Archive for the ‘Pilots’ Category

Pilot Week: The other shows

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Jamie decided to see how awful the new William Shatner comedy Shit My Dad Says was and it was pretty awful. ITV2 level of awfulness in fact, and it lasted less than two minutes before it went to live in the recycle bin. Never put the word Shit in your title, even if it asterisked or whatever they did to it.

I then tackled My Generation, which is a drama that pretends to be a documentary about a group of high schoolers about to graduate ten years ago and another documentary about where they are now. It wasn’t awful and had a wide range of characters (mostly the usual sterotypes but then that is the norm unfortunately) and had some  people from other things off the telly that I enjoyed. The pilot episode set up some interesting plot strands that stopped me laughing at how the whole ‘ten  years ago’ flashbacks involved a lot of soft focus and wigs (people always have longer hair in the past on tv) and I decided to watch the next episode…

… until I found out that it had been axed already. Oh dear. Next!

No Ordinary Family sounds like my kind of show, what with its whole Fantastic Four / Heroes / generic comic book ‘influences’ and all that. It’s a family kind of show whereas I am mostly about the FX/Showtime/HBO programmes where you can be more surprised but I am partial to a bit of niceness occasionally. It’s the classic set-up for anyone who is a comic geek: family go off on a trip, run into random inexplicable sci-fi element and end up with special abilities. This family includes Michael Chiklis aka Vic From The Shield (I will get used to him not hitting people or doing aggressive faces eventually) and Julie Benz aka Darla From Buffy and Rita From Dexter being the nice mom character.

Bonus points for the moment with the Kittty Pryde & Lockheed action figure! The Julie Benz character is rather Barry Allen Flash, Michael Chiklis is a combination of the classic strong man (e.g The Thing) and fast reflexes type (who can do massive jumps like The Hulk), and the kids are the super boffin and telepathic ones. It’s all rather fun and should appeal to a wide audience as long as they don’t get too convoluted and stick to what makes the show work. Other super powered people exist and there is the obligatory conspiracy plot to get your teeth into, which is nice. One of the other characters is a bit like The Mist in their powers which pleases me. I’ll certainly watch again.

And finally, The Event:

A new mad kitchen sink style drama that will either do well or fail completely so either the  new Lost or Flash Forward. It has elements of fast-runaround-action drama like 24, some obligatory conspiracy stuff that everything seems to have these days and then the mysteriosu element that is The Event itself. I’m not saying what that is but I liked it enough to watch the second episode.

Nobody has said “remain indoors” yet, how disappointing.

Pilot Week: For Fox sake

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Other American telly pilots watched recently:

Lone Star is a new drama from Fox which is the channel that sets my internal alarm bell ringing due to its tendency to cancel everything and its links to the ruddy Murdoch empire of shite. It’s about a man who is leading several lives at once (not in some sci-fi way though) in a con man and business schmoozer stylee and he spends some of his time with not a lot of clothes on which may have intrigued me enough to watch:

Sadly it was a bit ridiculous and then Fox cancelled it after the second episode got ratings what they did not like. Oh well.

Also on Fox, from some of the people behind the marvellous Arrested Development:

Running Wilde is about a very rich annoying idiot man (played by Gob from  Arrested Development as Gob from Arrested Development with more money and less illusions) and an annoying hippy dippy woman who bleats on about materialism (played by Felicity from Felicity as a more bleaty Felicity from Felicity) and the hilarious things that happen when they live together (kind of) and go on about the old days and money and the rain forest and it’s all so annoying unfortunately. The always great Peter Serafinowicz is also trapped in this programme, for some reason sporting a comedy chest wig in episode two, eyeliner in episode one and a freaky ‘ethnic’ accent in both.

I really wanted to enjoy this but turned off halfway through the second one. Shame. The characters were all rather one dimensional and unlikeable and I  kept shouting at the screen which is never a good sign. I may be so disppointed because I loved Arrested Development so much or just because I didn’t laugh at it.

Pilot Week: Hawaii Five Oh :-(

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Time to resume my Annual American TV Pilots Found Online Experience:

Hawaii Five-0 (or however you type it) is back by somebody’s popular demand! See?

Now that Lost has ended what can we do on that feckin’ island? thought some TV execs and this is what happened : a remake/re-imagining of the old cop show with a modern twist or something, starring them people from off the telly:

The attractive bloke from that season of The Shield! As the action hero character.

