Good cop, bad cop: in 'Golden Boy', they're the same person
Published: February 20, 2013
Car Lot Rescue (9pm Sun, Spike)
This new reality series would appeal to anyone interested in the mysteries of car sales, not to mention the mysteries of human psychology. It stars Tom Stuker, a legendary “closer” who’s brought in to turn around failing dealerships. Tuker is a brash, no-nonsense badass in a black cowboy hat (a white one really wouldn’t be appropriate) who works his magic over the course of a week, then moves on. He shows employees how to sell anything to anybody.
Why hasn’t President Obama hired this guy to negotiate with Congress? Tuker would not only broker deals with Republicans, but send each of them away with a fully loaded Ford Taurus.
Parade’s End (8pm Tue, HBO)
This TV movie, set in World War I-era England, is perfectly timed for those in withdrawal from the Downton Abbey season finale last week. Here you will find all the lovely estates, extravagant gowns and quaint Edwardian values you’ve been missing. What you won’t find is a cast of characters to fall in love with.
The adaptation of Ford Maddox Ford’s novels struggles to make us care about the ramrod-stiff aristocrat (Benedict Cumberbatch) who marries a nasty narcissist (Rebecca Hall), then falls in love with a drippy suffragette (Adelaide Clemens) before The War Changes Everything. In part one, you feel sorry that Cumberbatch has to clench his jaw so tightly. He’s no fun to be around, and the 1910s British politics and codes of conduct feel terribly remote.
Then again, I appreciate the production’s ambition, and I’m hoping subsequent episodes are more exciting. I don’t usually welcome the onset of World War I, but it might be just the calamity Parade’s End needs.