?

Log in

 
 
09 April 2012 @ 07:12 pm
"Rumor Has It..."  
My allergies are killing which can only mean one thing ... Spring is here ... which leads to another thing... PILOT SEASON IS IN FULL SWING. The most glorious time of year when the possibility of two major networks airing two different remakes of the Beauty and the Beast concept is entirely possible. Networks won't make their final decisions about pilots until the Upfronts next month, but I'd like to take a moment to blah-blah (it's been so long since I've blah-blah-ed) about them. First, there are a couple of show that have already been green-lit straight to series. ABC will air a remake of the UK hit Mistresses next spring (will it or won't it have the gay remains to be seen) and NBC will has ordered a TV series based on Red Dragon...yep, Hannibal Lecter is coming to your TV every week. Yeah, I am not sure exactly how that will work either.

If we were to sum up this year's development slate into two categories... it is Fairy Tales and Westerns which means after a solid decade of seeing show after show about lawyers, cops and doctors, we are getting just a bit more creativity back on TV (well, okay, creativity in airquotes, but you know what I mean). Credit the success of Once Upon a Time, Grimm and cable shows like Justified, The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels for this strange phrase. I will enjoy it while it lasts. Also, a tip of the hat to Downton Abbey since there are a few shows that seem to want to embrace the British hit's take on upper crust soapy-ness. Ditto to for Revenge which seems to have inspired a revival of the thoroughly adult prime-time soap. For a complete list of pilots go here.

For my picks of most intriguing pilots, click on the cut ... also known as pilots I think are good but will either not be picked up or cancelled after three episodes.


ABC
Gilded Lilys
Logline: Revolves around the opening of the first luxury hotel in New York in 1895 and the intermingling of love, treachery and disdain between the classes set against a backdrop of vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets and conflict and co-mingling of the classes.
Cast: John Barrowman, Matt Long, Maury Sterling, Brigid Brannagh, Brian F. O'Byrne, Blythe Danner, Sarah Bolger, Madeline Zima, Matt Lauria
My Take: I see what you did here, ABC. You wanted a Downton-esque drama, didn't you? I forgive you because you cast John Barrowman and I will watch him do anything for at least six episodes. I can actually see this being halfway entertaining. Everyone likes 19th century scandal. Will a lady fuck a diplomat to death?

Scruples
Logline: Based on the Judith Krantz novel, the sexy soap is set in the late 1970s and follows a socialite who, following her husband's death, seeks to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills.
Cast: Claire Forlani, Chad Michael Murray, Gary Cole, Karine Vanasse, Boris Kodjoe, Noot Seear, Jessica McNamee, Mimi Rogers (recurring), Gilles Marini (recurring)
My Take: My love for this project took a hit when Chad Michael Murray was cast. Why, god, WHY? But it bounced back a bit when Karine Vanasse and Boris Kodjoe were added (OH LORD, I ALREADY WANT YOU TWO TO MAKE OUT... I DON'T CARE WHO YOU PLAY). This pilot had me at "based on a Judith Krantz" novel because this was my SHIT back in middle school. Trashy romance novels and the insanity in them .... there was no greater drug. I also love that they are keeping this in its original time period. This novel was already adapted into a mini-series in the 80's starring Lindsay Wagner (dude, I told you this was my shit) and I want to see what a 21st Century version set in the 20th century is going to look like. I think it is high-time big, ridiculous, adult soaps made a comeback to TV. They have been off the air entirely too long. Bit of trivia... Natalie Portman is producing this one.

CBS
Elementary
Logline: A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the famed detective now living in New York City.
Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn
My Take: Urgh, why must CBS be producing this? All their crime shows look the same. Do all the directors over at that network go to school to learn how to make a show with no color palate, filled with the most generic shots possible? Okay, now that I've got that rant out of the way, I will say the only reason I am interested in this one is Lucy Liu as Watson. I just want to see how that dynamic will work and Liu impressed the hell out of me during her season-long guest stint on Southland.