Jin from Lost (and Angel and 24 and other things before that): still lost in time on the island?

Sharon/Boomer/Athena from Battlestar Galactica! As the obligatorylady character.

Spike from Buffy/Angel with another rubbish accent! This time it is Oirish, to be sure, well I think it was. In this shot he is phoning his agent and preparing to say naughty words.
It’s 45 minutes of big old dumb fun with guns, vests, sweaty men, helicopters, fighting and far too many shots of Lovely Sexy Hawaii Beaches With Sexy Booties On Them. If you like something sunny and simple full of pretty people then you’ll like this. I am used to something a bit more complicated and involving so I think I’ll pass, thanks.

More pilots than a sky full of aeroplanes or something

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

It’s that time of year when loads of random new American TV shows that I know nothing about appear and I watch them in the hope that they will  be good but am mostly disappointed. There are also a fair few trailers for forthcoming shows lurking about online so here’s a big old round-up of that sort of thing:

Rubicon is a new one on AMC (home of Breaking Bad) so we gave the pilot a go. Odd to show it then make the world wait a while for the next part but it was alright enough for me to check it out when the proper series starts. It’s rather conspiracy-laden and almost becomes a bit too ridiculous but we lasted the episode so well done. It stars James Badge Dale (Chase from 24 but in a big haired non-action man role now) , Peter Gerety (Gharty from Homicide: Life on the Street), Dallas Roberts (Angus from The L Word) , TV’s Miranda Richardson and TV and film’s Lili Taylor (but not in the pilot) for starters. Good cast so worth a go.

Persons Unknown is a new NBC miniseries of mystery so that format means no open-ended dragged-out sagas which is kind of nice. It’s created by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and set in a ghost(ish) town where a group of random strangers have been brought to a hotel for reasons unknown and are being watched by people unknown via loads of bloody cameras. It’s obviously inspired by Lost and is a bit more schmaltzy (lead kidnapped woman keeps blathering on about her stage school child actor daughter who has allergies, yawn, and her mother is involved somehow, yawn) but it’s good fun. It stars Alan Ruck (Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) , Tina Holmes (Maggie from Six feet Under season 5) and apparently at some point Kandyse McClure (Dee from Battlestar Galactica).

Scoundrels is an ABC show (I think it’s a comedy) based on New Zealand show Outrageous Fortune starring Virginia Madsen from all those films as the mother of a criminal family who attempt to go straight after the father is sent to jail for five years. Interesting fact: the original dad actor left the production after a few days of filming because (allegedly) he was too religious to do the love scenes which would have been in the script all along. Odd. It’s all rather predictable:

The Gates is another ABC show, this time going for that old spooky suburbia with secrets oooh spooky vibe. The ‘twist’ is that it takes place in a gated community. Hmmm… secretive characters include some very old-looking American teenagers (are there any other kind on these programmes?) and an English suburban housewife played by TV’s Rhona Mitra who happens to be a vampire. Yes really. Papi from The L Word is also in it but presumably not as a rather excellent lesbian. Shame the show is such a bloody awful mess, it doesn’t know whether it is a campy nonsense thing, a creepy mystery or a generic soap opera and it fails on all points:

Memphis Beat is a TNT show and stars Jason ‘My Name Is Earl’ Lee from some Kevin Smith films, Jerry From ER and the marvellous Alfre Woodard from all those films (and this week’s True Blood) and I watched the whole of the pilot without turning it off so I’ll give it another go. It’s a cop show and was directed by Clark Johnson (great actor from Homicide and director from The Shield and The Wire) which is what got me interested. In case anyone is wondering, no it is not an  American remake of Mersey Beat. Not that you would be wondering such a thing.

Running Wilde has not premiered yet. It’s created Mitch Hurwitz , Will Arnett and Jim Vallely (Arrested Development links there) and will be on the show-killing Fox network. The trailer is not exactly good, so I hope that’s a blip:

NBC are plugging The Event as the next big event show (pardon the obvious language). It stars Zeljko Ivanek from every good TV show ever (Homicide, True Blood, Heroes, Big Love, 24, Lost, Oz) , Sarah Roehmer from Disturbia and Laura Innes (Kerry Weaver from ER, hurrah) and is about a shedload of stuff which somehow all links together. The trailer is a bit mad but I’ll check it out as I am rather curious:


I’m tired and I just don’t want to go out, which is handy…

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Cool stuff everywhere today. Not a mishap with milk but more new music and video things came to my attention, which was surprising considering how busy I am with Bloody Christmas In April projects in the office. Oh don’t ask, I’m not mad or even out of synch with the rest of the world, it’s a publishing thing which will calm down soon. I could also  go on about the “Bigoted Woman” Fiasco which took over the riveting rolling news (perfect fodder for that) and the internet (oh the outrage) but I won’t as I can’t be bothered and had these delightful things below to look at instead.  Happy thoughts!

