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"Pretty/Handsome" is Pretty Dead

Those of you suffering through Nip/Tuck withdrawal might have pinned your hopes on creator Ryan Murphy's drama pilot Pretty/Handsome (formerly known as 4 oz.).

The FX drama pilot project, which starred Joseph Fiennes, Blythe Danner, Robert Wagner, Christopher Egan, and Carrie-Ann Moss, revolved around Bob Fitzpayne (Fiennes), a married gynecologist who slowly comes to terms with the fact that he wants to have a sex-change operation. Moss played his long-suffering suburban Connecticut wife while Danner and Wagner played Bunny and Scotch, his country club set parents.

As for Egan--who was cast in the upcoming NBC drama Kings while FX passed on Pretty/Handsome--he played Beckett Bromley, a mature teen with the hots for Moss' character who happened to be the best friend of Moss and Fiennes' son (Jonathan Groff)... who had his hands full with his girlfriend's secret pregnancy, which she was going to major lengths to conceal from her deaf ex-military father. Um, right.

Studio 20th Century Fox Television attempted to shop the project, produced by Murphy, Brad Pitt, and Dede Gardner, elsewhere when FX passed on a series order but, alas, Pretty/Handsome is no more as the studio was unable to find another home for the series.

Personally, I had high hopes for the project when I first heard about it last year but after seeing the completed pilot--which, despite the presence of a first-rate cast, sagged under the weight of heavy-handed dialogue and the constant telegraphing of Bob's emotional state--I was entirely of the same viewpoint as FX on the subject.

I also had a hard time envisioning quite where Pretty/Handsome would go over the course of its series, especially as the pilot episode begins with Bob furtively literally wearing women's underwear and ends with him already dressed up as a woman, complete with a transformation scene in which Fiennes sensually shaves his body and applies makeup like an old pro. With a payoff like that in the very first installment, where do you have left to go after that?

FX has always taken a path of creating intellectually stimulating, quirky, and controversial series and while Pretty/Handsome may have had some of the latter, it wasn't enough to sustain a series and didn't take a familiar trope--like the medical or legal drama, the family drama, or, hell, the buddy comedy--and turn them on their heads, like previous series offerings Damages, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, The Riches, or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have done.

No, FX made the right decision to order its other drama pilot this development season, Sons of Anarchy (previously known as Forever Sam Crow) to series.

A gripping Shakespearean drama, Sons of Anarchy deftly blends together family drama and the underpinnings of 1940's biker noir and features Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared), Katey Sagal (Lost), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Drea DeMateo (The Sopranos), Maggie Siff (Mad Men), and cast of dozens in a riveting story of rivalry, revenge, and regrets, set against the backdrop of the nation's most notorious biker gang.

Sons of Anarchy premieres in September on FX and I'm anxious to see the completed pilot, given how much I enjoyed reading an early draft of the pilot script prior to the start of production during the writers strike last year. Fingers crossed that it lives up to expectations.

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Celebrity Family Feud (NBC); Beauty & the Geek (CW); Wipeout (ABC); Moment of Truth (FOX)

9 pm: 48 Hours Mystery (CBS); America's Got Talent (NBC); Reaper (CW); I Survived a Japanese Game Show (ABC); Hell's Kitchen (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Primetime: The Outsiders (ABC)

What I'll Be TiVo'ing

8-10 pm: Britcoms on BBC America.

I don't know about you but by Tuesday night, I'm usually in need of some comedy in my life. Why not stick around on Tuesday nights for BBC America's new comedy lineup, consisting of classic episodes of Coupling, new comedy Not Going Out, and Absolutely Fabulous? You'll thank me in the morning.

10 pm: Flipping Out on Bravo.

Season Two continues tonight with a brand-new episode ("Closer Inspection"), Jeff's suspicions of his employees intensify and he sets up a hidden camera, hoping to catch one of them performing some indiscretion... or failing to perform their work duties.

Comments

Anonymous said…
In spite of the terrific cast, I agree with you that this show didn't seem to have the most sustainable plot.

Sons of Anarchy (also with a fantastic cast)definitely has potential and I'm looking forward to checking it out, especially now that it has your recommendation. Hopefully, the pilot will live up to the script!
Anonymous said…
I saw the pilot. Well...attempted to, I watched about 15 minutes of it, and just wasn't interested. I thought it was pretty dull and I thought it was more of a mini-series or movie type plot than anything.

I'm glad FX passed on it. However, I must say I thought

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