Sunday, April 26, 2009

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.


Nathan said...

I actually liked this script especially Anna, I admit is was a little tired some and I see no place on CBS schedule for it, but I thought it was decent.

Travis Yanan said...

Anna was definitely the best part for me. I agree... there's no (obvious) place for this on CBS's schedule and it, in general, doesn't scream CBS as a project. I think they have better "off-brand" pilots. As a family, besides the contrivance on everyone being a doctor (seriously, not even one black sheep who went outside of medicine at all, not just "I'm not going to be a surgeon, but I'll be a researcher or pathologist"?) they didn't work on the page for me like a family needs to (see Brothers & Sisters). Then again, the Brothers & Sisters script needed a lot of work (and two reshoots) to get it right. Family obviously works better on screen than on paper.

Nathan said...

I agree Anna was such an interesting flawed character that can really be a character on TV that advocate Autism research on get people to learn more about it. Plus, I love Saffron Burrows (Anna) and I really doubt this will be picked up but I hope she finds something great.

Crew Member said...

The script was unreadable and the shooting did not improve this rehashed pilot of a hundred things we've already seen.

Some choice lines can be found in the harrowing "Save Donald Sutherland In Surgery Scene". A completely unrealistic scene wherein the entire family, two of which aren't even surgeons all get involved in the rescue of their father. And one says, paraphrasing (which is on par with the actual dialogue), "Come on Dad! Please live to make us question ourselves one more day!" It was shit.

I wish all the actors well. I wish the writer well. The director was kind of a douche, but let's wish him well all the same. But, despite all the well wishing, this was a gigantic waste of everyone's time.

Anonymous said...

I loved this pilot. It tested really high with women. The final product was beautiful. All the performances were very moving and it was funny. The pilot has been passed around town in its final form and the buzz has been incredible. I'm a mom with an autistic child and found this story very real and compelling.

Sam said...

As for those mean comments of the Crew Member how could it be a waste of their time? He or she got paid alot for the job and worked with good people. If he hated it so much why didn't he or she just quit? If this person knows so much about writing why are they working on the crew instead of writing their own scripts? Or becoming an actor or director? This project reportedly attracted Donald Sutherland, Saffron Burrows, James D'Arcy, Jesse Bradford, Gaby Hoffman. These are very talented people. I have good friends who worked on this project and loved it. I think this entry is really plain bizarre. You shouldn't be biting the hand that feeds you.

Brian said...

All I can say of the Travis review is that he must be someone who has never been married, never been a parent, never watched a sick child struggle, never been mortally ill, never been betrayed by a loved one, fallen out of favor with a parent or a brother or sister, been broke with a child to support, never balanced between life and death. His review was so immature, so callow as to be sad. Not everything has to be a boring procedural or a bromance. Life is fragile. Families are screwed up and filled with unwritten rules that affect us for life. I appreciated that The Eastmans was trying to go for all of that and more. If you are an aspiring writer Travis you should be careful how you treat other writers. You will create some bad writing karma for yourself.

Development Guy said...

What a douche this guy is. Has he ever written anything? Clearly not. The Eastmans was a great script and great pilot. I had to read and watch every single one. This one was at the top. And why is he reviewing pilot scripts? How lame is that?

Anonymous said...

how do i get a copy of the pilot.. My son was in it and I never was able to see the pilot :( thanks for sharing