Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pilot Screener Reviewlets - CBS Dramas

- The 2-2: so not my cup of tea, and doesn't succeed on a "CBS procedural" level, either. A headscratcher of a pick up in my book. Slight serialization to it, not sexy, not unique, and not a "everyone focus on solving one murder." Shrug. Reminds me of ABC's The Unusuals, only that had an infectious sense of silliness going for it (oh, and Adam Goldberg in common...)

- A Gifted Man: the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is playing down from what they could be doing elsewhere in this. I mean... what is Margo Martindale doing following up her amazing stint on Justified as Patrick Wilson's semi-sassy secretary!?

- Hail Mary: the hilariousness of Sandra Bullock's character from The Blind Side partnering with a wise-cracking ex-gangbanger to become a PI team needed to be turned up to 11. Feels really odd that their so successful on such an easy case, yet the police are hapless. Only on TV...

- Person of Interest: So, Michael Emerson is kind of playing Ben... with a limp. Everything he says is needlessly mysterious and creepy. Hey, he's got a niche. The concept is that his character is provided with numbers - social security numbers - that a Big Brother-type machine (that can see you through every camera anywhere and can hear your phone conversations and knows who you are) he designed post 9/11 for the government considers irrelevant (as far as massive terrorist type activities), but are actually tips that something criminal is going to go down. The number could be that of a perpetrator, an accomplice, a victim... he doesn't know. He just gets the numbers (through a backdoor he designed... claiming that getting any more information that this would tip someone off). It's an interesting way into a procedural, that will provide plenty of "we thought it was this, but it's actually this... oh wait, we were wrong again!" twists. But part of me wishes that the information, which for much of the pilot is mysterious and seemingly beamed down to Michael Emerson from on high, or aliens, or magic, or something, had remained mysterious. But the other part of me is glad that the series is NOT about the mystery of how he gets the information. That's out of the way, so now it's just investigation, investigation, investigation. I could give or take Caviezel as the shadowy/traumatic-past field operative who gets recruited to be Emerson's primary investigator. Could be something I'm hooked into... could be something that's exactly the same every week and I decide isn't worth my time.

- Unforgettable: oh, my, do I have to swallow my pride on this one. This is almost a perfect CBS procedural and I'm guessing it's going to be the biggest hit of the fall season (though I still won't be watching). Some of the things I hated about the script (the five minutes in the beginning in a NYC cab that, for some reason, only had nostalgic radio stations on it that sent the lead character into uncontrollable flashback memories) are gone. Probably for production reasons, some of the described coolness of Carrie's memory flashes are gone (she could only pop back to what was in her field of vision, everything else was black, the edges were fuzzy), too, which is unfortunate because she is now, like, an infallible superwoman with almost 360 degrees of picture-and-sound-perfect memory. It might have been hard to explain to viewers, too. There's still a bunch of eye-rolling moments in breaking the case, but, whatever.

One of the show's two biggest challenges going forward is going to be bringing the other characters up from a peanut gallery position. Even Dylan Walsh's character, Al, who will be Carrie's partner, seems like little more than someone to talk to. He needs something about him that helps solve murders, so every beat doesn't hinge on something Carrie remembers. Otherwise, yeah, she's superwoman. I think we're supposed to feel a big UST thing between Carrie and Al. Not there, yet. The show's other biggest challenge is going to be explaining how Carrie's abilities help when she ISN'T at/around the scene of the crime when it happens / doesn't have even a little history with the victim. I like Poppy Montgomery as a redhead, but she slips out of her accent on several occasions.

Not yet watched: The Doctor


Julia said...

You liked Person of Interest more than I did. I thought Caviezel was horrible, and Emerson not much better. The premise has a lot of holes, too. Does he just ignore any SSNs from outside NYC? Or was the system only built to protect NYC?

Travis Yanan said...

POI definitely has that "um, WTF" to its Deux Ex Machina. I just figured "whatever, the show isn't about the machine - I think - so who cares." Again, I almost wish they hadn't explained it to us... because then the holes wouldn't be so apparent.