Starring Cara Gee, Melissa Farman, Tattiawna Jones and Aaron Poole Monday at 9 p.m. CBC
out of five friend who has laid his hands on some potentially embarrassing artifacts from the young basketball star’s past. It’s raw, coarse-talking, maturethemed comedy (think Entourage, but in the NBA rather than Tinseltown), and it combines interesting insights with several laugh-out-loud moments. (The second episode feels rather joltingly timely in light of some of the issues currently facing NFL stars). And just as Entourage could claim to be an informed perspective on stardom because it was loosely based on actor/producer Mark Wahlberg’s life, Survivor’s Remorse has a production pedigree that gives its storylines extra weight — in addition to TV veteran Mike O’Malley ( Glee) and producer/ pro-sports team owner Tom Werner, the roster of executives also includes NBA star LeBron James and his longtime friend/manager, Maverick Carter. Success isn’t a slam-dunk for this show, but it’s a pretty high-percentage shot. Meanwhile, back in the Old West, CBC’s new drama Strange Empire (which premières Monday at 9 p.m.) tries to imagine a frontier society in which women held the power and made the life-or-death decisions. The series, which stars Cara Gee, Melissa Farman, Tattiawna Jones and Aaron Poole, is set in 1869 in a tiny town astride the Alberta/Montana border. After a raid by a ruthless bunch of bandits leaves most of the men dead, it’s up to the women to regroup, refocus and take charge of what’s left of their settlement. Despite an effects-laden theme-andcredits sequence that clearly seeks comparison to the moody starts of True Blood and Justified, what follows simply doesn’t live up to the opening teaser’s promise. Strange Empire looks great, thanks to nice work by its set-design and costume departments, but its story is muddled and often incomprehensible. The bad guys are bad — like, really bad, murderously bad — but whenever a strong-willed woman makes a stand, she somehow avoids getting shot or lynched. And the female characters are either standard-issue western stereotypes — buxom, painted whores or purse-lipped school-marm-ish types — or so wildly fictitious that they aren’t believable. Simply put, a period drama that isn’t credible has little chance of being compelling.
It’s too bad, because there’s an idea in here somewhere that’s worth exploring. Strange Empire just isn’t the way to do it.
From left, Survivior’s Remorse stars Mike Epps as Uncle Julius, RonReaco Lee as Reggie and Teyonah Parris as Missy.
Wild West women: from left, Tattiawna Jones, Cara Gee and Melissa Farman.