Posts Tagged ‘Pilot’

This should have been great. It’s on a network I love (The USA Network, which is home to great shows like Suits, Psych, White Collar, Burn Notice, etc.), and the concept is original by centering the show about a team of paramedics. It’s not another sitcom about a group of friends at a bar/coffee shop, or about a dysfunctional family. The difference is that at least Friends and Modern Family are funny, and Sirens is not. 

The opening scene involves one of the main characters, Hank St. Clare (not even going to comment on the name), talking about whether or not someone on television is gay. He wraps up the scene with him proclaiming that he slept with the aforementioned Tv personality last week. He feels like a terribly politically correct character. He’s African American and he’s gay. Way to kill two birds with one stone, Sirens. 

The main character is Johnny Farrell, an egotistical smartass with commitment issues. Incredibly unique character there. Not like I’ve seen this type of character in a dozen other, better shows. 

When I first read the summary, I assumed it was a clone of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (Brooklyn Nine-Nine is arguably a clone of the Office and Modern Family, though.) The main character there is also an egotistical guy with commitment issues (as well as parent issues) that can’t seem to grow up. The difference is Andy Samberg is hilarious in the show, and when he does stumble and fail, the extremely funny supporting cast helps him out. 

Johnny and Hank are forced to have a newbie (Brian Czyk played by Kevin Bigley) tag along with them, which allows them to explain each other’s personality traits to the viewer in some boring expositional ‘banter’. The beginning is mostly masturbation jokes, but it’s “funny” because these characters save lives! Yeah, not really. I have to say, though, that the only times that I did crack a smile was when the newbie Brian did or said something funny.

It can be cliched, sure, but it’s not as cliche as anything Johnny and Hank say. Oh, the story. Yeah, the pilot episode concerns Johnny trying to get his police officer girlfriend back without having to move in with her. 

It’s funny how the dramas of the USA Network are infinitely more funny than this entire episode. Now, is this a drama hiding in a comedy? Is this a black comedy like Episodes or Louie? 

Nope. I think a lot of people (or at least this show’s writers) mistake drama for painfully dull chemistry and forgettable dialogue. I watched the Pilot twenty minutes ago, and I can’t recall any funny jokes.

I wish I could write a longwinded review comparing the show’s aspects with Brooklyn Nine-Nine or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but the only thing this show has in common with the other incredibly funny shows it tries hard to imitate is that they both fill a half hour time slot. Sirens has crass characters, crass dialogue, and is just boring to watch. I could’ve watched the second episode, but the Pilot was enough for me. Yeah, it’s not fair to judge a show based on the pilot, but I find it funny how that’s what people say only when the show is bad. If the show has a brilliant pilot, then judge away. 

The Cosby Show’s pilot featured a completely different house, and in the next episode, they even tweaked a few of the characters. However, people didn’t care because the Pilot was still hilarious. I hope I never accidentally catch another second of this show. 

0.5 out of 6

Image

 

(Note: This is a review of the American adaptation of the UK Tv Series. It’s possible that the original is the funniest show in history, but after watching this, I have no interest in giving the original a shot.)

Image

Hannibal is the type of show where people already kind of know what to expect from the name alone. They would be wrong, though. At least, I was proven wrong. I came in expecting a story about Hannibal Lecter. Sure, the summary kind of said otherwise, but the name leaned into my expectations. However, Hannibal is about a genius FBI agent who can empathize with serial killers as easily as we… well, scorn serial killers.

Obviously, there are some pretty nasty side effects from his unique ability to understand the ‘design’ of the serial killers. He’s haunted every night by dreams of the serial killer’s victims, and he also cannot handle human interaction very well.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’m going to break one of the Reviewer’s Rules of Thumb , and start it off by saying that I like this show.(Think there’s a rule where you first have to list the reasons before saying you love/hate it.) I’ve stopped watching as many shows as I used to because they ceased being interesting. This show, however, keeps things interesting.

It is, at its core, a game of cat and mouse, but it also shows the very thin line between a hero and a villain. At least, that’s the way I see it. The way Hannibal Lecter first meets Will, the main character, as portrayed awesomely by Hugh Dancy, is very interesting. I will try not to spoil anything for you, but Mads Mikkelsen takes on the difficult task of standing in Sir Anthony Hopkins’ shoes head on. He brings a rather different Hannibal than is shown on Silence of the Lambs. He’s quiet, introspective, but you can sense there’s a storm underneath the surface. Three episodes in, I have yet to see Hannibal really “loosen” up, and that is one of the many factors that keep me coming back.

