Sunday, August 19, 2007

3 Pilots

Whenever the new TV season rolls around, I always like to watch the Pilot episodes of every show I can. I like to do this because the best writing that a show is capable of usually comes out in the pilot because it has been fine-tuned and written in the hope that the show will be picked up by a TV station. I can usually tell if a show is worth my time by watching the pilot. Plus, I like to keep up on the latest buzz, just so I’m not uninformed.

The first pilot I checked out this season was that of a new series on ABC called Pushing Daisies. Pushing Daisies is about a simple pie-maker named Ned who has been given the gift of bringing dead things back to life. Ned found this gift of his at a very young age, but there is one main stipulation: if Ned brings one person back to life by touching them, he can never touch them again or else they will be dead forever. The story moves on, filling itself with great characters, quirky settings, and hilariously ingenious plot twists.

Even though I enjoyed the pilot, I do have a complaint with the look of the show. It is FAR too colorful, a bit hard on the eyes, and relies a bit too much on (very fake-looking) computer graphics. I think everyone who watches it will either give in to the fantasy world of the show or just say, “Wow … that looks fake.” I’m thinking the latter. It’s their loss because I think this is going to turn out to be a fun show that families might even want to watch together.

Plus, Kristen Chenoweth (one of my future wives) is in it and is just as beautiful, charming, and hilarious as ever.

I’ve been a David Duchovny fan since The X-Files and really liked his performance in Return to Me, so I figured I would watch the pilot of his new Showtime dramedy Californication. The title should have kept me away, but I figured it might actually be something redemptive and well-written with a strong role for Duchovny.

Wrong on three counts. Californication is a sorry excuse for a television show and terrible entertainment. It seems as if the main point of the show is to string sex scenes together with banal dialogue, over-used jokes, and lines un-lovingly ripped from great films.

The last act of the pilot tries to get the audience all emotional with one of those clichĂ© music montages. Needless to say, it doesn’t work (even though it’s a menially good montage). The worst part about this addition to the show, though, is that whoever directed it couldn’t even find a good way to take the show from the previous scene to the montage. They simply had the editor add a complete fade-out and then a complete fade-in. What a hack-job!

It made me mad, realizing that much of America finds this useless trash entertaining.

When I heard Glen Close was starring in a new series on F/X, I got excited … and a bit nervous. I love Glen Close’s acting. She has a very commanding presence and is really good at either getting under your skin or tugging at your heart-strings. What made me nervous is that this show was made by F/X, the same people behind such exploitative moral messes as Dirt and Nip/Tuck.

“I can’t judge it until I see it…” I said to myself. So today I sat down to watch it.

Damages is one heck of a show and has one the most intriguing pilots I have ever seen. Nothing is as it seems in the world of powerful New York attorney Patty Hughes, played with icy coldness by Glen Close. That’s really all I can say about the pilot, because to describe more would be to give some of the show away. It’s really excellent drama with power-house performances, awesome camera-work, and a great script.

And the best part was that it didn’t fall into the typical F/X crap trap of throwing in a pointless sex scene or two just to wake up the audience. There is a love-scene in the pilot, but it is surprisingly under-stated and tastefully done. One of my pet-peeves is when a show breaks the rhythm of its story by having a jarring cut to a rowdy sex-scene accompanied by some rock music that makes you feel like you’re attending a rave. Props to you, F/X!

Damages is a refreshingly well-done haven in a vast television wasteland of thoughtless garbage and I’m going to be catching up on the episodes I’ve missed over the past few weeks. I suggest you do the same.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

'tis a shame to see David Duchovny wasted.h