April 11th, 2009


Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire

Another new show premiering this mid-season is Comedy Central's fantasy spoof Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. Thursday's pilot episode was cute. I especially enjoyed seeing Matt Lucas of Little Britain fame as the evil Chancellor Dongalar, and there were some good belly laughs over the course of the hour, but the show has some problems too. Problems that can basically be chalked up to laziness.

First, there's Krod's girlfriend, Aneka. Her character is basically presented as a vagina on legs. Every joke involving her is a sex joke, mostly about how promiscuous she is. I'm hoping the writing evolves past this quickly. One way to do this might be to hire some female writers for the show, though this being Comedy Central, that seems unlikely to happen.

The second is Bruce, the mincing gay guy with the Hispanic accent. This is seriously lazy writing. I get that they're going for broad comedy, but really, if you're going to bother to create a recurring featured character like Bruce, you might want to give him more to do.

I think there's potential here, though. There's an awful lot of comedy that can be mined from the clichés of Medieval Fantasy, and I'm interested to see what else they do with it. I just think they can do better than the whole "women are sex toys" and "gays are funny as long as we don't have to see them kissing" approach.

Harper's Island

Is it possible for a TV show to be ridiculous and awesome at the same time? I'm guessing yes, because that's exactly what I shouted at the TV -- "This show is ridiculous and awesome!" -- about ten minutes into Harper's Island, yet another mid-season series that premiered this week, when it was revealed that Victim #1 was tied to the bottom of a boat!

The series is basically a self-contained slasher mystery with a finite number of people on a remote island where someone killed a bunch of people seven years ago. That killer supposedly died, but someone seems to be taking up the mantle. Now these victims-in-waiting, all of whom have come to Harper's Island for a fancy wedding, are set to be picked off one by one by the mystery killer. In many ways the show could just as easily be called Cliché Island: everyone has a BIG!SECRET! they're keeping from everyone else, there's a creepy little girl who might be psychic, a secretly beautiful tomboy whose mother was one of the victims of the original killer who now will use her determine and pluck to figure out what's going on, and of course everyone in attendance is attractive to the point of hotness (whereas real weddings are positively filled with unattractive relatives, I mean come on). But I did like how they turned some of the character clichés on their heads, specifically the douchebag with the hot girlfriend cliché, where said douchebag turns out to be a pretty charming if somewhat insecure guy and his girlfriend is revealed to be the true douche.

There's also an over the top, giallo-like level to the violence that I enjoy, and the death that ends the first episode truly surprised me, as I thought for sure that character would be sticking around much longer. The show is completely ridiculous, basically a soap opera with a murder-of-the-week, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Harper's Island gets three-and-a-half Harry Hamlins out of five.