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Pilot Review: Galavant

Welcome to 2015! I hope the year is treating you all well so far. Last fall, I made the decision to not review every new show that debuted on the networks. While I’ve likely avoided pilots that I would have hated, I think I’ve also missed out on shows I may have enjoyed but can’t seem to work up the energy to start and catch up with. So new show reviews are back! My goal is to have posts up before the second week of a show and I look forward to discussing with you this spring. First up is Galavant!

When It Airs: Sundays on ABC from 8:00-9:00 EST

Summary: Galavant is a fairy-tale hero who lost the love of his life to the evil king and is now determined to defeat him. We go through his life and efforts to regain his once successful life through musical numbers.

My Impressions: Though I was a little hesitant based on the trailer for the show, I should have realized that a musical show was probably always going to be something I loved. Songs in shows make things better, whether they are the George Michael songs that set off Eli’s visions on Eli Stone, caused by a demon who makes everyone sing about their true feelings like in Buffy’s Once More with Feeling, or Malik proposing to Lisa Shay through song on Suburgatory. I’m a sucker for a fun performance and musical moments tend to be just that.

Galavant seems destined to be a show that people either love or hate. There really is nothing like it on TV, which may explain ABC’s decision to double-up on episodes on Sunday nights. The musical aspect will turn some people off, to be sure, but it’s also a show that delights in being silly. King Richard, while undoubtedly not a nice man, is comically evil rather than the darker villains and antiheroes typically seen on Sunday night TV.

It also delights in overturning fairy-tale tropes. The dashing hero is supposed to get the fair maiden. Or at the very least, she isn’t supposed to end up choosing the evil king because the life he can offer her sounds easier than the one Galavant could. And she certainly isn’t supposed to take great pleasure in fooling the evil king and sleeping with his court jester. However, that’s exactly what Magalena does, regardless of what she “should” to in a proper fairy-tale.

Continue reading Pilot Review: Galavant

Midseason Pilot Review: Growing Up Fisher

Airs: Tuesdays on NBC at 9:30 EST

Timeslot Competition: NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Trophy Wife (ABC), Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Mindy Project (FOX), Supernatural (CW)

Premise: The Fisher family gets closer after their parents divorce and their father gets a guide dog named Elvis

Pre-show Thoughts: The trailer and premise didn’t really grab my interest. It didn’t sound bad, necessarily, just not very interesting. NBC has had absolutely no luck with family comedies this TV season so I expect this to be similar.

Post-show Thoughts: It was alright. The mom trying to recapture her youth after a divorce wasn’t particularly original and this pilot seemed determined to get as much mileage as it could out of having the dad do things (like perfectly parallel park) that probably wouldn’t be realistic but it wasn’t bad.

It seems like  a fairly generic family comedy, complete with voiceover and an end-of-the-episode life lesson. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and sometimes it’s just what you want to watch but I don’t expect it to be a game-changer for NBC.

I may watch this at some point when the season is over but it’s not going to be a high priority for me.

Midseason Pilot Review: About A Boy

Airs: Tuesdays on NBC at 9:00 EST

Timeslot Competition: The Goldbergs (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), New Girl (FOX), Supernatural (CW)

Premise: Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, this show follows Will a single “man-child” and his life after single mother Fiona moves in next door with her son Marcus

Pre-show Thoughts: I love the movie About a Boy and I love Jason Katims so this was something I’ve been excited to see since May. I’m interested to see how Katims does with a comedy instead of his usual dramas.

Post-show Thoughts: I loved it. I didn’t find it overly funny but it made me smile. Benjamin Stockham made a perfect Marcus and he worked really well with Sam Walton.

I’d like to see more of Andy and Will hanging out in the future. I thought it provided a little bit of balance to Will’s character to see his friendship with someone who is his age and who has known him for a long time. The show would feel off if all we saw was Will and Marcus’s relationship.

I’m not convinced this is a show I’d like to go on indefinitely, but I think I will really enjoy the first season.

Midseason Pilot Review: Star-Crossed

Airs: Mondays on the CW at 8:00 PM EST

Timeslot Competition: The Bachelor/Dancing with the Stars (ABC), How I Met Your Mother/Two Broke Girls/Friends with Better Lives (CBS), Almost Human/Bones (FOX), The Voice (NBC)

Premise: After landing on Earth 10 years prior, a group of 7 Atrian students are integrated into a human high school and a human and an Atrian fall in love and remember a past connection.

