Month: March 2016

Dream Team (ABC) pilot preview: Has ABC finally found the next Modern Family?

Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Portrait Studio - Day 4

Created and executive produced by Kari Lizer (Will & Grace, Old Christine) & Bill Wrubel (Modern Family, Will & Grace, Ugly Betty). Directed by Marc Buckland (My Name is Earl, Better Off Ted, Grimm, Scrubs). For ABC, Warner Bros. Television, Logo Here & Here Comes Scrappy. 36 pages.

Description: Marty Schumacher coached his last Club soccer team for ten years, ultimately taking them to the National Championships. While his longtime girlfriend just dumped him, he now has to start from scratch with a new diverse group of eight-year-olds and their disparate parents, who are not all happy to be there every damn weekend…

With Justin Long (New Girl, Mom, Die Hard 4), Wanda Sykes (Blackish, Old Christine, Curb Your Enthousiasm), Michael Mosley (Sirens, Scrubs, Pan Am), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Michelle Buteau (Enlisted, Key & Peels), Wynn Everett (Agent Carter, The Newsroom), Carlos Leal (El Internado, The Last Ship), Betty Gilpin (Nurse Jackie), Addison Osta

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Everybody knows that sports draw huge ratings on american television, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, with the Superbowl as the jewel crown of all live events with more than 100 million viewers tuning in that night of the year. So have you ever asked why there are not more scripted series about sports, as comedies or dramas? Maybe because for some reasons, most of those who went to series didn’t last long. Do you have one example of a big success in that department? The sitcom Coach did good back in the 90s. Arliss too. One Tree Hill was not really about basketball. But how many ratings failures? I can name you plenty: Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night, Friday Night Lights -5 seasons but 5 miracles-, Lights Out, Clubhouse, Blue Mountain State… Every now and then, a network tries it again. ABC already did in 2013 with Back In The Game, sandwiched between The Middle & Modern Family. Expectations were high. It didn’t do that terrible but it was not enough. 13 episodes and cancelled. 3 years later, ABC is… hum back in the game with pilot Dream Team. And I have a good feeling about this one.

Dream Team wants to be the Modern Family of sports and mostly is. It’s a mockumentary-style comedy, filmed as such, with interview scenes and weird looks at the camera. And it’s not really about sports, which is a good thing obviously. Co-creator Bill Wrubel was one of Modern Family‘s top writers and producers for the first five seasons. He knows what he is doing. Kari Lizer is a soccer mom on the weekends. She knows the story she’s telling. And both already worked together on one of the best sitcoms of the 2000s: Will & Grace. All of this means one thing: it was meant to be at least good, possibly great. And it is good on paper. With the potential to become great once filmed. The cast looks pretty solid. Justin Long & Wanda Sykes are the perfect choices for their respective roles. Dunno much about the others, but if the group has chemistry: bingo!

So no, it’s not really about sports. It’s about families who have no other choice but to spend time together while their brilliant children are touching the ball. And that’s where I have a tiny problem with Dream Team. What makes most of ABC comedies so good and successful is the importance given to the children characters and the talent of their portrayers. But here, at least in the pilot, we don’t see much of them. We meet them and then they do their things without us, off camera. But I’m not really worried. If it’s ordered to series they will have to use the kids to fuel the stories. They are the reasons why the parents are here. Without the kids, there is no show. The one other character the show can’t do without is, of course, coach Marty Schumacher (Justin Long). He’s a funny and charming little guy, slightly nerdy, way too confident sometimes but really appealing. He’s a bit of a loser in the pilot but the loser who keeps on believing instead of whining. I really like him. You probably will.

About the families, we have first our latino couple, Carlos & Olga, and their shy daughter Vanessa. They’re fighting like… all the time. With each others but also with the other parents. For a parking spot. And other things. Olga is very competitive. Think Gloria in Modern Family. Rick & Denise, and their soccer superstar daughter Tiffnee, is the traditional white couple, with Rick being a sexist ass. Think Jay Pritchett, but younger. Then there’s Leslie (Wanda Sykes) and Michaela, and their strong daughter Miley, an interracial lesbian couple. Leslie is competitive, crazy for sports. Michaela, not so much. They are cute. Think Mitchell & Cameron. And finally, we have recently divorced single mom Robin and her daughter Olivia. As you can imagine, there’s a real spark between her and Marty. Those two are meant to be together but not now. So Dream Team, like Modern Family, has a wide range of characters whom you can relate to. You can choose you team. And it goes without saying: there are a lot of fun when they all interact with each others.

