Pilots: The Crazy Ones

The Crazy Ones is a new comedy which stars Robin Williams in his first major venture into TV alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father daughter team running an advertising company. The dad is a class wacky, zany person with lots of grand ideas to back him up, whilst the daughter is desperately trying to reel him in.

First impressions of this show; it makes me chuckle which is a good start to have for a comedy. Williams and Gellar also have a lovely rapport on screen, each with polar opposite characteristics but a good partnership. Williams brings his usual theatrical, energetic personality to his character Simon, whereas Gellar’s Sydney is much more reserved as the long suffering daughter; Gellar brings some fantastic facial expressions and despite her past roles not being in comedy, she’s shown some of her skills in previous roles and further proven she has a comedic flair with this one

The rest of the supporting cast are fine as well – particularly the character of Zach who seems to follow along with Simon’s zany ideas, bouncing off Williams’ character and the two actors shared a good energy together. The episode is also helped by representing a brand everyone has heard of (McDonald’s) but also having the power of a celebrity guest star in the form of Kelly Clarkson. They try and convince her to record an advertising campaign for the company, but Clarkson has other ideas and admits to wanting to ‘sex up’ her image which leads to her and Zach performing a particularly hilarious duet,
Overall, an enjoyable first impression -the promo for the 2nd episode also made me laugh so I’ll be sticking with this for now. Let’s hope that with a change in genre and the power of Robin Williams’ move to TV this show fairs better for Gellar than her last venture into TV (ah Ringer)

Sydney: This is a sex song!
Simon: I know, isn’t it fantastic! (The Crazy Ones)

Pilots: Sleepy Hollow

This modern day re-telling of the Sleepy Hollow legend is something that initially didn’t interest me; when I found myself having nothing else to watch and it happened to be on TV, I thought I’d give it a go and I was so glad I did. The show opens with Ichabod Crane smack back in the middle of a battlefield – the American Civil War. He faces off against an enemy who doesn’t appear to be of this world – he’s shot and he doesn’t die, but when he cuts off his head with a sword the man falls to the ground but not before shooting Crane in the process.

Cut back to modern day America and the action really gets underway. For viewers, that opening segment was the origins of the headless horseman who seems to have been awakened, and as the legend goes, quite wants his head back. It’s a good thing then that Ichabod also awakens but has no idea where he is. Enter the main female lead, Abbie Mills, a detective with a slightly troubled past she witnesses the work of the headless horseman but struggles to make believers out of her superiors.

Through the episode these two make a great pairing; actors Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie have a great chemistry together – I particularly like Mison in his role as Crane who is snarky and oozes sarcasm, but yet is devilishly attractive. The episode fits in a lot of story and manages to add in character development as well. It’s quite an intriguing concept as well – part-crime drama and part-mystery fantasy. As well as the original tale of the headless horseman, it plays with the idea of other evils including the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.

There’s a lot of good about this pilot, and the fact that it’s branching further out and not just sticking with the classic headless horseman story also means there’s more scope for story, which is originally what put me off this drama. However, the writers do take certain leaps of faith in the opening episode, such as how quickly Abbie believes Crane’s story, even though it is incredibly bizarre and how well Crane adjusts to being over 200 years outside his time period.

Despite those few grumblings aside, I felt really positive after watching this first episode, with likeable characters, an intriguing storyline I was already looking forward to the next one. The series has already been picked up by FOX for a second series, making a quick impression on the network so it’ll be sticking around at least until 2014. Don’t let the title fool you though, this looks like it’s going to be much more than just the Sleepy Hollow legend.

(About the headless horseman) “Do you think he can hear us?” (Police Officer, Sleepy Hollow

Pilots: The Blacklist

This new crime drama pilot for NBC is my favourite pilot so far, albeit I have only watched two, but when I spotted this online, I thought it could be a winner and I’m glad to say it was with heaps of potential.

James Spader stars as Raymond Reddington, one of the most wanted criminals who walks into a government building and gives himself up, demanding to work with one agent -Elizabeth Keen. It’s her first day on the job and she’s been thrown in at the deep end.

What follows is an episode that is pretty much laid out fully in the 4 minute trailer that is released, however it’s a lot more fleshed out and introduces us to the cast of characters and an intriguing storyline -just why does Reddington know so much about Elizabeth and what is their connection?

