Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pilot Reviews Big Shots and Gossip Girl

I contemplated not even doing Gossip Girl.  No one would notice, right?  I mean it's on the CW for goodness sake.  Most people haven't even heard of the CW and no one I know knows what CW stands for (for the record, neither do I), but I have taken on this responsibility, and so preform it fully I shall.  (Okay, sorry about the Yoda there, sometimes I get a little carried away.)  Anyway, the pilot reviews continue, and while there's been a string of mostly positive reviews, well, as they say, all good things must come to an end.


I sort of had some hopes for this show, after all, I have loved each of the four stars in previous shows, The Practice, Alias, Sports Night, and Titus, the four of them together should be great, right?  Wrong.  Don't put all the blame on the actors, though.  This was probably some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard.  And actually, I think Christopher Titus has grown tremendously as an actor.  I really look forward to seeing him in something good.  His schedule will most likely be open pretty soon.  I talk a lot about the vaunted Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year award, well I'm giving Big Shots a "shot" at a different award.  Josh's Choice for Most Likely to Be Cancelled First Award.  Not only was the dialogue bad, but the storylines were forced and ridiculously predictable.  It was like, what would be the most ridiculous bad television story we can come up with next?  Oh, yeah, let's do that, we'll have the mistress and the wife be friends. That's good, but I have a better one, let's have a different character accidentally pick up a hooker with a penis, that'll be classic.  Yeah, but not as classic if a cop catches them.  Good point, we'll put it in the pilot.  Oh, then we can use the catch phrase "Track down the Tranny."  It'll be as big as "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World."  There is more, but I'm getting tired of rehashing a very painful hour of television.  This show had no redeeming qualities, and I really can't imagine anyone being interested.

Interesting fact: Four really good actors, who have been in really good shows, for some reason agreed to be in this one.

Pilot Grade: 1% (Because Titus's acting skills have actually greatly improved from his sitcom when he was just funny, now he's funny and he can act.)


This show should probably also be cancelled, but I recognize that I am no where close to the target audience for this show, and they therefore couldn't care less what I think.  I haven't read the books on which this series is based, so I don't know how true to them the storylines are, but for as well as those books sell, I figured the premise would be stronger than the one in the tv show.  There is a secret person who has a website and she calls herself, are you ready for this?, Gossip Girl.  She knows all and sees all, and then tells everyone about it.  And of course everyone is checking the website at all times for the latest gossip except for the two main characters who coincidentally all of the gossip is about.  Right.  Well, at least the dialogue is more believable than in Big Shots.  I'm assuming that 12-17 year old girls (at least some of them) might like this show, but I can't imagine anyone else being able to garner any enjoyment out of it.  The characters are completely unlikeable.  One of them has a rant similar to the one given by the youngest Darling son in Dirty, Sexy, Money, about how hard it is to be a rich kid from a rich family.  Boo eff-ing hoo.  In DSM, however, the great Peter Krause calls him on it immediately, and we're supposed to realize how utterly spoiled these people are to imagine even a moment of regret for the lives that have been handed to them.  In Gossip Girl on the other hand, I think that we're actually supposed to feel sorry for the character saying it.  Yeah right.  I'm sorry his character's so stupid.

Early in the episode there is this exchange.

Girl: Someone saw Serena getting off at Central Station.
Boy: Good, things were starting to get dull around here.
Me: Doesn't look like this is helping any.

Interesting Fact: The Gossip Girl is played by Kristen Bell, otherwise known as Veronica Mars, which used to be on UPN before it was the CW, and was a far superior show.

Pilot Grade: 13% (I might not have liked the characters, but I believed in them a lot more than the ones in Big Shots.)

Until Next Time, the positive reviews had to end at sometime, right?

Pilot Reviews Life and Dirty, Sexy, Money

The premiere reviews continue (for others, see below)...