Dream Team has success written all over its pilot script. It could score BIG. ABC couldn’t pass on the opportunity to finally have what looks like the next Modern Family. But we all know better, right? Nothing’s ever a sure thing, especially with comedies where it’s the cast who does the heavy-lifting. If for some reason they don’t deliver, it’s screwed. So let’s not get too excited for now… 

Timeless (NBC) pilot preview: when the story is already written…

TIME

Created and exeuctive produced by Eric Kripke (Supernatural, Revolution) & Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit, The Get Down). Directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday, Game of Thrones). Also executive produced by John Davis (The Blacklist, I, Robot, Predator), John Fox (The Blacklist, Dr Ken, The Player) & Marney Hochman (Terriers, The Chicago Code, Last Resort). For NBC, Sony Pictures Television, Davis Entertainment & MiddKid Prods. 64 pages.

Description: an unlikely trio formed with Lucy Preston, the best history professor in town, military man Wyatt Logan and brilliant engineer Rufus Carlin, travel through time to battle a master criminal intent on altering the fabric of human history with potentially catastrophic results lead by the mysterious terrorist Garcia Flynn. They need to stop him before everything changes for the whole world…

With Abigail Spencer (Rectify, Mad Men, True Detective), Matt Lanter (90210, Star-Crossed), Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted), Goran Visnjic (ER, Extant), Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Babylon), Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards, Third Watch), Claudia Doumit

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Why do time travel is the big trend of this pilot season with four projects -three dramas, one comedy- tackling it? My best theory is because Back To The Future just celebrated its 30th birthday a few months ago (1985-2015). So writers thought it might the right time to revisit the theme with original ideas… or not. ABC’s Time After Time is inspired by a novel and The CW’s Frequency by the movie of the same name (=> read the preview here). Time is 100% original while its title is 100% uninspired. It is described as Back To The Future meets Mission: Impossible. That’s certainly one way to put it. With such an ambition and its two well-regarded creators, Eric Kripke & Shawn Ryan -who can make as many flops as they want, they will always find new jobs- no surprise networks fought to get it until it lands at NBC with a big commitment. Meaning the pilot order was only a formality and the series order seems very likely, as well as a post-The Voice slot and an Olympic Games push next summer. The story is already written. At least the beginning of it. I’m not sure about what will happen next. Will it work or flop hard? We never really know what the future holds…

Every year, NBC launches one or two high-concept dramas but it’s the bland dramas that tend to stick (or the high-concept pilots quickly become bland boring series, i.g. The Blacklist). This season, opportunities were given to Blindspot, which did great initially and still is an honorable performer six months later; and to The Player, that was cancelled after a few airings. For this pilot season, Time is the only high octane option. I didn’t hate the pilot script but I found it very robotic -short sentences, no time to breathe, ever. The few attempts towards emotion are too mechanical. As a result, it’s hard to feel something for the leads and it’s also very hard to be surprised by their interactions. We’re right in the middle of well-known territory and it’s a shame. It’s cool to take risks and dream big but if you’re goal number one is to make the story moving at a fast pace and make it as broader as possible, you fail in general. Time travel nerds will find it way too simple and uninspired, while the most part of the audience will look for something special in Time they will never find, I’m afraid. You got the good twists, a great cliffhanger but it lacks heart and sincerity. Plus, the pilot doesn’t give a good vision of what to expect on a weekly basis. Is it 100% serialized or will every episode feature a close-ended story with serialized elements? Is the plan visiting a new event from history (or future) in every episode?

