Tag: the 100

Searchers (The CW) pilot preview: The CW’s most ambitious journey yet?

Written and produced by Jason Rothenberg (The 100). Executive produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl, Riverdale, Brothers & Sisters), Sarah Schester (Arrow, Blindspot, Legends of Tomorrow). Directed bt Dean White (The 100, The Shield, Once Upon a Time). For Warner Bros. Television & Berlanti Productions. 63 pages. 01/14/17.

Description: a group of unlikely heroes find themselves on the journey of a lifetime: 10 years after the death of their parents, Cooper, a pragmatic brother and Fable, a free spirited sister are forced to team up when they learn that their mother’s terrifying and bizarre stories may be a road map to discovering the great legends, myths, and unexplainable mysteries of the world…

With Zane Holtz (From Dusk til Dawn, Make It or Break It), Alex McGregor (Of Kings and Prophets, The Dark Tower), Jeanine Mason (Of Kings and Prophets, Bunheads), Josh KiddWilliam Miller, Marc Blucas (Buffy, Underground, Necessary Roughness)…

    

You’ll like it if you already like: Supernatural, Grimm, The 100, Once Upon a Time…

Likely timeslot: Wednesday at 9

I remember vividly the day I read the script for The 100 pilot. I was very impressed and hopeful it would turn into something special and spectacular. It didn’t. The finished pilot was certainly promising but not as good and ambitious as it was on the page. It became a better show afterwards, more adult and well… less The CW! Unfortunately it went south since then. And the hope of it being “the new Lost” is definitely… lost. While The 100 will live at least one more year, The CW ordered a new pilot from its controversial creator and showrunner Jason Rothenberg (we will not talk about the blacklash here…) and yet again, it’s a winner on the page. Ambitious it is, special too, but I can’t say I’m that impressed. Initially, a lot of comparisons were drawn between Searchers and the endless Supernatural. Even though they share a little bit of DNA, they’re vastly different. I don’t see it as Supernatural‘s successor. And quite frankly, it’s better this way. It’d be too much pressure.

Searchers is not your typical fantasy series, that’s for sure! It’s not about driving around the United States in a vintage car chasing demons, it’s about travelling the world by air and by sea to chase monsters! It’s way bigger in scope and the budget must be too, which is always worrying. Most of the pilot takes place in the Carribean islands -it is shot in South Africa- and ends on the Sahara desert. If they shoot in Vancouver after the pilot, it might be a problem… So don’t expect 22-episode seasons. Don’t even expect it for fall if it’s picked-up to series. It smells like a 13-episode season starting around january 2018. Maybe it will even share a timeslot with The 100… Anyway, the best way to describe the show is to call it an action and adventure drama with supernatural elements, the kind we don’t see much on television because it’s not cheap and because it rarely hits with the audience. There are the pirates shows like Black Sails, but that’s pretty much it right now. There are some kind of modern pirates in Searchers, but that’s not exactly who our heroes are.

They’re explorers. Cooper is a brilliant tech innovator and former soldier who has accepted his parents’ deaths. But all that changes when Fable, his strong, smart and soulful baby sister, drags him on a dangerous mission to learn what truly happened to them 10 years ago. They allegedly died while on a mission in a submarine, killed by a monster called the Grindylow -at least that’s what Fable thinks- but they may not be dead after all. Cooper, Fable and their new friends Zin, an ex-Marine fighter pilot, and Juniper, Fable’s ex-cell mate -Yeah, ‘cos Fable has just been released from jail- are now looking for them from their ship, Prometheus, led by the swashbuckling captain Bosch, a mysterious old soul who can’t shake the past experiences still weighing on his psyche. They’re also determined to find the Grindylow. And Keystones. There are 12 of them from 12 worlds. Each is said to have a pull on the creatures from those worlds and to protect the bearer from those creatures. So if they want the monsters out of our world, they need to find them. That’s basically all you need to know about the concept. It may sound a bit complex but in fact it’s pretty simple.