Keen and her husband looks relatively normal -their looking to adopt, they look in love and they even have a dog. That’s until she finds a bunch if fake passports and money in their house. What is his secret and why does Reddington know about him. My guess is that he was planted there by Reddington to use and feed him info about him.

As well as Spader we have Harry Lennix in a power position in the FBI and fans of Homeland will recognise Diego Klattenhoff as Mike. The show kicks off with a case of a terrorist planning the kidnap of a US General’s daughter which is played with several twists and turns, which come as unexpected if you hadn’t watched the trailer (for me I had which pretty much summed up most of the plot). Reddington announces at the end if the episode that this was just the first in his list, which he calls “the Blacklist”.

The opening episode certainly brings a lot of an intriguing questions, not particularly why Reddington is so obsessed with Keen and what exactly her husband Tom is hiding. The show has a lot of promise and is led brilliant by James Spader who has an abundance of charisma and charm as the bad guy. He has a composure and swarve intelligence that he carries so well in the character: it seems that nothing fazes him. Megan Boone who plays Keen is likeable and she has great chemistry with Spader.

I’m hoping this show lives up to its great opening episode, I have high hopes for it and it’s one I’m gonna continue watching.

“It’s called the blacklist, that sounds exciting. That’s why we’re all here, of course, my wish list. It’s a list that I’ve been cultivating for 20 years. Politicians, mobsters, hackers, spies.” (The Blacklist)

Pilots: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 1.1

Earlier this year it was announced that Marvel was branching into real-life TV as it announced a S.H.I.E.L.D focused program, headed up by none other than fan favourite Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson). Of course for fans of Marvel, they’ll know that Coulson dies during Avengers Assemble, eventually inspiring the Avengers to defeat Loki and unite as a team. It’s probably been one of the most anticipated pilots from this year, and its arrival signals the return of a Joss Whedon show back on our screen. So, did it live up to the hype and just how does Coulson live?

The answer to both is both yes and no. The show is solid enough and shows great promise, introducing us to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D on a day-to-day running. Coulson himself appears around 10 minutes in, emerging from a dark corner in a quite humorous moment. It’s revealed that he died for around 8 seconds, and that Fury lied to the Avengers to inspire them, and that he’s been sunning himself in Tahiti, waiting to get back to work. Is that all true however – no. With one short exchange between Dr. Streiten (guest starring Whedon alumni Ron Glass) and Agent Hill (Colbie Smoulders guest starred in the pilot episode before her filming commitments on How I Met Your Mother) the speculation starts as to exactly what happened; my money at the minute is on robot or clone.

This episode also introduces us to the rest of the team that Coulson puts together through the episode. We have Agent Grant Ward, newly promoted to level 7 just for Coulson’s team; he’s intelligent, great in combat and he seems to have chemistry with Coulson’s newest recruit Skye, a renegade he picks up off the street, who has been trying to track down heroes. She’s a computer hacker, and actress Chloe Bennet carries Whedon’s comedy wit well. Duo Fitz and Simmons are the scientific geeks and even though we didn’t see much of them, they seem to bounce of each other like battling siblings. Melinda May, is the most interesting character for me; she gets recruited as she’s behind a desk doing paperwork, but Ward acts as if he’s met a celebrity when he’s introduced to her. She certainly can kick butt, but just why is she so reluctant to get back into the field? With this being the pilot, none of the characters are particularly fleshed out, but everyone seems plucky and interesting, so hopefully their personalities will grow as the episodes carry on.

The ‘hero’ of the week in this opening episode was another Whedon alumnus – J. August Richards who played Gunn in Angel. In order to be more than just ordinary in order to provide more for his son, his character Mike enters into an experiment that sees him develop superhero powers. His speech towards the end of the episode about how they are not super-men in the world totally works as motivation for his character who just wants to provide for his son. It was lovely to see J. August on my TV screens again as well.

Even though the pilot is written by Joss Whedon, the show will run by his brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen who were the previous executive producers of Dollhouse. It has the ability to be standalone from the film series, but also give us some good cameos from some of the stars of the film. Hopefully the show in itself will continue to go from strength to strength and this move to the small screen will prove fruitful.

Grant: Okay there are two ways we can do this

Skye: Oh is one of them the easy way?

Grant: No.

Skye: Oh.

