Tag: frankenstein

Transylvania (The CW) pilot preview: The beauty & the monsters

TRANSYLVANIA

Created and executive produced by Hugh Sterbakov (Robot Chicken). Directed by Jason Ensler (Franklin & Bash, Hart of Dixie Red Band Society). Also executive produced by Jeff Pinkner (Zoo, Fringe, Lost, Alias), Scott RosenbergJosh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec (Zoo, Life On Mars US, Fastlane, Alias). For The CW, CBS Television Studios & Midnight Radio. 60 pages.

Description: In 1880, Victoria, a headstrong young woman in search of her missing father ventures from NYC to Transylvania where she teams up with Godfrey, a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard Detective, and together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history, from Frankenstein to Dracula…

With Laura Brent (Anzac Girls), Luke Allen-Gale (Dominion, Monroe), Sofia Pernas (The Young and the Restless), Evan Stern

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In case FOX cancels Sleepy Hollow –which is a real possibility, it only scored 2,6 million viewers, 0.7 last friday– fans could get their weekly dose of supernatural investigations next year thanks to Transylvania on The CW. I’m not sure both are needed at the same time though. Transylvania doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t been served before. One more variation on the same theme. I really dislike Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, but it makes Transylvania look like a walk in the park. It’s the infantalized version, with a cast that seems to be bland, but I haven’t seen any one of them act before. Hopefully, I’m mistaken. I’d say The CW is fine without it and probably has better and more original projects to bet on (with very few slots available next year). But let’s delve into this dark, dark world for a minute.

On paper, the country of Transylvania and more specifically the town of Tatrov are described with a great attention to detail. You really feel like you’re in the middle of it. To the point when you don’t really believe The CW can transcribe it faithfully with a normal budget. And as far as I know, they weren’t given a special treatment. But I remember I felt the same thing when reading The 100 pilot and the resultat was quite convicing. As long as it doesn’ look like Once Upon A Time, they’re fine. If they can’t set up the right dark, dangerous, frightening atmosphere, then the whole thing is doomed to fail. And there are so many different settings… In fact, the whole pilot is about our heroine moving from one place to another. From New York, where she comes from –for an opening scene where she’s established as a know-it-all smart ass… duh– to the Lugosi hotel, the bar appropriately called “The Slaughtered Lamb”, so many streets, fields, the constable’s office, a farmhouse, a windmill, an antiquities shop, the old city filled with extras, the Scholomance school, the cemetery, London through flashbacks, the Castle Dracula… well, it never ends. The whole pilot works as a long addition of places and characters. It’s exhausting. And not very rewarding for the audience.

Oh and there are two parallel investigations we don’t really care about. Victoria is looking for her father –spoiler alert : he’s not dead after all, against all odds. And she also wants to help the townspeople when she realizes they are gruesomely decimated by a Wolf Man. Is it a real monster? Or a cruel human in disguise? At some point, Victoria thinks the wolf man might be her own father. Which doesn’t make any sense, even if it would have been fun. They tell us she’s sooo smart, and suddenly it feels like she’s not at all. Anyway. Along the way, she meets the one who will become her partner: detective Godfrey. They seem to hate each other, but of course there’s a spark. Think Elementary. They are in a believer/non believer dynamics we’re fed up with. Then she meets Jekylll. The famous one. And there’s a spark. A future love triangle? If only. Because aftet that, she meets a Marcus. And he really likes her. She might like him too. Oh and let’s not forget Frankenstein. Okay, he’s a bit crazy. But sexy too. Another spark! And it goes on and on… And they all talk the same! It’s the beauty and the monsters. She’s not even flirtatious for now. She’s just there. She’s like Sookie in True Blood. Everybody wants to fuck her. And you don’t really understand why. By the way, voice-over lovers: there’s one! Victoria reads a letter she’s writing to a certain someone. Someone you know. I won’t tell. That’s one of the two pretty efficient cliffhangers. At least, there’s that.

There’s certainly an audience for Transylvania, on The CW or somewhere else. It’s not a good pilot in my opinion, but it doesn’t mean it can’t become a good show. Too much exposure, not enough twists and surprises. The pilot is all about setting the stage, justifying the heroine’s presence over there and it forgets to entertain in the process. It lacks subtlety, uniqueness, eccentricity. It’s just something we have already seen. The trip is just not worth it.

 

FOX | 2015/2016 Pilot Season: The Best & Worst

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Before FOX reveals its new schedule next Monday, here’s the best & worst of their pilot season ! Just my humble opinion.