NBC
Bad Girls
Logline: Adapted from the long-running U.K. series, follows the ins and outs of a group of unlikely women in a federal prison: a scandalous female warden, her new protégé and a host of inmates -- some mothers, some friends -- who struggle with loyalties to people on the inside and outside.
Cast: Jaime Pressly, Jurnee Smollett, Amy Smart, Karolina Wydra, Rick Gonzalez, Zoe Boyle, Tracee Ellis Ross
My Take: The show the U.S. has been threatening to remake for ages has finally made it to the pilot stage. Originally, the show was pitched for HBO by a different set of producers and I feel like that would have probably been the only way the show could have been done right. With this show ending up on a network, it will lose most of its edge. There is no getting around that, but still, John Welles (ER) is behind this one and if he can bring some of the say grittiness he brought to Southland, it might have shot. I doubt the show will retain of the original characters and so don't look for any Nikki/Helen epic love happening on this show if it does get picked up.

The Frontier
Logline: Revolves around a group who follows their dreams and heads West from Missouri across the uncharted country in the 1840s.
Cast: Ethan Embry, Megan Ferguson, Jake McLaughlin, Bridget Regan, Al Weaver, Gina Bramhill, Chaske Spencer, Erik Jensen, Clancy Brown, Mustafa Shakir, Nathan Gamble
My Take: BRIDGET REGAN ON A TV SHOW. No, really, who cares what else this show is about or what is happening. She is back on a TV show and in a period piece too. Pretty Bridget Regan and her sexy lip scar in period piece frocks. Here is hoping she is just a bit kick-ass.

CW
First Cut
Logline: Glad to leave her nerdy past behind for a fresh start in the adult professional world, a newly minted doctor discovers that, sadly and comically, life at the hospital where she works is no different than high school.
Cast: Mamie Gummer, Justin Hartley, Michael Rady, Jack Coleman, Kelly J. McCreary, Aja Naomi King, Necar Zadegan
My Take: Mamie Gummer... I am a sucker for the girl. Like her last TV gig in Off the Map, she is back playing a doctor, but this time she is the lead and in a dramedy to boot. I already want her to make out with Justin Hartley really, really, really, really badly.


And now for something completely different. I've ended to get this off my chest for while.



An Open Letter to NBC's Smash
Look at your life, look at your choices. Smash, you are like the world's most underachieving boyfriend (girlfriend... oh wait, girlfriends don't under-achieve...). You always say the wrong thing, make things awkward, never are clever, but then when you take the time to do something right, you are incredible and I forget that 98% of the time you are crap because I only dwell on the 2% of the time that you aren't. In the end, though, I am frustrated and annoyed that I still want you in my life and that you aren't the awesome, entertaining person I know you can be. So I wait ... and hope that you get your shit together so that I will be proud to have you in my life. I was rooting for you, Smash. We were all rooting for you!

Let's cite all the things Smash has going for it ... it's better than Glee, continuity/character-wise at any rate. Its cast is first-rate. I'd watch Angelina Huston read a fucking phone book. It has really catchy original songs. I have caught myself humming "History is Made At Night" on more than a few occasions. Nothing that is wrong with it is unfix-able. I think this last bit is the most frustrating because with some minor tweaks, a lot of my issues would disappear. And now that this show, my guiltiest pleasure of the season, is coming back next year, I REALLY needed to get this off my chest before it gives me an ulcer that leads to hospitalization by the third episode of season two.



Katharine McPhee is not a better Broadway singer than Megan Hilty
The more the show tries to convince me that McPhee is the better singer and brighter star, the less I believe it. Show, please stop showing us reaction shots of people hearing McPhee sing for the first time as if when she opens her mouth, angels, perfection, rainbows and kittens flow out. McPhee has a lovely voice, even a really, really, really good pop voice (will not argue that point), but I don't know how many times the show has to show us people being completely astounded by her voice as if she is one of those once in a lifetime voices like Adele, Whitney Houston, Dusty Springfield or Etta James. My face when I heard those singers for the first time is what the faces of those on the show look like and I just ain't buying it. Show, please stop intercutting between Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee singing the same song because ... it doesn't do McPhee any favors. The bigger point here is that this show suffers from an aliment that has been plaguing Broadway for a decade... the idea that being a good singer automatically makes you a great Broadway star. Nope! It doesn't. When Hilty sings, she sounds like Marilyn Monroe singing her feelings. When McPhee sings, it is McPhee singing. This approach to singing is what makes good Broadway actors special and not every singer can do it.