Thanks to Paul Fizzypop’s plugging of her music and Rod Brightlight’s working with her and remixing of her, I tried a bit of Nerina Pallot and found her to be surprisingly to my taste. Maybe she had an annoying single once that put me off? I don’t know but the recent single is a lovely blast of Summer pop and there’s a Bright Light Bright Light remix (free!) that is also damn fine:

In brand new music news The Divine Comedy are back! Almost!

At The Indie Disco is out soon and there’s an album on the way. I remember indie discos well… I think  it must have been in the 1990s.

Nick from #1 Hits From Another Planet has done a big old review of that Foxy Shazam album I was raving about the other week and very good it is too. Album trailer:

Chorusy, isn’t it?

Just watched a new TV pilot and liked it: It’s an American show called Gravity and is on the Starz channel (home of the great Party Down) and is floating around on the interwebs too. A darkly comic drama about a support group for people who failed to commit suicide doesn’t sound very funny but it showed promise in an odd kind of way. The trailer was way too schmaltzy so here’s a video of interviews and clips instead:

The theme tune is by Sarah Bareilles and is, shockingly, the song Gravity from her album: the one I liked but no bugger bought. Ah well. Gravity stars Krysten Ritter (aka  Gia in Veronica Mars and Jane in Breaking Bad, and playing another messed-up character here) and Ivan Sergei (from top odd film  The Opposite of Sex) plus some other men and women, one of whom used to be married to Rod Stewart.

It wouldn’t be a blog from me without a Doctor Who moment and this trailer for a very forthcoming DVD (next year) got me  feeling all 1982 (when I really got mad on the programme):

Also of note for Mara fans is this forthcoming Big Finish play. Oh yes.

V is for Very Good Pilot Episode

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

The latest thing from my childhood to get the remake/reboot treatment and make me feel my age is V

Alion ships turn up, smiley happy alions say hello can we have some water and a cup of sugar and we’ll give you some nice alion stuff in exchange, look we are nice and we have uniforms for people who want to join our fan club but wait oh no they might be bad alions after all…
As usual Great Britain is London which is Big Ben. Meh.

It’s pretty much a rehash of the original series but with modern twists and changes. Old geeks will recognise a lot of it but the mix has been updated to include a pinch of Battlestar Galactica (new version of course), some clunky Obama campaign references, a smidgen of David Icke paranoia and a nice load of non-annoying characters unlike the recent yawnfest that was Flash Forward. No spoilers here as some surprises are to be had in the first episode. I say give it a go. It’s a great pilot. And yes I know how to spell alien really.

Welcome to the Dollhouse…

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

New telly!

Dollhouse episode 1 was merely adequate and didn’t really grip me like it should. Episode 2 was much better and could almost have been the premiere, if a couple of those pilot scenes had been added. Much more interesting stuff with back story on the dolls, the Very Bad Thing and some nice running, jumping and arrowing. It seems like most of the old Buffy boffins are involved in this show and this week featured not one but two Galactica actors (you’ll have to watch to see who the les-publicised second one was). With Katee Sackhoff currently playing a resurrected season 1 Kara Thrace with similar issues over in Nip/Tuck and Jamie Bamber being a main star in the British Law & Order starting this week I feel like the BSGs are everywhere. Dollhouse still feels a bit wrong, what with the premise of the show being a bit dumb and it looking like Wolfram & Hart’s LA offices had a bit of a makeover and have now branched out into imprinting false personalities onto people for peculiar reasons. I’ll stick with it as I have faith. No pun intended.

