Monday, April 27, 2009

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.

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