TV Review: Almost Heroes

Almost Heroes –  Showcase, Thursdays at 9:00PM

Terry returns home for his father’s funeral (though they never say where home is; which Canadian shows seldom do when they’re trying to get aired in America).  He finds his father’s comic book store, now managed by his brother Peter, is deep in debt, and decides to use his newly learned business skills to get it back into shape.

I’m reviewing it for this site because, taking place in a comic store, you’d think it’d have some geek related humor, but it doesn’t.  Save one brief mention of Klingon, there are no references to anything.  I can understand not showing them, but there’s no law against talking about actual comics, and when you avoid that in a show taking place in a comic store, the fake comic names just distract.

Nerd digression:

Oh, and there’s a scene in episode two, where Peter tries to wrestle a $1500 comic away from a kid, but in doing so, he obviously creases the spine, which a comic store owner should know would greatly devalue it.

I’m not sure why it even takes place in a comic store.  Other than occasionally calling the customers nerds, they don’t really utilize it.  When Terry adds a coffee shop to the store, the comedic possibilities of the mixed resulting crowd are endless, but left unexplored.

Paul Campbell, playing Terry is a solid straight man; a good actor who balances the show.  Ryan Belleville, playing Peter, is also one of the co-creators (along with his real life brother) of the series.  He’s supposed to be the wacky character, but Belleville doesn’t really throw himself into the role enough to sell it, so he comes off sounding sarcastic and lethargic most of the time.

The rest of the cast is solid though.  Dave Hemstad is great as Dan, the dick who owns a sports store in the same strip mall.  He has some of the better lines in the show, and really sells them.  Lauren Ash as Bernie is the female lead, who has held the same job selling boots since high school.  She’s not quite as wacky as Belleville’s character, but she’s more convincing at it.  And of course, Colin Mochrie as Boyd.  Mochrie is a seasoned comedic actor, though he’s not given a lot to do here, just random ‘weird’ things (how many wacky characters does the show need?).

The problem with the supporting cast is that they don’t really come together.  It’s more of a structural problem with the series, than any fault of the actors.  It feels like a random collection of people, like the show is made up of clips from two different shows (the Terry comic book show, and the Bernie shoe store show).

Despite the failure at nerd humor, the show’s alright.  Ironically, the comic store is the weakest part of the series, but the shoe store (Sassitude) and Dan offer some solid comedic moments, even though they’re stuck with generic sitcom plot lines.

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