The goals are clear and the promise of the show is too: Searchers is a treasure hunt with young, beautiful and sexy people. And if the actors are not too bad and the writing not too easy, it could also be emotional from time to time. On paper, the relationship between the brother and the sister is. They don’t get along that well but they clearly love each other deeply. There are flashbacks with their parents, when they were just kids, and those are the scenes I liked the most. We’ll probably get more of them every week, since the stories the mother told them before bed are significant in their quest. There is more to know about the parents. I suspect they are not the good people we’re led to believe. And they have an uncle, Raff. He doesn’t act as a good guy either. So it’s Cooper and Fable against the world and there are exciting challenges ahead. For the writers too. The pilot is action-packed and really delivers on twists and turns but the subsequent episodes will need to be as well if they want viewers to stay. As entincing as the characters are initially, they’re not strong enough yet -unless the actors really add something distinctive to the mix- to bet on them and only them heavily.

With Searchers, The CW is offering an ambitious proposition, maybe they’re most ambitious yet, which is targetting a more family-oriented audience than their other shows. It can be dark and frightening sometimes but it’s mostly fun and adventurous. It’s pure entertainment. It’s not a safe bet but it’s one worth taking if they want to grow again. 

The Mars Project (The CW): From the network that brought you The 100

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Also known as “Colony”. Created and executive produced by Doris Egan (Reign, Dr House, Tru Calling, Smallville). Directed by Bharat Nalluri (The 100, MI-5, Emily Owens). Produced by Robert Zotnowski (House of Cards) & Frank Marshall (Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic World, The Goonies). For The CW & CBS Television Studios. 59 pages.

Description: a team of explorers arrive on Mars to join the first human colony on the planet, only to discover that their predecessors have vanished. Led by Gina Nolan, a woman whose husband is among the missing, the colonists are forced to change their mission from exploration and settlement to investigation and survival, while navigating the hostile planet and their own personal demons…

With Georgina Haig (Once Upon A Time, Fringe), Neal Bledsoe (The Mysteries of Laura, Smash, Ugly Betty), Mouzam Makkar (The Vampire Diaries), America Olivo (Degrassi: the Next Generation, Chicago PD), Mark Leslie Ford, Carl Beukes (Dominion), Tongayi Chirisa (Crusoe), Peter Mark Kendall (The Americans, Chicago Med)…

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I remember exactly how I felt when I read The 100 pilot for the first time. I was more than hooked but anxious too. I wanted to watch it right away and see if they were able to deliver. At the time there was nothing like it on the CW. It was ambitious, riveting and exciting. And they delivered. Quite beautifully. It had problems and the next few episodes rode on a bumpy road. It was too Gossip Girl and not enough Lost, too many love stories, not enough adventures. It took time before it got great again. But it did. I can say I’m almost as impressed by the Mars Project pilot script as I was by The 100‘s and the good news is, now I know The CW can meet our expectations with this kind of ambitious tale, and they know what not to do, so this time I’m not anxious, just excited.

It wouldn’t be that interesting to draw comparisons between The 100 and The Mars Project any further. They share some DNA, that’s for sure. They are both offering the exploration of a new and dangerous territory, whether it’s our very own Earth or the Red planet. And luckily for them, New Mexico can pass for it easily. But that’s it. We’re with a group of adult characters here, which is a relief. No stupid teenagers doing stupid things and taking wrong decisions all the time. Adults can be stupid sometimes too but our heroes are not deliquents but intelligent and highly trained individuals, harshly selected for what they can bring to the colony in various areas of expertise. Some of them might be in love, but that’s not the main focus. It just helps bringing more emotion and higher personal stakes.

For those who are allergic to the Shonda Rhimes’ style of storytelling, sorry to tell you writer Doris Egan chose to follow the How to Get Away With Murder/ Quantico trend, at least to introduce the story. Maybe longer. We’ll see. One part of the pilot is told through flashbacks, showing us how our group of very competitive –and young and beautiful– people met during training, how they fell in love –or in hate– how some of them betrayed the others, mostly for the win. It’s very Quantico, but less fun. Entering the FBI academy is not an easy thing to do but leaving for space, colonizing another planet and proving you are able to resist to an incredible amount of pressure without going back, ever, is one other thing. They are put through numerous tests, both physical and psychological. It’s an efficient way to present the characters. They all have at least one thing in common: since they are ready to leave their whole life behind to go to Mars, it means they are damaged one way or another and we’ll find out more about it later. There is a lot to learn about them I guess.

