I don’t want no 'Satisfaction'

Dave Bartlett
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But ‘Under The Dome’ has some potential

Deputy Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez) is trapped “Under The Dome” in the CBS drama based on a Stephen King novel, while her fireman fiancé, Rusty (Josh Carter) is trapped on the outside. — Submitted photo

Remember when the summer meant reruns, broken up by the occasional mini-series?

I’m not sure when the new summer TV season became official, as I don’t typically watch the tube in an orthodox way — not that such a thing exists anymore. But new shows for summer are the norm.

I saw ads for a couple of new shows while watching recordings on my PVR and I decided I’d see if I could find them on demand before deciding to add them, to my record list and waste precious hard drive space.

CTV’s new sitcom “Satisfaction” didn’t make the cut. I really wanted to like this show, especially after I found out one of my hockey heroes, Wendel Clark, was a guest star.

It’s not that “Satisfaction” is bad per se, but it has little substance. I watched episodes 4 and 8, the two available on demand, and after I just kind of shrugged.

It’s about a couple and their friend who share an apartment, and go about their lives. While I cracked a smile once or twice, and might have even let out an occasional giggle, these people are boring.

The single guy is looking for sex without commitments and that gets old pretty fast. The guy in the couple is a quasi-academic with no common sense — kind of adorable, but mostly annoying. His girlfriend is eye candy, but still the best actor of the three for not overdoing it.

Newfoundlander Mark Critch, has a recurring role — a creepy patron at the sports bar where she works.

Critch’s character is just plain weird, but amusing at times.

The bar is owned by a former hockey pro who claims to be the only player ever to be declared dead on the ice. The brief appearance of No. 17 amounted to the former Toronto Maple Leafs captain spouting his stats before the owner — also a former tough guy — challenges him to a fight, gets his jersey caught over his head and runs headlong into a post.

But the slapstick isn’t terribly original, nor is this listless 20-something concept for a sitcom. There are plenty of better examples out there. And the obvious sexist T-shirt joke doesn’t make me have confidence that the writers are holding back their best material.

On the other hand, I’m intrigued by CBS/Global’s “Under The Dome,” based on the Stephen King novel.

King’s novels, and the shows and movies they have inspired, are hit and miss with a lot of grey in between.

The 1994 mini-series based on “The Stand” was superb — incredibly cast and did the book justice, though as I recall the ending was changed.

The first three episodes of “Under The Dome” were on demand, and after I watched a single show, I was interested enough to want to watch more.

Then I learned that Brian K. Vaughn had developed the novel for TV and really got excited about the show’s potential.

Vaughn wrote a fantastic graphic novel called “Y: The Last Man,” about a disease that kills anything with a Y chromosome, except the protagonist Yorick Brown, who quickly finds out being the last man on Earth isn’t as good as a 16-year-old may believe.

Because of the comic, Vaughn was hired as a writer and producer for J.J. Abrams “Lost” — which I still haven’t finished.

“Under The Dome” takes place in a rural American town, which becomes cut off from the rest of the world when a gigantic, transparent dome falls from the sky.

But before that happens, we get to know some of the townsfolk and some of their secrets and foibles.

The first guy you see plants a fresh corpse in the woods before trying to leave town.

The guy is a criminal called Barbie and he’s not from town. While he’s driving away from his dark act, he passes a police car and pays more attention to it in his rearview mirror than the cows standing on the road ahead until the last minute, forcing him off the road and into a pasture full of the animals.

Moments later the dome drops, cutting a nearby bovine in half. As each side of beef drops to the ground, Barbie touches the blood hanging in mid air, gets a static like shock, and then leaves his bloody hand print on the invisible wall.

Shortly after, he befriends the town’s only newspaper reporter, Julia Shumway — an “Alf” reference I wonder?

She’s been following up a tip that the town is stockpiling a ridiculous amount of propane — information from one of those sources you’re not sure how seriously to take.

After Barbie is harassed by a creepy local youth, who we know has anger issues, Shumway invites the stranger to stay with her. Her husband is a doctor in the town, who is missing. She suspects an affair.

I’ll say no more, and honestly know very little about what’s to come, but I’m certainly going to finish the other two episodes, and likely start recording them.

Maybe summer shows are more than just filler between fast food and cleaning product commercials after all.

Dave Bartlett is a desk editor with The Telegram. Contact him at dbartlett@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Toronto Maple Leafs, CBS, The Telegram

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  • Watched it
    July 19, 2013 - 12:36

    Good luck with that, I too was intriguied after watching the first episode, thenI watched episode 2 and my interest began to wane, I forced my way through episode 3 but totally didn't care about the characters and the plodding plot development. I won't be watching any more.