BC Review

quarterlife: NBC

2/26/2008 07:46:08 AM

"When this website was very, very young, we covered the launch of this Marshall Herskovitz-Ed Zwick Internet series — then, as the writers’ strike continued, covered the announcement that NBC had decided to exercise an option and bring Quarterlife  to network prime time. That happens, finally, tonight. And since I raved about the series when it was shown in eight-minute installments on its own website, I’ll be consistent here. It’s well worth seeing…. [W]here Dobie Gillis once spoke directly to viewers in the 1950s about his hopes, dreams, fears and activities, and where Doogie Howser wrote the same sorts of things into his computer diary in the 1980s, Dylan Krieger photographs herself on and with her laptop in the brave new cyberworld of 2007…. What it is is this: an instantly engrossing drama about six young people, acted credibly and crafted to wholly professional standards and aspirations.” (David Bianculli, TV Worth Watching)

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NBC's 'quarterlife' -- click here to watch a video clip“Fairly or not, there’s a good chance many viewers will have a visceral, negative reaction to the show in the same way that some despised thirtysomething simply because they hated boomers. The bigger question is whether anyone of any age will want to commit to these characters on a weekly basis. To varying degrees, they’re self-absorbed, self-satisfied and so convinced they know everything that they’re seemingly immune to absorbing any life lessons — including learning from their own mistakes.” (Robert Bianco, USA Today)

 

“This little pipsqueak of a show doesn’t deserve the wider forum of broadcasting…. Like thirtysomething, quarterlife is likely to drive many viewers away. The show’s punctuation is apt: Ragged and self-conscious, quarterlife is lowercase in every respect. (Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel)

 

“The new show quarterlife is filled with people worth caring about, leading relatably evocative lives, building visceral relationships, then screwing them up royally and aching ’til our hearts break with theirs. Just like the classic dramas of television’s earliest ‘golden age.’” (Diane Werts, Newsday)

 

Is quarterlife any good? Yes. It can be fascinating, in the vein of thirtysomething, which none of its intended audience remembers, since it went off the air before they were 10. In addition to using no capital letters in its title, quarterlife, like thirtysomething, is a finely crafted serial about contemporary and supposedly representative people in the same decade of life. (Jonathan Storm, Philadelphia Inquirer)

 

“…since Quarterlife is a reference to the characters being in the first quarter of their lives (they are all around 25), I assume that NBC must expect these characters to live to be 100. Happily, I will be long dead by then—although, if I continue to watch this show, I might die of boredom sooner.” (Linda Stasi, New York Post)

 

“The creators of Quarterlife do get points for taking chances and trying an alternative route to a network berth. Regardless, what made it to the screen is something that is no stranger to television — whether it’s aired or wired, blogged or beamed, uploaded or downlinked — and that something, sad to say, is mediocrity, with a portion of sheer annoyance thrown in.” (Tom Shales, Washington Post)

 

“There’s nothing wrong with older people writing about younger people, any more than there is with black people writing about white characters or men writing about female protagonists. In fact, I personally think that Zwick-Herskovitz’s two best TV series were My So-Called Life and Relativity, both of which were about considerably youinger characters. But it’s one thing to write about people who happen to be younger than you. There’s a special arrogance in making broad generational declarations about a generation you have thirtysomething years on.” (James Poniewozik, Time)

 

“All Internet midwifery aside, Quarterlife screams ‘network’ down to its PG rating. There are problems — Jed’s father has a stroke, Lisa drinks a bit more than is good for her — but no one’s smoking crystal, weed or even clove cigarettes. Dylan has dabbled in bisexuality, but is quick to point out that this is all behind her now (in fact, she makes it sound like being attracted to women is a self-esteem issue, which, if you think about it, manages to insult just about everyone in the world).” (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times)

 

"Quarterlife…is just plain creepy. The show was created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the team who brought us affecting, ground-breaking drama with thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again…. Rather than developing a clique of layered individuals, as they’ve done before, Herskovitz and Zwick deliver a small culture of flat, irritating generational emblems.” (Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
 

“Though it soon settles into the standard patterns of an above-average (if overwrought) drama, the first episode of quarterlife…may make you regret the creation of the Internet.” (Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune)

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