Monday, April 27, 2009

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.

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