Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Did You See?

I was a little underwhelmed by the five "teaser" promos ABC did for Flash Forward during tonight's Lost. Not that I've seen the pilot yet, but those images didn't conjure anything specifically from it... just a kind of general, creepy-ish "passage of life" vibe (unborn fetus --> kids playing --> marriage --> vacation --> funeral). I suppose it does work in an "everyday person" sort of way... you and I may not be connected to the events in the series, but if the event were to happen IRL... what would we see?

Will people be curious? Maybe. Will people be enthralled? Not yet. I was holding out hope for a glimpse of the massive pile-up on the freeway...


Good episode.

After a few weeks of putting pieces into place and setting the stage, but ultimately running in place, stuff happened this week. Glad we checked in with Desmond and Penny. It's so weird in this series how certain people, at different points in the story, seem like they're the be-all-end-all, the most important person in the Lost universe. Daniel certainly felt like that tonight (and Desmond, Ben, Jack, and Locke all have in the past)... but then, well, the ending happened.

Which wasn't entirely unexpected given the tone of the 2007 (2008?) Hawking/Widmore conversation... but still it worked incredibly well. I'm glad the twists can be built up to in this show instead of everything having to come out of left field. I was so curious the whole episode what Hawking's true agenda is. She played Daniel, that's for sure. To what end? There obviously has to be some sort of purpose to it otherwise, yeah, you change it (although I suspect the final three episodes of this season are going to be a massive attempt to change fate / the future and it fails and thus Hawking decides to plot the course she takes). On the subject of changing fate, Lost certainly does seem to be inching toward the Greek tragedy quandary about fate. "Ethos anthropos daimon" depending on which of two ways you read it grammatically... does the fate make the man, or does the man make his fate? And, of course, there's the ever-present theme in Greek tragedy that in trying to avoid or avert one's fate, one winds up causing it (i.e. Laius is told that his son will murder him and marry his mother, so Laius gives his son to his servant to have the boy killed, only the boy isn't killed, he grows up not knowing about his true heritage, happens upon Laius on a roadway and kills his father, then goes on to, in fact, marry his mother... whoops!)

Anyway. My own Greek tragedy geekiness aside...

Hawking says (in 2007/8) that she doesn't know what's going to happen next for the first time in ages (whatever it is, can we please leave Desmond and Penny and Little Charlie out of it? No? Dang) and I assume that's because Daniel will be telling his mother everything he knows (perhaps through Miles) so when Hawking leaves the Island in the evacuation, she knows what's to come in the timeline.

We know a "war" is coming to the Island. Who are the big players in this war? The show has had us going that it was Widmore vs. Ben, and even Widmore vs. Hawking... but is there another party (after all, it was the US Army that was on the Island with Jughead and we have never really met anyone affiliated with the US armed forces)? What does ageless Richard have to do with any / all of it? Jacob? Will Aaron come back into play? Claire? Cindy the Flight Attendant?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pilot Script Review Summary / Links

The below are listed in alphabetical order by category. Remember, categories are broad, and reviews are based on whatever draft of the script I read, not final shooting scripts.

Thumbs Up
- Eastwick (ABC)
- Empire State (ABC)
- House Rules (CBS)
- Parenthood (NBC)

Jury's Out
- Day One (NBC)
- Eva Adams (FOX)
- Happy Town (ABC)
- Human Target (FOX)
- Limelight (ABC)
- Maggie Hill (FOX)
- Mercy (NBC)
- See Kate Run (ABC)
- Trauma (NBC)
- US Attorney (CBS)
- V (ABC)

Thumbs Down
- A Marriage (CBS)
- Back (CBS)
- The Eastmans (CBS)
- I Witness (CBS)
- Legally Mad (NBC)
- Lost & Found (NBC)
- Masterwork (FOX)
- Miami Trauma (CBS)
- Past-Life (FOX)
- Three Rivers (CBS)

Not Reviewed - Not Read / Not Available
- Confessions of a Contractor (CBS)
- Legend aka NCIS Spin Off (CBS)
- Lily aka Gossip Girl Spin Off (CW)
- Melrose Place (CW)
- Untitled Dave Hemingson Lawyer Project (ABC)

Pilot Script Review - Inside the Box

Written By: Richard E. Robbins
Draft Date: January 21, 2009
Pages: 65
Network: ABC
Category: Jury's Out

OMFG IT'S THE LAST ONE. Breathe, Travis, breathe!

TV shows (and movies) about journalism are hard. They're about intrepid reporters after a story. After the truth. Uncovering the truth. The audience has to follow an investigative process that, end of the day, is about a scoop. Not necessarily solving a murder or curing a disease. The stakes, general wisdom goes, are just lower when your show is about reporters instead of cops or doctors... and that's a big reason why there aren't any shows right now about reporters.

Inside the Box does an admirable job trying to add that ingredient - stakes - by setting itself firmly in the world of politics and following a set of reporters for the Washington bureau of NNC (gee, what could that possibly be alluding to?) It's a world of scandals, world leaders, and of policy. Of course, it's all fictional but I'm sure that won't stop ItB from doing its own swine flu-esque episode or a story about a Republican senator switching parties, just to pull a couple gems from today's news circuit. The trick, of course, will be to make each story reflective of the personal lives of various members of the news crew.

The main character of ItB is Catharine Powell. She runs things. She is whip-smart and hard-nosed, and has a fantasy of what journalism ought to be able. She cares. And she's passed over for the position of Washington Bureau Chief in favor of Kenneth Donnegan, formerly of the BBC, because he "brings the sizzle." Of course, journalistically, Catherine hates him because he turned Newsnight into Inside Edition, and personally because she's worked too damn hard, dammit! She'll suck it up, though, and be part of his team. It even turns out that Kenneth isn't the soft/junk-news guy she gives him credit for.

Other characters in and around the newsroom.

The main story being broken in the pilot is confirming the appointment of a Republican to the Supreme Court by the President. Turns out the guy as an illegitimate child. Do we break the story (ethically... should we)? Do we use it to our advantage in trying to get statements from various parties to that we can be the first to break the news that he's being confirmed? Or to nail an interview?

That, my readers, is why journalism sometimes doesn't work. The goals aren't always altruistic. It's not necessarily about breaking the story or about the fallout of the story being broken and its affect on people's lives... it's breaking the story first.

Which is why it's so important we feel for these characters and, to that end, I think the script succeeds. I think people will respond to these people, to the internal office politics, friendships, and to the relationships between everyone. We have characters at all levels of the totem pole, from Kenneth as bureau chief to Catherine, a producer, to Sam(antha), a seasoned reporter, Jake, a lower level producer, Kyle, first day on the job as White House correspondent (he's sleeping with the Press Secretary to boot), to a group of four entry-level peons (two of whom, Priya and Molly, prove themselves in the episode). It's a wide cross-section that should allow the news stories to affect multiple characters in vastly different ways.

It's not a home run. But it could be a hit.

Pilot Script Review - Human Target

Written By: Jon E. Steinberg
Draft Date: December 19, 2008
Pages: 60
Network: FOX
Category: Jury's Out

While time between reading and writing these reviews has affected several scripts detrimentally, I think reading the rest of Fox's scripts and letting this action-hour sit with me has actually helped it.

Human Target is based on a (defunct?) comic book character, Christopher Chance, who would impersonate clients who had threats on their life in order to eliminate said threats. There was a briefly airing series on ABC in the 90s that followed fairly closely to that premise.

Fox's Human Target, on the other hand, does not seem to follow the "impersonation" aspect of the comic or old series. Rather, Christopher Chance acts as a bodyguard to a client and, as in the opening action sequence, will put himself in harm's way in place of the client (the opening features an office hostage situation, and Chance has swapped places with his client / the hostile's target). After the hostages are out of harm's way, Chance has a confrontation with the hostile, eventually shoots him, and in the process blows up the entire office space (woo, explosives).

The opening, though, is just window dressing for a character who seems to have a death wish. Interesting. Chance is human (between the opening and the pilot we get a "four weeks later" title card and Chance is still recovering from wounds inflicted in the explosion). He is very similar, actually, to Burn Notice's Michael Weston in that he thinks on his feet and has a working knowledge of, um, everything (using a thermostat to cause a killer to sweat) and, even though injured, his enemies are no match for him (which, JMHO, gets rid of a sense of drama the script could've employed). So, maybe Chance isn't human...

The pilot's real case of the week is a major letdown. Chance is hired to protect a woman (Stephanie), who is lead-designer of a high-speed train. There's been threats on her life and, wouldn't you know, it's the maiden voyage of the train. Chance goes with Stephanie on the trip and, wouldn't you know, there are killers aboard! Not only that, but there are technical problems (which Stephanie had warned the People In Charge about but they totally didn't listen to her, dammit, or something got changed at the last minute without her knowing... and now the TRAIN CAN'T BRAKE AND IS GOING TO DERAIL IF THERE'S A SLIGHT BEND IN THE TRACK). Anyway, Stephanie's husband did it, thinking she'd die and he'd get money (it was an expensive project, after all, bonuses, yadda yadda).

While Chance is on board with Stephanie, Winston and some people Chance calls on sometimes (I don't know if the Guerrero character who does some of the investigating will be a regular) are investigating the case and providing Chance with information.

I see potential here.

The pilot case pushes too far towards ridiculous. But that's easily fixed in episode two with, um, a better case. I like the Chance character and I found his British partner, Winston, amusing.

