Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Viva Bollywood

I'm usually hopelessly behind popular culture icons. For instance, I rarely catch TV shows until they've peaked. So when I saw a promising preview of a new CBS show named Viva Laughlin, I set up the DVR to record it.

Little could I have imagined how strange it would be. It was a bizarre mix of film noir, slickish production values, flat characters, a quirky character (the lead detective) who rapidly turned creepy...and none of that was remotely as peculiar as its most bizarre characteristic: it was based on Bollywood. Indeed, from the very opening scene, characters would periodically meander into a combination of lip-synched and karaoke musicals, in this case pop music standards.

For all this, CBS demonstrated an absolute lack of ambition—an irony that can't be lost on a show situated in a casino. They didn't seem to believe in any of the elements, least of all the musical, leaving behind an utterly castrated and confusing show.

It figures that the one time I try to catch a show at its inception, the show would be cancelled after a single show (in Australia; they let it run for just two shows in the US). So much for my ability to pick popular culture: I ended up picking Fox Force Five.

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