Next week’s episode looks a bit camp and stoopid:

United States of Tara is a new show from Showtime about a woman who has multiple personalities (or dissociative identity disorder to be more scientific) played by Toni Collette (who will always be Muriel to me) and her family who behave in that Showtime kind of way (see Weeds for what I mean) and is created by Diablo ‘ Juno’ Cody aka the less evil sounding Brook Busey.
United States of Tara
Reviewed via Facebook:
19:52 Dan is watching the first episode of that Diablo Cody show from Showtime and going “um er erm…”
19:55 So far… the personality is annoying. 19:55
19:56 The personality is actually an annoying teenage girl. Hmmm…. what range.
20:00 Oh no! The teenage daughter is going out with an Alan! (and why am I treating Facebook like Twitter?)
20:09 Next personality: Redneck gun loving man…
20:39 Episode 2 is better. Buster from Arrested Development is the English teacher…
20:48 2nd Eels track! 3rd personality: Stepford wife.
22:21 Episode 4: Gay son has a crush on sinister dude, Stroppy teenage daughter gets a job in a resturant… I am still watching it…

Episodes 5 and 6 were good too, with a scarily realistic family meal/confrontation. Whoops.

The Sun Never Shines on TV

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

As I am on holiday I have time for nice things like cookery, cleaning, sorting out bookcases, ironing, reading books, writing stuff and watching telly stuff of the web. Here are some things:
True Blood
True Blood’s first episode is pretty much the same as the leaked pilot but with a nice title sequence (why is it only ‘grownups’ channels have them these days?) featuring Jace Everett’s Bad Things song and some harsh imagery. Loved the ‘God Hates Fangs’ sign but the maggoty animal was a bit much! Ruttina Wesley replaces Brook Kerr as best friend “uppity” Tara but everyone else is still there, including Vampire Bob from Brentwood, Essex aka that place where I was born. I reviewed this ages ago and I still love it. It’s still something those Whedon fans who miss the old vamp shows will enjoy in between all the comics.

Sons Of Anarchy
With The Shield on its final season, FX needs a new show for men! How about Sons Of Anarchy? It’s a small town motorcycle gang extravaganza and it features Hellboy, Nathan From Queer As Folk, Peg From Married With Children, Skinner From The X-Files, Adriana From The Sopranos, Anita From Six Feet Under and Dutch From The Shield. Lots of rude words, bikes, shooting and tragedy. Shakespeare with (motorcycle) helmets? Anybody? I quite enjoyed it and will give it a go.

Dexter’s back!
In episode 3.1 Dexter goes to the dentist, makes pancakes and buys some donuts. Deb gets a new hairstyle, gives up bad habits and makes an enormous faux pas in front of Special Guest Star Jimmy Smits. Someone gets promoted, Masouka writes an article, the new guy is under suspicion and the season arc involves Dexter’s ‘Code’ violation…

And finally, something I heard from some virtual lesbians made me happy:
L Word spinoff

The previously announced online spinoff of The L Word will revolve around Leisha Hailey’s Alice, Showtime announced today. In-between shooting The L Word, Hailey has been busy promoting her new rock band, Uh Huh Her, which recently released its first album, Common Reaction.

Who watches the…?

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

So what have I been peeking at this week?

Watch ... man

I may have mentioned it before but I hadn’t actually seen it… until now. What am I on about? Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog of course! Three thirteen minute instalments of Joss Whedony goodness starring Neil Patrick Harris as Dr Horrible, Nathan Fillion from Serenity/Firefly and season 7 of Buffy as his nemesis Captain Hammer and that girl who played the potential slayer with the hat from series 7 of Buffy as the lady he is too shy to talk to. If you liked the Buffy musical episode and have a thing for comedy superheroes (i.e you are a geek) then this is a must-see.

Fringe is not a new leaked drama pilot about hairdressing. It’s not the new X-Files either, although it will probably be decribed as such. It’s more the new Alias meets Lost and that’s no surprise when it’s a JJ Abrams creation, so there are shady organisations, FBI agents, genetic experiments, a bit of globe-trotting, a massive coverup of an incident on a passenger plane, some twisy-turny betrayals, that creepy guy from the most recent season of Lost and other such genre staples. I liked it enough to sit through the double-length episode and will be watching when it appears legitimately in the autumn.

The Watchmen trailer is out there on the internet and will be in the cinemas with a certain batty film. It looks gorgeous but has Billy Corgan music. Will this be enough to redeem old Grunge Nosferatu for that book of poetry? Hmmm…

Alphabeat’s re-release remix singles extravaganza continues with Boyfriend. It’s now got that 1988 drum machine beat and the video has some interesting uses for cassette tape that would just not be possible with CDs or digital downloads.