So, the first of these that I did was for the Fox show K-Ville, which I felt was just a stereotypical cop show.  Truth be told, before watching this one, I figured that it would be too.  I was wrong.  Sure, it is a cop show, and there are plenty of cop show things that happen in the episode, but at the same time it's original.  First of all, I really like the premise, it's about a cop who was wrongly imprisoned.  He spent 12 years in jail for something that he didn't do.  When he got out (and was given a fat settlement by the city) he rejoined the police force that had turned its back on him.  It gives an interesting set up for a serialized show.  The running plot line will of course be the main character working on figuring who set him up, but at the same time, he's a cop and he's going to do his job.  When his partner asks him why he came back, he tells her (again NBC with the interesting female character) that while he was locked away, he thought "I'm a cop" and that's what kept him going, that knowledge of himself.  I talked about in my K-Ville review that there wasn't anything that special to put it above any of the other cop shows on tv, with Life, however, it's different.  The main character is very intriguing.  He's got an attitude that's original.  The show intersperses the action with documentary style talking heads about the main character, giving it an interesting take on getting to know the character by seeing what others think about him, as well as seeing how he acts by himself as well as around others.  His partner is interesting too, very multi-dimensional, and I'm looking forward to the development of her almost as much as the main character.  There is a central mythos to the show which is intriguing, but the show seems content to work like the procedurals (CSI, Law & Order) and give the main importance to the case of the week.  It's an interesting combination that I have been thinking would be a good idea for a television show and I'm interested to see how they make it work.

Interesting Fact: Damian Lewis who plays the main character was Major Dick Winters in HBO's Band of Brothers.  Sarah Shahi, his partner, was the best part of NBC's short lived sitcom Teachers, and before that was Will Tippen's assistant and some time love interest on the great Alias.

Pilot Grade: 98%


Peter Krause is, as always, awesome, as is Donald Sutherland as the head of the rich and spoiled Darling family.  At first, I thought this show might be a bit of a one trick pony, how will Peter Krause get the wacky rich family members out of trouble this week?  While that will certainly play a part in the show, I think that the writers will do a decent job of developing the characters enough that you might care what trouble they're getting into.  I certainly started to care for the characters just based on the pilot, and that's somewhat of an accomplishment seeing as they are all rich, spoiled brats and generally unlikeable in all respects.  But what really sold me on this pilot (besides the brilliant acting of Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland) is the mystery plot line reveal towards the end of the episode.  I totally didn't see it coming, and am drawn in by it completely.

Interesting Fact: The senator hopeful Darling's (played by Stephen Baldwin, unlike Adam from Chuck, actually of the Baldwin clan) transgendered girlfriend is actually played by a transgendered woman, born Brenden McDaniel, and now known as Candis Cayne.

Pilot Grade: 96%

Until Next Time, I'm not doing one for Private Practice if you're wondering, because the pilot for this show was actually last season as an episode of Grey's Anatomy.  Truth be told, I'm glad that that's the case as I'm not a fan of Grey's Anatomy I wouldn't like Private Practice anyway.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pilot Reviews Reaper and Cane

So, the fall premieres have continued, and thus so will my takes and grades on them.  So far I've done K-Ville, Back to You, Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Journeyman, and Bionic Woman, today I give you my thoughts on Reaper and Cane.


This premiere was pretty good, and definitely funny.  The cast is exceptional and the dialogue was spot on.  I hope that the series will continue to have the type of dialogue that it had in the premiere, as the influence of the director was quite evident, and I'm not sure that the show will be able to still have that feel without him at the helm.  Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob) directed the pilot, and his influence in many of the one on one scenes in particular was clearly strong.  There were many moments that felt like Kevin Smith moments, and that's a good thing, I just hope that it continues even when he isn't directing.  On the negative side, I felt like for a comedy (which this mainly is) the dark moments were just a little too dark, particularly a moment with a dog and a car door and a man and his Zamboni.  Both those scenes really felt out of place with the feel of the rest of the episode.  I'm certainly not against dark humor, and there is a place for some dark humor in this show, but it needs to be proportionate to the humor throughout the rest of the show, and at times I don't think that it was.  My other big problem with the show was the portrayal of the female characters.  Now this is something that I think there is plenty of time and room to correct, but in the pilot I was very disappointed with the female characters, they were not strong characters at all.  Maybe it's because in the majority of the other pilots that I've seen thus far, strong females play a part in them (and a major role in Bionic Woman, Chuck, and Journeyman, good job NBC.), but it was very disturbing how weak the female characters were in this show, which is kind of surprising since the show is created by two females.  Hopefully this will be something that the show addresses as it continues.

