Since we've gotten the DVR capability, HatterMom and I have recorded most of the new programs each season to give them a shot. Here's a couple of honest attempts to get into series that have died on the vine. 1. Kings -- This is a lame excuse for a series based upon the [well deserved] popularity of Ian McShane [for his work on Deadwood] and the [equally well deserved] popularity of Showtime's The Tudors. McShane, who I've liked since watching him portraying a shady Norfolk-based antique dealer on Lovejoy [sorry, only on Brit TV to my knowledge], is good, but it's obvious to me that he knows he's the stuffing in an undercooked turkey. But he's a veteran working actor who has seen lean days -- during his "romantic lead" years, it was obvious that he's seriously shorter in stature than the average actress -- and he's struck it rich in the USA and good on him. What's my problem with Kings? Well, the concept is that the United States -- after some kind of weird shit -- has become a kingdom that McShane rules. Okay, that's fine, but much of the dialogue is 18th century -- when's the last time you heard anyone in government say "vouchsafe" -- and there's other problems -- the queen is as feared and obeyed as is the king. This NEVER happened when there was a king on the throne. In those cases the queen was a consort who had just a bit more power than a concubine and much less than a decent field captain. The MAJOR problem with Kings is that the concept doesn't work for post-Revolution America. If a strongman ever took over here, the very LAST title he'd pick for himself is king. We're not a nation of bowers and scrapers. This strongman would identify himself as a simple man thrust by fate into a leadership role. Unfortunately for Kings, there's no Showtime series about a guy like that to rip off. We gave it 1.5 episodes and now it's free to swirl down the drain unnoticed here in scenic Leon Valley. There's an expression in comedy that is appropriate here: "If you buy the premise, you'll buy the bit." Sorry, we don't buy the premise in Kings. 2. Trust Me -- We had high hopes for this one because we like Tom Cavanagh, primarily from his work in Eli Stone and Ed, and because the previews made it look smart and clever. I had some misgivings because it was about an ad agency and I was afraid that it would be yet another big network [TNT] attempt to piggyback onto the success of a small network's [AMC] program in MadMen. Well, we gave this 2.5 episodes before we trashed it. Why? Well, first of all because of the premise bit mentioned above. We're asked to believe that there's a client whose sexual voracity has caused her boss to fire an ad agency because the agency's employee (a) had sex with her and then (b) stopped having sex with her. She uses her rage to get the agency fired, and destroys the career of the gentlman in question. She then uses her success in this endeavor to browbeat Cavanagh into having sex with her in order to (a) secure the contract and then (b) keep it. Here's my problem: If the guy from the earlier agency got fired [as did the agency], then certainly HER boss realizes that she's a loose cannon and should be replaced. The fact that he's seemingly okay with her making multi-million dollar decisions about his company based solely on her vagina, is ludicrous. I don't buy the premise. But here's the biggest problem I have with this series: it's one long beer commercial, with commercials. In the first episode, the crew of Cavanagh's agency toasts its success with a round of Rolling Rock beer. I was surprised to see the beer's label, since beer in these dramatic situations is usually bottled in an unidentifiable container. I mumbled to HatterMom "product placement" -- I'm kind of aware of this whenever it occurs in series television [and it happens a lot!]. Was I paranoid? Possibly, but the next two episodes -- including the one I stopped watching half way through -- dealt with the agency's efforts to land a huge contract with ... wait for it ... Rolling Rock Beer! If you haven't seen these two series, and if they haven't been cancelled by the time you read this, take my advice [I hardly ever use it myself] and give them a miss. The new, improved, apolitical HatterDon at your service.