Pilot Script Review - Empire State

Teleplay By: Michael Seitzman
Story By: Michael Seitzman & Jeffrey Reiner
Draft Date: January 22, 2009
Pages: 62
Network: ABC
Category: Thumbs Up

Who is this Michael Seitzman and how did he wind up writing 2 of my 7 "Thumbs Up" pilot scripts? He comes from movies. Maybe that's it. There's a very heady air of intelligence and importance in both Empire State and House Rules. Which naturally means if either/both are picked up, it's far more likely they will be wholeheartedly rejected. Oh well. I still like the script!

Empire State is a 30-something Romeo and Juliet tale told between two NYC families: one headed by a real estate tycoon, the other by the head of an iron-workers union. Our two would-be lovebirds are Sam Cochrane, son of James (union leader), and Annabelle Maddox, daughter of Victor (tycoon). Sam just graduated Queens College (the first in his immediate family to go to / graduate college) and headed to Columbia Law. Annabelle is part of her dad's empire.

This is only a problem because of, well, the whole plot of the pilot, which involves union negotiations and potential striking, faulty construction projects, suspected murder, family betrayals, etc etc etc. Oh, and it turns out Victor Maddox is the father of one of Sam's cousins.

Like, I can't talk about this pilot any more because to talk about it would be to ruin it. This is the kind of ambitious project that really gets my motor going.

Chuck finale ratings

Small consolation, but Chuck stayed even with recent performances while EVERYTHING else at the 8pm hour was lower.

Even to save the show? On it's own, probably not. But, really, it was never going to suddenly get a 3.0 in the demo. So now it's down to the show's producers, WBTV, and NBC to make a deal.

Please make a deal. 13 episodes.

Damn good finale, last night. Though I am worried about the Chuck-as-super-spy, "I know kung fu" of it all. Cool moment... potentially devastating to the show's mix.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pilot Script Review - Limelight

Written By: KJ Steinberg
Draft Date: January 23, 2009
Pages: 66
Network: ABC
Category: Jury's Out

It's Fame! But in 2009! I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER, DAMMIT!

Interestingly this pilot episode plays a lot this an audition episode of, say, America's Next Top Model. There are various phases of "the competition" and cuts of would-be stars. We get to know a handful of characters who have gathered in NYC for Callback Weekend at the Paige Academy of Performing Arts: musicians, singers, dancers, actors. 150 callbacks, 45 spots available. Most of them are two-faceted character... they have some semblance of a distinct personality, and they have the field(s) they want to be in (there are also a few people already in the academy that we meet). Given that we only meet, by name, 7 of the potential 150, the fact that only 5 make it into the academy really does feel like a reality show chain jerk.
- Zoe Green: quirky, would be Lucille Ball if she could be, shy actor who is in danger of getting cut until she shows some backbone in an evening karaoke performance
- Eddie Auerbach: the hot guy, actor and singer, has very little idea Zoe harbors a giant crush on him, and sleeps around
- Jazz Barkley: African-American dancer, strong, doesn't make it in, but is okay with it because she got to meet her biological mother through the process (Nina Khari, one of the judges)
- Georgie Peech (snerk...): southern belle, buxom blonde (or, as she says, a "blondgenue"), actress, doesn't get in (but also doesn't take "no" for an answer)
- Xavier Davis: African-American drummer, street performer, has a sob-story but pretends he doesn't because he doesn't want to get where he's going as a charity case
- Kevin Cotton: straight dancer, suffers through an ankle injury but makes it in
- Nanako Kai: quiet, Asian violinist, fakes not being able to speak English so she doesn't have to deal with temporary roommate Georgia
- Romeo: horny male, pianist... make that genius pianist, he's only 14 and he's a 2nd year
- Tatyana Valenko: the "poster child" of PAPA because "yes, I am on poster," a Russian ballerina who Xavier has the hots for

The adults, invariably, are slightly more interesting and allowed to be bigger, more complex characters, but this is a show about the kids. Honestly, Limelight seems like it belongs less on ABC and more on the CW, with its main focus on the teens (PAPA seems to be college-aged kids as the bulk of those auditioning are 18) and a minor focus on "the adults" (the judges during the callbacks and the teachers at the academy).

I'm skeptical of this show getting a shot on the fall schedule, since Fox's (amazing) Glee will be having a special presentation this May and will definitely be on the fall schedule. But you never know... with teen shows it's all about chemistry, and with performance shows, it's all about creating magic. Limelight needs both.

To paraphrase what Vincent tells the lucky few who get into PAPA at the end of the script... "In your time here, you will fall in and out of love, betray each other, inspire each other, need each other more desperately than you ever thought possible. And you will bring it all with you on stage together -- and create something brilliant."

We can only hope. I'll say it again... we'll see.

Pilot Script Review - V

Written By: Scott Peters
Draft Date: January 23, 2009
Pages: 60
Network: ABC
Category: Jury's Out

Ah, V. What to say, except that you have, indeed, seen this before?

Playing remarkably close to the characters and themes of the 1980s miniseries, this series update is about what would happen if, one day, alien spaceships showed up. But it's updated with modern references (i.e. to terrorism, and snide, amusing moments like two film students saying that what's happening is just like Independence Day and another saying that ID4 borrowed from prior alien invasion fare... like the original V miniseries).

So we've got aliens. Really human-looking aliens (but, y'know, much prettier on average). Who promise harmony and scientific advancements and so forth. And a lot of people are really, super captivated by them. But some people don't trust them and form an anti-Visitors resistance movement. They insist the Visitors have been here for a while and have spies in human guise pulling strings getting ready for the Visitors' ultimately nefarious end game (a similar infiltration / terrorism allegory that Battlestar Galactica recently used successfully). Then there are Visitors in human form who walk among us and are against their evil Visitor brethren.

The most interesting thing this update does is, actually, with terrorism. Once the Visitors show up, all of the terrorist cells the FBI has been tracking (our lead character, Erica Evans, is FBI Counter Terrorism) have gone quiet... except one. Their activity has spiked and they're trying to get their hands on a ton of C-4. We suspect they're going to try and attack one of the motherships, but when the FBI finds the cell's base, they find the C-4 (but only one body... and not a terrorist... somehow the terrorists knew the FBI was coming), but they also find a ton of fake documents with very Anglo-Saxon names (one character asks "How does an extremist form the Middle East pass himself off as Al Miller?") The FBI investigates the deceased guy's identity, go to his house... again, extremely recently cleared out, they knew the FBI was coming. There's a clue for a meeting to go to for information about "the cell" and it's the start of the resistance movement.

One thing that disappointed me about the pilot was that there was no "rip the human face off and reveal the reptilian creature underneath" moment that gave people nightmares 25 years ago. Maybe they'll fix that (there's reference to a chunk of skin being removed and seeing the reptilian mass underneath).

It bothers / saddens me that Elizabeth Mitchell, Juliet on Lost, plays the lead in this pilot because, um, what does that mean for our Juliet?

Better, in the script, than Day One as far as alien invasion projects go this pilot season, but we'll see with the final products.

Pilot Script Review - Day One

Written By: Jesse Alexander
Draft Date: December 29, 2008
Network: NBC
Category: Jury's Out

Jury's Out on Day One for the simple reason that it's so special-effects driven and special-effect loaded that it really must be seen to be believed or disbelieved in. As a script, I'm not even sure if I'm on the fence about it. It's obtuse in the worst sense (and has your typically stilted B-movie schlock dialogue... from ominous "they're not ready yet" to "the plan is still viable" and more).

The script has a ton of author's notes in it, which is just weird to see (and the notes are about visual and stylistic things... so while I'm glad to know them, it's just more of a reason that I have to wait to see the pilot to make any judgments... at least I know the intention is to often shoot hand held / very much like the Bourne movies, 28 Days Later, Cloverfield, or Friday Night Lights). EVEN WORSE than that, there were, like, image files sprinkled in the script (from things as blase as a photo of a trashy two-story apartment complex with a central pool to an exceptionally cheesy artist rendering of a device that's part of the plot, to a few actually very cool flip book-esque images of the SHEER CRAZY that happens post invasion / whatever).

It's a script. Write the damn script, Mr. Alexander. Kthxbi.


Day One is a story about an apartment complex whose residents don't live there by random chance... not that most of them are aware of this. A woman named Lynne seems to be pulling the strings, who seems to have some idea of what's going on, and believes she's put these people together to save the planet from the alien invasion that happens in the pilot... then again, when the meteor crashes she's completely unprepared and crazy-mutters "no no no no, this isn't day one..." so boo to her for not being more prepared!

Residents of the apartment complex:
- Kelly McGregor, a doctor
- Sam Brody, ex-Marine
- Hunter Christensen (a girl, FYI), book-smart, pretty, school-age
- Johnny Nozawa, dating Hunter, races cars
- Bonnie Cayce and Zack Adamski, resident geek-tech-programmer-hacker types
- Hunter's mom Jennifer (also her dad, Clark, stops by for a visit)

Sam works security at a bank in an indoor shopping mall and it gets robbed before the shit hits the fan... and one of his friends (Bud, an appropriate enough name) is the robbers. Sam is shot and dies. But then Lynne is there, touches Sam's chest, and Sam is alive. Okay...

Anywho, meteors rain down from the heavens. Shit goes crazy. Ancillary characters die. Things blow up. Lynne gets the group together and tells them they are our only shot at saving the planet.

