Tag: zachary knighton

Magnum, PI (CBS) pilot preview: By the people who already brought back Hawaii 5-0 & MacGyver

I saw the sun rise” written and executive produced by Peter Lenkov (MacGyver, Hawaii 5-0, Salvation, 24) & Eric Guggenheim (Hawaii 5-0, Parenthood). Based on the series by Donald P. Bellisario & Glen A. Larson. Also produced by John Davis (The Blacklist, Shaft, Predator, Waterworld, Paycheck) & John Fox (Timeless, The Blacklist, Joy). Directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Beyond, SWAT, Scorpion). For CBSUniversal TelevisionCBS Television Studios & Davis Entertainment. 60 pages. Revised Network Draft. 12/12/2017.

Description: Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator in Hawaii. With help from fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright, as well as that of disavowed former MI:6 agent Juliet Higgins, Magnum takes on the cases no one else will, helping those who have no one else to turn to…

With Jay Hernandez (Bright, Suicide Squad, Bad Moms, Scandal, Hang Time), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful, The Tudors), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings, FlashForward, Parenthood), Stephen Hill

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Letting you guess.

Likely Timeslot: Monday at 10, wednesday at 9 or friday somewhere.

 

Haven’t we suffered enough? Was rebooting Hawaii 5-0 and more recently MacGyver enough already? Since both worked, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Lazy CBS is ready for another try and this time it’s the classic 1980s Tom Selleck series set in Hawaii that’s getting the remake treatment. And once again, it’s CBS Television Studios’ go-to writer for rebooting iconic procedurals Peter Lenkov who’s behind the wheel. Per Deadline, it is said to be CBS’ most expensive pilot this season. I’m not surprised after reading the script. It looks expensive. But first, let me tell you Magnum could have come back earlier, last season, when ABC developed a new version, which was supposed to follow Magnum’s daughter, Lily “Tommy” Magnum, who returns to Hawaii to take up the mantle of her father’s PI firm. She and her tribe of friends would have mixed tropical beaches with the seedy underbelly of international crime and modern espionage. It fell through. And you know what? It sounded way better and more modern than what CBS is cooking up. More respectful to the original also, not that this one is not respectful.

In case you were wondering, there were discussions about Tom Selleck getting involved in the reboot but he opted not to get formally on board but gave the project his blessing. He’s still the star of Blue Bloods on CBS and unless there’s a surprise cancellation this may, it will be on the air at least one more year, meaning he won’t be able to say hello to the new Magnum. But after that, everything’s possible. And there’s a role for him actually. Like in the original show, Magnum is “sponsored” by the pulp novelist Robin Masters, and lives in the beautiful oceanfront Hawaiian estate owned by the millionaire called “Robin’s Nest”. Only his voice was heard in the show, he never appeared. Though there’s a theory his majordomo Higgins was in fact Masters. Anyway, if he were to appear in the new version, it would be fun if he were played by Tom Selleck himself! Unlikely, but who knows? So, the big difference between the old Magnum and the new one -and probably the only one in terms of story- is Higgins. She’s a female now. Jonathan is now Juliet. She is commanding, confident, tough, uses sarcasm to deflect emotion and hard to get to know. She’s also strict and often in conflict with Magnum and his more easy-going methods. Very much like out old pair! But there’s something else going on there. Yeah, we’re having yet another “will they?won’t they? situation” as they clearly about to become more than just friends who act like they hate each other. Can’t blame CBS for this but I’m not sure this trope can still win the audience, unless there’s something special about it.

Our other principal characters are kinda non-existent in the pilot. It includes Rick, a former door gunner with the Marines who now runs Oahu’s coolest nightclub, he’s well-connected – if you want something on the island, Rick is the man to see; Theodore “TC” Calvin, an ex-Marine chopper pilot who’s still a chopper pilot.; and well Sebastian Nuzo, ex-Seal, who’s now… dead! He’s kidnapped, tortured and killed in the pilot, which gives a good reason for Magnum to investigate. There’s also another woman, Hannah Boyle, a former CIA Intel Analyst and Magnum’s ex-girlfriend. She was supposed to be dead, until we learn she’s not. She’s connected to the somber story of a sunken ship full of gold. Yeah, you read right. But it leads to what will probably a very good-looking and impressive scene that takes place underwater, with Magnum catching bad guys on scuba gear. We’ll also find our hero on his surf ski, wearing bord-shorts, paddling. Because he’s cool. And the opening scene includes a next-generation space capsule, a space-suit, a parachute and a water Buffalo. Just sayin’! Magnum wants to be cooler than Hawaii 5-0, Macgyver & Scorpion reunited so they’re going over the top and only a good director can make this look good and not too ridiculous. Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin is probably the right guy for the job. He also gets the chance to film him in a Ferrari, and other cars I’ve never heard of. That’s the spirit! Landscape views are described as impossibly stunning and since they’re really shooting in Hawaii, they will be for sure.

