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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Adventures in TV Pilots: Heroes Reborn

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2015 Sep 26

I finally got around to watching Heroes Reborn tonight.

I’m a little wary of this series after the way the original Heroes went off the rails, but I’m still willing to give it a shot.

Heroes is actually the show that inspired my "7 episode" rule because that show felt like it was wandering without any hope of ever giving even the smallest bit of payoff to the audience.
If I hadn’t stayed for 7 episodes, I’d have missed out.
Sure, that final season was a major letdown and it suffered from the usual ‘too many episodes, not enough story’ problem that affects so many network shows.

Anyway, based on the first 2 episodes, this one looks like it’s both back on track and set to give a better entertainment experience than its predecessor… but time will tell.

My only real problem with it at this point is that surely they know part of their core audience plays videogames, so why is it that the videogame that plays a significant role 1) has a stupid name, and 2) is rendered like something you’d see in one of those cheesy insurance commercials for The General?
I mean, videogame technology as it exists right now is practically photorealistic.
What this says to me is that they either don’t have the budget or the time to do these scenes right and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d contracted that Taiwanese outfit that does those goofy animations for news stories because it looks just like that.

Seriously, I’m intrigued by this whole "going Tron" concept but if that’s what it’s gonna look like, they need to abandon the idea as quickly as possible because it’s hurting the production value of the show.


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Adventures in TV Pilots: Limitless

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2015 Sep 24

Today’s episode is the show Limitless.

It’s a sequel to the movie Limitless in the way that Stargate SG-1 was a sequel to the movie Stargate, only with all different characters and situations.
Basically it takes place after the events in the movie, they make a couple of tweaks to the lore to allow the story to continue, and tie it all together by having Bradley Cooper show up (the movie protagonist — not a spoiler, he’s in the promo) to keep the plot moving along.

The show was kinda fun as yet another outsider + cop show so I have no reservations about sticking around for 7 episodes to see how it develops.
I liked the premise of the movie and this is just more of the same, so it should be ok.

Now, that being said, I have these problems with it:
– The pilot was basically a condensed version of the movie storyline. Not unforgivable as an introduction so I’ll give this one a pass to wait and see how it evolves.

– It’s yet another "use 100% of your brain" story. However, it’s much better than Lucy was so it’s got that going for it. I sincerely hope that they sort of back off on the "imagine if you knew this" and "I can remember all of this" type stuff, tho. Sure, you need to do some of that to indoctrinate new viewers as you go along, just don’t beat us over the head with it the way Supergirl does with "my cousin." Again, maybe this was just because it’s the pilot.

– It’s kind of a 1-trick pony. Dude takes pill and becomes super detective while working with an FBI agent to solve crimes.
That’s gonna get old after a while.
Then again, wasn’t the show "House" essentially the same thing but with drama instead of wonder drugs and action?
It seemed to do ok.

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Adventures in TV Pilots: Minority Report

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2015 Sep 23

Today’s second pilot is the show Minority Report.

After getting 15 minutes into the pilot for Minority Report (which I only recently found out was a thing), two things are immediately pretty obvious:
1) This show is kinda bland. The future seen in the movie should be amazing but the TV budget has made it pretty lifeless.
2) Wilmer Valderrama can’t act.

The show’s premise is (not a spoiler because 1) this is all in the trailer and 2) it’s also in the first 3 minutes of the show) that one of the male “precogs” from the movie is seeing flashes of future crimes so he wants to try to stop them but isn’t having much luck because without the 3 precogs being linked together, his margin of error is pretty high.

Now, as an example of how completely self-unaware the show is, at one point the precog dude blurts out something about a future event as an insult to someone he and his cop "partner" are talking to.
Since no one but his partner knows what he is and the information is of no use other than for her to ask if he can see that far into the future (he can’t), it’s pretty obvious it was done purely to amuse the audience.
Sure, the man had just unknowingly insulted him by speaking poorly of the precogs, but because the guy doesn’t know he’s a precog, the "future-based insult" is completely meaningless, wasn’t said for his partner’s benefit, and he himself knows predicting it is beyond his abilities.
It was done for a cheap laugh and is a sure sign of weak writing.

I’ll give it the usual 7 episode benefit of the doubt, but I’ll be surprised if this one lasts that long.
Also, Fox tried the whole near-future sci-fi cop show a couple of years ago.
It was called Almost Human and it was infinitely better than this.
It lasted 13 episodes.

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Adventures in TV Pilots: Lucifer

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2015 Sep 23

Today’s hours spent lounging on the couch diligently researching video entertainment includes the show Lucifer.
It isn’t due out until 2016, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch it anyway.

Strangely enough, I don’t have a lot to say about this one.
I suppose that’s because I kinda like it.

It’s yet another ‘cop teams up with outsider to solve crimes’ show.
This one has sort of a Constantine vibe to it because of the whole supernatural angle but maybe it’ll stay a little more grounded in “reality” than that show did by focusing mostly on solving mundane crimes rather than fighting demons every week.
Maybe that angle will help it stay around a little longer than Constantine did because it’s more relatable to audiences that have zero interest in occult things.

The premise is interesting… the devil decided he was tired of Hell so he left and owns a nightclub in LA.
There are clearly consequences to that decision and they’re using the same “visit from an angel” bit that Constantine used to allude to them so they aren’t abandoning the supernatural thing altogether.

The character is very charming and quite likable… sort of like you’d imagine the devil to be.
However, they’ve made a refreshing change to the old formula by not having him hide his identity.
I mean, he’s not broadcasting it to the world, but he doesn’t try to conceal it from anyone either.
Naturally they don’t believe him, and I think that’s the device they’ll use to let him remain low-key.

Unless they massively re-tool the show before it launches, I’m looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

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Adventures in TV Pilots: The Muppets

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2015 Sep 22

A new TV season means a new batch of shows to check out.
I’ve decided to start with The Muppets because 1) I loved the original Muppet Show and 2) some upright, uptight citizens group opposes it.

For my money, any show that is opposed by some sort of Million Moms or Family Council organization is automatically worth watching and, once again, I was proven right.

For me, this was just like watching The Muppet Show as a kid except that it’s been written for me as an adult.
There’s all sorts of subversive humor thrown in that little kids won’t understand but their parents will.

The premise for this particular incarnation is that they’re doing a late night talk show on TV (thus justifying the celebrity human guest du jour) but they’re also being filmed by a documentary crew a la The Office so we get to see all the stuff that happens outside the talk show.

There was one particular exchange early in the show that sold me on it:
Kermit: (to Dr. Teeth) Well, we have meetings every morning. You’re in one right now.
Zoot: Huh? This is a meeting? Oh. (stands up) I’m Zoot and I’m…
Floyd: (whispers) Different meeting.
Zoot: Oh. (sits back down)

It was followed closely by a discussion about how the word "gesticulate" needed to be removed from the script because shaky hands is the "first step to making babies."

So if they can keep up the muppet craziness and sly humor without giving in and turning it into strictly a kids show, I expect to enjoy it.
However, I don’t expect it to succeed unless they move it to a more family friendly time slot.
I predict that *IF* it survives, it’ll end up on the weekend.

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