Arabian (arabian) wrote,

Upcoming Fall Pilot Reviews

I watched two more pilots today and since there are no more out there that hold any interest for me, I finally decided to do a mini-review write-up of all of the pilots I've watched thus far. So listed below, in alphabetical order, click on the titles to read my thoughts.

The Bionic Woman - I actually enjoyed this more than any of the other pilots I watched but for two others. I could see the flaws and the silliness and the overwroughtness, BUT, unlike the ones I liked less, this one kept me interested. Also, yes, Michelle Ryan (the title character) was much, MUCH more engaging in the BBC-series Jekyll (to the point that I only vaguely recognized her from both and only did so because I watched them both within a week of each other), but Miguel Ferrer is always wonderful, the guy who played her fiancé (don't know his name) was well-cast and the totally awesome Katee Sackhoff seriously, and I mean SERIOUSLY, stole every second she was on-screen. Still, I'm one of those who know longer wants to see Isiaiah Washington ever again and he was cast for a certain number of episodes, so I'm not sure I will tune in ... because it was just barely above pretty decent in my book. But man, oh, man, does Katee Sackhoff seriously rock or what!?!?!? Ryan is okay and all, but if they had cast Sackhoff as the lead, instead of her recurring role, this would probably be a definite instead of 'ehh, maybe.'

Cane - Of all of the pilots I watched, this is by far my least favorite. Even with the always awesome Polly Walker and the delightful Alona Tal, I was terribly, terribly unimpressed. Scenes were disjointed, characters were clichés, the pacing was slow; there were no characters given any rooting value, and by the end I was just anxiously waiting for it to be over. It was interminable. And worst of all, it took itself entirely too seriously. It really seems as if the creators were going for a Latin-American version of The Sopranos crossed with Brothers & Sisters. Fail.

Chuck - I had literally NO interest in watching this, but I kept hearing good things about it, so I broke down and did. And ... it was okay. It had moments, the lead is appealing (if not traditional), but it was so predictable, and just seemed to be trying too hard and really, unrealistic in a silly way. It just simply did not connect with me at all. I don't know, maybe my lack of enthusiasm for this is because the bones of the premise is so similar to the wonderful, way too short-lived Christopher Gorham-starrer, Jake 2.0, and yet this was so inferior that I just wasn't moved at all. So, this is another one that I have no interest in watching when it premieres.

ETA: Hee, I was looking for a show in the Sci-Fi forum at TWoP and saw "Chuck: Jake 3.0" so obviously, I'm not the only one who saw the similarity.

Lipstick Jungle - I can definitively say that LJ confirmed something that I strongly suspected from The Nine: I actually DO like Kim Raver as an actress, I just positively hate her character Audrey on 24. She was easily, easily, the best thing about this. (Okay, well her and the still adorable crushworthyness of Andrew McCarthy).

Aside from the marvelous Raver, the show itself wasn't bad, but I know I won't be watching it come fall for two specific reasons. First, the final scenes set up such blatant "THESE ARE THE HARDSHIPS THEY WILL FACE!! TUNE IN NEXT WEEK!!" that I was frustrated because I did like two of the three lead characters, that knowing such hard times were going to smack them so completely in the face just made me groan in frustration. I don't want to watch that.

Second, and more importantly, the tired cliché that women who are successful aren't truly happy unless the men in their lives are making them happy was trotted out. Yes, yes, I know full well that having happiness in one's personal life is important. And I know that there is reality in the cliché, but my gosh, the way it was portrayed!!! It was such a clichéd THE ONLY WAY A WOMAN CAN BE HAPPY IS WITH THE GOOD LOVE OF A MAN! was insulting. Even if it had been the case for two out of the three, I would have been okay with it ... but all three?!?! Such clichés?! Just no.

Pushing Daisies - Three major problems. Let's get those out of the way first.
    1.) Overboard in the quirkiness. Quirky is good; I like quirky. This? WAY too overboard. Tone it down a bit, and I think they'll hit the perfect balance of quirkiness without turning people off. Look at Wonderfalls -- which this clearly was inspired by. (And note: The lead is a former cast member of WF.) That? Was quirky done right. This, a little much.

    2.) The opening narration was too long. Much, much too long. I was frustrated and thinking, 'come on, if you need to give THIS much backstory, don't do it with full-on narration.' It's too much, too long and made me think less of the talent behind the scenes because they couldn't figure out a way to incorporate that backstory in any other way? Too, too much narration. It was at least five minutes of NARRATION!!, if not ten. Way too much.