Pre-show Thoughts: I didn’t expect much from this show. I don’t love the way that the CW puts out previews for the episode instead of a trailer because the scenes they pick never manage to intrigue me. It didn’t catch my interest, especially the way the “first glance” scene in the hallway is played. Love at first sight isn’t my favorite trope and it didn’t make me excited for the show at all.

Post-show Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by this show! I found it intriguing from the beginning with the younger Emery helping Roman. I’m not 100% sold on the romantic aspect yet and I’m actually happy about that. I’m more interested in Atrian culture and even more interested in Emery and Julia’s friendship.

I am really looking forward to seeing more of this show and I especially hope to see more of the friendship between Emery and Julia now that she seems to be healed. I am always looking for positive portrayals of female friendships on TV and this one seems like it will fit that description.

Midseason Pilot Review: Enlisted

Airs: Fridays on FOX at 9:30 EST

Timeslot Competition: Shark Tank (ABC), Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), Grimm (NBC), Reruns/Hart of Dixie (CW)

Premise: Three brothers end up stationed on the same military base, giving them an opportunity to work together and strengthen their bonds.

Pre-show Thoughts: Thanks to a lot of positive hype from various critics, I was really looking forward to this show. I enjoyed Alan Sepinwall’s interview with the creators and felt like they had a clear vision of what they wanted this show to be.

Post-show Thoughts: I really enjoyed this. Pilot episodes of comedies are not known for making me tear up but I loved the scene where the unit chose a motto. It was warm while still being funny.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the brothers interacting with each other as well as the unit interacting and growing in abilities. The casting of Pete, Randy, and Derrick was excellent – they really feel like brothers. I love Randy’s enthusiasm for everything even if he’s not a great soldier. They balance each other out and that’s what makes them so enjoyable to watch.

I wish that FOX had given it a better timeslot because it’s current one is awful but I am going to enjoy watching this show for however long it airs.

Midseason Pilot Review: Chicago PD

Airs: Wednesdays on NBC at 10 EST

Timeslot Competition: Nashville (ABC), CSI (CBS)

Premise: This spin-off of Chicago Fire focuses on the uniformed police patrol and Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.

Pre-show Thoughts: I’m this show’s target audience. I am already a huge fan of Chicago Fire and I already like one of the characters from his appearances on it. If this show makes me as emotionally attached to its characters as Chicago Fire has, I will love it.

Post-show Thoughts: Based on this first episode, this show is going to break my heart on multiple occasions. I don’t love it yet but I think it has potential. I’m less interested in the cases that the Intelligence Unit is seemingly going to be solving which does put a bit of a damper on things until the characters find their footing.

I am thrilled that I will get to see Antonio on a regular basis because I adore him but seriously, he lost his partner and his son got kidnapped in the first episode. I don’t want this to be a recurring theme on the show.

I like the characterization they seem to be going for with Voight, especially considering my mixed feelings on him from Chicago Fire. He clearly cares about his team and the kids in the neighborhoods he works in, he’s just a bit unpleasant and more than a little morally grey in the process.

Finally, I want the crossovers between shows to keep happening even though the timelines don’t necessarily match up. I loved seeing a full bar at Molly’s and Hermann and Otis behind the bar and I liked the small glimpse of Gabby. I’d love some scenes with her and the rest of Antonio’s family in the near future.

Midseason Pilot Review: Killer Women

Airs: Tuesdays on ABC at 10 EST

Timeslot Competition: Person of Interest (CBS), Chicago Fire (NBC)

Premise: This show follows the life of Molly Walker (Tricia Helfer) who earns a spot on the male-dominated Texas Rangers.

Pre-show Thoughts: My love for all of the actors from Battlestar Galactica runs very deep, so quite frankly, I think I could watch all 8 episodes of this show for Tricia Helfer and Michael Trucco alone. Based on the premise, it could be an interesting show that examines what it’s like to work as an attractive women in a role that has historically belonged to men or it could completely gloss over that part and fail to make any sort of interesting statement.

Post-show Thoughts: It may not be the most original show in the world but I was entertained by it. It’s a character-based cop show which happens to fall right in line with my personal tastes. Molly is a decently interesting character and I enjoyed seeing her have fun and play the trumpet at the end. It didn’t really get into her challenges as a female Texas Ranger though it was alluded to in some of her interactions with the SAPD.

I love the casting of Tricia Helfer and Michael Trucco as siblings. They have such an easy rapport and natural sibling-like camaraderie that undoubtedly comes from  their days on Battlestar Galactica. I would love to see more of their relationship in future episodes.

