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M.A. Peel

"Five minutes into The Black Donnellys tonight the Donnelly brothers get into a fistfight. In a bar. During a wake."

Says it all, brother O'Mannion.


The TV writers seem to think Studio 60 isn't coming back, or is coming back only as random summer filler, which no one will watch and will thus not justify a second season. But if this show really stinks, might this change? The Times person also didn't like it, but the key is apparently whether the number of Heroes viewers who stay with Black Donnellys is a lot greater than the number who watched Studio 60.

I'll buy the DVD if it comes out -- that's probably the studio's main incentive to complete the existing season.


I think that's just a TINY bit harsh, Lance. I thought the show, though a little cliche'd, was fairly effective.

Even the scene where Michael shoots Sollatzo was decent enough.

I'd rather watch Studio 60, but whadda ya gonna do?


Harsh? Hell, I never got passed the idiotic title, "The Black Donnellys". Then again, me Mom IS a Donnelly in real life. And I have been spending a life time getting the fuck away from them.


I am a Heroes addict, and that's how I stumbled onto Studio 60. Soon, I was anticipating Studio 60 as much as Heroes. I thought I'd give TBD a shot, but I should've known better. I was willing to give Paul Haggis a pass for that awful movie known as Crash, but apparently he's not done passing off racism and ethnic stereotypes as "writing." The acting sucked, the writing sucked (Joey Ice Cream? Louie Downtown?), and at the end where the Irish Michael Corleone is born, it took all my strength not to throw my beer bottle at the TV and scream, "Rip-off!" Ah, well, maybe I'll actually get to go to bed early on Mondays.


To be fair, the original "Black Donnellys" of Ontario were apparently pretty malevolent & stupid. That's why they were all burned in their beds...

Maybe the same thing will happen to these guys...


Wow. A show that has this crowd pining for Studio 60? I'm so glad Lance watches this stuff so I don't have to. Thank you for your public service.


Well, the show wasn't nearly as bad as Studio 60, but I agree it wasn't good. And the guy playing Joey Ice Cream is a friend of mine (well, a friend of my fiancee). So, I'm definitely rooting for the show. In any event, there are a lot of interesting possibilities from the fact that Joey IC is a classic "unreliable narrator," so if the writers exploit that well, maybe the show will get better.

But, overall the pilot was weak. And, another disappointment: the great Chris Bauer (see: The Wire, Season 2) doesn't make it past the first episode.

Oh, and maybe my biggest complaint: besides the disconnect on location--where is that elevated train on 9th avenue? I've never seen it--the "feel" of the show doesn't quite jive with the time-frame. It's supposed to take place, I think, currently (or at least in the last 5 years or so), yet feels at times like it's the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s. What's up with that?


"The four Donnelly brothers are played by the most forgettable and interchangeable set of sort of good looking but not really good looking young actors since the last time Kirk beamed down with four red shirts."

No comment, I just wanted to re-read that sentence again. Still laughing.


I didn't even make it to the hackneyed fistfight you mention; I turned it off after about 4 minutes because I couldn't follow Joey Ice Cream's (or whatever the hell his name was) babbling narration. So, as before, my TV will go off as soon as Heroes is over, and I will pick up a book.

Oh, and I loved the dig about Walker, Texas Ranger. Once I learned that about Paul Haggis, he lost all cred with me, now and forevermore.

Ken Muldrew

A year or two ago the Champlain Society published a volume titled, "The Donnelly Documents: an Ontario Vendetta" with the real story of the Black Donnellys. It's probably a bit hard to find but it was a good read. Probably time better spent than watching this TV show.


Everyone has a right to his or her own opinon, but I think everyone here is way off mark. "Black Donnellys" pilot was fantastic! Turning it off at the beginning shows such stupidity and lack of patience. That's the problem with networks and tv viewers, not to mention American society as a whole. Why do we have such severe ADD? Can't you focus your attention for more than 10 minutes? Networks are so quick to cancel a show after just a couple of episodes b/c it hasn't built up a viewership and viewers don't want to have to actually see a story develop so they lose interest right away. But good stories have to develop and like a good movie, "Donnellys" had a back story and it was necessary to know that story in order to know the characters and understand the events that would transpire in the future. After the first 15 or 20 minutes, the back story was mostly finished and the action started. If the show continues at this pace, it's going to be a huge hit. Give it another shot. It's worth your time and attention.

Jim Tourtelott

Lance, nobody is ever going to want to live-blog The Black Donnellys, but somebody has to mention its one appealing element--the Kay Adams to these Mick Corleones, Olivia Wilde. Her part is thankless, God knows, but she is glorious to look at. (Plus, of course, she is hereditary pinko royalty, being the granddaughter of Claud Cockburn.) Watching the doomed Tommy sketching her at her restaurant job provided me the one minute of pleasure I found in that dreck.

Kevin Wolf

Having the name Kevin means you have a namesake in every stupid quasi-faux-bullshit Irish TV show, movie, drinking song and probably greeting cards too.


Jason Chervokas

Guys, yeah, if you watch the first 15 minutes you got the cliched set up. Over the subsequent 45 minutes Haggis didn't so much play with the stereotype as he played with viewers expectation unfolding his narrative of surprising conversions with what I think constituted a master class in TV story telling, with sudden actions, discoveries or flashback revelations continually redefining the audience's perception of the characters. Like I said Wow! I think it was as good as HBOs best shows.

