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Lethal Weapon is a blast, while Divorce works out
WHILE Hollywood continues to plunder the comic-book universe for ideas, TV appears to be looking at the big screen for inspiration.
The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon are two film franchises which have recently made the crossover and are now rebooted as TV shows.
The latter - a buddy-cop action-comedy about two police officers with very different personalities who partner each other - is currently showing on local cable and features Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans taking on Mel Gibson and Danny Glover's big screen roles respectively.
The pilot, directed by McG who was behind both Charlie's Angels movie adaptations and also executive produces this Lethal Weapon TV reboot, is a neatly-packaged refresher of the Richard Donner-directed films.
It's handy for a younger generation of viewers who might not have seen those movies from the 1980s and the 1990s, and also a trip down memory lane for older fans.
McG's version even has production values to rival Donner's and for a 43-minute episode, it is jam-packed with enough action sequences to rival a feature film and make it a blast.
Also commendable is how Wayans and Crawford put their own touches to the Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs characters respectively without looking like they are ripping off the original duo's performances.
A veteran funnyman, Wayans adds his own comic touch, while the relatively-unknown Crawford does a great balancing act between madness and sadness to make viewers genuinely feel for the suicidal Riggs.
The plot might be a little too by-the-numbers but with its bright start and a full season of 18 episodes to flesh things out, there is much potential in the writing and story departments.
Also new on TV is Divorce, a HBO black comedy that marks Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker's return to the network and the small screen.
As the title suggests, the 10-episode half-hour series deals with the end of a marriage.
Parker plays Frances, a middle-aged suburban mother who one day decides she is sick of her husband Robert (Thomas Haden Church) and asks him for a divorce.
But the real reason is she is actually having an affair with Julian (Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement), a younger, uptown hipster who makes his own granola.
When Robert finds out his wife has been unfaithful, the tables are turned and the scene is set for a nasty and uncomfortable showdown. ("I'm going to make the children hate you," he hisses at Frances.)
Created and written by English-born Irish comedian-actress Sharon Horgan, Divorce feels distinctly British with its dry humour and dark comic undertones despite being an American production.
The show's novel premise also has plenty going for it - nobody needs another sitcom about falling in love, right? - and here's a work by Parker which both sexes can finally enjoy together without fighting for the remote.
Lethal Weapon: B
- New episodes of Lethal Weapon premiere on WarnerTV same day as the US on Thursdays at 9.50pm;
while Divorce screens on HBO same time as the US on Mondays at 10am with encore telecasts at 10pm