I think you can tell I wasn't the biggest fan of the story. But you never know with a project this special-effects heavy. If could turn out awesome. Then there's the problem of "um... how much money are they going to be spending on an episodic basis?" Because this is alien-invasion, end-of-the-world settings and background etc territory. The horizon is going to be littered with coral/crystal/salt-like, 4600-foot tall alien monolith things. The author notes with a wink that there will be room inside the monoliths for habitation and more, but that's something that is definitely saved for the series.

Pilot Script Review - Parenthood

Written By: Jason Katims
Draft Date: January 23, 2009
Pages: 72 (!!)
Network: NBC
Category: Thumbs Up

Not a remake of the shortlived 1990 sitcom based on the 1989 movie, but an hour-long family drama that shares only its title with the 1989 movie (as opposed to all the characters and the family name... though they are similar archetypes, stories, and themes).

The new Parenthood is not set in the suburbs of St. Louis with the Buckman family, but in and around Philadelphia with the Braverman family (all I could think about for days after reading this pilot was the "Reunion" episode of 30 Rock where Jack adopts the identity of one of Liz Lemon's high school classmates, Larry Braverman... best episode of the season by far... I digress...)

This is a difficult script to comment on because, as I said in my review of The Eastmans, family has to play on screen and you can't fully get whether it works or not from the page. Unlike The Eastmans, Parenthood has a whole slew of different places it's coming from and going all at once... perhaps too many. Between sexagenarians Zeek and Camille, their four kids (Sarah, Adam, Julia, Crosby), spouses/paramours (Kristina, Joel, Katie), and the kids' kids (Drew, Amber, Max, Haddie, Sydney) there are, what, 14 main characters to follow (not to mention the supporting, non-family players in each story)? It's a lot. It's a lot of a lot and the script tries to get it all into 72 pages (which, y'know, it very long for an hour-long pilot) and generally succeeds but there were definitely times in the read that I was wondering where the other characters were and what was going on in their storyline that hadn't been visited in some time. Not all of the characters truly get a chance to shine, and the stories approach rote (but with only a few beats per story because of the sheer number of things going on, that's to be expected).

The centerpiece, for me, of the pilot was Adam coming to terms with his son Max's autism (which, I'm now noticing, is another similarity with The Eastmans).

Julia has a plot about trying to balance her home life (husband Joel is a stay-at-home dad) with her career... just as she's being promoted to partner at her law firm. Sarah is a single mother being set up on a date with an old flame, while moving back with her parents as she searches for a job. Crosby has Peter Pan syndrome and is in the process of moving to the next level with his girlfriend when a random hookup shows up on his doorstep... with his 5-year old illegitimate child. Amber hangs out with Haddie and they're busted for possession of pot, Haddie lets Amber take the blame when it was Haddie and her friends' drugs. And I'm sure there's much, much more.

Financially... 14 main characters is a lot and that's going to make Parenthood an expensive investment for NBC. But, including the younger children, there are just as many regular characters on Desperate Housewives and almost as many on Brothers & Sisters, so this isn't exactly unprecedented in today's TV market.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good, thoughtful family / relationship drama...

... although I really do wonder if the scene with the four kids lighting a joint up and passing it around as they converse about their lives is going to get past the censors...

Pilot Script Review - Legally Mad

Written By: David E. Kelley
Draft Date: January 16, 2009
Pages: 57
Network: NBC
Category: Thumbs Down

I have, yet again, made a mistake in called either Miami Trauma or A Marriage the worst scripts of this pilot season (of those projects picked up shoot pilots, it should be added). I really had tried to put Legally Mad out of my head. I could read it 1000 times and still have no idea what was happening. I don't even think it's a script, it's a jumble of words on a page somehow formatted to confuse network executives into giving it a series penalty (meaning NBC pays a hefty sum if it is not picked up to series).

I hate this script because I don't have the foggiest what is happening (there was certainly talk of divorce in there, of children going off to work on their own instead of at daddy's firm, some friends who slept with friends' wives I believe...) I don't know what the cases are, who the characters are, or what the hell they're saying at any given moment. Hell, I didn't even know that one of the characters, named Brady, was a girl until page 46. Obviously this is something that will be helped on-screen (as will my issues with, y'know, not really knowing who was saying what when or why).

After LA Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and Boston Legal (not to mention other less successful series)... what more does David E Kelley really have to say about lawyers?

Again, I haven't the foggiest. This script, what moments I could understand of it, seems to be somewhere between Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, with quirky, fast-talking characters - who are introduced in clumps and never delineated themselves in my eyes - who sing after-hours at a bar (but without the tongue-in-cheek 4th wall references of BL).

The one character who seems to stand out in this din is Kristin Chenoweth's Skippy Pylon (yes, there are plenty of jokes about the name), an effervescent bundle of uncontainable energy.

As above, this is a script that, when filmed, could wind up a helluva lot more clear and just generally better than it is on the page. I really feel like the wool has been pulled over NBC's eyes, and I have half a mind to gouge mine out before watching the screener if/when I get it.

Pilot Script Review - Eva Adams

Written By: Kevin Falls (adapted from the Argentinean format Lalola)
Draft Date: December 31, 2008
Pages: 67
Network: FOX
Category: Jury's Out

Eva Adams is the story of a womanizing sports agent, Adam Evanston, who wakes up to find that he has become a woman. As time goes by, Eva Adams inches closer to "Thumbs Down" for me, but remains "Jury's Out" as some of the sillier elements in the draft I read have been removed (or so I'm told... namely a ton of the voiceovers and Eva seeing Adam in mirrors after the change).

Amusingly enough this happens the night after a sexual harassment seminar at work. Adam was the kind of guy who ran through assistants because he was an ass, and so once he gets his bearings, he poses as his own new assistant, Eva Adams, and tries to maintain his old business as the sharks around the office (including his old friend Connor) try to poach his clientele. When she finds this difficult, she teams up with beta-male sports agent Paul to help him sign a big star.

The only person Adam/Eva tells about his transformation is Grace, a best friend of childhood, who helps Eva out after getting over her skepticism (which takes long enough, but not too long).

I'm surprised that Fox is pursuing the sports agent territory again, even with the added twist of a sexism parable. I liked 2005's busted female sports agent pilot Amy Coyne much more than I liked this (and I was frankly surprised when Amy Coyne wasn't picked up so that the network could make room for, sigh, Headcases). Ironically enough, the actress who nabbed the role of Eva (Rhea Seehorn) was in Headcases.

Then again, Will Arnett is going to play Adam while he's still a man... so the first 10-15 minutes at least should be a good romp!

Pilot Script Review - See Kate Run

Written By: John Scott Shepherd
Draft Date: December 12, 2008 (still under the title "I Claudia")
Pages: 63
Network: ABC
Category: Jury's Out

See Kate Run is one of ABC's "a bunch of different genre playfully thrown together, let's hope it works!" pilots. It has romantic comedy (between Kate and co-worker, boyfriend of two years Dan). It has politics (in the version I read, we start in 2028 as Kate is on the verge of being elected President of the United States, so the series is supposed to play as a "how she gets there" story... a tactic I disagree with, more on that later). It's a legal show (Kate, Dan, and Katie's BFF Ellie are lawyers at the DA's office in Boston).

Kate is something of an Ally McBeal-styled mess. We meet her (in the present), waking up late, hungover, rushing out the door, and forgetting to take her slippers off and put heels on. A little bit crazy, a little bit unambitious. She accidentally said the word "marriage" to Dan and when he didn't respond with anything committal, she considered the relationship over. A lovable ball of neurosis? That will be up to Amy Smart.

Ellie, Kate's best friend, is more on the ball. She expects to be promoted to ADA that very morning (and Kate expects it for her). So Ellie is pissed off when the DA takes her off a case (against a drug dealer who is a jackass even by drug dealer standards, as Ellie describes him). The DA tells Dan, in confidence, that the reason he took Ellie off and put Kate on is because the case is going to take a sharp turn south.

Meaning, of course, the pilot is about Kate proving herself as a lawyer. Kate gets a great rallying moment on the steps outside of the courthouse (after she breaks a heel...) where she candidly and angrily vows to put the drug dealer scum to justice, a moment that, for some reason, "goes viral" and makes Kate an overnight sensation... drawing the attention of a campaign manager who thinks she has a shot at winning her local district in 8 months against a conservative talk radio host who is, thus far, running unopposed.

There is a lot of maneuvering and posturing and witness scaring, but finally the key witness testifies and Kate wins the day and is made ADA. It's not particularly complicated legalese, but this show really wants to play equal parts rom-com and legal / political show.

I very much like the relationship between Kate and Ellie, which could easily play as backstabbing girlfriends hating on each other, but instead is one where they support each other despite jealousy, hurt feelings, etc.

End of the day, the series rests entirely on Amy Smart as Kate, so I have to wait to see the screener.

Question, though... if the election is in 8 months (end of the season), then does the entire series change in season two when Kate goes to Congress? Or does she lose? I wonder.

One other note... if there's a way to get rid of the flash forward to 2028 with Kate winning the Presidential election... please do it. It only serves as an introduction to the character (and thus the juxtaposition with the completely un-put-together woman we meet in 2009) and never comes back. Will future episodes check in with Future Kate? Should it? It smacks of Jack & Bobby, but on a shorter time span (oh, and Future Kate as a 15 year old daughter... whose is it? the script clearly wants us to ask... but I didn't really).

Pilot Script Review - US Attorney

Written By: Frank Military
Draft Date: January 15, 2009
Pages: 69
Network: CBS
Category: Jury's Out

I recall having neither a good nor bad reaction to this script, and it hasn't left much of an impression in my head. I do remember reading it while Damages was early in its season and thinking "hey, the A-plot of this pilot is the same as this season's main case on Damages" and then I mentally wrote the pilot off for being derivative-but-not-as-smart as Damages (although what a mess this season of Damages turned it...)

