Fall 2015 Pilot Reviews: Life In Pieces

Show: Life In Pieces

When it Airs: Mondays on CBS at 8:30 EST (thought 10/26/15); Thursdays on CBS at 8:30 EST (from 11/5/15)

Do I Want to Watch More?: Maybe.

I am beginning to understand why critics have been so ambivalent to negative about this season of TV.

This is very much a standard comedy pilot. Everyone is a little too broad and not quite formed yet as characters and the chemistry hasn’t had time to set in. It hasn’t quite worked out the emotion-to-humor balance yet. That’s fine and not particularly unusual.

So while I didn’t necessarily like the episode, I do like the general concept, so that’s one hurdle out of the way. Splitting the show into four acts, one for each member of the family, works for me. I like that they aren’t connected in any way. They really are the moments that make up a life that John describes at the end of the episode. It was done in a little bit of a heavy-handed manner, but again, it’s a pilot. I’d like to see some less monumental moments as the show continues. Yes, people remember things like a first date, the birth of a child, or seeing your first child getting ready to go off to college, but they also remember the little moments. They remember the time they took a wrong turn and got wildly lost or the time they were unexpectedly caught in the rain and had to run back to the hotel. I’d like to see some of those moments and I think they are feasible in a short four minute segment.

On the other hand, those little chunks make character development difficult. I didn’t feel like I spent enough time with anyone to get a sense of who they were and what would make them interesting in the future. The characters I gravitated tot the most were the ones who were played by actors I already like, like Colin Hanks, Angelique Cabral and Betsy Brandt. I felt more like I was watching situations instead of characters, which is not the way I like to watch TV. This may change as the show progresses and we see these people in a variety of situations but I don’t think the format is quite as naturally suited to that.

While it may not be high on my priority list, I would like to see the next few episodes to see if they can alleviate my concerns about character development. If I can start to become attached to the characters, this could be a show I grow to really enjoy. If I can’t connect with them, then it won’t be one that I stay with for very long.

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3 thoughts on “Fall 2015 Pilot Reviews: Life In Pieces

  1. You completely articulated why I am ambivalent about this show. I am not a fan of Modern Family and was hoping this might be a good alternative. But I agree, I just don’t see how I will connect to characters that aren’t given ample time to form and grow. The pilot was way too large and broad for my tastes — it felt like an ABC Friday night hit you over the head comedy, which I don’t particularly enjoy. It’s also a lot of actors to break into several individual parts in 22 minutes. I suspect in order to be successful they are going to need to lose that format at some point along the way, because I am struggling with how it will work over the long haul.

    1. “Too broad” is the perfect description of the pilot. I suspect that they’ll tone it down some with time, because I think most comedy pilots go a little too broad but taken on its own, it wasn’t my favorite thing to watch.

      This and Blindspot have until JtV comes back to win me over, if not, my Mondays are crowded enough without them.

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