Interesting fact: The main character, Bret Harrison, was last seen (well maybe not actually "seen" since I seem to be one of the few to actually have watched the show) as the main character in The Loop, on Fox, which was actually a pretty funny comedy which was a previous contender for Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Season, and his best friend on Reaper, Sock, played by Tyler Labine, was Dave on former Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Season award winner Invasion.

Pilot Grade: 87%


The new show on CBS starring Jimmy Smits (West Wing, NYPD Blue, Star Wars Episode III) wasn't one that I really expected to like despite being a fan of Smits, but I have to admit the pilot really intrigued me.  Jimmy Smits, along with producing the show, stars as an adopted son as well as son in law of the head of a Sugar Cane CEO played by Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope).  Elizondo finds out that his cancer has returned and he doesn't have long to live, prompting him to give control of the company over to his son in law Alex (Smits) instead of his natural son Frank (played superbly by Nestor Carbonell).  This seemed rather straight forward from the previews, and I figured that the show would be pretty predictable.  Well, there is a whole lot more going on, and the pilot is chock full of intrigue, drama, and suspense.  I suppose that it has a bit of a soap opera-ish quality to it on the basest level, but the acting and dialogue are so superb that you buy into it completely.  It has been compared to Dallas in some reviews, and while that isn't a show that I ever watched, I know enough to say that on some levels I can see the comparison (and in the show they even make a blatant sugar to oil comparison) I think that this show will be a lot less campy than Dallas on occasion was.  I'm looking forward to seeing more and finding out what the repercussions of the actions in the pilot will be.

Interesting Fact: Kevin McKidd on Journeyman is not the only former star of Rome finding their way to network television, Polly Walker who was Atia of the Julii appears as Ellis Samuals, the daughter of Elizondo's chief rival, and it appears that despite the far different accent (Southern instead of the English accent that Romans always have in film and television) she is up to her old tricks of using her sexuality to achieve what she wants.  Also, Nestor Carbonell who plays Frank is the mysterious non-aging Richard from LOST, so I hope that his job on Cane doesn't keep him from continuing to make the occasional appearance on our favorite Island.

Pilot Grade: 96%

Until Next Time, the new season is shaping up to be a good one!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pilot Reviews Big Bang Theory and Journeyman

Continuing with the theme of the last few posts, I'm giving my thoughts and grades to each of the new premieres on network television this fall (excluding the reality shows which I prefer to ignore).  So far I've done K-Ville and Back to You (three posts ago) and Chuck and Bionic Woman (two posts ago).  Here are the other two shows that premiered tonight


Yeah, it had it's moments, and I like the lead Johnny Galecki a lot.  You might know him from Suicide Kings, but more likely as David Healy on Roseanne.  Not so sure about his roommate, played by Jim Parsons.  He got some great lines in the episode, but I never really laughed at them.  Looking back at the lines, I should have laughed, but I just didn't like the delivery.  The character really seems a little too ridiculous to me, I guess.  I also wasn't too thrilled with the female lead, mainly, again because the character didn't appeal to me.  I doubt I'll pay too much attention to this show.  If I'm too lazy to find the remote after How I Met Your Mother (which was, as always, Legen... wait for it, and I hope you aren't lactose intolerant, because the next part of the word is... dary) I might leave it on, but it's not one that I'll have to watch.

Interesting fact, Kaley Cuoco who plays the female lead in the show was on an episode of My So Called Life as young Angela Chase, Claire Danes's character.