The case is that UPP, a petroleum company, has plants that are contaminating the water nearby and the contaminants are causing cancer at a disproportionate rate. The USAs have a study that seems to show that this is the case, but because the researcher had a sexual relationship with one of the victims of the cancer-causing-chemical, her research is thrown out of court (it's more recent research than what the company has). The entire case hinges on this evidence, so the prosecutor (Michael) asks the jury to vote with their heart, regardless of the evidence being thrown out. Oh, and unbeknownst to Michael, his ex-wife-turned-co-worker and second chair on the case (Susan) talks discreetly to a New York Times reporter... so the fact that the evidence was thrown out is all over the place.

There are two other cases, one involving insider trading at a pharma company (the guy under investigation tries to swing Andrew, one the USAs, promising to get him a vastly higher paying job at a private firm for his cooperation... which of course results in an entrapment scenario because you can't just go around bribing federal officials) and another involving a NYC councilman taking brides for prime vendor placement near the new Yankees Stadium. They try to turn the councilman into wearing a wire to nab a higher placed corrupt government official, but the councilman doesn't do a great job... and winds up dead in the end (so there's going to be some kind of on-going investigation element in the series).

A fairly standard crop of lawyer characters, the show certainly doesn't break the mold... but it's not terrible. If CBS is going to go with just one lawyer show, though, it damn well better be The Good Wife...

Pilot Script Review - The Good Wife

Written By: Robert King & Michelle King
Draft Date: January 29, 2009
Pages: 64
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Up

This was the most surprising script this season, for me. It's very difficult to put a twist on a lawyer show that feels fresh. Not only does The Good Wife put a twist on the traditional lawyer show, it succeeds on just about every level. The characters are believable and relatable (and, make no mistake, this is a character piece and I'm hoping Julianna Margulies makes it work), the legal case is interesting and solving in a modern way. It's just a winning script that put a smile on my face. Which, believe you me, is a very difficult thing to do. At the end of the day, this is a story of a woman, thought defeated, standing up for herself and for others and taking charge.

Chicago DA David Follick resigns amid a sexual scandal as well as abuse of office charges (he insists he's innocent of the latter), but his wife, Alicia, sticks with him even as he heads to jail. She was a lawyer before having kids (13 years ago), and, six months after the scandal breaks, is starting work as a junior associate at a firm. Alicia shares an office with a young, male associate named Cary, and they're supposed to share an assistant (Sonia), but Cary monopolizes her time (oh, and the company really only has room for one associate, so in six months it's either going to be Alicia or it's going to be Cary).

Alicia comes with a lot of baggage... just like Elliot Spitzer, the video where she stands behind her husband in support at his press conference was YouTube gold. As a DA, her husband made enemies (and friends) in the legal system and that rubs off on Alicia in both good and bad ways (and, thankfully, the judge in the case Alicia draws checks this, saying that he didn't see eye to eye with Alicia's husband, but if the prosecution thinks that's going to affect his judgment, they're wrong.. yay, correct usage of the legal system).

Alicia is assigned a pro bono case that a more experienced lawyer (Dawna) can't take on because of some legal jargon about billable hours on the retrial. The case: a woman accused of killing her ex-husband in a faked carjacking (woman's name is Jennifer, and she has a daughter that, because of her incarceration, she has been separated from... sob!) The jury came back deadlocked (six versus six), so Alicia is told to just work the case the same way Dawna did... only the truth of the matter is that the jury was 11-1 and the one person with the innocent vote is a batty old lady who only insisted Jennifer was innocent because she liked the cut of Dawna's jib. The odds are stacked against Alicia and the case is going to retrial in a week.

Without giving the details away, Alicia manages to do the seemingly impossible and win the case (did you have any doubts?)

In addition to her work life, Alicia has an obtrusive mother-in-law, Jackie, to deal with and her two kids, Grace and Zach.

Probably the pilot I'm second most excited about seeing, behind Flash Forward.

Pilot Script Review - Back

Written By: Dean Widenmann
Draft Date: January 10, 2009
Pages: 67
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

This script is a conundrum for me. It's a very intriguing concept, one that I definitely think people will be curious about: a man thought to be dead in the 9/11 attacks shows up 8 years later with no idea what happened (his most recent memory is 9/10/01).

That man is Richard Miles and he hasn't aged a day. His wife, Cheryl, has moved on and remarried Tom. His son, Michael, doesn't remember him. His teenage daughter, Shannon, has had some serious issues ever since his death. And his reappearance, wouldn't you know it, rocks everyone to their core.

The script definitely has the air of "something bigger is definitely going on," with just a touch of the mystical, and certainly the conspiratorial. In fact, detectives looking into the "WTF, Richard Miles is alive?" of it all receive a package with photographs of Richard on 9/11 and of some other people who supposedly died. One of whom Richard runs into / sees at the very end of the script. She also hasn't aged a day.

So... I'm intrigued. I really do like the concept. And there are some really good character moments (I'm especially interested in the relationship between Richard, Cheryl, and Tom... that's just a captivating situation).

But I have big problems with the script and the directions it takes, and most of all, the tone. The script is suffused with darkness (not to mention it felt, as I was reading it, that some character kept asking "why are you back" or some variation on that question every other page... hi, monotony!) This is a situation that, for me, should be met by the characters with caution, with brief suspicion, but then with hope. This should be a relationship drama about rebuilding, about the "what's next?" Instead, it's depressing, mired in guilt and sadness, and about the "why?" while investigating, digging deeper, etc. And that is something I don't have a lot of interest in (and something I don't believe would wind up anything but a convoluted mess). I can definitely see plenty of people reading this script and liking it, and I don't fault them that. The tone just didn't work for me.

In the current state of the world, I honestly don't think people are going to have the stomach for something as dark as this project. Kudos to CBS for trying, though.

Pilot Script Review - A Marriage

Written By: Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick
Draft Date: January 29, 2009
Pages: 57
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

I honestly don't have much to say about this pilot script. When I was reading it, I could barely follow what was happening, which is weird because it's such a simplistic premise. It's about a marriage, about a family. But events would happen that made no sense. Characters would act in ways that made no sense (not even in a human/irrational way). There would be arguments about things I couldn't understand why people were arguing in the first place.

In short, I just didn't get it. Which is really weird because both thirtysomething and My So-Called Life were so very clearly about something and had understandable protagonists and stories. To call A Marriage anything but an undecipherable mess would be to lie. Where it's supposed to be hard hitting (Noah failing to secure a contract and thus plunging his family and business into jeopardy... even Abby's cancer) just fall flat.

The Gabriel family:
- Noah (father), runs a construction company
- Abby (mother), has cancer, is a school district psychologist
- Maddy (teenage daughter), is learning to drive, gets embarrassed when a friend uploads a video of her to teh interwebz
- Jake (college age son), is dropping out of school but has no job and no plan, hey, can my girlfriend you just met move in with me as I move back in with you guys?
- Josh (Noah's brother), Noah's co-worker, young at heart

I may have misspoken when I called Miami Trauma the worst drama script of this pilot season. I obviously had put A Marriage out of my head.

Pilot Script Review - House Rules

Written By: Michael Seitzman
Draft Date: January 22, 2009
Pages: 64
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Up

Easily my favorite of the "non-CBS" CBS drama pilot scripts, House Rules actually plays very close to CW's The Body Politic, but centered more around 30-somethings (and Congressmen/Congresswomen instead of staffers in / around the Senate). Which, being for CBS instead of CW... makes sense.

House Rules follows Julia Bryce (Dirty Sexy Money's Zoe McLellan), a high school history teacher just elected to the House of Representatives (and a Democrat).

Through Julia, we're introduced to a number of other Congresspeople ("freshmen" and otherwise) and staffers:
- Robin Calhoun, a Democrat from Virginia, daughter of a general, one of Julia's roommates by episode's end
- Kathy McAdams, a Democrat from California and self-described "soccer mom," Julia's other roommate by episode's end
- Alan Levi, a Republican (can't recall what state he's from), who Julia has a confrontation with on her plane to DC in the opening and who eventually helps Julia out with a bill she needs passed urgently. They have across-the-aisle chemistry.
- Cameron Drummer, not yet an actual representative, he is in a recount in his district (and, wouldn't you know it, he wins by the end of the episode... not that we ever meet his opponent so it's hardly shocking)
- Scotty Fisher, aide to the Speaker of the House (Alice Hardy)
- Nate Tiernan, Speaker Hardy's chief of staff and an ex of Julia's from college
- Speaker Alice Hardy, a Democrat from Louisiana, who ultimately proves more an obstacle to what Julia needs to get done than an ally
- John Granger, an experienced Republican Representative who campaigned for the man Julia defeated, but Julia is able to convince him to help her on her issue.
- Peter Chiba, a student of Julia's who ran her campaign for election and is transferring from Harvard to to Georgetown in order to work in Julia's office

House Rules plays much more legal than soap, so there is a tonal difference with The Body Politic, and the pilot of HR presents an interesting, pressing issue (always a problem with shows that aren't "lives in peril!" occupations like cops, doctors, and to some extent lawyers). Two of Julia's constituents' son just died. Their son, Jared, who was a teacher with Julia, was married to a woman named Maria, from Panama, for five years. They filed for residency, but were told it was "in process." Now, with Jared dead, Maria is being threatened with deportation (in two weeks... that's what we call a ticking clock). Oh, and they have a child together. So, mother could be torn from child, or grandparents torn from both.