I’m not really doing the show justice by describing to you the plot, though. It’s the type of show where you need to watch it to judge for yourself. All I can do is tell you what I like about it. And we all know how much I like to gush about things I love.

I’ll keep it to a short list.

1. The characterization. Every character feels fully fleshed out, and the dialogue between each character is very good. I haven’t seen dialogue like this in a Tv show since House of Cards’ season ended.

2. The atmosphere. Okay. I like mysteries, especially murder mysteries. I love shows like Castle, and my favorite movie of all time is Zodiac. That should tell you how much I like murder mysteries. The atmosphere of mystery and macabre murders portrayed in this show is just fantastic. In scenes of suspense, I wanted to skip the scene and find out who survives. In scenes of fear, I wanted to look away from the screen. And in scenes depicting murder… well, I couldn’t look away from the screen. It’s a very good show that way.

3. Plot. Yeah. It’s good. I can’t really say anything more than that. It’s good, I like it, and it keeps me at suspense. I want to both thank and strangle the writers. Trust me, that is a compliment.

What didn’t I like about it, you ask? Wait, you didn’t ask? Well, I’m still gonna give you my list.

1. Oh, the scenes of murder I was talking about? I was serious when I said I could not look away, but they’re rather excessive on the blood. I don’t normally have a problem with that, but with the combination of their awesome characterization, amazing atmosphere.. It can be very disturbing. As such, I sometimes just go: “Oh, c’mon. I’m about to go to sleep!” or “I’m eating my cereal!” The show is good enough without the excessive use of blood, if you ask me. I’m okay with blood, and this problem was only really an issue in the first episode… But yeah, that’s just a small nitpick for you.

2. Uh…. Can’t think of anything.

Yup. That is how much I like this show. Perhaps, I can add that it’s not really funny… but really, if I wanted funny, I would not be watching the prequel to Silence of the Lambs. So, I have to say, I was very much impressed by this show.

I would recommend it to anyone that likes the Following, or murder mysteries. I would suggest that you go in expecting to see some creepy stuff. Go in expecting a full blown horror movie, and you won’t be shocked at all. Unless you want to be shocked. In which case, I congratulation you on your bravado.

I’m a fraidy cat, and I can’t really handle stuff like that. I watched the Shining a few days ago before going to sleep. Ha! I know! Well, I’ll tell you about THAT experience later.

All in all, this is a spectacular Tv show. If this is cancelled, I will be very disappointed by NBC. First, they cancel Smash… if they cancel this, too, I’d probably lose faith in their executives.

I’m going to try to pick an adequate number for this show, and that number is… (drum roll)

8.9/10

There are only two shows that have a 9/10, for me, and those two shows are….

… something I will tell you in my reviews of them. Yup, I am devious like that. Anyways, I do hope you give this show a try. I really hope you do.

Please remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. Hopefully all three. And… Thanks. A lot.

~J.A. Romano

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2229167/

Lately, there has been a rise in these police dramas. Of course, there have always been police procedural dramas, but they normally had a fair amount of comic relief in them. Castle, for example, is a great show. A lot of people love it because of its lighthearted take in certain episodes, as well as the occasional “serious” case. (See the last two episodes.)

I love shows like that, however, certain people love “real” dramas. Completely understandable. Sometimes, I can’t just watch the Big Bang Theory. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for some Criminal Minds, the Mentalist, Castle, or even the Following. The Golden Boy is the new serious police drama.

Let me explain the story. The first episode (the Pilot) begins with rookie cop Walter Clarke (Theo James) and his partner responding to a jewelry store robbery. He quickly notices a getaway driver, and a shootout ensues. His partner is shot above his vest, and he is shot directly unto his vest. Now, I don’t know how well you know your bulletproof vests, but while they can stop bullets, they will hurt. Like Hell. As in, it can even crack ribs and cause concussions from the impact. So, for a ‘green’ cop like Walter to get up immediately is quite awesome. I don’t think that the writer was inaccurate in doing so, but I think it was a normal response, considering the adrenalin rushing through the cop’s veins… Plus, it quickly set him apart as a “not so” ordinary cop.

He kills the getaway driver and the robber suddenly walks out of the jewelry store with a hostage. Calmly, Walter Clarke shoots and kills the man without injuring the hostage.

Walter then begins performing CPR on his partner. It quickly fast-forwards seven years from the present to Walter Clarke in a fancy new office being interviewed by a journalist. The journalist asks him how it all started, and the show quickly rewinds back to after he finishes CPR.