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DRAMAS

1. LUCIFER – Ordered to series

It’s vivid, energetic and a lot of fun (…)  an almighty entertaining and funny as hell detective dramaFull preview here

2. STUDIO CITY – Dead but could be redeveloped

“I’m always suspicious when a show is officially described as a little bit of this mixed with a little it of that. But this time, they’re not playing with us: it really is The OC meets Shameless. With a bit of Nashville too.” Full preview here

3. FRANKENSTEIN – Ordered to series

“This pilot surprised me. In a good way! (…) It’s alive! It’s watchable! But a good pilot doesn’t always become a good series and I tend to think this one is more a good pilot than a good series. It could be really cool, if it was not meant to be a procedural in the end.” Full preview here

4. MINORITY REPORT – Ordered to series

definitely a hot property, with a honorable pilot script (…) It looks like a failure because those who liked the movie are not remotely excited by the project from what I understand and those who are not familar with it probably won’t find any good reason to give it a chance.” Full preview here

5.  ROSEWOOD – Ordered to series

“Dead on arrival. It’s boring and it has zero originality -except if you consider diversity as an originality of some sort.” Full preview here

Not reviewed: SCREAM QUEENS – Ordered to series

Not reviewed: THE X-FILES – Ordered to series

Not reviewed: HOUDINI & DOYLE – Ordered to series

Golden Globes Nominations

COMEDIES

1. THE GRINDER – Ordered to series

“This one made me laughed a lot on the page. And imagining Rob Lowe doing the crazy made me want it bad. I don’t know how long the show can maintain the fun but for now, it’s a huge YES!” 

2. THE GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE – Ordered to series

“Can’t say I liked everything about this pilot, but it certainly has a lot going for it, starting with a good appeal for the younger demo. I laughed a bit and I can see it last. Every episode is a lesson, and I want these guys to teach me some more”.

3. DETOUR – Officially Dead

“Your good ol’ coming of age story, but feels kinda fresh somehow. Sweet and funny, without being hilarious. Way broader than I expected.” 

4. THE PERFECT STANLEYS – Officially Dead

“Multicamera comedies and FOX don’t mix really well since… well, forever (the exception being “Married… with children”). This one, no surprise, has nothing that makes it special, except it feels quite authentic. The “sisters hate each” gets old really fast sadly.”

5. FANTASY LIFE – Officially Dead (but could be redeveloped for next year)

“Like The Pefect Stanleys, it’s another multicamera that starts with a character taking a selfie… All the sports jokes didn’t work for me. And there’s a ton of it. Regardless, it’s not that bad. Just not my thing and probably not the thing of enough people.”

6. 48 HOURS TIL MONDAY – Officially Dead

“The concept seemed original. The series is not. The concept was not, in fact. It’s just a pretext to make yet another family comedy that has nothing special going for it. It’s not horrible, but it adds nothing to the table”.

7. GRANDFATHERED – Ordered to series

“Maybe it’s just me but I found this script so pretentious! A total turn-off. Like the character John Stamos is playing in fact. But this guy is magical and I can totally see his performance improving the whole thing.”

What pilots are you rooting for?

“Second Chance” aka “The Frankenstein Code” (FOX) pilot preview: It’s alive (and a little bit dead at the same time)!

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Also known as Lookinglass. “A suitable donor” pilot written by Rand Ravich (Life, Crisis, The Astronaut’s Wife). Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Co-produced by Howard Gordon (Homeland, 24, X-Files, Buffy, Angel) & Hugh Fitzpatrick (Tyrant). Directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Six Feet Under, Dexter, True Blood, Elementary). For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & Teakwood Lane Prods.

Description: Ray Pritchard, a morally corrupt retired cop, is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead by rich and genius twins Mary and Otto Goodwin. Now younger, healthier and 10 times stronger, Pritchard will have to choose between his old temptations and his new sense of purpose, the family he never took care of and this job he loved so much but couldn’t do the right way…

With Rob Kazindsky (True Blood, Pacific Rim, Eastenders), Tim DeKay (White Collar, Tell Me You Love Me, Carnival), Dilshad Vadsaria (Revenge, Greek), Ciara Bravo (Red Band Society, Big Time Rush), Adhir Kalyan (Aliens in America, Nip/Tuck, Rules of Engagement)…

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As you probably know, the huge success of Empire can’t reflect on the choices FOX’s new presidents made for their pilots since it happened very late in the season when the scripts were already ordered and delivered, ready to be picked-up. So apart from Scream Queens and Studio City, they’re all in the vein of Gotham, which doesn’t really work anymore but did OK at the time. On one hand you have Lucifer, a light, funny and entertaining cop show made in DC Comics, that has a dark side (Read the preview); on the other hand you have Rosewood (Read the preview), plain boring and classical, Minority Report (Read the preview), funny at times, with a sci-fi twist, but too complex to be really entertaining, and last but not least Frankenstein. All of them are centered around a cocky and tortured hero that helps the police solving crimes. Beyond that, they all have their uniqueness, strenghths and weaknesses, even eccentricities I might add, but none of them sound like something people will go crazy about. I fear FOX has no hit in the making for now…

