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Showing posts with the label Pilot Inspektor

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of ABC's "The Deep End"

Every once in a while, a pilot comes along that has such a stellar cast that it's heartbreakingly depressing when the pilot itself isn't quite up to snuff. This development season that pilot would be ABC's The Deep End (formerly known as The Associates ... and before that Untitled Dave Hemingson Legal Dramedy), which has gathered together some fantastically diverse talent as Matt Long ( Jack & Bobby ), Tina Majorino ( Big Love ), Ben Lawson ( Neighbours ), Norbert Leo Butz ( Dan in Real Life ), Leah Pipes ( Life is Wild ), Billy Zane ( Samantha Who? ), Sherri Saum ( In Treatment ), Rachelle Lefevre ( Twilight, Swingtown ), and Clancy Brown ( Carnivale ). The Deep End , from writer/executive producer Dave Hemingson ( Kitchen Confidential ), follows the personal and professional goings on of a group of ambitious young law associates and their demanding bosses at a cutthroat Los Angeles law firm. The series, from 20th Century Fox Television, was originally developed as

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of FOX's "Human Target"

I really wanted to like FOX's new procedural drama Human Target , which launches on the network next year, but found myself wondering about what the series could have been rather than what it actually is. Based on a DC comic by Len Wein and Carmen Infantino (and later redeveloped into a Vertigo title by Peter Milligan), Human Target tells the story of Christopher Chance ( Fringe 's Mark Valley), a man who protects those in danger by becoming a literal human shield, a moving target capable of drawing the fire of those out to imperil his well-paying clients. Chance is assisted in these high-stakes missions by his best friend and business manager Winston ( Pushing Daisies ' Chi McBride) and a tech-savvy nutcase named Guerrero ( Watchmen 's Jackie Earle Haley) whose allegiances seem as fluid as quicksilver. But rather than just watch his clients from afar, Chance forces his way into their lives, posing as someone who has access to their every move. In the pilot episode

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of ABC's "Eastwick"

ABC's newest drama series Eastwick , which launches this fall, is the type of series where people are meant to be "serious" because they wear glasses. Giving a new meaning to telegraphing rather than letting the plot unfold on its own, Eastwick --based on the 1987 feature film The Witches of Eastwick --tells the story of three women who are strangers to one another in the idyllic New England town of Eastwick. Each making a wish on a coin that seemingly magically appears in their presence, they unwittingly open the door to the return of an enigmatic figure into their midst. A figure whose arrival presages darkness, evil, and wanton destruction, along with sex, sex, sex. But before that, there's the drinking of martinis, the discussion of menfolk, and some female bonding, making Eastwick something more akin to Lipstick Jungle with magical powers. Rebecca Romijn ( Ugly Betty ) plays freethinking artist and single mother Roxie Torcoletti, a woman who is prone to jum

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of NBC's "Community"

For the last two years, NBC has sought to find a series to cement its lineup of comedies on Thursday nights... with mixed results. Last season's offering, Kath & Kim , didn't quite gel with the wit and dry humor of veterans 30 Rock and The Office and was quickly sent to the mall in the sky. And Parks & Recreation, from the executive producers of The Office , hasn't quite lived up to its potential or pedigree. Next season, NBC will launch another new comedy series, Community , which will join returnees 30 Rock, The Office , and Parks and Recreation on the Thursday night roster. I had the opportunity last night to watch the full pilot episode of Community and believe that NBC may have finally found a worthy addition to its "Comedy Done Right" lineup. The dry-witted and caustically funny Community , written by Dan Harmon ( The Sarah Silverman Program ) and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo ( Arrested Development ), tells the story of Jeff Crocker ( Th

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of ABC's "Happy Town"

ABC made a bold statement at its upfront presentation the other day when it presented new midseason drama series Happy Town as hailing "from the network that brought you Twin Peaks ." The statement rubbed me the wrong way for a number of reasons. First, it's not exactly like the executives who developed Twin Peaks even still work at ABC. Second, ABC may have brought us Twin Peaks but it just as quickly canceled David Lynch's groundbreaking drama, which aired a stunning nineteen years ago. And third, Happy Town should not be making any comparisons between itself and Twin Peaks because it is certainly no Twin Peaks . I had the opportunity the other night to watch Happy Town 's 90-minute pilot and the only similarities I could find between it and Twin Peaks were that (A) they both air on ABC and (B) they are both set in small towns where the sunny exteriors belie a secret underbelly of darkness. ( Happy Town itself seems to relish the comparison, even havin

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of ABC's "V"

One the most eagerly awaited projects of this development season was ABC's reinvention of the classic 1980s sci-fi cult series V . I had the opportunity last night to watch the gripping and electrifying pilot for ABC's new V , from studio Warner Bros. Television, and was completely sucked in by the promising vision and deft skill of the pilot installment, which sets up a slew of intriguing possibilities for the ongoing series. For those of you not in the know, V , originally created by Kenneth Johnson, was a series about an alien invasion that aired on NBC during the 1984-1985 season following a successful run as two separate mini-series. Likewise, this new incarnation of V , overseen by The 4400 creator Scott Peters also tells the story of the arrival of an alien race to Earth via behemoth spacecrafts that appear out of nowhere to hover above 29 cities around the world. Calling themselves The Visitors, their leader Anna ( Firefly 's Morena Baccarin) quickly makes conta

