know exactly where the story was heading.

In the first episode, which clearly outshines the second one airing next week, Hood must rescue a young mother who has sold her womb. She doesn’t know that the fetus she is carrying isn’t for a childless couple, but is part of a cloning experiment to bring back the dead son of a multimillionaire.

No spoilers in that. The previews have all but spelled out what happens in this slow-moving episode that offers only slight promise of better things to come. Sewell has incredible presence, but we’re not quite sure how to take Hood. Hood’s kind of quirky like House or Life’s Charlie Crews, but doesn’t have that sly bit of humor that makes those other characters intriguing.

Hood’s so valuable he requires a personal FBI bodyguard, but we never get a sense of any real danger to Hood. It’s almost like hiring muscle for Monk or Columbo. What’s the point? Except that Rachel offers the chance to introduce someone who is blonde, pretty and lethal.

In the first episode, Rachel pops as she flattens a plainclothes cop aggressively approaching Hood or reacts to a false alarm that has her coming out half-dressed with guns blazing in a scene that’s both intense and slightly amusing.

The British series starred Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen, with both characters taking up equal parts of the on screen drama. In this version, Rachel starts out as being slightly less equal than Hood, and by the second episode she’s barely a sidekick.

Eleventh Hour gets a good shove from a CBS lineup that begins with Survivor and the still mighty CSI, but viewers will be better served switching to newcomer Life on Mars on ABC, or sticking with the final season of ER, which still has more juice than this plodding procedural.

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NBC’s Crusoe lightweight fun

Friday night needs a little fantasy, and Crusoe fits the bill for putting your mind in neutral and just coasting along for the ride.

Just don’t look too hard at the construction of this leaky vessel.

NBC tosses its hat into the island castaway arena, far behind CBS’ Survivor and ABC’s Lost, in this throwback to an ageless classic about a man stranded on a tropical island, using his wits and skills to survive while trying to figure out a way to get home to his family.

People tend to pop up on a regular basis on this deserted island, then leave without taking our desperate castaway with them. Pirates, mutineers, cannibals, renegades… who could blame poor Robinson for not wanting to tag along with that lot of undesirables?

Besides, once he’s off the island there’s no more series.

Could there be a more suitable name for a swashbuckling hero than Philip Winchester? The Montana-born actor honed his craft on the London stage, and brings a sort of Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones playfulness to the role of Robinson Crusoe.

Few actors could steal the show from Winchester, but Tongayi Chirisa as Friday, Crusoe’s “savage” friend, does just that. Chirisa, 25, is a Zimbabwean actor who plays the intelligent, multi-lingual Friday with a wild flair that adds not only humor but also humanity to the role. It’s the ultimate buddy flick when the two are on the screen together.

Loosely based on the ubiquitous Daniel Defoe work, this series owes more to MacGyver than the 1719 adventure tale regarded as the first English language novel that spawned countless spin-offs and cultural references.

In this incarnation, Robinson’s a married man with a family back in England. He longs for his true love Susannah (Anna Walton). While his main goal is returning to England, he uses his time to build the coolest treehouse in the world, and plenty of other contraptions. In the pilot, he snares bad guys and makes orange juice with his Rube Goldberg-like inventions.

There’s an anachronistic quality about the writing that gets downright goofy at times. The pirates couldn’t be more stereotypical, yet oddly engaging. The head pirate Lynch (Jonathan Pienaar) has a breezy quality that belies his tendancy to kill crew members who get in his way.

There’s also a sassy woman pirate named Judy (Georgina Rylance), who outwits and outfights Robinson at every turn. We’d love to see more of her, however a publicist on the show says she isn’t scheduled to return in the near future.

More’s the pity.

The flashbacks to Robinson’s former life in England are supposed to help flesh out the storylines, but instead the intrusions jar viewers out of the vivid world created on the island. Instead of the dreamy, otherworldly sequences, we’d rather just see a straightforward look at what Robinson’s life was like leading up to his isolation on the island.

We do learn that his mother may have committed suicide by drowning, and that his father (Sean Bean) has a mysterious rich friend named Blackthorn (Sam Neill), who is Robinson’s patron. There’s a hint in the pilot that Blackthorn might actually be Robinson’s papa, and that his intentions are less than honorable.

So it’s all Masterpiece Theater back home in England, and Gilligan’s Island with Crusoe, which makes for an uneven tone. The two stories need to blend more closely in style. Or better yet, just let the adventures on the island take center stage.

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