Pilot Grade: 74%


Less than twenty four hours ago I called Chuck perhaps the greatest pilot ever made.  Fester (capitalized only because it is starting a sentence) always says I am too quick with the word "genius", well, perhaps I was a little too quick with my pilot praise for Chuck, because at that time I had yet to see Journeyman.  This show blew me away.  The trailers, that anyone who has been to the movies or watched NBC recently has surely seen, fill you in on the basic plot, somehow, the main character, played with great intensity by Kevin McKidd last seen as Lucius Vorenus on HBO's brilliant Rome, travels back in time.  But it's far more than that, he is sent back with a purpose, sent back to change someone's life.  He travels to various times in the life of that person, to put them in a spot to do something important.  Right as the viewer figures this out, along with our hero, they most likely start to think, okay, yeah, it's cool and all, but I've seen this before, it was called Quantum Leap, that's when the pilot pulls off an amazing "what the fu..." moment, thirty minutes into the episode (in real time, with out commercials, I don't know when it happens with commercials, sorry, watched it online thanks to Amazon Unbox.)  This is definitely a powerful show, that I can not wait to keep up with.  It's got a thriller oriented premise, but it packs an emotional punch, and the story is set up in a way that I think that is going to continue.  I can't wait to find out.

Interesting fact: Moon Bloodgood, who plays Olivia, was last seen on Daybreak, where Taye Diggs lives the same day over and over again.  Apparently, she's really drawn to shows about mishaps in the space-time continuum.

Pilot Grade: 100%

Until Next Time, NBC which did so well in last year's JCFBNSOTS awards is definitely off to a hot start!

Heroes Season 2, first thoughts

Well, I'm really not sure that this show can sustain the success that it had last season.  It ended pretty poorly, so I'm hoping that the writers can recreate the magic.  New mysteries were introduced in the premiere, and it kept my interest (I don't get NBC very good, so I figured I would just wait and watch it later on-line, but I stuck through the bad reception, and I really didn't think I would, even through the annoying car commercials played over and over every commercial break.)  I was disapointed that there was no Nikki, Micah, D.L. moment in the episode, however I loved the introduction of Hiro's hero, the samurai of the past played by none other than David Anders who was the deliciously evil Sark on Alias.  Anyway, here's hoping that the show can regain the momentum it somehow lost at the very end of last season, it was at the very least a good start.

Until Next Time, stay tuned for some new premiere reviews!

Pilot Reviews Bionic Woman and Chuck


First off, let me say how much I love Katee Sackhoff, she plays Kara "Starbuck" Thrace in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and what appears to be the villain of this show.  And she's a great villain.  She adds all kind of life to the show.  That isn't to say that Michelle Ryan doesn't add life to the show, it's just that her character is really freaked out and trying to figure things out, Katee's character (I feel like we're close enough to be on a first name basis) on the other hand is used to her, shall we say, accouterments, and actually quite proud of them (and proud of where some of them are).  It's safe to say that she steals the pilot, and I really hope that she sticks around for awhile, and considering where she was at the end of last season of BSG (that's the cool way to refer to Battlestar Galactica) she'll probably have the time to give this show, although you never can tell with Galactica.  From the looks of the pilot, that'll be the case on this show as well.  The car crash scene, which if you've seen a movie in the last two months, or watched any NBC at all in the last few weeks you've seen a bit of, is unbelievable.  I actually watched it like ten times in a row trying to tell if it was CGd.  I'm sure that it was, but it looks incredibly real.  Not to mention horrifying.  The action is great, the central mythos of the show is set up well in the pilot episode, but I'm not sure that I buy the relationship between Jaime (our heroine) and Will (her doctor boyfriend).  The dialogue between them seemed really forced, which is odd since this show comes from the creators of BSG who make not only the dialogue but the entire strange senario in which the show takes place seem incredibly believable.  There are extenuating circumstances to their relationship which are revealed early on in the episode, and since part of their discussion is really a DTR, which are never easy, and probably always seemed forced from the outside, I'm willing to suspend the disbelief and see where it goes.  The other thing I found a little lacking in the episode was the feeling that it was extremely rushed.  I think that this would have worked much better as a two hour pilot instead of trying to convey the entire idea and introduce all of the side characters and the mystery that is requisite in a show such as this in just one hour.  Other than those two minor quibbles, I found Bionic Woman to be an outstanding hour of television, and I can't wait to see more.