Julia is not happy with the idea of a family being torn apart because of a technicality (Maria not being married to a US citizen at time of processing, instead of time of filing). But! She's a freshman representative. She doesn't have the clout to get something like this passed in time! So she talks with Speaker Hardy, who offers to support Julia's initiative if Julia changes her position on private school vouchers (Julia claims she is the lone Democrat who is pro-voucher because of her upbringing). But the timetable doesn't for for Julia (yay, ticking clock), so Julia reaches across the aisle, convincing John Granger (who is very anti-immigration) that the issue isn't about jobs or security, it's about family. He falls in line, and Maria isn't deported... and Julia becomes a rising star.

Yeah, the politics and intrigue could either play really well on screen or be dreadfully boring. I'm hoping it plays well! As with The Body Politic, the idea of having a political show back on the air excites me (though the idea of having two, remotely similar ones frightens me as it could potentially lead to a world with neither...) and this is certainly an "if not now, when?" climate. Of course, I have no idea where on CBS's schedule this thing goes, as it's so incredibly off-brand...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Travis Yanan Watches...

... Chuck. Solidarity, ya'll. I may even go to Subway tomorrow (it's either that or Chipotle with a friend of mine who I get together with to watch Gossip Girl, Chuck, and How I Met Your Mother, so why not).

Chuck season finale, Monday 8/7c on NBC!

The regular title of this blog will return on Tuesday :)

Swim, You Fools!

I'm having so much fun watching this swimming / synchronized diving detour on tonight's TAR. I used to swim (back in the day, I swam butterfly...) and having Luke ASL to his mom that he has new respect for Michael Phelps because of the times he swam in Beijing (um, hello, he's an Olympic athlete... THE Olympic athlete...) were half the speed Luke (and Jamie) swam... wow. These people are slow swimmers! And it doesn't take THAT much energy to front crawl your way (not at racing speeds) through 100 meters, take a 90-ish second break, then swim it again. I'm sorry. I have to laugh. I'm horrible. FML.

PS - This does not apply to people, like Jen, who have a fear of water. I'm not that heartless.

Also why would anyone choose synchronized diving!? That shiz is hard!


Pilot Script Review - The Beautiful Life

Written By: Adam Giaudrone
Draft Date: February 8, 2009
Pages: 60
Network: CW
Category: Jury's Out

Again, see Pilot Script Review - The Vampire Diaries for disclaimer re placing this and the other CW scripts (besides Light Years) in the Jury's Out category.

The Beautiful Life is probably my least favorite of this group. Vampire Diaries is small town. Body Politic is, well, against the backdrop of politics. Beautiful Life is hot people, backstabbing, models, drugs, and alcohol. It edges a little too close to Gossip Girl in that sense, though Beautiful Life does promise to have significant camp value.

As with Vampire Diaries, there is a feeling of retread material here. There's an up-and-coming female model given her big break (Raina, 15... which becomes a plot point, what with statutory rape laws). There's an out-and-going female model clinging fast and hard to her career even though (gasp!) at the age of 22 and because she's put on a little weight and is now a size 2 (Sonja / Mischa Barton?). Heaven forbid!!! There's a naive, attractive midwesterner who gets "discovered" while on vacation with his family in NYC and stays behind to give modeling a try (Chris). Raina is assigned to help Chris with his look and they shopping together (cue the shopping montage!) and Raina helps him get into the swing of things on a test photo shoot. They discover they have chemistry. The guy who discovered Chris, Simon, wants to use him as arm candy which Chris eventually finds out and does not approve of (good on you, Chris). There's the ex-model turned agent (Claudia / Elle MacPherson), who could take the place of the oh-so-tired antics of Wilhelmina Slater for TV's bitchiest, campiest fashion boss. Then there are a bunch of other models, male and female, as well as designers of various standing (fake and real). There's a drug overdose in there somewhere.

It's sure to be flashy, with hot people and cool costumes... but ultimately it's so shallow that, while it wears its lack of depth on its sleeve and tries to have fun with it, it's still really, really shallow. I'm not sure a campy tone is enough to save it from that truth.

Pilot Script Review - The Body Politic

Teleplay By: Jason Rothenberg & Bill Robinson
Story By: Jason Rothenberg & Bill Robinson & Peter Horton
Draft Date: January 30, 2009
Pages: 64
Network: CW
Category: Jury's Out

Please see the first paragraph of Pilot Script Review - The Vampire Diaries for my disclaimer about why this is Jury's Out. Though, as a congressional soap opera, the characters are in their 20s... the same rules apply. I believe that only a presentation is being shot, however.

This is a project that, I'm told, was saved from the brink by casting Minka Kelly in the lead. I agree. Minka is definitely an up-and-coming TV star, and while Friday Night Lights didn't rocket her up in the stratosphere, this starring role could be the ticket.

Please note, all character names subject to change (and I believe they have since the draft I read).

Minka plays Lily Foster, a 25-year old whose mother just passed away. She leaves home, and boyfriend David, and heads to DC in search of... something unspecified (at first) that her mother told her in her "open in case of death" letter. We find out that Republican Senator Robert Webster is Lily's father. Lily, too, is a Republican. Not that I expect the politics of BP to be anything remotely like The West Wing's, but it's refreshing that not all of the characters are Democrats / liberals... and having the lead be a Republican, I think, is rather ballsy on the script's part. In addition, Lily is a moderate Republican... a dying breed!

Lily arrives in DC rather unprepared for the world of staffer-being and without many connections. She also arrives when a Democratic Senator (Adamson) who was going to be made into the Attorney General dies from a heart attack, and the President (not seen, presumed to actually be Obama, though we get info to and from him via Lucky Evans - Brian Austin Green's character and an advisor to the President) needs to tap someone else to be AG. There's a choice, essentially, between Webster and Senator Ellen Buckley, a Democrat. Politics politics politics (if Webster is appointed, the governor of his state will likely pick a Democrat, giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate). There's also a plot about Buckley killing a foreclosure freeze bill to get back at a Democrat senator endorsing the Republican for Attorney General.

That's all backdrop for the sex lives and romances of our younger characters (who, IIRC, all wind up living together, or at least in the same building as I don't think Jessica would live with her assistant... but such small details escape me).

First, there's Jessica Sharp, a career-minded and rather bitchy legislative aid to Adamson who is having an affair with him. With him dead, (a) she has a problem on her hands because she was "in the act" when he died, and (b) she needs a new job. So she sleeps around (with Lucky, even).

Then there's Charlie Morris, a Washington Post reporter (Jason Dohring). He plays the game, and Lily believes he's betrayed him by using her as a source, though he actually didn't.

Third is Ben McGrath, the heartthrob, ex-Navy officer, currently working for Senator Buckley. He and Lily have bad romantic timing, but clearly are hot for each other.

More minor are Miles, Jessica's assistant, and Eve Cooke... perky.

There's room to grow here. After all, the background for the relationship drama is a world of backstabbing, backroom deals, alliances, etc.

So... enjoyable. My favorite of the three "Jury's Out" CW pilots... on the other hand, politics on youth-oriented network CW could be stretch (vampires and models are an easier sell).

Pilot Script Review - The Vampire Diaries

Written By: Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec
Draft Date: February 4, 2009
Pages: 61
Network: CW
Category: Jury's Out

Sigh. I'm tired of flat out bad reviews. I've decided to whip through the three remaining CW drama scripts that I have (since I don't have either the Gossip Girl spin-off or Melrose Place... both of which are locks for the fall schedule). All three wound up in my Jury's Out category and all for similar reasons... teen dramas are all about casting and chemistry. Sure, you can have a bad script (see: Pilot Script Review - Light Years), but even if you have a good script, the central couples can fail if the actors don't work out (see 90210... not that it was a good script). So, the reason Vampire Diaries, Body Politic, and Beautiful Life are all "Jury's Out" is because I truly believe that in order to judge I need to see them on the screen. None were horrible scripts, none were amazing.

Vampire Diaries, to borrow a term from thefutoncritic's review is pretty boilerplate teen drama / vampire drama stuff. It starts out with a couple pages of "Ooh, isn't this creepy? Oh, noes! Vampire attack!" but doesn't subvert that cliché the way, say, Buffy did by having the blonde school girl turn out to be the vampire.

While I know that the VD (lol, can't wait for the show to be on the air for people to start commenting on its ratings by referring to it as that...) books vastly predate the Twilight series, the fact is Twilight is the current phenomenon and is what today's teens are familiar with and fervent about. So the central romance between troubled teen Elena and wants-to-be-good vampire Stefan plays very "been there, seen that" and likely won't scorch the screen the way Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson did (um, if it did? I wasn't really sold... but then again while I dug the last three books of the Twilight series, the first one didn't do a ton for me and I didn't think the movie was that well done at all). Also, Elena doesn't find out that Stefan is a vampire in the pilot, so... that's something that's going to be dragged out. Yay...

Other characters... Stefan has an evil older brother, Damon. Elena has a prescription pill-dealing younger brother, Jeremy, who had a summer thing with a junkie hot girl, Vicki, but now that school is starting up again, she's back with her lout of a boyfriend, Tyler, and Jeremy isn't pleased with that. Jeremy and Elena have a barely seen grad student guardian cousin in Jenna Moyer. Elena has a good, talkative friend in Bonnie, who might be slightly psychic. Then there's frienemy/hot bitch Caroline, who lusts after Elena's all-American ex-boyfriend, Matt, who is still in love with Elena. I mean, you really could remove the vampires from the story and instead of just have Stefan and Damon be extremely wealthy residents of Mystic Falls and the show would play as a standard teen drama with its relationship dodecahedrons.

