Monday, October 22, 2007

Pilot Reviews Samantha Who and Viva Laughlin

The final Fall Pilot Reviews are here for your reading pleasure, even though one of them has already been canceled.  Yup, I was too slow in getting this blog out.  If I had done it yesterday while watching football, I would have beaten the ax, but alas, the ax beat me.  Not that I'm too surprised.  I also wish that I had already done my review before tonight, because I would have made my Tom Baldwin reference before he appeared on Journeyman tonight and I would have looked like a psychic.  Oh well.  At any rate, here are the final two Fall Pilot Reviews...


The show had some funny moments, there is no denying that.  The premise was interesting and for the most part entertaining.  Jean Smart was, as always, brilliant, and the show is worth watching if just for her.  Christina Applegate has grown tremendously as an actor as well since her days as a Bundy, and it is hard to find fault in her performance.  The main problem with this show is that I can't really see it remaining interesting for a long period at a time.  Shannon mentioned that he felt that Pushing Daisies could have easily been done as a theatrical release, and I agree, although I think that as the show has gone on the past few weeks, it has continued to stay fresh and interesting.  I'm not sure that the same could be said for Samantha Who?.  For a few weeks, the premise will work, but how long can it really take the main character to find out the bad things she did before losing her memories and try to become a better person?  I think that this would have made a great romantic comedy.  Girl loses memory, finds out that she was bad and because of it had lost a great guy, remedies it, and gets back said guy.  There are laughs there are tears, and you go home happy and full of too expensive popcorn.  In a sitcom, I think the idea will only be watchable for a few episodes.  I also didn't like the jokes at the expense of the over weight lonely and unpopular girl.  They were too easy and truthfully pretty lame.  Sitcom writers should be able to come up with something better.

Interesting Fact: The cast is made up of recognizable faces from lots of other shows, already mentioned Christina's famous former role on Married/With Children, her best friend Andrea is played by Jennifer Esposito who was on Spin City, Samantha's mother is played by the aforementioned Jean Smart, who has had a recent outstanding turn on 24, but is most well known of course for Designing Women.  The boyfriend is played by none other than Barry Watson formally of 7th Heaven, (making this the second blog entry with a 7th Heaven reference in the last three entries, what are the odds of that?) and Frank the doorman is played by former Vulcan Tuvok of Voyager, aka Tim Russ.

Pilot Grade: 83%


I honestly don't know where to start with this show.  Seeing as it has already been canceled, perhaps it doesn't really matter, but I'll give it my best shot anyway.  The show is horribly acted, it doesn't come off as realistic at all, and that's even without taking into account the "musical numbers", if you could even really call them that.  (More on that in a moment.)  The emotions portrayed by the actors in this pilot made soap opera acting seem Academy Award worthy.  It would have been humorous if it weren't so obvious that the show was taking itself so seriously.  Hugh Jackman at least seemed to be having fun with his role, but he was the only one.  Of course, considering that his character was introduced as being synonymous with the devil, his was the only character worth having fun with.  And what a waste of D.B. Woodside, recently brilliant in the last few seasons of 24 and before that on the final season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  In this he's a kiss ass who likes to laugh sycophantly, not pretty, and not a role worthy of the talent that D.B. has so recently shown.  Speaking of wasted talent, what the hell is Melanie Griffith doing in this mess?  Oh well, it's very likely that within a couple of years no one will remember that this ever took place, and the IMDb reference will be the only reminder of this shameful moment in her career.  Just looking at the idea, it seems interesting.  A murder mystery musical.  Okay, I'm intrigued.  The execution, however, was terrible.  I'm not sure that Lloyd Owen was the right choice for the lead role in this series, he comes off as a lame Tom Baldwin (from the 4400, and I swear I was going to say that even before his cameo in Journeyman tonight as Dan Vasser's father in the past), he definitely doesn't do the job that other British actors have done in playing American (or at least with American accent) characters have lately such as Kevin McKidd in Journeyman, Jaime Bamber in Battlestar Galactica, or Michelle Ryan in Bionic Woman.  But the poor acting isn't the only problem.  The characters are completely unlikeable, which is a bad thing for a murder mystery, because if you don't care about the characters, you don't really care who did it.  Even that isn't the only problem, the "musical" portion of the program comes across (I guess I should say came across seeing as the show is now canned) as cheap karaoke.  The original versions of the songs are playing while the character sings along with the original artist.  It's like a bad talent show where the person's "act" is singing along with the cd

Interesting Fact: Lloyd Owen, the miscast lead actor (and Tom Baldwin wannabe) was once Dr. Henry Jones Sr. That's right, the father of our favorite archaeologist Indiana.  He played the role popularized by the great Sean Connery in the television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Pilot Grade: -25%, that's right, I went negative.

Until Next Time, how about Veronica Mars on Heroes?  Creepy.  I love Micah's cousin's power, that's awesome, and it looks like Parkman has even more powers to look forward to, but his daddy's evil, let's hope he can stay the same great guy we've known and loved since Felicity.

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