A good and clever idea is the foundation for a good TV show.
But what makes a show great is bringing that idea to fruition in a witty way. Take a show like 24. The idea of having an hour play out per episode is a nifty thought. But what made 24 ground-breaking television is the innovative way that concept was brought to life.
I love the premise of My Own Worst Enemy (premiering on Monday, Oct. 13 at 10 p.m.). Christian Slater stars as Edward Albright, an operative trained to kill and Henry Spivey, a mild-mannered efficiency expert. They share the same body but Henry doesn’t know about Edward until (of course) the pilot. The line between Henry and Edward starts to blur which puts Henry in all sorts of danger.
It’s definitely the kind of premise you can’t think about too much because it won’t all makes sense. But I’m all for a high concept spy drama. However, the show somewhat falls apart in the execution. Slater is good but Henry and Edward aren’t distinctive enough. I don’t want him to don Clark Kent glasses or anything to cue me when Henry is on the screen and when Edward is, but I think it would be helpful if his voice, posture and mannerisms were more unique as he vacillates between characters. The premise is complicated but the pilot is unnecessarily confusing. This is the time to get viewers on board with your characters and the world they exist in. This is not the time to baffle them.
The show does have a lot of other things going for it including Alfre Woodard as Mavis Heller, the woman behind the Henry/Edward experiment. Comedian Mike O’Malley shows a great dramatic side as nice guy Tom Grady and cutthroat killer Raymond. Mädchen Amick is always a welcome TV presence so it’s great to see her here as Henry’s clueless wife Angie.
My Own Worst Enemy has a lot going for it, it’s just not quite there yet. But I’m willing to watch the next few episodes to see how the show progresses. Three stars.
After you watch My Own Worst Enemy let me know what you think and talk about it below.
Quotes of the Week
"Well, there were some funny moments. For instance, I had fifteen to twenty false alarms when I thought I saw Osama Bin Laden driving a taxi. I was embarrassed to be wrong but mostly disappointed I wasn’t right." Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Here’s hoping that Fey’s hilarious take on Sarah Palin translates into ratings for 30 Rock.
"If a buyer says, ‘I don’t like that sleeve.’ What does she do, take a knife out and kill them." Michael Kors about Kenly on Project Runway.
"Twins find me." Chuck to Dan on Gossip Girl. Thanks to Wendy for the quote.
"Did somebody order drive thru?" Casey (Adam Baldwin) on Chuck after he crashes his car through a restaurant wall. Thanks to Gil for the quote.
Exchange of the Week
"Oh, you don’t know. I have a husband now." Edie to the women of Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives.
"Really, whose?" Susan’s response.
TV Gal Schedule
That’s all for today. You may be wondering why I reviewed My Own Worst Enemy so early. I’m off for the next two weeks and will return with new columns on Monday, October 20. WHAT?!?!? How can I leave you when we are smack in the middle of fall premiere season? Well I have what I hope is a good reason. I’m getting married (don’t worry, he loves TV just as much as we do) and we will be on our honeymoon. I’ll be counting on you to keep an eye on the familiar faces and an ear out for great quotes while I’m gone. I’ll have a lot of catching up to do when I return. And look on the bright side, this is two weeks where you are guaranteed that I will NOT be writing about 90210. Definitely email me during my absence with any questions or thoughts on TV. Have a great couple of weeks and I’ll talk to you when I get back.