30-something Lucy has no choice but to follow orders when homeland security knocks at her family home’s door and forces her to travel through time with two people she’s never seen before in a capsule called Lifeboat. Just because she’s the best history professor available (but mostly because she’s a stunning beauty, which helps to sell the concept to the masses). They have to stop a crazy terrorist (Goran Visnjic) who allegedly killed his wife and daughters (but we’re pretty sure that as bad as it looks, everything will make sense in the end and he will only be one piece of a wicked game). So their first mission is to go back to 1937 in New York and prevent the famous Hindenburg Zeppelin created by the Germans from accidentally crashing and killing a ton of people (it really happened). It will make one hell of a costly opening scene! They succeed of course -sort of- but I won’t tell you how, you’ll see. The writers try to be as spectacular as they can, hoping they will be granted a substantial budget so it doesn’t look too fake. They don’t really bother with explanations, they bet on short-cuts, quick moves so we don’t get enough time to think. Except, when you read, you can stop whenever you like it. That’s what I did a few times and it gave me a headache. Time travel stories always do. It’s so complex. It’s not a feeling I particularly like, to be honest. But it’s inevitable.

Of course, you get the right amount of sexual tension between the two leads -Abigail Spencer and Matt Lanter are SO beautiful they will make a couple everybody will be rooting for- while the third lead (Malcolm Barrett) is the sidekick with secrets, and probably the most interesting character of the whole show. Lucy and Wyatt have so cliché backstories -one has a mum who’s dying of cancer, the other lost his wife- that you get bored with them very quickly. Again, the respective charm of the actors -and Abigail Spencer is a very talented actress- could make them way more enjoyable to follow on screen, through time.

Since history tends to repeat itself, I don’t see Time becoming a huge hit for NBC. I think it’s their new Revolution. It will start OK because they will do everything they can to insure it gets a big premiere, because they will do an efficient marketing campaign with beautiful posters and special commercials during the Olympics. But honestly, you need to be on your A-game to tackle time travel properly. Are they?  Only time will tell if the show is good enough, simple (not simplistic) and entertaining enough to keep people interested for more than an episode or two. I’m worried it rapidly becomes inconsistent, a big mess. But kudos to NBC for trying something “different” from the Chicagos. Hope they will be rewarded.

My Time/Your Time (CBS) pilot preview: How I Date Your Mother

mytimeyourtime

Created and executive produced by Hilary Winston (Happy Endings, Community, My Name is Earl). Directed by Pamela Fryman (How I Met Your Mother, Just Shoot Me, Frasier). Also executive produced by Carter Bays & Craig Thomas (How I Met Your Mother, The Goodwin Games). For CBS, Sony Pictures Television, CBS Television Studios, Gifted and Talented Camp & Bays Thomas Prods. 49 pages.

Description: chronicles the relationship of Marla & Wade, a young couple as they begin dating long distance through Skype. One is in New York, the other in Los Angeles…

With Jane Levy (Suburgatory, Shameless US), Nicholas Braun (10 Things I Hate About You, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project), Izzie Steele, Langston Kerman

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How I Met Your Mother ended two years ago and CBS still haven’t found a new comedy which can appeal to millenials, a precious target for advertisers, the way the cult sitcom did. There was the How I Met Your Dad pilot attempt, which went directly to the trash can. The idea hasn’t been revisited since then, against all odds. And pretty much nothing else. My Time/Your Time is their next tryout and marks the return of HIMYM’s creators to CBS but as executive producers only. Creator Hilary Winston knows a thing or two about modern comedies; she was involved in Happy Endings & Community, not what we can call two ratting jugernauts but two beloved comedies nonetheless. Cherry on the cake, CBS hired Pamela Fryman to direct. She directed the vast majority of HIMYM episodes. Does My Time/Your Time have any chance to become the next best thing or at least something for CBS and for us?

Let me tell your first Marla, our heroine, is just the cutest. And Jane Levy seems to be the perfect choice. The character is described as a “young Maura Tierney type” and I couldn’t agree more. She has “short-term confidence and long-term insecurity”. The kind of girl you who often goes unnoticed but once you laid eyes on her, you can’t stop staring. I’m not totally sold on Wade, her colleague/Skype friend/soon-to-be boyfriend and maybe future husband. A bit too cocky for my taste. But he’s nice, and cute too. And funny. They are both. You know what I love the most about them? They are not cliché. They are not stereotyped. Marla & Wade are totally representative of their generation, hyperconnected but lost, unsure. Not really happy with their jobs, their love life, but they are no sadsacks.