I don’t see any reason why I won’t stick with this show for the next 7 episodes. It’s an entertaining hour of TV with a great cast behind it.

Midseason Pilot Review: Intelligence

Airs: Mondays on CBS at 10 EST

Timeslot Competition: Castle (ABC), The Blacklist (NBC)

Premise: Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway) is a US intelligence officer with a microchip implanted in his brain that lets him connect to technology around the world. Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) is assigned to protect him from harm, both internal and external.

Pre-show Thoughts: This sounds a bit like a less nerdy Chuck. I’m not sure how I feel about that since I love the nerdiness of Chuck. However, I do love the cast very much and I in theory anyway, I like the idea of the plot.

Post-show Thoughts: I was rather underwhelmed by this show. Apparently it was not the plot of Chuck that I found interesting, which I had suspected. This is a slightly different take on the concept, as Gabriel was intentionally chosen to be implanted with the chip and he was a strong fighter without it. It also reminded me a little bit of Anthony’s story in Dollhouse with the upgraded soldiers. Other that the plot about the wife who may or may not have been a traitor, much of the show just reminded me of something else.

On one hand, I can applaud CBS for attempting to step out of their procedural box again. While it will be a case-of-the-week show, there will be ongoing story elements that will prove important to character growth and give it some level of serialization.

I wanted to like this because I enjoy the cast so much. It was just so serious and completely devoid of humor or even many likeable character moments that it couldn’t hold my interest. I’m not interested in the plot enough to overlook these things for the time being while the show finds it footing. If it becomes great at some point, I’d consider revisiting it because of its cast but for now, I’ll give it a pass.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: Almost Human

Airs: Mondays on FOX at 8PM EST

Timeslot Competition: How I Met Your Mother/2 Broke Girls (CBS), Dancing with the Stars (ABC), The Voice (NBC), Hart of Dixie (CW)

Premise: In this future look at the LAPD, a cop who is opposed to robot partners is paired with a robot who is capable of emotion.

Pre-show Thoughts: I’ve been looking forward to this show. Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse are two of my favorite TV shows and so I’m hoping that Almost Human will take after them and explore what it means to be a human. I have a feeling that will be the key to my enjoyment of the show. I want to be forced to think about the issues raised as well as be entertained by the story.

Post-show Thoughts: I tentatively like the show so far. I’m not particularly interested in the Insyndicate story arc at the moment but I’m intrigued by the partnership between John and Dorian. I liked that Dorian explained how he is programmatically different from the MXs and I imagine the distinction will come again again in future episodes.

I want to watch the next episode to get a better impression of what an average episode will be like. My desire to continue with this show is going to come down to what sort of balance between character relationships and the police work the show can find. Since the police work isn’t particularly interesting to me, I’m hoping that the show will start to focus more on relationships. I’m also not too interested in John’s missing memory and how the ex-girlfriend is involved with Insyndicate, so I’m hoping that doesn’t become the entire point of the show.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: Dracula

Airs: Fridays on NBC at 10:00 EST

Timeslot Competition: 20/20 (ABC), Blue Bloods (CBS)

Premise: Dracula moves to London on the guise of bringing them modern science but is really looking for revenge on those who have wronged him when he falls in love with a woman who may be his reincarnated wife. 

Pre-show Thoughts: I really like Katie McGrath so I at least wanted to watch the pilot for her. I wasn’t impressed by the contect of the trailer but I thought it was pretty, so I’m hoping at least for some nice cinamatography. I like supernatural shows though so this could be nice to add into my weekly shows if it’s good. The plot sounds terrible though, which is unfortunate. 

Post-show Thoughts: I can’t say I was particularly impressed by the episode. It looked nice but I tend to like shows that are shot at night or in dimmer lighting, so that was always going to appeal to me. My biggest problem with the show is that I couldn’t get past the plot. I didn’t care about the geomagnetic energy or the impact it would have on the Order of the Dragon’s wealth. Unfortunately, to keep us his ruse, it seems like that part of the plot is going to have to stay for a while. 

I also couldn’t find myself overly interested in the romance aspect. It’s a twist on a love triangle but not a very engaging one, in my opinion. The intense starting didn’t demonstrate very much chemistry between any of the people involved, nor did I particularly care about the characters enough to have an opinion about who should be together.

It was nice to see Katie McGrath again and in a role that I could easily separate from Morgana. So for her sake, I’d like the show to continue, even if I don’t watch it.