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Tim MinearTim Minear - The Guardian Guide on "The Inside" Tv Show
Sunday 17 July 2005, by Webmaster
Jonathan Bernstein’s Aerial view of America
This summer, American audiences were faced with a tough choice: The Cuteness Of The Lambs or The Silence Of The Buffy. Two competing quirky cop shows. Two willowy blonde leads whose winsome exteriors belie their preternatural gifts for winnowing their way inside the criminal mind. Two departments staffed with cynical, unhelpful male officers clinging to the tried and traditional methods of investigation and females who view the new recruits with suspicion. Kyra Sedgwick expunges years of playing sisters, girlfriends and best pals with her star turn as Brenda the Interrogator in The Closer, the most successful non-HBO cable series since the dawn of time. Sedgwick’s having such an obvious ball doing the job that it’s churlish to even suggest that she’s got her big belated break playing Holly Hunter. I have no evidence to suggest that the creator of The Closer had Hunter in mind when he was piecing together Brenda the Interrogator. But that honeyed southern cadence, that flirty interplay with superior officers, that beyond-sensual love of junk food, that way she has of acting all cutesy and deferential, allowing suspects and fellow investigators to underestimate her so that they’ll drop their guards and reveal incriminating information that she can use against them ... well,, I guess that’s a little Columbo, as well, but I’m sticking with my unprovable Holly Hunter theory.
Article continues I might be on slightly safer ground when it comes to surmising the identity of the actress the creator of Fox’s The Inside had in his head when he was piecing together the character traits of the winsome blonde with the all-access pass into the mind of the serial killer. The team of writers mentored by Joss Whedon on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and other parts of the Buffyverse have more distinctive voices, higher profiles and more vocal cult followings than any other writers on any other shows. What they also have is a nasty case of Sarah Michelle Gellar damage. A few months back, I made mention of Point Pleasant, a quickly cancelled Fox show about the devil’s daughter, written and produced by an ex-Buffy scribe. Like Buffy, Point Pleasant juxtaposed the wholesome prettiness of its lead actress with the unspeakable horror of her situation. But where Sarah Michelle Gellar was capable of bottomless reserves of wit, spunk and emotion, her demonic surrogate had nothing beyond a peachy complexion.
Long-time Whedon right-hand man Tim Minear has ventured down the same road for The Inside. Rachel Nichols, the actress playing Rebecca Locke, the investigator who was abducted as a child and, as a result, can see into the abyss and beyond, is another poreless, porcelain blonde striding with perfect posture into a world of darkness and gore and, again, she’s no Sarah Michelle Gellar. Tim Minear’s vocal cult following are up in arms at Fox’s impending cancellation of his series but they ought to have been bemoaning his failure to come up with a more compelling heroine.
The world is down on MTV after its abominable handling of Live 8. Its innumerable commercial breaks, inept interviews and inability to show any performance in a coherent fashion was the subject of unanimous criticism. The audience, detractors say, now sees MTV for what it is - a soulless,, cynical marketing machine that exists solely for the purpose of selling soft drinks and software. The naked ugly greed of the channel was revealed on July 2 and the viewers recoiled from the sight. Not that they weren’t already sick of the lack of music and the over-reliance on contrived reality shows like The 70s House. This new series is basically an extended comedy sketch wherein kids have to turn in all their up-to-the minute accoutrements and deck themselves out in the togs and lingo of the laughing stocks from 30 years ago. It’s a one-joke premise, amateurishly executed and horribly cast. It’s also MTV’s biggest debuting series of all time! Ever! The audience saw MTV for what it is.