They kept Magnum’s voice-over as part of the storytelling, which is not a good idea if you ask me. It makes it sound old-fashioned. It was not needed but one can argue it’s part of the charm of the original show and it would have been a pity not to use it again. Let’s just hope Jay Hernandez will do it right. Not sure what else I can tell you about this pilot. I didn’t describe Magnum but he’s exactly like you think he is. Exactly like other CBS’s leading men. Nothing new. Well, he’s a latino guy, so there’s that. And about the investigation, it works exactly as in any other CBS procedural. If you like that and if you’re not tired of it, then you should have a ball! Happy you! Something really bugged me: the patriotic message that’s all over the script and in the least subtle form. The end of the episode is a military funeral and OMG the speech of Magnum is just too much, full of clichés about brotherhood, soldiers for life… “As corny as it sounds” he says. Well at least they’re conscious about what they’re doing. And when I think about it, it’s really the perfect show for Republicans. And it’s way way more dangerous than Roseanne, believe me… But that’s what most of the CBS audience wants, right?

Compared to new Macgyver‘s pilot, Magnum P.I. ‘s is way more effective and less ridiculous, though Magnum sometimes acts like he’s MacGyver and there’s not much difference between him and Hawaii 5-O‘s McGarrett either. It’s the same show over and over again and there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work at least a little for CBS. It’s fun to watch if it’s your kind of fun, and if you’re into very patriotic shows, it’s like heaven for you! The great thing for the eye network is that they can put it anywhere. It’ll do the trick!

FOX 2017/2018 Comedy Pilots ranked

FOX had a really rough year, both with their dramas and their comedies. Hybrid entry Son of Zorn started well initially but ended in bad shape; a renewal is not expected. Making History is doing terrible numbers since it started; a renewal is out of reach. Then there’s The Mick that FOX really loved and pushed with airings at special times. It definitely helped though its pairing with New Girl limited its potential on tuesday since the Zooey Deschanel-starrer has outstayed its welcome for quite some time but could defy the odds one more time with a final season; it’s still considered as a cash machine for 20th Century FOX Television. Brooklyn Nine-Nine moved a lot on the schedule once again and miraculously didn’t lose too much strenghth in the process; it should be back. Finally, high-concept comedy Last Man On Earth couldn’t compete on sunday night with depressing ratings; it could go either way for this one but I bet on a renewal. It leaves us animated comedies The Simpsons and Family Guy. They’re both suffering but they’re still stronger than most of FOX slate. Can a miracle happen next year with a breakout comedy hit? With this weak surrounding, it’s gonna be hard, even next to impossible, but you never know… Here’s what they have in store:

 

  1. THIN ICE (20th Century FOX Television)

    A woman reclaims her dreams when she finds herself at the end of the earth – in Antarctica – surrounded by a group of brilliant misfits… With Bridgit Mendler, Ian Harding, Isaiah Whitlock Jr, Jane Curtin…

It’d be easy to describe Thin Ice as New Girl in Antarctica but like it or not, that’s what it initially is. It starts the same way -sad lonely girl entering a new world full of men who are mostly childish- but creator of both shows Liz Meriwether slowly goes into another direction until we end up with something that has more to do with workplace comedies like Parks and Recreation or The Mindy Project. It seems fresh -no pun intended- and those characters are really good at convincing you to stay there a little longer, as the heroine experiences. There are way too many though. It’s not revolutionary but it makes you happy for a while. Now, can a studio lot in Los Angeles really look like Antarctica? I have my doubts. They can’t afford to shoot on location every week I guess…

 


2. TYPE A (20th Century FOX Television)

    A group of consultants are hand-picked to do the dirty work most professionals can’t handle: layoffs, downsizing, generally delivering horrible news. To everyone else, they’re the enemy – to each other, they’re family. With Eva LongoriaDavid Hornsby, Ken Marino, Kyle Bornheimer, Andy Richter…