But let’s dive into Frankenstein‘s world, imagined by the guy that brought you well received Life and the terrible terrible Crisis. The pilot surprised me. In a good way! I thought the famous character was only used to create yet another boring procedural but that’s not what happens. At least not until the very last page of the script and in a way that doesn’t tell you clearly what the show will be about week to week. Will it really be a procedural with the character helping the police -his son, who thinks he’s a long hidden brother- solving crimes? I’m not 100% sure. The whole pilot is about showing who Ray Pritchard was -a motherfucker cop and father- how he died -killed by burglars- how he came back to life and how he helped his son solving his own murder case. It’s a lot, everything happens so fast you never get bored. The “how he came back to life” is clearly the most interesting part and the geniuses characters who are reponsible for this non-divine miracle are those who really drive the show in the right direction (plus their artificial intelligence buddy). They’re touching and fascinating, though they are not Walter Bishop. When it comes to the family and bad guys stuff, I’m less convinced.

So our new Ray Pritchard is not Frankenstein’s monster in fact (there’s almost nothing left from the novel). He’s Hulk or The Flash! He’s stronger, he’s faster, he may even be cleverer. He’s handsome, of course. He’s not a villain. Well, not yet. The cliffhanger gives us the idea that he may become one at some point, but that won’t be dealt with anytime soon I guess. At the end of the first season maybe? It could become quite boring long before that (if it’s not cancelled after 13 episodes)… Furthermore, I have a problem with the title of the show. Why is it called Frankenstein? Frankenstein is not the monster’s name. It’s a common mistake but it’s not. It’s Dr Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. But here, there is no Dr Frankenstein in sight! It’s not the scientist’s names. They’re called Goodwin. So what the fuck is this title? I totally understand it talks to people, it helps selling the whole thing. But IT’S A MISTAKE. Or it’s not and I’m waiting for the explanation!

Frankenstein (or whatever it should be called) is not the worst pilot FOX has in store (this award goes to Rosewood). It’s alive! It’s watchable! But a good pilot doesn’t always become a good series and I tend to think this one is more a good pilot than a good series. It could be really cool, if it was not meant to be a procedural in the end. Hope I’m wrong because I’m pretty sure it will get picked up, bit I’m not optimistic. It’s alive, but it’s a little bit dead too.

WATCH THE TRAILER

“Luther”, “Frankenstein”… FOX rolls first batch of pilot orders

luther

After the “Minority Report” order a few days ago, things are really moving now at FOX with the new regime ordering a first batch of drama pilots coming from in-house studio 20th Century FOX Television. 

Producer Howard Gordon (24, Homeland, Buffy, Angel) & new FOX CEO Dana Walden works together for a long time (since their days on The X-Files), so it’s no surprise if she decided to move forward with his Frankenstein project, vaguely based on the famous story by Mary Shelley. The sci-fi drama tells the adventures of Ray Pritchard, a morally corrupt retired cop who is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead. Now younger and stronger, Pritchard will have to choose between his old temptations and his new sense of purpose. Doesn’t sound very original, to say the least… Looks like his other project, POTUS, more ambitious, won’t get a pilot order. But you never know…

The UK drama Luther from the BBC will get its US adaptation, with original creator Neil Cross writing and original star Idris Elba producing. A direct to series order was expected but FOX finally decided to go with a classical pilot order, maybe because of fall drama Gracepoint (Broadchurch remake) doing poorly. Important information; it’s cast-contingent, meaning the order can be cancelled if they don’t find the right leading man to replace Idris Elba in time. It will be a hard search… Luther is about John Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions. It’s a police procedural heavy on character development.

The third drama order is for Todd Hathan (Psych, Crash, Dominion). Rosewood revolves around the brilliant Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., the top private pathologist in Miami. As owner of one of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art independent labs in the country, he finds the secrets in bodies that others usually miss.  Despite being constantly surrounded by death, Rosewood is obsessed with life and savors every moment. Looks like a police procedural hidden behind a medical one. FOX certainly needs a replacement for Bones, ending its run soon.

Last order is for single-camera comedy 48 Hours Til Monday, from Universal Television. It is written by Charlie Grandy, a previous Saturday Night Live alumn who worked on The Office and now on The Mindy Project. It tells one husband’s desperate struggle to not let every weekend go completely to hell. Sounds like a very narrow concept to make 22 episodes out of it per season…

Expect FOX to order around 6 more comedies and 3 dramas, one of which could be DC Comics’ Lucifer.


DISCOVER FOX’S 18 MOST EXCITING PROJECTS FOR 2015/2016 PILOT SEASON