Still, the pilot kinda made me both happy and sad. But mostly happy. It’s really a dramedy in fact, more than a straight comedy. It’s not edgy enough to be on cable, but maybe it’s not funny enough to be sandwiched between The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls. How I Met Your Mother evolved a lot through the years and became a dramedy though. Maybe it paved the way. And now CBS has rollercoaster comedy Mom too. Hope is not not lost for My Time/Your Time. It just won’t be that easy.

Remember ABC’s Manhattan Love Story? Cool concept, bad characters. My Time/Your Time is the contrary. So-so concept but great characters on paper. The fact that they can only communicate through Skype is a very modern idea but how long before the writers has no other option than reuniting them in the same city? Following every step of their relationship is interesting though, if it’s what’s intended. If they take their time. The booty calls. The first real date. The first kiss. The first fuck. The first real fight. All those firsts. And then the moving closer. The moving together… You have at least three seasons with all this. But right now, here where they are.

They date other people for quite some time but they can’t find the right one. They are almost 30 and they are starting to think they never will but then they meet through their work -they are both at the same company but not in the same coast- and something magical happens. They start to give each other’s advices for their next dates and they slowly fall in love. Of course. In the end of the pilot, they both know they have feelings for each others but they are not ready tell it yet and act on it. Well, Marla is not. Wade tried and failed miserably. Marla doesn’t even know it. He came to New York to see her. But that’s the moment when she finally had a good date, with a romantic kiss in the end, the way she always dreamt of (under the rain, with leaves falling around -yeah, she’s a romantic). It couldn’t be that easy! Let’s just hope it won’t be as complicated for Wade as it was for a certain Ted… Secondary characters are Marla and Wade’s respective bestfriends. Honestly, we don’t care about them and nothing is done so we feel otherwise. It’s not that important in the pilot, as long as the actors are good enough. But the writers will have to do something about it pretty quickly.

My Time/Your Time is yet another dramedy about millenials looking for love. Okay, it’s not original but it is something networks have a hard time to find, something that feels true and fresh and fun and melancholic… It’s appealing, honest. Maybe it’s too smooth, too nice, maybe we’ve seen too many Girls, You’re The Worst… to be impressed anymore. Maybe it’s not CBS enough. Not funny enough. Maybe it is doomed to fail. But damn, I think I want these characters to be on my screen every week. They’re relatable and that’s a precious and powerful thing.

The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez (ABC) pilot preview: a Latino Revenge with a supernatural twist

Gina-Torres-Interview-Suits-Hannibal-Video

Created by and executive produced by Charise Castro Smith (Devious Maids). Also executive produced by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters (Agent Carter, Resurrection, Dollhouse, Reaper). For ABC & ABC Studios. 62 pages.

Description: Eva Sofia Valdez is an immigrant who rose from rags to riches and became a celebrated Miami entrepreneur and a champion for immigrant rights. But her success is fueled by an insatiable ambition that could destroy her family, a vendetta against the lover who betrayed her, and ghosts from the past who threaten to reveal the dark sacrifices Eva Sofia made to attain the American Dream…

With Gina Torres (Suits, Firefly, Huge, Matrix), Christian OchoaRaùl Castillo (Looking), Eric Close (Nashville, Without a Trace, Dark Skies), Melora Hardin (Transparent, The Office), Christina Pickles (Friends, Get Real, St. Elsewhere), Debra Mooney (Scandal, Everwood, Kirk), Angèlica Celaya (Constantine), Alison Fernandez (Law & Order: SVU), Marta Milans (Killer Women), Zabryna Guevara (Gotham), Jeimy Osorio

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Since Jane The Virgin broke out (sort of) two years ago at The CW, networks fantasize about having their own latino-fueled soap opera. Ugly Betty is long gone now but creator Silvio Horta tried to rekindle the flame last year at NBC with pilot The Curse of the Fuentes Women, which was a funny and sexually-charged proposal that didn’t go to series (read the preview). ABC is back at it this year with The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez, that you could easily billed as a “latino Revenge with a supernatural twist” or, as the network prefers to call it “McBeth with a Cuban twist”. Classier. But it means the same thing: “we want to sweep the latino american community off their feet and most importantly off their spanish speaking channels like Univision & Telemundo, which draw big ratings every night”. Needless to say, it’s not that easy and the charm of telenovelas lies in their cheap setting, cheap dialogues, cheap actors (as long as they are beautiful), cheap everything… The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez won’t be cheap (even if ABC Studios can be sometimes) but it has its own weird charm and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of us fall in its trap, at least initially.