Long story short, he’s a hero. He’s been given a golden police badge, he’s gotten accommodations, and has promised by the Deputy Commissioner any position as Detective in any department. Guaranteed. The Deputy begins by saying that Narcotics would be a good starting point. To which, Detective Clarke promptly interrupts him and proclaims his wishes to be in the Homicide Task Force.

Everyone in the Task Force are legendary detectives. The youngest one of them is at least a decade older than him, so naturally, everyone hates him and doesn’t want to work with him.

Now that that’s over with, let’s talk about the characters. Detective Walter Clarke has a sister whom he used to steal bread for (since they were quite poor when they were younger) and she, much to his dismay, moves in with a drug addict. He’s portrayed… I have to say, he is one of the most human characters I’ve encountered in a while. Let me tell you. Most shows take at least a season to make each and every character seem more than a cardboard cut out. It’s not even poor writing if it does. It’s natural.

However, like any other human, Walter has faults. He is cocky and arrogant at times, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help his sister. When push comes to shove, he does the job, and though he is very ambitious, he does his job well. He’s like what Shawn Spencer from Psych would have become, had he become a cop instead of a psychic detective.

Speaking of Psych, Walter Clarke (Theo James) has a grizzled detective as his partner. Detective Don Owen (Chi McBride) is a great counterpoint to the ambition of Walter. Where Walter knows nothing about the subtleties of interrogation, Don Owen is a master at it. He points out that the “top” detective of their precinct is making a big mistake in an interrogation, and he is correct. He is quiet, but powerful.

Is he a good detective? He doesn’t have the raw observation skills that Walter possesses, but he has decades of experience and is very keen on facts. He quickly catches unto Walter’s schemes and easily sees through his lies. Is he caring? He is working on an eleven year old cold case on his off time. He does this because the victim in question was killed on September 11,2001. He was close to finding the killer, and then the world fell apart. Each year, the man’s widow visits him to see if he’s got a new lead. And he’s still working on finding a killer from over a decade ago.

The Golden Boy is a unique show. You already know that the main character, Walter Clarke, will become successful. Yet, it achieves a level of suspense in showing you all the faults of the character. It makes you wonder how exactly he got to where he is. That is some achievement. You see, suspense automatically fades away if you know that a person is going to succeed, but by emphasizing all his mistakes and by leaving a few hints as to what will happen next, it becomes just as, if not more, suspenseful as it would have been, had we not known that he will succeed.

I can’t tell you more without spoiling it. Let’s talk about the faults of the show now. It’s really serious. Criminal Minds has just a tidbit of humor, which is why it has lasted this long. But, imagine this. You come home from a long, grueling day of work, and there are two shows currently playing. A Big Bang Theory marathon, or the new episode of Golden Boy. 80% of people will choose the Big Bang Theory marathon. So, this show is at a big risk of being cancelled.

This show is not perfect. Yet, the good parts about this show outweigh the bad parts. So, I suggest you give this show a try and see if you like it.

I’m giving this an 8.2/10

It is fresh and unique, much like the Following. In this day and age, we must treasure unique shows, lest we end up with remakes of JAG (good show, though), MASH, and NCIS. I hope this show does well. Give it a shot.

~J.A. Romano

I’m holding off on writing reviews of movies for a bit, since I’ve found myself rather occupied on some life stuff. I do have the time to review shows, though. The Following is Kevin Bacon’s new series, and the first episode aired yesterday. I just finished watching the Pilot episode a few minutes ago.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2071645/

I’d heard about this show back when there was no summary on its IMDB page, and from the poster, I assumed that it was going to be a buddy cop dramedy. Standard stuff, really. I’m a real fan of crime shows (or detective shows) and I was perfectly fine with the idea of watching yet another buddy cop show. But, that’s not what I got.

As you can see, the Following is about a brilliant serial killer with a devoted following – if you will – and Kevin Bacon plays a former FBI Agent who’s on disability after a tussle with said serial killer, Joe Carroll. You see, Kevin Bacon was stabbed in the chest, and his heart was damaged severely. Since then, he’s been forced to wear a pacemaker to keep his heart ticking and he’s currently living off on the royalties of his true crime novel about Joe Carroll.

The episode begins with Joe Carroll’s escape after the gruesome murders of a few prison guards. At this point, I realized that this would not be standard at all. In White Collar, the Pilot begins with the main character – Neal/Neil – escaping from jail. He eventually ends up as a consultant to the FBI’s white collar crime division.

Somehow, I don’t imagine this will work out much the same way. The episode relies heavily on sound and flashbacks. The use of Kevin Bacon’s heartbeat is used to great effect (after all, his heart is weak), and the show utilizes incredibly loud sounds in an attempt to shock you. There’s a scene, for example, where a character is looking into a mirror while having a flashback. There is literally no sound. Suddenly, a man in a suit appears behind her, and the typical horror movie BAM resonates as she jumps into a closet.

