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A Closer Look at Some TV Pilots

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About a week ago I wrote an article about the upcoming Fall television shows which intrigued me and what I was planning to put on my TiVo list.  I have now had the opportunity to sit down and watch several more of the pilots.  While this is certainly not a review (that’s right, it’s the disclaimer) – things can certainly change from the screeners that have been sent out to the time when series actual air – they are general impressions based on the way the show currently stands.

I’ll say this right off the bat because there are many out there who will gloat about it, but the first show that I sat down to watch last week was Hawaii Five-0.  Yes, the Alex O’Loughlin starring Hawaii Five-0; the Hawaii Five-0 that I said I was interested in but was very concerned about it due to its aforementioned star.  I freely admit to enjoying the pilot, enjoying it a lot.  I would argue that there were a few too many shoot-outs over the course of the single episode (no fewer than four serious gun battles take place) but those are probably pretty expensive and I think we can expect the number in future episodes to go down dramatically.

I also don’t mind saying that by the end of the episode I had almost completely forgotten my dislike of O’Loughlin – he was good in the series, funny when he needed to be, serious when he needed to be, and generally enjoyable.  The rest of the cast – Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, and Scott Caan – was also quite good.  The four actors certainly clicked as an ensemble right off the bat.  Hawaii Five-0 is definitely going on my TiVo list (happy O’Loughlin fans, the man has made my TiVo).

Another show that I was almost sure would be on my TiVo I felt less interested in after watching it, namely, Blue Bloods.  The Tom Selleck starrer was an enjoyable enough pilot where I’ll be willing to go and check out another couple of episodes to see how it develops, but I didn’t enjoy it the way I did Hawaii Five-0

The showrunner, Ken Sanzel has (perhaps) left the series.  We are told, he and Selleck didn’t see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t particularly affect my opinion of this first episode as Sanzel came in after it was made. 

My biggest issue with the series is that I wasn’t sure what there was for me to care about.  I know what the show wanted me to care about with each of the members of Selleck’s brood, but I wasn’t sure what I was actually going to care about as the show continued.  Additionally, they unveiled towards the end of the pilot what felt like an unnecessarily dark and potentially odd long-term story.  The show may be able to have things gel and to create characters that I care more about, but a lot of that is going to hang on the balance they strike between procedural- and character-based drama and that is, according to reports, what Sanzel and Selleck battled over.  Not being the biggest fan of procedurals, I would side on the character-based approach (Selleck’s in the reports), but for that to work I’ll need to actually care about the characters.  In the pilot I only enjoyed Selleck’s chief and Donnie Wahlberg’s Danny and even those guys I was on the fence about.

I checked out a bunch of other series as well, including Outsourced and Mike and Molly.  Neither of those pilots did anything to allay the fears I expressed last week.  Outsourced did manage to have one great laugh out loud moment early on, but it was only something I laughed at because, having been to India, I knew exactly what he was talking about.  If the show has to rely on “if you’ve been there you’ll know this to be true and our take on it to be funny” humor they could be in trouble.  But, I did laugh, which means it will go on my TiVo.

Keep checking back as the new television season draws near, there will be plenty more things to discuss.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • Bianca33

    Congratulations! You have finally discovered what so many of us fans have known about Alex. He is a great actor, but even great actors must be given the proper material and support to succeed. I believe Hawaii Five-0 does exactly this. The whole cast and its writers are just incredible.

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