US TV Pilots 2013-2014 Season

US TV Pilots of 2013-2014

The end of spring and the start of summer is a familiar time for many in US television shows – it’s predominately the period where US TV shows air their finales before they go on hiatus over the summer, and it’s the time for pick-ups, cancellations and for new TV pilots to be commissioned. This year was no different, and as I waited patiently for my favourite shows to hopefully get another season (all 5 that I religiously watch got picked up again), I also was intrigued to see what new pilots the major TV networks had in store for us come September. Here are just a few that I’m excited to try:

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Joss Whedon helps bring Marvel to the small screen in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which also sees Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), come back from the dead. It’s still shrouded in secrecy why and how he is still alive, but the preview already looks great, and it unites two of my favourite things – the Marvel universe and Joss Whedon’s wit and banter.

The Blacklist

This new crime thriller starring James Spader looks brilliant, psychologically intense and with a hint of Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, it looks like it could be a hit

The 100 – midseason

This isn’t appearing until midseason but the trailers are already out for this sci-fi drama and again it looks strong. The CW is perhaps a strange network for this futuristic drama to be put on, but the cast look relatively young and cute so hopefully the network will be good for this show.

Intelligence -midseason

Josh Holloway, best known as Sawyer on Lost is back on out TV screens. I’d say that was a definite reason to watch. Add the involvement of Marg Helgenberger (best known for CSI) and a great storyline and again you’re onto a winner. Sadly this won’t appear til midseason again.

Almost Human

The new J.J. Abram’s TV show starring Karl Urban, it’s based around a future where artificial intelligence helps law enforcement. This starts in November, but has come across some problems recently when its show runner left the project for creative differences. I still have hopes for this though – Karl Urban turns anything into gold.

Dracula

Jonathan Rhys Myers is the latest incarnate of Dracula in this new adaptation of the most famous vampire in this NBC drama. It looks sleek, stylish and has a great cast including Katie McGrath (Merlin).

The Crazy Ones

Robin Williams is finally brought to TV in this new comedy and he’s brought Sarah Michelle Gellar with him! After Gellar’s last show was cancelled after the first season, I’m hoping this goes better for her (I did really like Ringer). It looks alright, I’ll watch purely for Gellar, and hope it’s great.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

The spin-off from Once Upon a Time, this brings us into the world of Wonderland with a bunch of other fairytale characters, and ABC will be hoping that this can generate the same fanbase as the original.

Reign

(trailer starts at about 0.45)

Period drama for the CW which reminds me of Gossip Girl but historical style. It looks okay, I’ll certainly give it a go but it’s not high on my list.

Lucky 7

ABC comedy as a group of people who are in a lottery sweepstake together suddenly win and their lives change forever.

The Tomorrow People

The CW are re-launching this old sci-fi show and it looks really good; the extended trailer is really intriguing and asks questions but answers a lot of them. This is probably one of my top picks – I just really hope it lives up.

Believe –midseason

The child actor for this series looks like a great young talent, and it’s another sci-fi drama for the books. Again this doesn’t start until around midseason so I’ll be looking out for it to start.

Back in the Game

Another ABC comedy, a single mother who moves with her child becomes a coach of a lesser little league team so that all the kids can have a go at playing baseball. It looks funny, the trailer certainly made me chuckle.

Crisis = midseason

Gillian Anderson stars in this tense midseason thriller; a group of young students who all appear to come from important families are kidnapped as families become embroiled in blackmail outside as law enforcement try to figure out who is behind it.

Betrayal

A new drama about a woman who cheats on her husband, which seems to be the least of her worries as she finds out the man she’s been having an affair with will soon be facing off with her husband in a court room. It looks quite good, I’m intrigued by it already.

Welcome to the Family

Fox’s new comedy about two families that are brought together when their children start dating and the young couple become pregnant. Starring Mike O’Malley (Kurt’s dad in Glee) this looks like a funny comedy.

Hostages

CBS drama which sees a family been taking hostage as the baddies attempt to convince a woman who’s operating on the President to kill him, botching the operation in order to save her family. It stars Toni Collette as the surgeon and I’m interested to see how the show will progress.

 

 

Most start within the next week, and I’m going to be a busy bunny, but I’m determined to give these shows at least a go, and hopefully I’ll pick up a few other TV shows to watch.

 

Agent Ward: I’m clearance level 6. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action, before the battle of New York

Agent Coulson: (walks out) Welcome to Level 7