Drop The Pilot: Summer 2008.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

It’s the return of Drop The Pilot where I , er, watch pilot shows for the telly…

Swingtown is a new CBS show set in 1976 and is all ‘Retro! Funky music! Funny interior design! Wigs! Wife-swapping!’ It’s a network version of The Ice Storm set in suburbia, what with its massive houses, kids with issues, special parties and occasionally outraged people. It reminded me of the TV adaptation of Tales Of The City but with straight married swingers replacing them slutty gays, and seemed to be populated with people from things that I vaguely recognised. The main stars are Miles From This Life As An American, The Female Rabbi From Six Feet Under, and CTU Agent Sarah Gavin From 24 Season. The pilot epiosde was okay, neither awful nor amazing, so I’ll give it another go and can do so soon as it’s actually being shown on a weekly basis if you know where to look. Bonus point for Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) as executive producer. No wife-swapping though, thanks but no thanks.

True Blood
True Blood starts on HBO in September but I acquired a copy of the pilot and was all excited as it looks like a potential Best New Show on paper. Created by Six Feet Under/American Beauty uber-genius Alan Ball (who is in my mind in the same league as Joss Whedon and Russell T Davies) but based on a series of books I have no intention of ever reading (Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris) and starring some pretty good people, I was glad to see that it totally lived up to all of my expectations. And I am a fussy bastard. I don’t want to go Spoiler-mad but it’s set in a Louisiana small town in a world where vampires can live on synthetic blood (the titular True Blood) and revolved around a waitress who just happens to be telepathic (just because she is, okay?), her friend who can’t hold down a job in the service industry as she is rather uppity, her boss at the bar, her slutty brother who has a thing for women who f**k vamps, and a new guy in town who is the first vampire to drink at the bar where she works. All of the characters are a bit peculiar and the actors are very good, no surprise as they include Anna Paquin (X-Men, The Piano, This Is Our Youth) as Sookie the waitress, Stephen Moyer (from my home town of Brentwood, Essex) as Bill the vampire (because vampires can be called Bill) , Nelsan Ellis (from cancelled Tim ‘Firefly’ Minear show The Inside) as a gay chef LaFayette and Vinnie From Home & Away as Sookie’s withered-beefcake-looking brother Jason. The influences I spotted in the show include a bit of Twin Peaks (oddball small town but not in a cliched way), a bit of Buffy (more new vamp rules) and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing (freaky Louisiana location) but all of the elements of this production work together to make one of the best pilots I’ve seen in a long time and the best since Pushing Daisies. Bonus point for the comedy value of having Sookie’s grandmother reading the book that the show is based on. Now I have to wait until September for the cliffhanger to be resolved…

Pretty/Handsome comes from the creators of Nip/Tuck and that might explain their punctuation quirks. It’s not on until September but it’s another leaked pilot that I thought looked promising. There seems to be a theme emerging in the last few years over on American cable shows since Nip/Tuck (two plastic surgeons with lots of money, nice houses, dysfunctional families and work environment, quite literally bring work home by operating on friends and family) inspired Huff (psychiatrist with lots of money, nice house, dysfunctional family and work environment, quite literally brings work home as is a bit crazy) and now this new show (gynaecologist with lots of money, nice house, dysfunctional family and work environment, almost brings work home as is probably a transexual and definitely a transvestite) and it left me wondering if I really needed another show about whiney rich successful white American professionals. Hmmm… the original title was 4 oz which is allegedly the weight of an average penis and a much better title in my (weird) opinion. It stars Joseph Fiennes as the token Englishman playing an American that all new shows must have, and he is Bob the transexual gynaecologist. Carrie Anne Moss from The Matrix plays his wife and Blythe Danner from Huff plays his mother as if she is still on the set of Huff where she played the mother. Robert Wagner from Hart To Hart plays his dad but there is no Stefanie Powers, bah! There are the usual 25 year old actors playing high school kids (involved in a Hollyoaksesque ‘hiding the pregnancy until childbirth’ plot), the token child genius with no common sense (who arranges a date in a chatroom that turns out to be with a paedophile, as you do) and some sympathetic transexuals who just happen to turn up to move the plot forward. It’s alll rather joyless and they use an annoying wobbly-cam with weird lighting technique for random close-ups that would usually indicate a flashback sequence but doesn’t. How distracting. I might give this a go but it’s a bit dull.