As far as vampirism goes, there's nothing new/special about the vampires in VD. They wear sunglasses to prevent immolation from sunlight, they need to be invited into someone's house, they can transform into animals, they have super-strength, can hypnotize / enthrall people, and are, y'know, impossibly attractive.

One thing this series does have that excites me is Ian Somerhalder as Stefan's evil vampire older brother, Damon. Boone Carlyle, we miss you on our TV screens.

Again, this all comes down to execution. I have few doubts this will be on CW's fall schedule... after all, vampires are so in.

Pilot Script Review - Miami Trauma

Written By: Jeffrey Lieber
Draft Date: January 12, 2009
Pages: 60
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

Guys. I seriously think this might be The Worst (Drama) Script Of Pilot Season.

As such it's either going to take me a long review or a short one to do it justice.

I'm in the mood for a short one.

Big freaking accident off the shore of Miami as a cruise ship and a chemical barge crash into each other.

We meet one of the three teams at the trauma center:
- Dr. Serena Warrer, a first-year resisent who sips coffee, listens to her iPod, and skateboards to work (it would be funny if it weren't on a supposedly dramatic show).
- Dr. Christopher ("Dr. C") Deleo, a trauma surgeon who is described as talking with the slow drawl of someone born in the Florida panhandle (um, stereotype much?) but he also misquotes Yoda so I guess he's supposed to be cool-as-a-cucumber-ish?
- Dr. Marisol Zambrano, another trauma surgeon and second in command of Bravo team, and also hot when she's out of scrubs and lets her hair down (which is not often)
- Dr. William Rayner, the leader of Bravo team, a surgeon who, within the 13-page teaser section of the script, has a freak out while operating, strips himself naked (why is this happening so often to surgeons on TV?) and runs from the triage OR... only instead of any of the characters following after him or even checking back in with him after the disaster is over... he simply disappears from the script never to be seen or heard from again (even though they make a toast to him at a bar at the end). SERIOUSLY!?
- Dr. Thomas Proctor, a guy who was going to working on one of the other trauma teams but now steps in for Rayner (we meet him in bermuda shorts and a Phish T-shirt, he's on vacation)
- Head Nurse Tuck Brody

Amidst the chaos of the victims coming in, Dr. C usurps control from Zambrano despite her having 3 months seniority on him and being Rayner's 2nd, but Zambrano gets her position back in the end by showing Dr. C up (in a good way... they're still friends at the end of the day and have respect for each others' work).

If the characters in Three Rivers were cardboard, these characters are paper thin. The pilot might have the flash of it's big disaster in the opening moments (and the gore... not a show for the squeamish), but... jeez, really?

Pilot Script Review - The Eastmans

Written By: Margaret Nagle
Draft Date: January 9, 2009
Pages: 64
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

Sigh. I don't really have the energy to review this script. It was just exhausting to read. It's Dirty Sexy Money with scalpels. An entire family of doctors. An. Entire. Family. And they're rich. Very rich (patent money or something from a heart stent technique). And Donald Sutherland plays the patriarch in this series, too. And he's kind of sexist (the children have to scam him at the end to get the two daughters a share of the Eastman Institute's wealth so that the institute will put money into autism research, as one of the daughters' children has autism)... but it's okay because his father and grandfather her sexist, too?

The pilot is centered around the 35th wedding anniversary of Charles and Emma Eastman (even though, IIRC, Emma is sleeping with someone else as Charles and Emma's relationship has been strained for a very long time). Also Charles has a heart attack. And there's a journalist interviewing the family for an article.

The rest of the family are...
- Peter, a cocky vascular surgeon
- Anna, an autism researcher (she has an autistic son, and because she isn't funded with her family's money, she's struggling financially)
- Seth, a chiropractor who was once a transplant doctor, he got his medical license stripped for overprescribing himself drugs (and he's been through rehab)
- James, a heart surgeon who spends far more time with his patients than with his wife Maddie
- Sally, a pathologist

The squabbles of the family, both professional and personal, pretty much all left me cold, except Anna.

Pilot Script Review - Three Rivers

Written By: Carol Barbee
Draft Date: February 2, 2009
Pages: 60
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

Alex O'Loughlin fans will be pleased to know that, of the three CBS medical shows, I find this the least appalling (see, I told you there were varying degrees within my categories). If CBS must pick up a medical show this season, I would hope it's this one.

That said... I don't think it should be picked up because I found myself incredibly indifferent to it. And for me, the only thing worse than making me indifferent is being vilely bad (I will even tolerate mild suck if I care enough about the characters or situation to see ways it could be improved... or if it fits into a "so bad it's good" category).

Three Rivers is very, very formulaic.

For that to work, the characters need to be very strong, and they just weren't. They were typical TV doctors with three (barely exceptional) exceptions. Dr. Andy Yablonski is a workaholic with marital difficulties. Dr. Miranda Foster is a surgical fellow with something to prove (the transplant wing is in her late father's name). Ryan Romero, not a doctor, is the new "assistant to the transplant coordinator" and has no medical training, but because the transplant coordinator just quit, he has to step it up with no training or experience, and he has a journalism background (news for a radio station) that comes in handy when the team is trying to fly an organ out of an area through / around a hurricane (eh... fake drama). Everyone else... cookie cutter.

The show follows three storylines in its main medical case (which will always be organ transplants... much like with Maggie Hill, I find this potentially limiting and, seriously, how many times do I need to see a doctor convincing someone to let a loved one's organs be donated?) The first is the story of the person who needs the transplant (in the pilot, a college basketball player with NBA hoop dreams who needs a heart transplant). The second is the story of the person who will, sadly, provide the transplant (in the pilot, Kim Mullins, who is shot at her wedding). And the third story, of course, is the doctors at Three Rivers (a hospital in/near Pittsburgh). The only shifting in this formula that I see down the road is when the writing staff of the show decides, "hey, let's not let this patient live for a change." There is also a B-medical case involving a sick, 50-something man getting a new set of lungs.

Pilot Script Review - Maggie Hill

Written By: Ian Biederman
Draft Date: January 13, 2009
Pages: 65
Network: FOX
Category: Jury's Out

Maggie Hill is a brilliantly gifted cardiothoracic surgeon. So brilliant that in the opening moments of the pilot, she is being streamed out to med schools and hospitals around the world, performing a surgery named after her (some medical jargon about aortic bypasses using the patient's own pericardium that will lead to less wealthy people being able to have bypass surgery). This is the first time it's being done. And in the middle of the surgery, Maggie starts hearing things, then seeing people in the OR who are not there, and finally proceeds to strip and run out of the OR. Maggie, it turns out, is schizophrenic. A few months later, she wants back in the game and wants her old job back (and not just in a teaching capacity, she wants to be able to actually practice). But, as there's always the risk that she'll freak out again in the middle of surgery, there are several hurdles to jump through. Eventually, she does get reinstated... but Maggie is not taking her meds. She hears and sees things that aren't there and even screams at her patient as she performs open heart surgery... but she gets the job done.

Other characters include...
- Caroline, the lawyer sister Maggie has been at odds with for some time (each jealous of something the other has / can do that they can't).
- Dr. Virginia Lerner, the chief of C-T surgery at the hospital
- Dr. Elliot Springer, Maggie's arrogant rival in the C-T department who becomes at odds with her over treatment options in a case when Maggie returns to service
- Dr. Milo Marcus, Maggie's schizophernia doctor
- Dr. Ben Emerson, Maggie's boyfriend and a surgeon (though I couldn't pick out his specialty,but he does weigh in on a case Maggie and Elliot are at odds over, so he might be a C-T surgeon, too)
- Terrence James, Maggie's fling

On the subject of Terrence... in shades-of-Grey's Anatomy, Maggie is sleeping with him, but it turns out only she can see him. He's a figment of her fractured mind (this is definitely one of the reasons I couldn't put Maggie Hill in the Thumbs Up category...) Ultimately she chooses to continue not taking her meds and to have a romantic tryst with this man who she now knows doesn't exist. Yeah...

One other problem I have with Maggie Hill is that it is entirely focused on heart surgery. Unlike a show like House or ER or Grey's Anatomy where doctors have varying specialties... the medical cases on this series are going to be all heart surgery, all the time.

Finally, there's a rather intrusive element in the script in the form of the character Anna Peck, who runs a "pilot program" for NIH that is your typical television/film high-tech/future-medicine stuff. She invites Maggie into the fold with the promise that they may, one day, be able to cure Maggie of her schizophrenia. Maggie eventually accepts, except she's keeping her day job. Not sure how that's going to play out.

Maggie Hill is an interesting combination of things. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. I'm not sure I love it... but I'm sure I don't hate it. Thus... Jury's Out.

Pilot Script Review - Mercy

Written By: Liz Heldens
Draft Date: January 7, 2009
Pages: 62
Network: NBC
Category: Jury's Out

I'm going to start off a series of medical show reviews with what I think is the most promising of the rest of the bunch (the best of the bunch being Trauma, which I've already reviewed), and working my way down to the worst. Unfortunately for Mercy... it's competing with Trauma for time on the schedule.