It’s not really a bother, but it’s worth mentioning that you won’t have ground breaking new techniques of shocking the viewer in this. There’s also a scene where Kevin Bacon crawls through a crawlspace in a closet – without a weapon – while the sturdy FBI Agent follows behind him.

Call me insane, but this doesn’t strike me as terribly realistic. Here we have a man who hasn’t been an active field agent for over eight years, whose heart could give out any second, and he’s on point? With no weapon?

Doesn’t strike me as overly realistic, if you ask me. The show’s portrayal of FBI agents and detectives also falls victim to the “Sherlock” Effect. Everyone is literally incompetent – except for either the love interest or the sidekick of the consultant – and the consultant guides them through every little thing.

It happens on several shows where they utilize the “consultant” angle. Castle managed not to make the detectives totally incompetent, same with the Mentalist, but… I’m afraid only one of the characters – the great admirer of Bacon’s character – really stood out as someone not completely… Stupid. I guess we’ll see, though, right? I can’t really fault a show for not showing enough character development in one episode. They’re not miracle workers, but it’s worth mentioning.

The show also uses a fair bit of literary name dropping. The serial killer, portrayed by James Purefoy, is a great admirer of Edgar Allan Poe and the romantic period. I don’t get it, to be honest. I was always more of a Lovecraft kind of guy, who was inspired by Poe. My sister, though, posses the Complete Works of Poe while I possess the Complete Works of Lovecraft, so it’s pretty even in our household.

The acting of the serial killer is pretty decent. Like I said earlier, the show uses a lot of flashbacks, and the flashbacks involving the serial killer says a lot about his character, even though we don’t really see anything from his perspective. I wager the writers of the show are saving an episode told from his perspective till later in the season.

I don’t think they would have scored well among viewers if they’d told it entirely from a serial killer’s perspective. And yes, while I know Dexter does the same, they are not on Showtime. Lots of parents would complain about their children accidentally stumbling into a scene where a serial killer is portrayed as sympathetic.

No. I don’t think they’ll be doing that until the show has been renewed for a second season. Now, what about the mystery at the heart of this show and the concept itself? It’s honestly great. It’s original, and somewhat unbelievable ( at times ), but it is entertaining. Again, I said they used the sound of Bacon’s heartbeat to great effect. At times, I really did feel tense, and it was only heightened by the echo of a human heart.

It’s also no doubt a nod to Edgar Allan Poe’s telltale heart (however farfetched or discreet they make it seem) and the episode was very well directed. All in all, this is a serious show. Deadly serious.

But is it good? Why, yes, it is. The concept is original, the tortured character of Ryan Hardy ( Bacon ) is great, and even the serial killer is… Interesting. There was a scene near the ending that I thought was rather stupid. You see, they identified an “apprentice” of sort of the serial killer, and they had his name and picture.

Yet, near the ending, they show a scene of him pretending to be a police officer, whereby the victim replies, “Why are you on patrol? I saw on the News that they caught the serial killer already.”

The problem with most serial killers is that the police do not know what he looks like, making it very difficult for the public to keep a proper and watchful eye. I mean. What if your neighbor is a serial killer? If a news anchor or police officer asks that, then the public will panic. But show them the face of the killer, and you see the people unite and watch out for one another. So, I thought it was rather stupid. Now, it could be that they showed it in the News, and the victim didn’t see that segment, but I find that hard to believe.

I mean, how would it go, exactly? “Well, we’ve caught a serial killer. Yup. In other news, here is a clip of a dog trying to sing-a-long to Home by Phillip Phillips.” – twenty minutes later – “By the way, here’s the name and picture of the serial killer’s apprentice. Now, here’s a clip of a car almost being towed. Back to you, Kent.”

Ahem. That may have been slightly exaggerated, but you do get my point, right? The last ten minutes of the episode, though, was spectacular. Loved it. That scene wasn’t enough to stop me from being enthralled in the last ten minutes, and the encounter between Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll was awesome.

So. Final verdict – this is a great show. I haven’t come up with a rating system for shows yet, but for now, let’s call this a 7.9/10.

It’s serious, it’s thrilling, and it’s original. Should you go in expecting the Good Guys, Castle, Burn Notice? Nope. I wouldn’t even say to expect the Mentalist or Criminal Minds. But expect an interesting new show, and you’re cool.The-Following-Cast-Promotional-Group-Photos-the-following-32576269-3900-2700

 

~J.A. Romano