Pilot Inspektor: An Advance Review of ABC's "Modern Family"

I have to say that ABC may have offered the most memorable upfront presentation in recent years, not because of the self-deprecation comedy stylings of Jimmy Kimmel but because they pulled off what many thought was impossible: they showed an entire pilot to advertisers and press. At the upfront itself. Yesterday's upfront presentation , masterfully overseen by Anne Sweeney and Steve McPherson, led up to this groundbreaking moment by first showcasing the entire first act of its new drama series Flash Forward (a treat in itself) but then ABC went one step further by screening the full pilot episode of its new comedy Modern Family . Modern Family , from creators/executive producers Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan (who most recently collaborated on FOX's short-lived comedy Back to You ), tells the story of three very different families living in suburban America. Told in a mockumentary style that's clearly influenced by the work of director Christopher Guest, Modern Fam

Televisionary Exclusive: First Look at ABC's "Flash Forward" Pilot Script

ABC has had a tough time attempting to find a timeslot companion for its signature series Lost . Over the past few years, it's attempted to to find a series that could either sit beside the Bad Robot-produced series or fill the timeslot during Lost 's hiatus period. Such series as The Nine, Invasion, Daybreak , and others have attempted to do just that with limited success. Until now. ABC's new drama pilot Flash Forward , written by David S. Goyer ( Batman Begins, Blade ) and Brannon Braga ( Enterprise, Threshold ) and loosely based on Robert J. Sawyer's 1999 novel of the same name, might just be the one to do the trick. With Lost set to end in May 2010, the network seems hellbent on finding a suitable replacement for the series and Goyer and Braga's project seems the best suited so far to capture the imaginations of Lost 's devoted band of obsessive followers. It was with much curiosity that I sat down last week to read the pilot script for Flash Forward ,

Second Bite: Another Look at HBO's "True Blood"

Back in May, I wrote a pretty negative review of the original pilot for HBO's upcoming Alan Ball vampires-in-the-South drama True Blood , based on the novel series by Charlaine Harris. (You can read my original review here .) Since then, I was contacted by HBO, who asked me to take another look at True Blood 's revised pilot ("Strange Love"), which recast one major character and altered a few scenes, and the series' second episode. Always willing to take another look at something, I agreed, especially when the project in question is the next HBO Sunday night lynchpin and comes from such storied auspices. So did writer/director Alan Ball ( Six Feet Under ) and producers manage to fix some of the problems I had with the original pilot for True Blood ? Let's discuss. For those of you who didn't read my original review of True Blood (and shame on you if you didn't!), here's the quick recap of the plot of True Blood : vampires have "come out o

Where Pilots Go to Die: FOX's "The Oaks"

It's always sad when you watch a botched pilot of a script that you really, really loved and are just wholly disappointed by what you see. In this case, I'm talking about the pilot episode for FOX's supernatural drama The Oaks , which wasn't picked up to series. Last I heard, studio 20th Century Fox Television was attempting to shop the project to other networks, but I would be surprised if anyone picks it up after what I've seen. (You can read my original review of the pilot script here .) It's not that there isn't an interesting story there because there is. I was utterly captivated by David Schulner's gorgeously nuanced script for The Oaks , which tells the story of three very different couples living in the same house in three different decades: there's twenty-something couple Mike (Matt Lanter) and Sarah (Shannon Lucio) who have recently weathered the death of their young daughter and have fallen apart as a couple; middle-aged blue collar par

Pilot Inspektor: HBO's "True Blood"

It's funny how your expectations can completely derail your perceptions of a series' strengths or weaknesses. As longtime readers of this site know, I have been beyond excited to watch the pilot for HBO's upcoming series True Blood since I first read the pilot script during the winter/spring of 2007. (Yes, it's really been that long since I first started blathering on about it.) So imagine my shock and chagrin when I sat down to watch the pilot for True Blood --written and directed by Alan Ball ( Six Feet Under ) and based on the novel series by Charlaine Harris --last week and was royally disappointed. Consider me a vampire faced with the prospect of feasting on an anorexic: all of the pieces were there but it was just flat, empty, and remarkably tasteless. Sure, Anna Paquin ( X-Men ) is absolutely cute as a button as telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse; she's a blonde, perky barmaid at Merlotte's, a backwoods bar in post-Katrina Louisiana, and a social pa

Pilot Inspektor: FOX's "Fringe"

Every once in a while a pilot comes along that is so perfect, such a shining indication of what the final series will be, so perfectly cast and directed, that it's impossible to look away. That pilot, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely FOX's phenomenal science-tinged drama Fringe . In a nutshell, Fringe is The X-Files for the new millennium: eerie, gripping, and still haunting even after the final credits have rolled, albeit containing an overt (rather than subtle) humor that never existed in that series. In this case, the aliens aren't from outer space: they're the mega-corporations that dot the American landscape, pushing science and technology past their limits and exploiting that for their own gain. It poses several ethical questions: when does the pursuit of scientific discovery go too far? Who is monitoring the rapid advances in technology in today's day and age? And what happens when a scientist--or a group of scientists--decides that the world is their