My main problems with the show are its title (that still can change – who wants to watch something called The death of… honestly?) and its longtime perspective that doesn’t go very far. Listen: it starts with a flashforward –Revenge style- where, you guessed it, our heroin Eva Sofia Valdez dies. There’s blood all over her white gown. She was just shot in the gut by an unknown assailant after she put the Monrose Rum Distillery on fire. Of course, she can survive this and maybe she will if the show works but then, the title doesn’t make any sense, even though sooner or later the woman will die, like every one of us. Then we jump to present day and it’s only “six months earlier”! And Eva Sofia’s daughter Isabel’s voiceover makes it clear: “This is the story of my mother“. So my question is: how can a show last more than one 22-episode season when its heroine -whose full name is on the title- dies in the end of it? I know, I shouldn’t give myself a headache over this, but you have to admit this title needs to change. Badly.

So, what works in there? Many things. On paper. I’m not sure this mix of genres can translate that easily on screen. That’s the real challenge for the production team and the director (and the cast of course). The writer decided to take a dangerous and risky road. Remember NBC supernatural daytime soap Passions (1999-2008)? There’s a bit of that. Kudos for trying. The pilot is unusual and definitely weird, especially when the supernatural elements are introduced at some point. It’s sort of ridiculous, but the kind of ridiculous that makes you want to watch more. Just to see how far they’re ready to go. We’re not in a straight supernatural environment. We’re in Florida nowadays, in the world of the rich and the famous, and everything changes the day three very strange women enter Eva Sofia’s life. Are they witches? That’s what we are led to believe. For sure, they’re bitches. They don’t only bring black magic to the table and a possible curse to our heroin, they also add humor when all those people start to treat themselves a little bit too seriously. A breath of not so fresh air. They are not “Wilhelmina-funny” but they fell from the same tree. That’s pretty much the only supernatural element, if you consider that the cliffhanger is more in the realm of mental illness… And that’s debatable!

In the funny side of things, there’s a gimmick used by the narrator that works -and which will probably go away in the subsequent episodes- where she shows/tells two versions of the same scene: “what he/she wanted to say/do” Vs. “What he/she really said/did instead”. Not incredibly new but a nice little addition to the story. The rest is classic and efficient telenovela/soap opera tricks where everybody’s a bit of bitch, lie to each others, spy on each others, sleep with each others… You got the two very different sons of Eva Sofia, the successful one and the nerdy one, both are very sexy of course. The nerdy one happens to be in love with his brother’s wife, which is a shame since he cheats on her and she knows it. Eva Sofia wants him to be the new mayor because the only other candidate is her enemy (boring Eric Close) since he dumped her 30 years ago, back in Cuba where she comes from. I’m not sure it’s reason enough to be so full of hate, but why not? At least, Emily in Revenge had better reasons to do what she did… But we don’t have the full picture yet. Many secrets have yet to be told. Eva Sofia is an interesting character for multiple reasons. First, did I tell you she is 50? It’s very unusual for an heroine on television to be 50. Kudos to ABC. Then, she’s not nice. At all. She probably was when she was young. But now, she’s crazy. Like mentally crazy, I guess. She’s on fire. And manipulative. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she killed someone. And if she haven’t done it yet, she will. It makes her instantly stand out from the crowd. She’s modern, like Annalise Keating is on How to Get Away With Murder. Gina Torres can have a lot of fun with this and be at the top of her game.

I wouldn’t call The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez a slam dunk for ABC -maybe because it’s weird and weirdness can often be confused with ridiculousness- but it’s very on brand for the network with a guilty-pleasure dimension that may be a better fit with Lifetime. It’s not as funny as it should be, but it’s crazy enough to draw attention and give people reasons to stay a little bit longer. I don’t think it can be “the Empire of the latino community” but it’s safe to assume there’s an audience for it.

Zoobiquity (FOX) pilot preview: Animals and television never get along well…

zoobi

Created and executive produced by Stephen Nathan (Bones, Joan of Arcadia) & Jonathan Collier (Bones, Monk, King of the Hill, The Simpsons). Based on Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz & Kathryn Bowers. Also executive produced by Spencer Medof. For FOX & 20th Century FOX Television. 60 pages.