Interesting fact: Katee Sackhoff is not the only BSG actor to have a role in the show, Mark Sheppard, who played Baltar's lawyer on a recent storyline (and was Badger on Firefly), and Aaron Douglas, who plays Chief Tyrol, also appear in the pilot, and will likely have at least a little bit of a run on Bionic Woman.

Pilot Grade: 95%


I honestly thought after I finished watching Bionic Woman that it would get the highest grade I would give out.  Sure it had a couple of minor issues, but I was pumped after watching it, and knew that it was a strong pilot.  Let me start by saying that Chuck might just be the best pilot ever shot.  I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this show.  It is hilarious, the action is at times breathtaking, the acting is superb, the dialogue is spot on, and the premise of the show is a perfect match for the type of show that it is.  Yvonne Strzechowski (and I have no idea how to pronounce that) is going to be the breakout star of the season.  She's unbelievably hot (and the filmmakers take full advantage of that fact) but she's also got action ability (she could probably teach Sidney Bristow a thing or two) and acts as a great "straight man" to the comedic stylings of Zachary Levi, our unwitting hero.  Levi is dead on as a charming, yet nerdy guy, who finds out that he's now a part of something far bigger and more important than anything he's used to, saving the world at $11/hour.  Add in Adam Baldwin (no relation) as another fed, and you've got a great comedic threesome to carry this show.  Adam Baldwin, of course, was Jayne on the short lived, but much loved, Firefly, and it appears that the spirit of Jayne is alive and well in the character of John Casey.  Morgan, Chuck's best friend, played by Joshua Gomez (who had a run on Invasion, a previous Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year award winner) is very funny, especially in his interactions with Chuck's sister, played by Sarah Lancaster (from Saved by the Bell: The New Class, I admit, I looked that up on IMDb, I didn't know it off the top of my head, I recognized her as the gift shop girl from season 2 of Scrubs).  But no question, the top secondary character is the boyfriend of Chuck's sister, Captain Awesome.  I hope that he becomes a recurring character, because he cracked me up.  Anyway, the episode is perfectly plotted, considering that it has to introduce the characters, the concept, and has an action filled "mission" of sorts added in.  It pulls all of this off perfectly.  Another great thing about this show is that while it's an action/spy show, it is also a comedy, and it recognizes that by not taking itself too seriously, but by relying on the comedic arena for the most part, making the thriller aspects that much more thrilling when they occur.

Interesting Fact: It is produced by and the pilot was directed by McG, who also directed the two Charlie's Angels movies as well as the just released We Are Marshall.

Pilot Grade: 100%

Until Next Time, more pilot reviews to come!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pilot Reviews K-Ville and Back to You

So, I've decided to try and see every one of the pilots for the new fall season on the network channels, excluding of course reality tv as I am opposed to it.  So far, K-Ville and Back to You have premiered, so here are my comments and grades.


Overall, I was very disappointed with the pilot for K-Ville.  It's seems like it is just going to be a stereotypical cop show, kind of like Miami Vice only set in New Orleans.  That would be fine, except for the fact that they promoted it (and titled it) as though it would be something with a little more substance.  There are moments when the city and it's situation plays a role in the show, but mostly it doesn't seem that important.  Despite the fact that the hurricane ravaged city and the rebuilding project play a role in the plot of the first episode it still has the feel of a predictable, cheesy cop show plot.  They need to focus on the moments that seemed real, and try to be more original instead of a car chase, shoot em up, oriented cop show.  I haven't given up completely on this show, but truth be told, I probably wouldn't be too worried if I didn't catch another episode.

Interesting fact, one of the supporting characters is played by the actress who played Simone last season in Heroes.