The show is, essentially, Grey's Anatomy if the younger lead characters were nurses instead of surgical interns/residents. As such, it gets demerits for being derivative. But the show has its own charms and features an interesting lead character in Veronica Callahan, a tough-talking nurse suffering from "a touch of PTSD" after a tour in Iraq (though that could be slightly less interesting now that Grey's Anatomy is dealing with Dr. Owen Hunt's PTSD). The series rests on the shoulders of the actress who plays this role (Taylor Schilling), moreso than Grey's Anatomy does on Ellen Pompeo. And I've heard positive things from NBC sources.

The pilot begins with Veronica and her mother (definitely not Ellis Grey). Veronica saves a guy's life at a Starbucks (responding to the classic "is there a doctor in the house" when the only doctor in the coffee house turns out to be a dermatologist), but when she accompanies the guy and his fiancée to the hospital and starts ordering tests, she is called out for being a nurse and not a doctor and the financée threatens to sue. Wow, thanks, grateful bitch.

Mercy derives its name from the hospital it (mostly) takes place at, in case you were wondering. So unlike Grey's Anatomy, down the line the show could ultimately get rid of lead character Veronica since her name isn't in the title (because, really, Grey's is never going to make Lexie the lead...)

We meet a host of characters at the hospital throughout the day, with a variety of romantic entanglements (some at the hospital, some outside). The main characters are the group of nurses, Veronica, Gianna (beautiful, Latina), and Chloe (fresh out of nursing grad school)... and to a more minor extent, Angel (male nurse). It's an interesting, multi-ethnic mix and definitely plays on the rom-com of it all. The cases don't hit quite so hard on the nose as Grey's Anatomy does, but neither do they metaphorically/thematically reflect on the characters' lives as successfully. This is a show that will come down to have magically the cast congeals.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tonal Shift

Tonight's episode of Legend of the Seeker has been very much more in line with the campy tone of Xena. It was amusingly silly (even if the beginning was super, super awkward).

Also, there are officially gays in the series! Even if the first one was a D'Haran prison guard who was fireballed to death by Zed...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pilot Script Review - Past-Life

Written By: David Hugdins
Draft Date: January 5, 2009
Pages: 61
Network: FOX
Category: Thumbs Down

As so we come to the end of the night of a million Crappy Crime Shows.

Past-Life is about a team of past-life detectives that solve crime (in the pilot, a murder, but that's not a guarantee made... though it probably ought to be) using regression therapy and the theory of reincarnation.

Go ahead. Laugh at the premise. I did. And then I was kind of almost won over by the script... kind of almost. And then I laughed at the premise again and said "oh, hell no" (I mean, are they going to have to explain what they do at the Samuels Center for Consciousness Research and specifically the Special Investigations unit therein to every client who walks in the doors? Because, honestly, I'd be skeptical!)

The two leads of the series are Dr. Kate McGinn, a researcher and psychologist, and Price Whatley, an ex-homicide detective with the NYPD who is starting up as past-life detective for the SCCR. Price, blissfully, is a skeptic, which means he and Kate can bicker all they want while having UST and solving crimes. Oh, and Kate believes that she and Price, in their past-life, were lovers.

The pilot starts innocently enough with a kid (Noah) in a high school basketball game. Ball bounces out of the room, kid goes to get it (it got all the way to the pool...?) and upon seeing the pool water, as a flashback memory. When he snaps out of it he tells his parents (Amanda and Mike) that he "saw the man who killed me." The wha~!? After several (off-screen) doctors, the kid and parents were referred to the SCCR. Noah and Amanda go, Mike is highly skeptical (shock shock shockeroo). Anyway, some regression therapy and detective work (and legalese) later, we have two child abductions / homicides solved. Turns out that Noah's past-life's sister didn't die, she lived, and she gets reunited with her family (who, of course, she doesn't know is her family since the abduction happened years ago... Noah is 14 after-all... and she thinks that her abductor is her father).

Again, the script, at points, made me smile and kind of almost won me over. But... it's just not gonna work. I've also heard that it's been a mess, as far as production has gone. Count this one out.

Pilot Script Review - I Witness

Written By: Pam Veasey & Trey Callaway
Draft Date: February 5, 2009
Pages: 55
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Down

It's so interesting when CBS, the crime network, gets it so shockingly, blandly wrong with a crime show. This one, I'm not even sure why I'm wasting my time reviewing it considering it hasn't been shot because of a cast contingency not getting lifted (here's a thought... don't shoot it!) I guess it's just because it, too, is part of the Crappy Crime Show Gang and it's nice for people to know that CBS doesn't always hit it out of the park with these things.

But, I'll be brief, as this isn't being shot. Obviously, I thought it was bad. The lead character is Erin Bray, a detective at the Chicago PD as well as a professor at Northwestern University. What makes Erin unique as a character and a cop, besides the fact that she's getting a divorce and was a child abductee herself (and wouldn't you know it, the pilot case is a child abduction) is that she has the COMPLETELY UNIQUE ABILITY TO LOOK AT THINGS FROM DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW. WOW! We even get several of them along the way, described in the script as "E-POVs." They aren't like Shawn Spencer's zoom-in/close-up POVs on Psych, it's more that Erin will just, y'know, be somewhere else in a room and be looking at something from a different angle and thus notices things.

In class, she picks out three students who weren't paying attention to help her with her case. They are familiar types - the jock, the nerd, and the popular girl (who happens to be half-Japanese, half-Irish). They wind up playing the role of Foreman, Chase, and Cameron from House.

They eventually figure out who the perp is (note: not the father or the mother) and catch him thanks to the magic of drawbridges.


Pilot Script Review - Lost & Found

Written By: Christine Levinson
Draft Date: November 24, 2008 ("production draft")
Pages: 57
Network: NBC
Category: Thumbs Down

Dear fanboys: please don't flame me. I loved Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck as much as the next BSG fanatic (even if I hated the resolution to her story with Lee, along with, well, the entire post-battle section of the finale). Not the time for that rant.

You'll be pleased to know that, as L&F was developed as a star vehicle for Sackhoff, it's very easy to hear her voice in lead character Tessa Cooper. I mean, really, add the word "frak" in a few places and it practically is Starbuck in high heels (that I may have added in my head, as I don't recall the script actually mentioning footwear) and an LAPD uniform.

You'll be displeased to know that L&F sucks (on a different, but not necessarily lower or higher level than The Forgotten, this pilot season's other missing / unidentified persons show). It's another show with pervading voiceovers... only this show has Tessa in a not-nearly-as-Marlowe-as-she-thinks-she-is way providing the VO work. And when I say "pervade" I really do mean it. Remember Veronica Mars? She could get rather VOy, but at least most of that was funny internal dialogue about someone. L&F's VO falls flat.

Tessa Cooper is a hotheaded detective in some LA precinct. The teaser deals with her putting herself in a victim's headspace in order to figure out a crime... apparently a skill of Tessa's. In this case in involves Katee standing on the railing of a 13th floor hotel room near LAX in her underwear (an image I'm shocked hasn't surfaced as a production still). The VO asks "I'm a 22-year old Asian-American pharmaceutical rep. I drive a Ford Focus and have two cats. Why do I jump?" This, apparently, is Tessa's skill. Internally asking herself the obvious questions. Unfortunately for Tessa, results in some woman letting go of her dog as she yells at Tessa to not jump, the dog runs into traffic, and vehicle-on-vehicle action ensues. Whoops. In the best use of the VO in the script, Tessa is called to her lieutenant's office immediately after and thinks "I should have jumped."

Anyway, Tessa is transferred to the Lost and Found division. Which is in a basement. Where there is no cell reception. There's an ancient computer (script says first generation Pentium... wow) and a rotary phone that gets incoming calls but can't place outgoing calls. And Brian Cox lives there! Well, no, his character, Burt Macey, does. Burt is 55 and, in the last five years, has identified 3 unidentified persons. Go, Burt! Apparently UIDs really are low priority. All the more reason to watch this show... right?

So the pilot deals with Tessa not wanting to be part of this crackerjack UID department and eventually deciding "hey, I can do good work here... at least until I'm out of the doghouse and can be transferred back upstairs. In the meantime, she'll be VOing to herself such gems as "I'm a big black man, 18 to 35 years old. I have a class ring on a chair around my neck and a Viking helmet. Who am I?" and "I'm a Latino woman, 40 to 55 years old. I'm wearing a business suit and carrying a leather briefcase full of ping pong balls. Who am I?"

I really do think that a unidentified persons series could work... but neither this nor The Forgotten do it for me.

Pilot Script Review - The Forgotten

Written By: Mark Friedman
Draft Date: January 12, 2009
Pages: 59
Network: ABC
Category: Thumbs Down

Continuing our trip down suckitude lane with The Crappy Crime Show Gang, we have Exhibit B of this season's evidence that ABC can't develop a crime procedural.

The Forgotten / The Unknown is, unlike Brothers & Detectives, a show with a premise that could work. Regular citizens / amateur detectives solving unidentified persons cases. I mean... that could work, right? Do-gooders doing good. I believe there's still a place on TV for that without moral ambiguity and anti-heroes.

Then we get to the execution which - for me - just fails. Did I read this script ages ago? Yes. But it's not that none of the characters stuck with me for months... it's that none of them stuck with me immediately after reading. Which really pissed me off. What a waste of time! Also now I have to comb through the script for review details. SIGH. The amateur team is part of "The Identity Network," which the script describes (in dialogue to a potential new member) as "volunteers across the country, connected on the Internet. We share tips, ideas, we use our own knowledge and expertise... and we're all committed to finding out who these people are." Noble. A tad weird, but, hey, it's apparently a real thing. And they do it from a suburban living room with a billboard and a broadband connection!