Yeah, so it taps into a line of family revenge dramas that weaves through the Godfather all the way back to the Orestia. I hardly hold that against the creators.

Maybe subsequent episodes will deliver a let down. But, at the risk of sounding 13 years old, this one rocked. I'm w/ Stephanie55. Gimme more!


I normally don't comment on teevee shows, but I also had to turn it off pretty early. I think the way that one brother said "jai alai" that was my "shut your gob" moment. I hope these characters all die--and quickly--from potato blight.


Turning it off at the beginning shows such stupidity and lack of patience.... Why do we have such severe ADD?

Give it up, Stephanie. I turned it off to go back to reading Jude the Obscure. Teevee isn't everything.


Turning it off at the beginning shows such stupidity and lack of patience.... Why do we have such severe ADD?

Give it up, Stephanie. I turned it off to go back to reading Jude the Obscure. Teevee isn't everything.


And now I know why some posts show up twice....


Let's see -- there's the Cute One, the Bad Boy, the Hard-Luck Kid, and the Soulful Young Man With A Brain.

It's Making The Band Goes To Hell's Kitchen.

(Is it possible that something broke in Mr. Haggis's artistic temperament after the commercial failure of EZ Streets? It seems like everything he's created since then (such as the competent yet formulaic Family Law and the thunderingly unsubtle Crash) features none of that earlier show's complexity (of character, plot, motivation, environment, etc.).)

(And if there are any Duesers hereabouts: how is it possible that the man who once penned that heartbreakingly ambiguous ending for "Victoria's Secret" now seems content to use his pen as a bludgeon?)


I had it on tape, and was going to give up on it, too, except Lance's link to Jason Chervokas made me curious.

The first 15 minutes were absolutely appalling. Uncomfortably bad. The writing was beyond cliched - it was racist. As an Irish-American, I would have been insulted, if it hadn't been so clumsy and lazy and just plain stupid.

I could go on for paragraphs about all the things that made no sense, that were worn out cliches, that were so badly written as to be painful. But I'm curious about the fact that I'd even want to.

Being a fan of brain candy shows whose pilots have been much, much MUCH worse (I'm looking at you, Sci-Fi channel!), I don't know why this one offended me so much and why I don't want to give it a chance. The last five minutes hinted that the people making it have it in them to maybe just possibly produce something worth seeing. The ending (minus the idiotic narration) was vaguely compelling, as was the actor who played the "smart" brother.

I wonder if it's because this story imagines itself realistic, while the crap that I enjoy (fully acknowledging that it's crap) doesn't even pretend to be?


Rescue Me is full of the same Irish sterotypes (drinking, fighting) but manages to be good.

Joel Trout

Sure, the show is crap. But Olivia Wilde is really hot.

Tom Cleaver

Replacing the work of one over-rated hackneyed cliche uncreative typist(Sorkin) with the work of another hackneyed cliche uncreative typist (Haggis) reminds me that my old friend Harlan Ellison was right when he said 30 years ago that there are two kinds of writers - professionals and amateurs - and that the number of produced credits and the size of one's bank account are irrelevant in determining who is what.

Network TV really is the Fredo Corleone of creativity. (outside of Heroes)


Wow. I can't believe people liked this. I wish I would have seen the first 5 minutes, then maybe I would have been able to turn it off. I kept thinking I was missing something.

4 brothers who apparently believe the world is owed to them kidnap a bookie. Then when the bookies mob boss uncle retaliates by beating up one of them they kill like 8 people.

Yeah this is an awesome show. Three cheers for Psychopaths! Jason fucking Vorhees is a more sympathetic character. Freddy Krueger is a more sympathetic character. Seriously.

This show makes me miss Studio 60 because this one isn't even fun to hate on.

Johnny Little Debbie Cakes

The fact that anyone moronic enough to like "Heroes" could criticize anything else on TV is amazing. "Save the World from America's idiotic, TV-glued masses" is more like it.

Why is it that "The Sopranos" is such a hit, despite a tremendous amount of racial stereotyping about EYEtalians? Is a director saying "Okay, so, in this shot Tony shoots that fat guy in the track jacket, while getting a blowjob from an 18 year old Hungarian hooker" really that enticing?


OK...I didn't watch even the first 5 minutes, and so I have no right to comment, but I'm going to anyhow: no show about a bunch of tortured irish guys beating the shite outta each other and anyone else who comes along could be anything other than trite and commonplace, no matter who makes it or how clever they are at "manipulating" viewer expectations. Sounds like the Desperate Housewives syndrome to me -- "play with" and "critique" those cliches just enough to let you get a way with indulging them.

No thanks.


Look, yes the Title the black donnelly's refers to the family in ontario, canada that was butchered and killed by a onslaught of 40 people but the show does have substance. The more recent episodes have been much better. I'm not gonna lie the first one was absolutely cliched and unoriginal but since then it's developed into an interesting watch. I'm irish american and to those of you that were "offended" by the racist remarks that all irishes are drunks...we all know thats not true drunks go to meetings and meetings are for quitters and irish never quit. But the whole having a wake in an irish bar and the fighting breaking out...that I have to admit was a bit much. I like how they developed Tommy into a split personality: in one hand he's a ruthless killer but on the other he's a love struck compassionate guy who's infatuated with Jenny.

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