Pilot Grade 66%


For some reason, the traditional sitcom just doesn't seem to appeal to me as much anymore.  I much more prefer the one camera, studio eschewing, no laugh track sitcom that has recently taken over (Arrested Development, Scrubs, The Office, My Name is Earl).  Overall they don't seem as real, and as everyone knows, comedy comes from real situations.  However if the traditional sitcom is going to make a comeback, it might as well be powered by Kelsey Grammer (from Cheers and Fraiser fame) and Patricia Heaton (the wife on Everyone Loves Raymond).  The two sitcom stars have obvious chemistry, and are both extremely talented in this arena.  The pilot had its funny moments, but was very predictable.  I wanted to see more of the supporting cast who seem to have a lot of promise, but the pilot mainly focuses on introducing us to the two leads.  Overall, I'd say that the show has a chance to find it's groove and become a pretty funny half hour of television.

Interesting fact, this show is from the same people who created Fraiser, arguably the last good traditional sitcom on network television.

Pilot Grade 78%

Until Next Time, I'm downloading Bionic Woman, Chuck, and Journeyman from Amazon Unbox, and will be giving my thoughts and grades on each of those soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

3rd Annual Josh's Choice For the Best New Show of the Season Award

It's that time again.  Remember, only network shows count (FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, and the revamped WB/UPN combo the CW).

5. Heroes - NBC

I know, I know, I was all about this show for awhile, but there turned out to be way too many plot holes as the season went on, and the season finale was one of (if not the) worst season finales that I have ever seen.  Plenty of time for it to get back to the greatness it showed early on.

4. 30 Rock - NBC

Holy Crap, Tina Fey is hilarious.  And kind of hot.  Tracy Morgan is brilliant, and there is no way to say enough about Alec Baldwin.  With the brilliance of The Office and My Name is Earl, Thursday nights on NBC are once again Must See!

3. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - NBC

Aaron Sorkin is amazing.  A lot of people didn't like this show, but I, for one, loved it.  I'm very sad to see it go.  In my mind there is always a place for Sorkin's smart (and, yes, sometimes political) fast talk.

2. Jericho - CBS

For a little bit it looked like NBC might run away with this years top five, but this fantastic show (that I'm frankly a little surprised was ever picked up by CBS in the first place, doesn't really seem like a great fit) kept the NBC sweep from happening.  It looked for a little bit like this show wasn't going to make it back either, but it has gotten a seven episode pickup for the new season, so good job to the fans that helped make that happen!

and finally, the number one show...

1. Friday Night Lights - NBC

It is about so much more than Football, it is about life, and it is the most realistic portrayal of a family that I have ever seen on TV.  If you didn't catch this show last season, get on it and join the Dillon Panther bandwagon.  There's room.

Until Next Time, lot's of television to be excited about this season.  The incoming shows that I'm most excited about, and are on the watch list for the next season's coveted Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year Award, are Bionic Woman (from the creators of the new Battlestar Gallactica, easily the best thing on TV, well, ever), Journey Man (A: because I love time travel, B: because it stars Lucius Vorenus from HBO's Rome and he's awesome), Chuck (who doesn't like the idea of a computer nerd becoming a super spy, it's Alias for the nerd crowd), Reaper (the main character, who was the main character on former JCFBNSOTS Award honorable mention The Loop, finds out when he turns 21 that his parents sold his soul to the devil and now he has to work for him, happy birthday.  Oh, and the pilot is directed by Kevin Smith, sweet.), Pushing Daisies (the set up to this show is perfect, if the main character touches someone who has died, they come back to life, but if he touches them again, they're dead for good.  Well, he touches his old flame and brings her back to life and then they fall in love, the only problem, if they ever touch, she's dead again, this time forever, sexual tension much?  Plus it looks like it was filmed by Tim Burton.  Perfect.  It's between this and Bionic Woman to start.), Dirty Sexy Money (just because it has Peter Krause, I love me some Peter Krause.  Not only is he one of the worlds best actors, not only is he from great shows such as Sports Night and Six Feet Under, but his last name is really fun to say, it's pronounced KROW-zuh.  That's awesome.), and lastly, yes I am really excited about this show, Cavemen (I can't help it, my hopes are raised.  I love the commercials, so I'm ready for the show.)  Lots of new shows looking for the Josh love this season.  There are also some more that didn't have the pre season hype to make the list, but that doesn't mean that they won't be in the running if the pilot is really good and I get caught despite myself.  Wow, that was a really long Until Next Time.