Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pilot Thoughts: Minority Report, Scream Queens, Muppets, Limitless

The Fall 2015 TV season just had its first week. Actually today will be its 7th day, but there are a million shows on Sundays so I'd rather post my thoughts on any of the new shows I watched this past week.

Minority Report (FOX)

It's been awhile since I've see the Minority Report film, but I never actually thought it would be resurrected as a TV show. But it has and despite all the cool futuristic fluorishes (and they ARE cool), it sadly feels a little been-there-done that. It doesn't help that FOX is essentially copying the formula that made Sleepy Hollow work in its first season. You have the awkward out-of-place guy with preternatural talents working with a strong, super capable lady cop to solve crimes. But while Sleepy Hollow had the whole cadre of supernatural things that go bump in the night at its disposal, Minority Report just feels like a police procedural but with slightly more advance technology. The cast is fine, even good, and the final scene that hints to something bigger, while predictable, was effective. The ratings for this one weren't great, but I'll keep seeing it to see if it improves. C+

Scream Queens (FOX)

Watching a Ryan Murphy show for two hours straight has got to fall under "cruel and unjust punishment" especially with its visceral assault on your senses. Maybe I've grown out of his schtick. I loved early season Glee (and watched to the bitter, bitter end) and Popular is still an unheralded work of genius. I never got into American Horror Story and now with Scream Queens, I just think he's not for me. Does the pilot provide fun, crazy moments and cool, interesting characters? Certainly, but they're either hidden and obscured or turned up to 11 to the point of eye-rollingness. Here's the thing though, Murphy shows usually drop in level from the pilot/first season so if I wasn't into the pilot this time around, that's just an invitation to do right for me and stop watching now. I might give it one more episode, because I *am* a TV masochist sometimes. D+

The Muppets (ABC)

I've seen so many reactions from people who say that this iteration of the Muppets just seem too adult and thus it all feels off. I don't entirely disagree with them, but "too adult" is relative and I think that off feeling is on purpose. There's already that disconnect when puppets are treated as humans (which this show has established in previous editions) and this show just takes that to the next step. So in that sense, I totally dug it. Apart from the whole Muppets aspect of it, as a show, it largely reminded me of 30 Rock, which is a good thing in my book. I know the pilot was rushed to production so I have to believe everyone involved will get the right balance and flow for these beloved characters eventually. I'll stick around to see if they do. B

Limitless (CBS)

While FOX wanted its Minority Report to be Sleepy Hollow, CBS wanted Limitless to be its next Elementary (with a side of NBC's Chuck)... not to mention that all four of those shows pretty much are the same in concept. The crazy thing about Limitless though is how much I enjoyed the pilot. They deftly re-packaged the film into a TV episode that not only re-introduces the concept, but builds on the film. Plus I thought it was exciting, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt. My biggest fear, of course, is that the pilot is not representative at all of what the show moving forward is going to be which is... a police procedural. And look, I'm not totally against them. I still very much like Elementary, but most of that is because I enjoy spending time with its characters. This show might have a fighting chance in that regard as its full of people I've loved from elsewhere namely Jennifer Carpenter, Ron Rifkin, Blair Brown. Lead actor Jake McDorman is fine and I have liked him in other shows (Greek, Shameless). My biggest hope is that they find some shading to this procedural show be it in his developing relationship with Carpenter or continuing to see his relationship with his parents/family. B+

So as you can see, with new shows this year, it's slim pickins'. Tonight, I'll be checking out two more pilots: Blood and Oil and Quantico. I don't have any high hopes for Blood and Oil only that it be as soapy and trashy as it could be. I *do* expect Quantico to be good, or at least entertaining. After that, I still have to dig into Heroes Reborn even though it's technically not a new show, I still consider it as such. The only other two new broadcast pilots I'm going to check out aren't on air until October (Supergirl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Thankfully I have my hands full with my long list of returning shows, most of which have upped their game. But that's probably another post waiting to be written.

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