Pilots are hard. Writers have to quickly build a world and introduce believable and memorable characters, with enough of a story hook to make viewers come back for another round. Comedy pilots are even harder — they also have to tell some jokes, and do it all in just 22 minutes.
There’s been no shortage of bugnuts*, high-concept shows in recent years, most of which take themselves too seriously and turn into dreary slogs that beg to be put out of their misery. Under the Dome is one of those shows. Sleepy Hollow, at least judging by the pilot, is not.
The second season of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom improves on the shortcomings of the first, but still fails to really coalesce into something other than an earnest-but-tone deaf misfire.
In this final half-season of Breaking Bad, we’ve completely descended into nightmare territory. The thrill of the great train heist or the escapades of Vamonos Pest is long gone, and all that remains is wreckage and shock. This was one of the most soul-crushing hours of television I’ve ever watched in my life.
Continue reading BREAKING BAD: “Ozymandias”
I pay close attention to pilot season, and often get intrigued by new pilots involving writers or actors I love. Last year, there were a handful of series I picked up from the get-go, almost all of which were cancelled (R.I.P., Last Resort. You never had a chance, Awake.) It’s just part of the deal, the recognizing that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top.
Consider how many pilot scripts get submitted…then what tiny percentage of those get bought by a network, cast and filmed…then what tiny percentage of those actually make it to air…then what even tinier percentage of those survive a full season and come back. It’s a wonder anything good ever gets made.
That said, here are four new shows (two dramas, two comedies) debuting this Fall that I really hope are good, and don’t get cancelled.
The fledging BBC America series Orphan Black has finished just its first season, but it has already cemented its place among the post-LOST sci-fi/action elite. A great deal of that has to do with the tightly wound storytelling and plausible layers of mythology, but the singular, defining aspect of the show for many (okay, for all) is the absolutely titanic central performance from Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany.
Here (and at the “ON TV” link up top) is your handy guide to what I’m watching on TV. It’s by no means an exhaustive list of “everything good,” just what I have time and DVR space for. The main page will be updated regularly as old shows end and new shows begin.