Wednesday 1 October 2014

Pilot Watch | Drama

It's no secret that I watch a lot of television, so recently I've been trying to think of ways to make this passive hobby of mine a bit more active. Not active like I'll run a mile whilst watching Supernatural or whatever, but active as in I have to do something with/about/for the episode or show. I've made my Mindy Project Drinking Game, and that was a lot of fun (and gained me lots of followers - hey!), so I thought I'd try and come up with a few more active things to do with my love of TV. I really enjoy reviewing things, as I tend to have a lot of (strong) opinions, so without further ado, here are my reviews of some of 2014's new shows. 

How To Get Away With Murder

Damn this was a good pilot! It had everything; murder, suspense, Viola Davis, a picturesque American college, gay sex, that really hot guy from the first few episodes of The Following, basically it was awesome. The pilot introduces Viola Davis as a cut-throat criminal law professor looking to add four of the best students to her firm. 

The principal storyline follows a bunch of these students working (and sometime breaking the rules) to prove themselves as worthy of Viola's team. This introduced some great characters with lots of potential. I'm looking forward to seeing more from all of them, but especially Bennett from OITNB. Throughout the episode we flash forward to a supposed 'post-murder scene', with some students discussing what they're going to do with 'the body'. I ran through so many possibilities in my head as to what this was about, was it an assignment or a prank, or had someone really been murdered? If so, who? A good pilot (or episode in general) should have you asking questions, and this one certainly did. 

Overall I think this could be my favourite new show of the season; even without the fantastic premise, suspense, and characters, it looks like almost 50% of the core cast are PoC's, and that's enough to make it worth a watch for me. The pilot has set it up to be a great show, and I hope the season delivers. Bring on episode two!


My overall take on Gotham? Meh. To be completely honest with you I found the whole thing a bit boring, and only carried on watching past a certain point due to my (OC-based) faith in Ben McKenzie. I guess I did have high hopes for the show, because, a crime drama based in the Batman universe? What's not to love right? Wrong. The whole show was incredibly formulaic, with no shocks or surprises, just a straightforward, predictable storyline.

All the characters seemed to have been taken from 'Writing 101', the blonde bombshell fiance that'll tear Jim away from work (or vice versa), the old hand cop who's lost faith in the system, the newbie police officer who just so happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to the department, etc. The stock nature of these characters makes the show seem completely unrealistic. The acting was also pretty terrible (mostly from Jada Pinkett-Smith et al.), which also took away from the believability of the whole thing.

The episode left me with nothing to look forward to, the absolute opposite of what any pilot should do right? If it's going to be case after case with Gordon not being able to do the right thing because the criminals and police department are in cahoots, that's going to get very boring very quickly. I will watch the next one, just to see if the show finds it's voice and gets more into the swing of things. But from the pilot, I'm not expecting much.

Madam Secretary

So far we've had one good show and one bad(ish) show, so it makes sense that this one is kind of in the middle. I wouldn't say it was good good, but it's also not terrible. It actually reminds me a bit of Criminal Minds, not in subject matter, but in the way that it's quite safe and easy to watch. I didn't find my brain doing too much (or any) work, which sometimes is all you really want from a show. Hence why I've watched so much Criminal Minds in the past.

As I've said, this show is pretty vanilla (casting, acting, story etc.), and from the pilot it doesn't seem like it's going to have any major Scandal-like twists or tear-inducing love stories, but that's not so say I don't think it will do well.  From this first episode I think maybe Madam Secretary is going to try and fill the space of a 'network Homeland', i.e. a safe, sex and violence free, version. For this reason I think it will be successful.

I don't think this will be the last episode I watch of Madam Secretary, but it probably will be the last I watch for some time. I'm not hooked; there's nothing pulling me back to watch the next episode as soon as it comes out (like HTGAWM). I'm sure though, that sometime in the future I'll be bored or ill in bed, with nothing to watch, and will binge watch the entire season. But until then, goodbye Madam Secretary.

I'll be posting another 'Pilot Watch' next week where I'll be discussing Selfie and A to Z. Stay tuned!

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