Description: Dr Kara Martins is a successful, driven cardiologist, who risks career suicide by teaming with a socially-challenged veterinarian, Lucas Cort, who relates better to animals than people. They try to put aside their competitive natures to cure the incurable using a unique and controversial blend of cross-species medicine that’s never been tried before…

With Peter Facinelli (Supergirl, Nurse Jackie, Damages, Twilight), Marsha Thomason (White Collar, Las Vegas, Lost), Kim Raver (24, Grey’s Anatomy, Lipstick Jungle, Third Watch), Antonia Bernath (The Astronaut Wives Club, Downton Abbey) Ben Rappaport (Mr Robot, The Good Wife, Outsourced)…

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FOX recently decided to bury Bones, at last. Next season, the 12th, will be the last. In the meantime, they have to find their next endless procedural since so boring Rosewood, as expected, doesn’t do the job this season with depressing numbers when Empire is not around; not that bad Second Chance is already dead; and funny Lucifer does okay but is not valuable enough for the network because it’s not produced by 20th Century FOX Television but Warner Bros. Television. So they asked Bones‘ writers and executive producers Stephen Nathan & Jon Collier to come up with an idea, which is adaptating the best-selling book Zoobiquity into a “light and unconventional medical procedural” as they describe it. And it’s true. It’s VERY light. Unconventional? To some extent. That’s one way to put it. They could have said “ridiculous” instead. Would have worked too.

You know, I have not much love and time to give to procedural shows but when they’re good, efficient, I have no problem saying it and enjoy them. I did with Forever, Lucifer and recently Presence (read the preview here). They need to be different to be worth an investment from the audience, especially with this peak TV thing. And Zoobiquity is different. But you can’t do anything. Some ideas should better stay ideas and some books should never be adapted. It makes me think of Zoo, the painful to watch CBS summer show (also adapted from a book). Animals and television never get along well. Remember NBC comedy Animal Practice? Cancelled even before you get to watch it. Most of unscripted shows with animals don’t work either. I don’t know why. So, can Zoobiquity defy the odds? In fact, it’s cool to do an episode of a medical show with animals. Every one of them -the good ones I mean- did it. ER did. Grey’s Anatomy too. Maybe St. Elsewhere. Code Black? Whoops, I said good ones! My point is, you can do it once or twice, for fun, but a whole show based on cases where humans are saved by animals-it can also work the other way around- I don’t buy it. In the pilot, an unknown epidemy is killing both people and animals. Our reluctantly, newly formed team has to tackle this tricky case as quickly as possible since, yeah, people and animals are dying. And they do it brilliantly. I was bored to death after two acts, though.

What is Zoobiquity in a nutshell? A procedural with some deaths but no murders, mostly sick people and sick animals treated by good looking doctors who are supposed to hate each others until they fall in love. Kara Martins (Marsha Thomason), the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, is very smart, tough, agressive, a beauty, the tigress of the jungle; while Lucas Cort (Peter Facinelli) is a compelling, feral, good-looking veterinarian, the alpha wolf of the pack (he takes of his shirt after two minutes in the opening sequence in order to show how strong and manly he is). Of course, they don’t like each other at first, then they sniff each other’s butt and if the show lasts long enough they’ll make wild love sooner or later. Riveting stuff, hum? The actors are good and if they have chemistry, the pair can be attractive enough to sell the whole thing initially. But what’s gonna happen then?

I’m much more interested in the secondary characters but Kim Raver’s one is not one of them. The role was, until they cast her -instead of a man- and decide they have to beef up the character so she can become a third lead. In the version of the script I read, she’s just a pain in the ass for everyone as the hospital’s chief who’s not okay with this cross-species medicine. Yes, she deserves better. A better role. But also a better show! Don’t know what she’s doing with her career but since she departed Grey’s Anatomy, she makes wrong choices. Or maybe she isn’t given the best choices? It’s funny because at some point she says “I never imagined you were the type of person who was foolish enough to throw away her career. Because that’s what you’re doing.“LOL. Most of the other characters are funny/cute/beautiful and make it less painful to read. But it’s not enough. At least for me.