    3.) Sigh. I like Kristin Chenoweth, seriously, I do. She was wonderful in Wicked, great on The West Wing, but, but, but ... I KNOW an actress who read for the role and who, DAMNIT!, should have GOTTEN the role. And you know? She just might have had the casting director not fallen so in love with her. Seriously. She liked Terri so much that she decided she wanted to push her for the lead female role (never mind that it was sooooo not written for her type), and, so of course, Terri didn't get the female lead and by that time they'd gotten the bigger name of Chenoweth for the other role. Sigh. It's just depressing because Terri (also a petite, blue-eyed blonde who has charm and a quirky appeal like nobody's business) would have been UTTERLY perfect for the role of the best friend who has a crush on the lead. Disgustingly perfect. A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y perfect. Sigh. And Chenoweth? Is not. Looks-wise, she works, but she also looks too old for the role. I'm sorry, but she does.
Okay, that's what's wrong with it. What's right? Pretty much everything else.

Lee Pace (the former WF cast member) is the lead and he is WONDERFUL, just as awesome as I remembered him from WF. He's not your typical leading man, but he's charming and fits this role perfectly. The quirkiness IS enjoyable, entertaining and different ... it just needs to be toned down. I like the idea of the love story between the main characters. I like the light whimsy of it. The dialogue is good; the casting is mostly good and this is one that I will give a shot this fall. Seriously, though? They so need to tone down the quirkiness.

Reaper - Sigh, I was terribly, terribly disappointed. I LOVED the long preview I saw for this to the point that I wrote this in my lj then:
This is the first one I had an immediate, positive YES! reaction to. I'm THERE!
Well, I was there and now I wanna go. It just didn't work for me overall and two particular aspects REALLY didn't work for me, one major and one minor. First, the smaller quibble: I was really annoyed by the dog abuse. Totally and completely unneccesary and NOT funny. It happened early on, so it made me immediately dislike the second lead (the lead's best friend). Now for the biggie: The kid just didn't seem THAT horribly phased by the fact that his parents sold their first born's soul (simply planning on never having kids) to the devil in exchange for the dad's life. I mean, I know I would have a way bigger reaction than an "oh," a couple of bummy, emo days where I avoided my best buds and then, whoopsie, okay, it happened, let's do what the devil wants me to. Cool!!! Wouldn't you? It was just weird.

Also, I thought this was a comedy, but it played mostly dramatic with a few comic touches (mostly courtesy of the awesome Ray Wise as the devil). A comedy would have been great and really been able to play on the premise without bogging it down with "deep thoughts" and heavy drama. Or, conversely, a drama would have been great, something similar to Supernatural, but with a religious/less-all-demons-are-welcome feel to it and would have been able to explore some really interesting dramatic bites. But, the sorta drama with dashes of comedy? Just didn't work for me. At all.

Sigh, so the show that I was looking forward to most upon seeing the pilot clips? Not one I'll be watching when Fall comes. However, before I close out my thoughts on this one I did want to give credit where it's due: In addition to Wise, Allison Hossack plays the mom (in her few scenes) beautifully. She was on Another World way back when and I loved her then, and also in Profit, THE awesome Adrian Pasdar show-before-it's time show. She, like Wise, deserved a better show.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - I did not expect this at all, but this one was my favorite of the pilots I watched, without a doubt. I decided on this for Summer Glau alone (she did not disappoint), but after watching it, I'd tune in even if she wasn't in the show. I thought they did an excellent job of continuing the Terminator story without playing fast and loose with the movie's threads. Lena Headley (as Sarah Connor) did nothing for me in the clips I saw, but won me over by the ending of the first scene. The kid playing John does teenage emo angst with just the right touch of future leader. Summer Glau is, as always, awesome. The writing, pacing, directing (GO DAVID NUTTER!!! One of THE best X-Files directors EVER!!!!) are crisp and well-done. The set-up for the rest of the season is well laid-out and I was just riveted watching it. I literally have nothing negative to say about this one at all. I loved it. And I can't wait to watch the next episode. I'm already contemplating saving the first episode so that I can burn discs of them to save when the series premieres. I enjoyed it that much.

And that's all she wrote!
Tags: sarah conner chronicles, summer glau, tv

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