The more you try to convince me Ivy is unhinged, the more I like her...
Oh my god, Ivy is becoming Marilyn. The mother, the drug habit, the bad personal decisions. Yeah, Smash, we get it, the parallels you are drawing between Ivy and Marilyn are so blatantly obvious, a blind person could see them...about a subtle as an axe straight to the face. But still, the more the show tries to convince me that Ivy is an unhinged chorus girl with no star quality, the more I yell, "who are you trying to fool, here Smash?" Is anyone buying this? No one is buying it. The show is painting Ivy with broad stroke of the "crazy" brush so that we all root for McPhee's inevitable ascension, but by doing so, they are giving more dimension and more texture to Ivy, a girl who grow up in the shadow of a larger-than-life mother who constantly stomped on her dreams and stepped on her heart. She is a girl in need of a hug and therapy and you love her all the more because of it. McPhee (I call her McPhee and not Karen because, really, all I see is McPhee) is from the Midwest. Yep, that's about all the show has given us. The show suffers from Gossip Girl syndrome .... the supposed "second lead" is much more interesting and complex than the actual lead. No one watches Gossip Girl (or watched ... past tense... because I know y'all just watch Dan/Blair clips on YouTube) for Serena. NO ONE. It's all about Blair. Same goes here. Hilty is pretty much walking away with this show effortlessly and flawlessly. Even when she is being a total bitch (but we all know it is because she is a poor damaged insecure little girl who just needs someone to tell her it will all be okay), she is the one I will be rooting for.

Try a little more upstairs, downstairs
Let's face it... seeing two women be catty and bitchy to each other to try to get ahead in their career is kind of an old and tired storyline. Been there, done to death. How about if we make Ivy the star and McPhee top chorus gal and watch these two women in parallel storylines in a kind of Upstairs, Downstairs/Downton Abbey riff? Problems in the chorus and problems in the top cast are sometimes two different circles ... two different dramatic possibilities. I actually don't mind if McPhee and Ivy continue to be frenemies, but I think it would be more interesting if they became friends ... a mismatched odd couple. McPhee should dump her boyfriend and move in with Ivy and there would be wacky hijinxs a-plenty with two actresses living under the same roof. This would actually kill two birds with one stone because one of the massive problems this show has is with its subplots... no one cares about them...which leads me to....

No one cares about your family, Julia
The show should be just about putting together a musical. If Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark proved one thing (besides the fact that swinging your actors should require lots of rigorous testing and a lot of insurance) is that backstage drama is the best drama. There is nothing more Shakespearean than trying to stage a Broadway musical .. the sweat, the tears, the set-backs, the highs, the lows. In other words, NO ONE CARES ABOUT JULIA'S FAMILY!!! I harp on the Julia subplot because it is the most ridiculous, but most of the other subplots with our characters outside the show can just die in a fire as well. No McPhee boyfriend. No extra martial affairs. No one cares about her son and husband and her plans to adopt a kid. NO ONE. The show should be more focused on what happens in and around the musical... kind of like how most of ER took place in the hospital because that is where the drama is.

Enough with the spontaneous musical sequences
I know NBC wants to get as much of the Glee money as they possibly can so inserting random pop hits sung by the show's stars just to get them on iTunes the next day to make more money is not in itself a bad thing, but doing it week in and week out is. I don't mind if it happens relatively organically. I quite enjoyed Ivy and McPhee's duet in Times Square last episode, but most of the time having your characters break into song for no reason when they aren't rehearsing the musical seems a bit forced. How many times will these characters walk into a bar and break out into song... in a bowling alley... at a party. I won't lie to you and say that spontaneous musical sequences don't actually happen in real life (living in New York City my entire life, I can say they do and I have been apart of at least three), but let's save them for when they make sense. Or.. when McPhee and Ivy get drunk again which, frankly, could be every episode.