The team is led (ish) by Alex Donovan, an ex-cop/detective in the Chicago PD. The rest team is made up, generally, of a bunch of neurotics which, individually, could play as comedy relief but together form an unserious mess. Bones gets the balance right with the squints. This... misses the mark. The team includes new guy / graffiti tagger Tyler, who does facial reconstructions with clay models (IIRC), agoraphobe Linda who (gasp!) can use a computer to post to message boards and read things, Candace, who is the pretty girl (yeah, apparently this group has one of those!), and Walter, a phone company repair tech whose specialty, I believe, was canvassing the community with flyers. There's a female detective character Alex knows and uses to get information, and I kept expecting a flirtationship that never materialized.

The case in the pilot revolves around a Jane Doe who was murdered and dumped into a ditch near a highway. And we voiceovers form and flashbacks of her throughout as the team figures more out (called a "Doe Moment" in the script...) The script thinks these things are awesome. I think they're intrusive. Of course, the more information the team collects, the more we see of her until we eventually see who she is and, voila, missing person's case solved.

Pilot Script Review - Solving Charlie

Written By: Daniel Cerone
Draft Date: January 8, 2009
Pages: 60
Network: ABC
Category: Thumbs Down

Oh, yay! We've reached the point in my Stack of Review Material Process I like to call "The Crappy Crime Show Gang."

Let's start with the most laughable, shall we? And let's start discussion of this saying that, for the love of god, ABC does not know it's way around a crime procedural. I mean, really, it doesn't.

The first 5 pages of this script (by a man who LEFT HIS JOB RUNNING DEXTER TO DEVELOP THIS, DEAR LORD HOW THE HELL DID EVERYTHING TURN OUT SO BADLY) show us the murder.

They also give away the murderer and the motive and that it's set up as a suicide.

This strikes me as a poor decision. I'm not the guy who watches all of the crime shows on CBS, so I may be wrong here... but shouldn't you, like, hide that stuff? So that the audience is figuring it out along with the characters? No?

I've heard that Law & Order: Criminal Intent does, actually tell you who committed the crime from the get-go and then the rest plays out form both sides of the fence (never watched an episode, myself). Which may be why it's the L&O series now relegated to USA?

Anyway. The pilot serves to set Charlie Hudson (mid-30s, let's just call him Hudson) up with guardianship of his estranged-since-the-age-of-five/now-dead father's 11-year old son, Charlie (yeah... inventive man, wasn't he!). Charlie happens to be a genius with a knack for solving puzzles. Hudson is a Property Crime detective with aspirations of being kicked up to the Homicide department. And - yay! - they fight crime together (the pilot case involves a jealous English professor killing a student who gave him a manuscript for a novel to get notes on and the novel was so good that, gosh darn it, the frustrated professor had to kill the student and take the manuscript for his own and finally get published... and he would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling brothers and detectives!)


Pilot Script Review - Trauma

Written By: Dario Scardapane
Draft Date: December 17th, 2008
Pages: 65
Network: NBC
Category: Jury's Out

I read a fairly early draft of this script, and I've been told about some changes to it that make me want to elevate it from Jury's Out to Thumbs Up. My rationale for putting Trauma in the Jury's Out category in the first place was that I just wasn't sure the premise was sustainable on the scale presented in the pilot... and I still don't think it is.

The show is about an Emergency Response Team in San Francisco (as well as doctors at hospitals and the patients, but mostly the EMTs). The pilot features a helicopter explosion at an incomplete skyscraper (which takes place a year ago and provides some traumatic / tragic backstory to many of our regular characters... it was an EMT helicopter carrying friends, colleagues, loved ones...) and, in the present, a pileup at the Bay Bridge involving an incredibly-hard-to-miss-with story about a carpool mother and the five kids in the back of her van in the crash. I mean... it's gonna be a tearjerker.

But, jeez, what's next week?

And don't get me wrong... ER pulled it off, to varying degrees of success, for 15 years. It can be done. ER, on the other hand, was pretty much entirely situated in the emergency room. Production-wise, that's a lot easier to deal with on a weekly basis than creating new major disasters for the EMTs to respond to. I mean... we all got really sick of ER's big disaster episodes (hell, Grey's Anatomy only tried to pull it off twice and in the middle of the first story - the Ferry Crash arc - we all got pretty fed up with it so when the fourth season inverted ambulance episodes came around my eyes were already rolling rather swiftly).

Then I remembered that this is mostly about reviewing pilots, and only minorly about assessing series potential. As a pilot (script), Trauma works. It is big, it is bloody, it has a number of haunted lead characters. It's the anti-ER (because it features much more responding to the emergency and bringing the victims to the trauma center than it does of the trauma center itself) even if it tries to take a number of elements that made that series work so effectively in the beginning. We'll see if it works on the screen. I think some levity might need to be injected into the series, because it is very dark. Then again, too much levity and you wind up with a Grey's Anatomy tonal copycat with EMTs instead of surgeons so going for the more ER-esque serious tone may pay off.

Pilot Script Review - Masterwork

Written By: Paul T. Scheuring
Draft Date: January 20, 2009
Pages: 65
Network: FOX
Category: Thumbs Down

As we're far more rapidly approaching May upfronts (and NBC's May infront) than I seem to be doing these reviews, I'm going to try to keep more brief when I don't feel like I have anything particularly interesting to say.

Brought to us by the man who created (but doesn't run) Prison Break, Masterwork is the illegitimate clone/bastard-child of The DaVinci Code and National Treasure (which was already a clone of TDVC, itself). World-hopping, art-recovering FBI agent Marcus Vanderwold and his protege Sean Fetters are starting on track of a "whale" in the art-recovery world not because of the particular historical value of the statue they're tasked to recover but because of some Massively Ominously Worded Prophecy Or Some Such that says that "The statue itself is just the beginning. It leads to power. To that thing beneath the Temple of Solomon. Which in turn leads to the Greatest Power" (or, summarized as King Solomon's Treasure, a great, mythical, lost fortune that could turn the economic tides of the world depending on who finds is... yay!)

I don't trust the TV series and its clues to be as impressively researched and enthralling as, say, Angels & Demons (a far better book than TDVC, and I'm eager to see the film which should also be better). But, well, that's the series goal for you.

In the meantime, you have a kind of buddy-cop dramedy being played between Marcus and Fetters (who kind of disappears in the second half of the script when Marcus becomes more entanged with his MI-5 rival, Mo Murphy). The rivalry between Marcus and romantic interest / MI-5 agent also in the art-recovery business, provides some predictable turns and double-crosses that could be masked if we really buy into their love-hate relationship, and it may show up on screen, but it fizzled for me on the page. Of course, there are religious figures involved, and conspiracies aplenty.

I just feel like I've seen it / read it before and seen it / read it done better (and in books and movies where you're allowed to open and shut a story, whereas in TV you have to figure out how to extend it for seasons and seasons without people losing interest... oh, wait, I already have?) It seems like the kind of intrinsically heavily serialized show that the networks are starting to shy away from, except in rare, special cases (i.e. Flash Forward). I'm not excited and I don't hear great buzz on this project, but you never really know until you see the final cut.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grey's Is Back with Sweet Surrender

Yay! Grey's Anatomy is back after a month-long hiatus that felt like a year.

Never thought I'd be excited about this show again... but here I am. Here we are.

Damn you, Shonda.

Oh, thank god, Owen is getting psychological help. Which means Amy Madigan is back!

Oh, cute awkward meet the father lesbian story replete with "run for your life" warning to George (who, 10 minutes in, has actually been in two scenes... wow!)

I'm kinda over Derek and Mark being manemies over Lexie. Seriously kinda over it.

The pediatric case (seriously, the show has been on such an upswing since Jessica Capshaw's Arizona Robbins was brought in on her roller-sneakers and this field of surgery utilized in stories) has Tay-Sachs, which means... a Jewish story? Oh, it must be the Passover season. PS, Tay-Sachs is fatal in children, and this child has lived one or two years longer than she ought to have... you can't fail to pull at the heartstrings with that kind of story.

... the show has created the adjective "cancery." Kudos.

I love Izzie's wedding den / hospital room. And that she plays a prank on Cristina in order to get Meredith to try on wedding rings (but do I sense the girl who cried wolf coming?)

"Hey! Stop speaking Spanish!" XD

What's with Lexie's eating? Is it to justify Chyler Leigh's pregnancy weight (they are definitely shooting her from the chest up)?

Yeah, Derek... thinking that the Chief could be your best man at your wedding to Meredith... not a good call.

Dude. That guy crashing through the 3rd or 4th story window and onto a car (that was parked curiously close to / inside the ambulance bay...) was kinda awesome. Dude. George has a story this week. Trauma suits him... after all, he did that heart surgery in the elevator that time by himself.

Don't get up off that bed, Izzie Stevens you IDIOT.

I can't even talk about the Callie's father storyline. I refuse to.

That scene with Bailey talking to the father about the terminal child (who is laying in a hospital bed with Bailey) was heartbreaking... if overly whispery. Oh, accepting the inevitable...

GOOD FOR YOU, CALLIE. It's going to feel like crap, but you did the right thing for you.

Don't like Owen using the "jumping in front of a car" metaphor (from his medical case, you know?) for him "wrecking" Cristina by dating her. Too on the nose. Well, Grey's Anatomy in its heyday often was too on the nose... so this really is a return to form!

"You can stop eating now." "Oh, thank god."