Zoobiquity doesn’t seem like a show that could work for years, which is what FOX is looking for with this kind of unambitious projects. If it was a crime procedural where animals were used to do god knows why that could help the investigators finding the culprit, it would ne ridiculous too but maybe it would stand a chance. But a medical procedural based on the cross-species medicine? I don’t believe in it. At all.

Frequency (The CW) pilot preview: Some good movies should just stay movies

FREQUENCY

Created & executive produced by Jeremy Carver (Supernatural, Being Human US). Based on Toby Emmerich’s movie. Also executive produced by Toby Emmerich (The Hobbit, The Notebook, The Butterfly Effect), Dan Lin (Forever), Jennifer Gwartz (Veronica Mars, Forever) & John Rickhard (Horrible Bosses, How To Be Single). For The CW, Warner Bros. Television, New Line Cinema & Lin Pictures.

Description: Raimy Sullivana female police detective in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father, Frank, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder case, but unintended consequences of the ‘butterfly effect’ wreak havoc in the present day…

With Peyton List (The Tomorrow People, Flashfoward), Riley Smith (Nashville, 90210, True Blood), Mekhi Phifer (ER, Lie To Me, Torchwood) , Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Devin Kelley (Resurrection, The Chicago Code), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, Third Watch), Sean Howard Roberts (Painkiller Jane)…

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A good movie doesn’t inevitably make a good series. And a good pilot doesn’t inevitably make a good series either. Frequency with Dennis Quaid & Jim Caviezel was a nice little movie. It was NOT necessary to transform into a weekly TV series. It doesn’t mean the pilot is not good. It’s quite okay, to tell the truth. And it doesn’t come such as a surprise since they just took the same story and simplified it as much as they could without losing the logic, the consistency of it all, so it can play over the course of 42 minutes. But as much as I enjoyed reading the script, I don’t like what the series is poised to become: just another police procedural with a sci-fi twist. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t even understand how they can play with the same idea -two cops in two different timelines investigating together- past a few episodes. Unless our heroin, Raimy, becomes a “cold cases” investigator for murders that happened in the 90s, when her father was still alive, which is pretty specific, hum. Even the serialized part of the show can’t sustain much longer. So: okay pilot, future boring TV show.

The project was first based at NBC last year, with the same writer, and it didn’t go to pilot. It was not a good fit and I guess they saw everything that goes wrong with a Frequency series. Smart decision from their part. Warner Bros. didn’t surrender and sold it to sister-network The CW this season. But it’s not a good fit either! Yes, The CW has changed and makes more adult shows now but I really don’t think their audience will embrace it, it’s simply not in their DNA. And the fact that it’s written by a Supernatural writer doesn’t change a thing. You know what it made me think of? Forever. I liked Forever and even if it wasn’t a success for ABC, the show got a solid fanbase. Would it work on The CW? Probably not. It was more of a FOX show, I’d say. Same here. The difference is, it’s not fun. It’s pretty serious all the time. No jokes. Raimy & Frank are too affected to crack jokes. It’s understandable, they’re not in a good place, but what about the secondary characters? They don’t really exist for now. I read the script three days ago and I don’t remember them much. All of this lacks electricity, sparkles. Dialogues are not sharp enough.

What they could make believable somehow in the movie is harder to swallow in the pilot. It goes too fast, more explanations are needed about the way the ham radio works, about why the father and the daughter can connect. They don’t even try. There’s just a thunderstorm and that’s it. So it comes out as a bit ridiculous at first. But then you get carried away by the investigation and the emotion that comes out of this daughter-dead father relationship, the same way as the Peter & Walter Bishop relationship worked in Fringe. If there’s one thing this pilot is, is emotional! It really is on paper, at least. The director and actors now have to do justice to it. I’m not a big Peyton List fan though, I’m afraid she can’t pull it off. And I haven’t seen much of Riley Smith but in Nashville he was not that bad…

With The CW recently renewing all of their shows, there are not many slots available for new series next season. They ordered six pilots. They’ll probably pick-up three of them to series. In this context, I don’t see Frequency getting a greenlight, even though it’s pretty decent when you just look at the pilot. It’d be hard making 80 episodes out of it -which is a problem for a procedural- and it’s just not on the same wavelength as other CW shows.