Kill Ellis and give Derek a character
I suspect Ellis is a character we were supposed to love to hate, but nope, I think I can speak for all of us by saying we just hate him. There are no redeeming qualities and a slow death by fire would be too good for him. If the character was played by a more charismatic actor, it might have helped things (he is supposed to be the Iago in this Shakespearean drama, I get that), but I think the character has already run its course. Go away. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the only reason the character of Derek works at all is because Jack Davenport, who has never looked more yummy, is so damn charming that I usually forget that I have no idea what his motivation is, why he can be such a dick or what he is feeling. Like, does he have actual feelings for Ivy or is he just sport-fucking her? Is he attracted to McPhee or does he just want to help her because he believes in her? When he retires to his penthouse of awesome at night, does he sleep like a bat? Why does he have a coat that makes him look like Morpheus from The Matrix? All burning questions!

In conclusion... I will continue to watch this show because Megan Hilty is awesome, Jack Davenport is hella sexy with his five o'clock shadow, Angelina Huston is awesome and the songs are great. Oh and on the off chance Ivy and Derek have dirty, dirty wall sex in a East Village bar.


It's been too long...your moment of zen... remember these two idiots...

 
 
How I'm Feelin': annoyedannoyed
 
 
 
liberty_stewart: Leighton Meester/Blake Livelyliberty_stewart on April 10th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC)
The pilot that stuck out the most for me on that list was the Green Arrow series and it was only because Katie Cassidy is going to be playing Black Canary.

Only a few other I might give a try simply because of the cast and only like one or two for the actual plotline.

Urgh, why must CBS be producing this?

I know what you mean. I can't think of a single crime series on that network that doesn't look like something CSI puked out. If this series is anything like the other crime series on that network, here's basically what you can expect. Character and story development: Dah, what story and character development? We know it's all about grotesque murdered bodies, ridiculous criminals and overly dramatic music. Cause that's all that's important, shock value. For that other silliness like character and story development, just keep it to bare minimum. So you can expect generic, token characters with half-assed backgrounds that we never actually plan to explore and formulaic storylines that's basically all the same episode recycled over and over again. Meaning we will never have a storyline go beyond one episode outside those two parters that comes during big ratings times.

There I basically summed up every crime drama on CBS. I also think the reason so many of them gets such high ratings is because they're all so interchangeable with one another and basically all the same that it's all practically just one show for the people watching them.

Bad Girls I'll give a try, even though it likely get rid of any gay context. Though here's what I think you should fear most:

NBC
Bad Girls


BRIDGET REGAN ON A TV SHOW. No, really, who cares what else this show is about or what is happening.

What? No love for that wacky sounding time travelling-musical show with Richard Cypher and Bunny Alice? That one got me curious and if they can sell it right, I might give it a try.

Though of course I would much prefer for LotS and TPC to be resurrected instead. That would solve all problems and give us on one end mystical adventures with Bridget Reagan, the Seeker and the awesome butt kicking hot gay blond chick in red. And on the other end retro tales starring the hot gay chicks known as Amber Heard, Leah Renee and Tess Mercer Luther.

The show suffers from Gossip Girl syndrome .... the supposed "second lead" is much more interesting and complex than the actual lead. No one watches Gossip Girl... for Serena. NO ONE. It's all about Blair.

It's funny because its true. Though something tells me this Hilty gal isn't a chick magnet who likes to cozy up with her female costars off screen like Blair?
Jet: Smallville Hangoverjetgirl78 on April 10th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
The pilot that stuck out the most for me on that list was the Green Arrow series and it was only because Katie Cassidy is going to be playing Black Canary.

I would be exciting for this pilot if it didn't come so quickly after Smallville's demise. I really liked Justin Hartley's take on Oliver/Green Arrow (even though they ended up taking massively liberties with his story) so I will automatically be judging this one too harshly and probably not enjoy it as much as if the other performance wasn't so fresh in my mind.

What? No love for that wacky sounding time travelling-musical show with Richard Cypher and Bunny Alice? That one got me curious and if they can sell it right, I might give it a try.

The premise! I don't know if I can see beyond the premise. I will wait to see if it actually makes it to series to really commit to an opinion, but I don't know.