Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: Nashville and Arrow

The involvement of Connie Britton and the great reviews from TV critics were the reasons I checked out ABC's new show Nashville. It also helped that last year I ended up visiting the city and was absolutely charmed by it. I'm saying all of this so you know that even before I saw a single second of the show, I already knew that I wanted to like it, and I'm pleased to say my feelings have been confirmed after the pilot episode. Yes, there are worrying aspects about the show. The biggest will be the political subplot symbolically being played out parallel to the whatever issues Rayna Jaymes (Britton) has with her overbearing father. And while I appreciate Britton's character being pulled in so many directions, her main struggle of trying to be relevant in the country music scene is far more engrossing to me. She is helped by a talented ensemble and a soundtrack that not only sounds good, but also feels real and organic. That final duet with Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen is absolutely bewitching. And even though we meet so many characters within the hour and all their different relationships with each other, I already feel invested in them as characters. Finally, it's also a gorgeously-shot pilot episode, showing off the best of what the city of Nashville has to offer. Really looking forward to seeing more of this. B/B+

As many comic book TV shows and films I have seen in my lifetime, my geekdom knowledge is still relatively limited so the prospect of having a Green Arrow TV series didn't excite me much. But I was intrigued enough to check out Arrow's pilot episode, mostly to see Stephen Amell shirtless and also just to see how the CW would go about giving the property a Smallville-esque reboot to cater to their young female demographic (see again beaucoup male shirtlessness). The verdict is decidedly mixed on my part. Yes, Amell's body is a vision to behold, but his character's Bruce Wayne-ness is feeling a bit flat at the moment especially since we know so very little of him and his supposed big change. I also understand that they needed to pack a lot of backstory, exposition, and setup in this first episode, so the hour felt a bit disconnected and most definitely rushed. My favorite part of the pilot, however, is slowly realizing how similar it was to last season's Revenge. We have the main character, who has gone through extensive training, seeking justice as a result of their father's death and has a penchant for voice-over narration. We also have a wise-cracking wealthy sidekick, a sister dabbling into substance abuse, an old flame they can't get involved in, and an older female mother figure out to get them. I'm not saying Arrow is as good as Revenge. It's not, especially since I'm not immediately invested in the characters as I was for the characters in Revenge or even Nashville. But those similarities will keep me watching a bit. B-/C+

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