We alternate with scenes in the present day when the mission has already started, at the very moment when everything suddenly goes wrong. Their vessel is litteraly crashing on Mars. There’s nothing they can do to save the day. Some people die. Others are severely injured, like the beauty queen of the show, Chandra Devi, and they now have to walk towards the camp, many miles away. Weird noises and difficult landscapes are part of their journey. And in the end, as the pitch says: when they finally arrive, the first colonists seem to have disappeared. There’s a message on the wall: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust“. And that’s it. It raises many questions without immediate answers: what happened? Was the crash part of the plan? Was it a sabotage? Is there a mole in the group? You see, there is no murder here –yet– but a lot to chew on anyway. It takes a thriller/horror turn that’s very exciting and probably broader than “simple” sci-fi.

Like The CW couldn’t afford to leave The 100 behind after they shot the pilot, they have to give The Mars Project a shot. It won’t be a rattings juggernaut, probably, but a critics favorite and a hell of a ride, I bet it will be. There’s still work to do so we can care more about the characters, who are just outlined for now, but it’s both a character-driven and a plot-driven show and those are the best. 

The CW’s Fall Schedule revealed / Trailers

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CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND – MONDAY – 8pm

JANE THE VIRGIN – MONDAY – 9pm

THE FLASH – TUESDAY – 8pm

iZOMBIE – TUESDAY – 9pm

 

ARROW – WEDNESDAY – 8pm

SUPERNATURAL – WEDNESDAY – 9pm

 

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – THURSDAY – 8pm

THE ORIGINALS – THURSDAY – 9pm

 

REIGN – FRIDAY – 8pm

AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL – FRIDAY – 9pm

 

MID-SEASON

THE 100

DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

CONTAINMENT


The CW | 2015/2016 – Fantasy Schedule

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 Those are predictions based on feelings and NBC final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Thursday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!

Dramas renewed: SUPERNATURAL / THE VAMPIRE DIARIES / ARROW / BEAUTY AND THE BEAST / THE ORIGINALS / THE 100 / REIGN / THE FLASH / JANE THE VIRIGN / iZOMBIE

Dramas ordered: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW / CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND / CORDON

MONDAYS

8pm- JANE THE VIRGIN

9pm- iZOMBIE

The CW can’t wait to launch iZombie‘s second second after a good and very stable run since midseason on Tuesday after The Flash. Light fare Jane The Virgin should move at 8 and iZombie return at 9. It makes a great feminine pair. Cheerleader Death Squad would have been great there but hey… wasn’t ordered, weirdly and sadly.

TUESDAYS

8pm- THE FLASH

9pm- CORDON

The CW didn’t order a lot of new shows and Cordon seems the only one that can be ready for fall. They should put it behind their highest show, The Flash, for 13-15 weeks, and then give it to spin-off DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

WESNESDAYS

8pm- ARROW

9pm- THE 100

I wouldn’t change anything on Wesnesday. Arrow has lost steam and The 100 is a safe player. Supernatural can go back there at midseason, possibly ending in summer.

THURSDAYS

8pm- THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

9pm- THE ORIGINALS

It’s about time to broadcasting those two together. Hopefully, it will give them a little more strenghth.

FRIDAYS

8pm- AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL

9pm- REIGN

Reign wasn’t totally worth its renewal. It makes sense to give it a run on Friday (where Hart of Dixie didn’t do that bad).

MIDSEASON

SUPERNATURAL / LEGENDS OF TOMORROW / CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND

About Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a run behind Whose line is it anyway? at midseason on friday is a possibilty. A duet with Jane The Virgin is also an option but moving iZombie again would be a mistake.

What do YOU think?