The Paradise s2 ep 1

Well, Denise didn’t invent anything. In fact, Denise didn’t really get up to much at all, since the return of The Paradise seemed to be a lot more about everyone else than about our super-heroine shop assistant.

Katherine, now married and oddly anxious to restore The Paradise’s fortunes, allowed Moray back from exile (it’s not entirely clear to me how Lord Glendenning managed to exile him anyway, but never mind) and announced that she was over all the unpleasantness, since it was of course “a ridiculous notion to think (she) could marry a shopkeeper, be at war with a showgirl.”

Ouch.

Katherine’s evil new husband Ben Daniels was less than convinced about just how over it she was, however, and battled jealousy, PTSD, war wounds and a moustache that clashed dreadfully with his hat, as he tried to press on with the sale of the store.

Miss Audrey reminded us she had no intention of giving up her career for a man then, I think, changed her mind after a mean girl remark from Myrtle the ridiculously annoying and in no way amusing – disabuse yourselves of that notion, Paradise writers – new canteen assistant who seemed to have more screen time than everyone else combined.

And Clara was quietly great.

Which is not to say Denise had nothing at all to do. On the shipping front, she listened to a lot of declarations of love from Moray, all of which sounded incredibly weird and creepy because the chemistry there was between them in season 1 seems to have been snuffed out entirely. On the Katherine front, she made friends with the stepdaughter. And on the restoration of The Paradise front, she was – of course – the only one smart enough to rumble the saboteur and save the day. (Okay, that last one was very season 1 Denise.)

All in all, this seemed to be much more of an ensemble affair than last year’s; more Lark Rise to Candleford than anything else, which might work for Mr Selfridge because it has a compelling ensemble (far more compelling than the titular character) but doesn’t really work for The Paradise because it, um, doesn’t. Miss Audrey’s going, Clara doesn’t have enough to do, and everybody else who has been promoted to having their own sub-plots is not that interesting. Watching this episode was like putting a doily on the mantelpiece: it’s inoffensive but somewhat unnecessary. I may watch again, I may not. Either way, I don’t see me being inspired to write weekly reviews, but comments on the rest of the season are welcome on this thread.

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Public Service Announcement 43 of 2013: The Paradise, Monday Mornings, Arrow, The Originals

Winter is just about upon us, so obviously there are seven thousand (give or take) shows coming back or starting up. Jed will cover the second half of this week (POI! Other stuff!) in due course, but there’s a whole lot to get through before then so hold on to your remotes and here we go….

First up is season 2 of The Paradise, the shipping and shopping drama that doesn’t have Gregory Fitoussi in it. Sorry, everybody. But I suppose it’s the best we can do department-store drama-wise till Mr Selfridge comes back in the new year. And at least Miss Audrey will keep things trucking along meantime. Oh, wait… Hmmm. Er, anyway, if you want to check it out, 8pm tonight (Sunday) on BBC1 is the place. I’ll be reviewing the first ep at least and wondering what super-heroine shop assistant Denise will invent this time. The Internet? A cure for cancer? It’s Denise so I wouldn’t rule anything out.

Some slightly more modern fare makes it debut tomorrow (Monday) night, meanwhile, with David E Kelley’s recent medical drama Monday Mornings kicking off its first and only season at 9pm on Fox UK. Based on a novel (by real-life doctor Sanjay Gupta) about the weekly morbidity and mortality meetings at a busy US Hospital, it looks pretty earnest from the trailer, but Jamie “Apollo from BSG” Bamber’s in it, so I’ll be watching. While also trying not to get too attached, since it was cancelled way back in May.

Also on Monday night, the bafflingly successful Arrow returns to Sky 1 for a second season, starting at 8pm. I gave up on it after the first episode of the first season but if you’re one of its many fans, feel free to tell me what I’m missing, since I presume the answer isn’t just Stephen Amell’s abs. (Although they probably don’t hurt.)

And finally, Tuesday night at 10 pm on sees the UK debut of Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals on Syfy UK. Yes, now Klaus has finished destroying the show I used to love, he’s been rewarded with his own shiny new series. Argh. There’s no way I could stand to watch a second of this abomination, since even the promo photos for the thing make me murderous, but, on the upside, now that the Mikkaelson menace has moved to New Orleans, Diaries (coming next week!) might have a hope in hell of not being wretched this year. We shall see.