Friday, September 28, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: Last Resort and Elementary

Every year there always seems to be a new show that would come out of left field and pleasantly surprise me. Last year it was Revenge. A few years ago it was The Good Wife. I guess this year that show for me is Last Resort. I knew very little about the show before I saw the pilot episode yesterday, but praise from critics piqued my interest. And I'm really glad I checked it out, because it's hands down the best pilot I've seen so far this new season. Last Resort revolves around a submarine crew who goes rogue after refusing to follow suspicious orders that would've started a war and who now find themselves stranded on an exotic island with very little options and answers. It's a fantastic concept, but also one that sounds more like something one would see on a movie or a miniseries instead of a weekly TV show. Certainly keeping up the kind of adrenaline rush the pilot episode delivered would be nearly impossible in the long run. And as great and thrilling as the pilot was, there were already some worrying aspects such as the show's ability to jump back and forth different locations (submarine to exotic island to Washington D.C.) and balancing out its huge cast. But amidst all of that, I was still hooked on the action happening on the screen. It helped that the casting of Andre Baugher was quite perfect as the tough and eloquent captain as was his second in command played by Scott Speedman. The rest of the cast needs to prove themselves, but I see the potential. Will the show suffer once the action is inevitable revved down? Possibly. But I still think this show did a lot of things right and people should give it more than a chance. Definitely worth anyone's time. A-

There's a point early on in the Elementary pilot episode when Joan Watson, played by the impossibly beautiful Lucy Liu, asks Sherlock Holmes, played by the very British (thank God!) Johnny Lee Miller, why he does the things he does. His response was simple because he was bored. Unfortunately, that's pretty much how I felt watching the show. Perhaps it was my expectations which were severely heightened by many things--I had just see Last Resort which I loved, I'm a big fan of the two lead actors, the British show Sherlock was brilliant, etc.--or perhaps it just reminded me of so many other procedural shows on the air right now, most of them on CBS, which weren't bad per se, but still very much "been there done that." In fact the backbone of Elementary is solid enough mostly due to the chemistry already evident between Liu and Miller and Miller does his best in infusing his Holmes with a different, almost melancholy air that's somewhat refreshing. So there are very brief moments of wonder hidden in this so far generic drama. Then again, I have watched worse shows starring people I like less to the point of no return, so this show will get a long, long leash from me. I just hope the show takes better advantage of Holmes and his legacy instead of just plopping the character down in the usual middle-brow CBS procedural. C+

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