There’s noth­ing so ex as an axed dra­mady

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

SHOULD you have a sum­mer fling? That’s the dilemma you face when an al­ready-can­celled pro­gram shows up dur­ing a non-rat­ings pe­riod.

Ob­vi­ously, the fact that the show has been axed isn’t a good sign. There’s also the risk it will end abruptly without a sat­is­fac­tory res­o­lu­tion. But at least you have to com­mit for only 13 episodes, in­stead of sign­ing up for years of tread­ing wa­ter be­cause the show is so suc­cess­ful it is pro­longed far be­yond its use-by date ( cough, Lost ).

With The Ex List , there’s even a con­clu­sion of sorts. ‘‘ The scripts have been rewrit­ten to give clo­sure,’’ star El­iz­a­beth Reaser said re­cently.

This is just as well, be­cause I’d re­ally like to see where it’s go­ing. It’s far from per­fect but is charm­ing enough to be in­ter­est­ing.

Based on an Is­raeli se­ries called Mytho­log­i­cal X, The Ex List cen­tres on Bella ( Reaser, fa­mil­iar as the am­ne­siac Eva in Grey’s Anatomy ), who vis­its a psy­chic. The psy­chic tells her that if she doesn’t get mar­ried in a year, she never will. Luck­ily, the psy­chic con­tin­ues, she has met the One al­ready: he’s among the guys she’s dated. Cue a My Name is Earl - style re­vis­it­ing of old flames, where Bella learns or teaches a les­son.

Al­though, ap­par­ently not the les­son that the One is ob­vi­ously her last sweet but com­mit­ment-pho­bic boyfriend, with whom she shares cus­tody of Ru­fus the dog.

The show de­liv­ers some great comic mo­ments, par­tic­u­larly from Bella’s con­tin­ued in­ter­ac­tion with Ma­rina the psy­chic, who in a cute run­ning gag, is al­ways eat­ing when Bella goes to her shop. The un­ex­pected ways in which Ma­rina’s pre­dic­tions come true are also amus­ing, even if noth­ing has matched the first episode where she pre­dicted Ru­fus would end up dis-

Go­ing down in old flames: El­iz­a­beth Reaser stars in tressed around sea­weed and wa­ter, which man­i­fested it­self as Bella’s sis­ter drunk­enly throw­ing up on him af­ter eat­ing sushi.

Speak­ing of fam­ily and friends, the dy­namic of Bella’s friends liv­ing in ad­ja­cent apart­ment feels a lit­tle strange in a dra­mady — it’s as if they wan­dered ac­ci­den­tally on to the show from a sit­com clone of Friends — but their pres­ence is not un­wel­come.

That said, this episode, in which Bella dis­cov­ers that the bad boy she dated at school is now a cop, is one of the weak­est so far. He’s a fairly un­pleas­ant char­ac­ter and his flaw looms large, so it’s hard to board Bella’s smit­ten bus.

In the US the show failed partly be­cause of sched­ul­ing — it ran on a Fri­day night — but per­haps its short ten­ure is a bless­ing: with only 10 episodes to go, it’s un­likely to wear out its cutesy premise and you can end the sum­mer feel­ing cheated of what it could have been in­stead of dis­ap­pointed by what it had be­come.

Kerrie Mur­phy

The Ex List

Not be­ing a wor­ship­per at the al­tar of this in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar motoring pro­gram, I tried to an­a­lyse its ap­peal via this episode. Es­sen­tially, two grumpy old men and one grumpy younger fel­low look at the lat­est in au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer­ing, spar a lit­tle bit and present their re­sults in front of a to­tally ra­bid stu­dio au­di­ence. So why did the lo­cal ver­sion, also on SBS, limp off re­cently af­ter rat­ings that would have killed a pro­gram on the com­mer­cial net­works stone dead? I wish I knew. Per­haps we pre­fer ex­ot­i­cally grumpy and for­eign to lo­cal and pleas­antly knowl­edge­able. In any case, Jeremy Clark­son, reign­ing monarch of motoring tele­vi­sion, kicks things off with a ques­tion: can a car be art? En­ter the Alfa Romeo 8C, pic­tured, ar­guably the best-looking car made. OK, now I’m It’s only episode three and the ti­tle is . No, it’s not about Roxy and Trevor, who in episode one got mar­ried in a fever hot­ter than a pep­per sprout. It’s more about Roland ( the show’s only army hus­band) and Joan, who has just re­turned from ser­vice in Afghanistan. And pos­si­bly Denise and her West Point-bound son ( or is he?) Jeremy, who has a chill­ing habit of thump­ing mummy. Sure there’s a froth of suds about , but you don’t com­monly find soaps deal­ing re­al­is­ti­cally with war-re­lated, post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der that blows up into full-blown psy­chosis, or ego-dys­tonic vi­o­lence, as does tonight. Still sum­mer’s most promis­ing view­ing.

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