Wilfred

Wilfred is one of those high concept shows that was so bizarre when it was new, it was hard to imagine it could last. If you’ve hung with it over its four seasons, reflect on how weird it seemed then and how weird it seems now. A pilot can “teach” us to accept a show’s premise and then *bang* we’re on board.

WILFRED: L-R: Elijah Wood as Ryan and Jason Gann as Wilfred. CR: FX.Go back and re-watch the pilot. I forgot how funny it is. It might actually be funnier now, since I’m not wasting mental energy trying to figure it out. Is Ryan dreaming? Is he dead? Is he high? Can he possibly keep it secret that his neighbor’s dog is coercing him to commit petty crimes? It doesn’t matter. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Last Ship, and point of view

Let’s talk about The Last Ship. It’s been on for several weeks now, so if you were planning to watch it you probably already are. It’s what you’d expect from a basic cable show executive produced by Michael Bay. But the pilot — which has lots of explosions — got me thinking about the character from whose point of view a writer can choose to tell a story.THE LAST SHIP I know, I know, it’s based on a book. I haven’t read it, but I’m assuming that, like the show, it’s told through the eyes of Captain Tom Chandler (Eric Dane). He’s a big, tough white guy who, no doubt, has proved his mettle serving in the U.S. Navy. Plot developments in the pilot demonstrate for us that he’s brave, dedicated to his men, and loves his wife and children. Basically, he’s an all-around Good Guy, complete with the white hat, which he places on his head with great symbolic purpose. Continue reading

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Now that its premiere season is behind us, it’s a good time to look back at the pilot of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and remember how we got here. A re-watch of the pilot serves as a reminder not only of the show’s charm — maybe the reason we hung on through some slow weeks — but the Whedon/Tancharoen family’s skill at storytelling. Despite the lukewarm reaction when it first aired, this is a hell of a good pilot, in hindsight. It kicks off the season arc, the story of Coulson (Clark Gregg) building his team and gradually learning about TAHITI, and all of the relationships therein. But instead of making its B-plot a one-off, it too sets up a long, methodical hero’s journey.

MikePetersonThe latter is what interested me most. Even though we had a long stretch of Mike-less episodes, this season was very much Deathlok‘s origin story. In fact, Mike (J. August Richards) himself says that at minute 30. Continue reading

Orange is the New Black

I almost didn’t give Orange is the New Black a chance, based simply on hating the title. It suggested to me that we’d be watching “Elle Woods Goes to the Big House.” I envisioned a main character who would apply for dispensation to wear Manolos with her jumpsuit, or teach her cell mates whatever is the 2013 equivalent of the bend-and-snap.

oitnb

A show about a woman going to prison, produced exclusively for Netflix, could as well go the other way: all rape-y and terrifying. Also not something I was eager to embrace.

Somehow, this show–evidenced by the pilot–pulls off a delicate balance of realism, drama and humor. I was surprised at how much I laughed. More amazing, it actually made me, an average middle-class white woman look at the central character, Piper (Taylor Schilling), and think, “That could be me.” If, somehow, I had done something in my past that came back to bite me in the ass, I would totally go on Amazon and buy books to prepare for prison. Continue reading

Orphan Black

ImageIf you are lucky enough to have no idea what Orphan Black is about, don’t hit the jump. But do tune into the inevitable marathon that will take place before season 2 kicks off April 19. Orphan Black is one of those shows that, the less you know about it going in, the better. When I first watched, I hadn’t heard anything more than one little tweet about it, and even that contained what I now consider a spoiler.

I love a pilot that surprises you and makes you go, “Where is this going?” If you’re into suspense, amazing acting and East London accents, you’ll like this show. Continue reading

Why I Didn’t Hate the HIMYM Finale

bluefrenchhornhimym…because I feel very alone in my non-hatred. Need I warn you that there are major spoilers ahead?

  1. I never, for a second, bought Robin and Barney as a couple. They had no chemistry. She had played witness to too much of his debauchery. Even with his vow to never lie, how could she trust him? Although I love Barney as a character, I would never wish a marriage to someone like that on a woman I cared about. I actually wanted her to run out on the wedding, but I’ll take this outcome just as well.
  2. Continue reading

Everything but the News

Everything but the NewsI heard about Everything but the News on NPR. Public radio pushing public television; if they’re going for meta, they’re finding it. I don’t even know how to categorize this show, and to me, that’s always a good thing.

The pilot episode opens with a news anchor telling us that we’re going to hear a report from inside the world of online video, before flashing back 72 hours. A reporter, Steve Goldbloom, stands outside LAX, getting reamed over the phone by his producer. My first thought is, “Man, that producer’s a real dick.” He promises that if Steve and camera man, Noah, prove themselves at VidCon, PBS will offer him steady work. (My second thought is, “Why did they fly into LAX for a convention in Anaheim? SNA would have been closer.”)

Continue reading

Perception

Before Perception returns for a third season Feb. 25, you may want to know whether it’s worth watching. I did. As adorable as Eric McCormack looks with a 5 o’clock shadow, I needed convincing. There’s no shortage of shows about eccentric geniuses, or their sub-genre, cop-with-eccentric-genius-partner shows. So Perception, for all its charm, needs its pilot to break the mold.

Eric-McCormack

How cute is he?

Perception suffers from the threat of another presupposition. No matter how many roles he plays, Eric McCormack will always be Will Truman, the character who made him a household name. The first thing I saw him in following Will & Grace was Dead Like Me, and I luh-hoved seeing him play a character so diametrically opposed to the previous one. So I know he’s capable of surprising an audience, but didn’t expect him to do it again, this time in a starring role. I was just waiting for this show to bore me. Continue reading

Killer Women

Hats off to the first cancelled new show of 2014! If you can still catch an episode of Killer Women before they stop airing it, you have to watch it to believe how unbelievably bad it is. Sophia Vergara is a brilliant comedienne, but I don’t know what she was thinking when she put her name on this soapy western/procedural drama.

Killer Women Molly Parker

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss those micro-mannerisms.

In the show’s opening moments we meet Texas Ranger Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica), and she’ll be on screen pretty much from here on out. Don’t worry; she has enough costume changes to keep her interesting to look at if not listen to. Continue reading

Common Law

Having discovered Michael Ealy on the fun-if-not-groundbreaking Almost Human, I had to have a peek at his previous buddy cop show, USA’s Common Law. If Amost Human is a tad formulaic, Common Law is downright Screenwriting 101. But if you’re in it for the Ealy charm, you’ve come to the right place (in either case).Common Law Continue reading