Type A may be the contrary of Thin Ice: it’s so cynical about today’s world that it doesn’t make you happy. BUT it’s funny. Really funny. The dialogues are just superb. And those actors can’t screw it up. It’s definitely edgier than most network television comedies, it can get pretty vulgar, and I think that’s beautiful! FOX is the best place for it, no questions asked. I can already see it on the schedule, probably next to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those two would make a great pair. And that’s good news for Eva Longoria: it’s way better than Telenovela. She’s not THE star of the show, she’s one of the stars of the show and it’s better this way. Her character is hilarious. And she’s only asked what she does best: playing a witty bitch. Can’t wait!

 

 

3. LAX > VEGAS (20th Century FOX Television)

   About a group of underdogs trying to find their place in the world who all share the same goal: to come back a winner in the casino of life. Set on the Friday night flight from LAX to Vegas and the returning flight on Sunday. With Dylan McDermott, Ed Weeks, Olivia Macklin, Kim Matula…

Before reading the pilot script, I was 100% sure that it wouldn’t work. Who would want to spend 22 minutes each week in an airplane? Because just so you know, that’s where it’s set let’s say… 95% of the time! Well, the answer is: me. And you too probably. They made a pretty convincing case. Thanks to the principal characters -we want to know more about them- mostly and the promise that we’ll get to meet new passengers every week with their own set of stories and problems. At some point, I told myself: why nobody tried a comedy like this before, it’s a great idea? Well, maybe it has been tried but the projects didn’t see the light of day. Not a huge fan of the cast though. Will they live up to the expectations?

 

4. LINDA FROM HR (20th Century FOX Television)

   All it takes is one bad decision to throw Linda from HR’s monotonous, unfulfilled life into an exciting but dangerous tailspin of balancing work life, home life and a secret that could unravel everything. With Lauren Graham, Michael Landes, Zachary Knighton…

This pilot is batshit crazy, my friends! I’m not surprised the great Lauren Graham wanted to be part of it. It has been described as a comedic version of Mr Robot and I have to admit it’s pretty accurate. You never know where it’s going. It’s getting darker and crazier as the story progresses and you’re left with the sentiment you’ve just read something incredibly weird. And you want to watch more. The problem is:  the script needs a little more work and it’s not a network comedy AT ALL. It can’t work on FOX and it’s heavily serialized. I think FX or TBS should try to get it if FOX passes on. Or maybe a streaming platform? Hulu? Netflix? Those are the places where Linda from HR can be totally herself, without worrying about anything.

 

5. GHOSTED (20th Century FOX Television)

   A cynical skeptic and a genius “true believer” in the paranormal are recruited by The Bureau Underground to look into the rampant “unexplained” activity in Los Angeles – all while uncovering a larger mystery that could threaten the existence of the human race. With Adam Scott, Craig Robinson, Ally Walker…

Maybe it’s just me but this paranormal comedy that wants to be a funny The X-Files is less funny than the funniest episodes of The X-Files. That being said, I didn’t find the script bad or anything, I just didn’t laugh as much as I thought. There is no reason to worry: with this concept, this cast and the fact that it’s produced in-house, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be ordered to series. I’m even surprised they didn’t go for a straight-to-series order. Maybe just in case the Adam Scott/Craig Robinson duet didn’t work. Looking forward to it anyway. It’s very much in FOX alley.

 

6. AMY’S BROTHER (Warner Bros. Television)

   About an unconventional family that is formed when a successful type-A man and his estranged sister, plus her two children, find themselves not only back in one another’s lives but also living under one roof. With Michael Urie, Annie Mumolo

Have you watched The Mick? Haven’t watched myself the entire first season yet but it’s a good one. Sadly for Amy’s Brother. Because the story is pretty much the same in reverse -an uptight guy has to take care of his crazy family suddenly- with different characters and a less irreverent tone. It’s probably the cutest FOX comedy pilot of the year but cute doesn’t always win. The kids don’t have much to do and the principal character played by Michael Urie is too cliché. Not the “gay cliché” but the “uptight guy cliché”. We’ve already seen that a thousand times. Since it’s not produced in house, I’d say it doesn’t stand a chance to get ordered anyway.