Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pilot Reviews Moonlight, Aliens in America, and Pushing Daisies


Now, those of you that know me well know that I love sci-fi and fantasy, and that includes shows with mythological creatures such as Vampires.  I also love mystery due to reading lots of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew growing up, moving from that into the great Agatha Christie.  So, a melding of the two is a recipe for success, at least in my opinion, and I'm glad that a television show finally melded these two loves I have into an exciting and interesting show.  Of course that sentence was relevant years ago when Joss Wheden brought us the fantastic show ANGEL.  Then, also, there is the amazing book series, recently turned into a pretty good television series, The Dresden Files.  Both of those are far more interesting and original than Moonlight, a show about a private investigator who also happens to be a Vampire.  Unfortunately, the show is pretty uninspired.  The pilot is incredibly predictable, I had the whole thing figured out less than 15 minutes in.  The acting wasn't anything special, and the dialogue was pretty boring.  The only thing in the pilot that I liked was the friend vampire of the main character vampire (sorry it wasn't interesting enough of a show for me to remember names).  He had some life to him (interesting since the character he was playing is one of the undead).  Other than some funny moments provided all to briefly by him, the show had no real redeeming qualities.

Interesting fact: The one character that I liked in the show, played by Jason Dohring, is a cult favorite character in the sadly departed show Veronica Mars.

Pilot Grade: 11%


There has been a lot of talk about the death of the sitcom, which in my opinion is a very sad thing if it is true.  When a sitcom is really good, it can remain in the watching public's consciousness forever.  I'd like to think that the sitcom isn't dying, we're just in a lull of good sitcoms being produced.  Thus far this season doesn't seem to be changing that situation for the most part.  Happily, Aliens in America is the exception.  This show was extremely funny (which is a necessity for a sitcom, it's part of the definition people, yes ABC I'm talking to you), the situations, while taken to a bit of a funny extreme, where at the same time extremely believable, as were the characters, which made for that all important element, heart.  So far Seinfeld is the only show that survived (and indeed prospered) without it, and no one else is Seinfeld.  It was funny, the dialogue was sharp and funny, and the actors were all excellent.  It managed to take a possibly sensitive subject and find the humor and heart in it.  For those of you who don't know, it's about a middle class family in Wisconsin who decides to take on a foreign exchange student, expecting a blond haired, blue eyed, athletic European, but instead they get a Pakistani Muslim.  Horrified, the mother wants to return him.  She tries to explain to her husband that he could be a terrorist,
"Some of them pass themselves off as students.  Bill O'Reilly says so.  You need to watch more news."

"Honey, it's Midora Wisconsin."

"What so now Midora's not important enough to blow up?  Where's your civic pride?"

Through a majority of the episode, the mother is not shown to have the best qualities, but that's just to set up the moment at the end that brings a little bit of a tear to your eyes for a reason other than because you've been laughing nonstop (although that is also true).  This is a show that comes around at the right time, but it is about more than Muslims are a lot like us, it's also funny, like a sitcom should be.

Interesting Fact: David Guarascio and Moses Port, the creators of this program are both former writers of the sitcoms Just Shoot Me and Mad About You.

Pilot Grade: 94%


Visually stunning, well acted, and superbly written, this is a show with some promise.  The pilot was very well executed.  It was funny and suspenseful at just the right times.  It had some great lines and great moments between the characters.  The main character, Ned says to his childhood sweetheart, who he is unable to ever touch again, "I'm not into the hug."
She responds, "Than you haven't been hugged properly, it's like an emotional Heimlich."

That's awesome.

Later in the episode there is this exchange between Ned and his business partner played by the great Chi McBride.

Chi: "You know what?  I'm glad you did it.  It makes the worst thing I ever did seem insignificant."

Ned: "Listen to you all Judgey-judge."

Chi: "Judgey-judge?"

Priceless.  The comedy is primarily dark comedy, which is dicey, but when it's done right, I love it.  This show does it right.  Add in the visual look of the show, which is beautiful on top of being original, and you've got a good show.  Add in the emotional punch of the un-requitableack to life, but if they ever touch again, then she's dead for good.  That's just genius.  So there is a lot to like about the show.  I wasn't a huge fan of the omnipotent narration.  It fits, I guess, but I would have liked to see them go a different route.  The other thing is I'm not exactly sure where the show goes from here.  I'm guessing it becomes a bit of a mystery show, with them having to solve various cases each week, which is different than I was expecting.  I would have liked a better idea of the direction the show was headed from the pilot.  Overall, however, it appears that it might be a good show.  At the very least it will be a treat for the eyes each week.

Interesting fact: It is Executive Produced by the great Barry Sonnenfeld who directed Men in Black and Get Shorty, and used to be the Cinematographer for the Coen Brothers.

Pilot Grade: 91%

Until Next Time, Glad to see we finally got some positive reviews again.

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