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Fall 2010 Pilot Reviews (Updated!)

After creating my Handy Guide to Fall 2010 TV chart, I thought it would be only fitting to actually watch all the premieres and weigh in with my thoughts.  This post will be updated as new shows air.

  • Better With You – 3/10 – I didn’t crack a single smile. I guess it has a familiar charm, but I will never purposely watch it again. The jokes fell flat, the plot is cliché, and most of the actors are either miscast or untalented.
  • Blue Bloods – 3.5/10 – The most cliche-filled script of premiere season. Nearly every other line of dialog was pure exposition, and the way all 4 generations in the family are dragged into the case is preposterous. The fact that coincidences and shoddy plotting are so present right out the gate is troubling for the future of this series. I’ll pass.
  • Boardwalk Empire – 8.5/10 – Beautifully shot with a breezy script and an intriguing premise, this show is delightful and has that extra HBO umph we’ve come to expect. I can’t wait to see where this show is going. I’m not yet convinced Buscemi can carry a series on his own, but with such a stellar supporting cast, he doesn’t need to.

  • Chase – 4.5/10 – Bland, predictable, all flash and no substance. Skip.
  • Detroit 1-8-7 – 5.5/10 – A competently made procedural. The use of on screen reminders for who’s who and which case was witch was got annoying fast, and none of the characters stood out as particularly interesting or original. The surprise ending had me somewhat intrigued, but not enough to put it on my season pass.
  • Hawaii 5-0 – 6/10 – The pilot was pretty and well shot, but it’s not something I can see myself watching regularly.
  • Hellcats – 6/10 – Fun and harmless, with nice dancing and hot guys and girls. I’ll watch till I get bored.
  • Law & Order: Los Angeles – 4/10 – Bland, run of the mill, and been-there-done-that, this new edition in the long running franchise feels stale and empty.  The characters aren’t interesting (and Skeet Ulrich makes a rather unappealing lead), the location is nothing new (though they seem to cram in as many LA references as possibly as if to say “Hey!  We’re different!”), and the storyline of the pilot is as predictable and rehashed as they come.  When the two actresses guesting as victims (and potential perpetrators) in the case-of-the-week are the best thing about your pilot, something just isn’t right.  Skip it.
  • Lone Star – 9/10 – The best new network show by a mile. Has great writing/directing/cast and a serialize storyline that will take it places. Too bad it’s likely to be canceled in a matter of days. It would be a much better fit on sister network FX.
  • Mike and Molly – 4/10 – A well cast though unappealing traditional sitcom. It’s the Big Bang Theory and only instead of every joke being about geeks and blondes, every joke is about fat people and africans. Literally. Every joke.
  • My Generation – 1.5/10 – This was the biggest pile of shit to premiere all season, perhaps in several seasons. I mean seriously, this was AWFUL. It was one of if not the most trite and contrived pilots I’ve ever seen. The acting was horrible, the plot unbelievable, and the entire premise just does not work. It’s meant to be a mockumentary following 10 high school seniors, 10 years after graduation. But it is so unbelievably fake and terribly written/directed/acted that it’s off-putting in pretty much every way. And the way they incorporate shit like the Bush/Gore election, 9/11, Enron, and Afghanistan is not only extremely bad– it’s straight up in bad taste. This show was a disaster on every level. The contrived script. The horrifically unbelievable acting. The terrible music awkwardly crammed in. I mean maybe it would have worked as a night time soap if it didn’t have the fake documentary conceit, but that just ends up amplifying all the believability problems till the whole thing feels like a farce or practical joke being pulled on the audience. It sort of reminded me of a web series. Only on ABC. On Thursdays. At 8pm. During the fall season. And meant to be convincing as a documentary following real or relish people. I’d laugh but this show left such a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Nikita – 4/10 – Pretty poorly executed and just plain not fun like it should be. I might give it one more chance. Alias was superior in every way.
  • No Ordinary Family – 5/10 – It was alright, but this pilot suffered from its cheesy dialog and sappy after-school special type feel. It would be a better fit on ABC family airing with Kyle XY or Secret Life of the American Teenager than on the ABC mothership.
  • Outlaw – 4/10 – MIIIGGGGUUUEEELLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Outsourced – 5/10 – There’s a line that needs to be used when dealing with potentially offensive comedy. Either you go balls out with it or you be as inoffensive as possible. This show attemped to stratle that line and have it both ways, and it just didn’t work.
  • Raising Hope – 7/10 – Fun and enjoyable, with a fantastic cast. It’s like My Name Is Earl, only with a more appealing lead and setting. Hopefully it can humanize the parent characters more without loosing it’s zaniness.
  • Running Wilde – 5.5/10 – After all of the bad reviews for this show, I was expecting to hate it. But I didn’t. Arnett was good, Kerri Russel was… present, and about half the jokes flew. The problem is the other half did not. They fell, and they fell hard. The show has potential, but as-is it’s a shoddily put together package. It’s no Arrested Development.
  • Shit My Dad Says – 4.5/10 – I went into this viewing expecting the worst. It’s based on a twitter feed, a traditional sitcom on CBS, and stars William Shatner as himself – which don’t get me wrong the Shat is great! – but his shtick could get old quick. But then I watched the series. And I was pleasantly surprised. Sure the jokes are hit or miss but the cast is good and the whole premise of the series just “clicked” for me. Not sure if I’ll tune in week to week but I’ll give it another shot.
  • Terriers – 8.5/10 – Fantastic. This is a show that really came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and knowing exactly what kind of show it wants to be. It reminds me a lot of Veronica Mars or a strange mash up of The Shield and Psych.
  • The Defenders – 4.5/10 – Snappy but forgettable. The setting (Las Vegas) is nice but the characters are one note and unsympathetic and the plot and structure is been there done that. Jim Belushi is surprisingly likeable.
  • The Event – 6.5/10 – This pilot… [spoiler]IS NOT THE EVENT[/spoiler] Or in other words, this pilot doesn’t really give us a good idea of what the series will be like as a whole. I enjoyed it a lot more than many others seemed to, though I too found the “8 seconds earlier”, “10 days earlier”, “11 years earlier” shtick to get old fast. I’ll stick with it for the foreseeable future.
  • The Whole Truth – 4.5/10 – A CBS brand procedural on ABC. Some of the supporting cast is interesting, though Morrow and Tierney make surprisingly unappealing leads. The premise of showing both sides of the case starts out interesting but quickly devolves into a standard, unoriginal legal show. The tension, intrigue, and quality writing just aren’t there.
  • Undercovers – 5/10 – Severely disappointing. It had attractive leads, fun action, and some nice supporting characters, but it was so light and weightless that it was basically… nothing. There’s no hook. No tension. No stakes. No genre elements. No serialized plot. Just week to week cases of husband and wife CIA agents being sexy together and going to exotic locations. I’m sure it’s great escapist fun for middle age couples in a rut, but there’s nothing to bring me back for a second episode. For shame, JJ Abrams. For shame.

2 responses to “Fall 2010 Pilot Reviews (Updated!)

  1. Eames ⋅

    Hey Robert, AWESOME FUCKING BLOG YOU GOT HERE MAN. Too bad I haven’t even watched 3/4 of these pilots ;_; FIRST COMMENT THOUGH YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYy GO ROBERTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTt <33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

  2. Steve Buscemi in a serious lead role sounds dicey, but I think he’s doing a bang-up job, so far.

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