Two pilots hitting this Fall get looked at an assayed by a reader today, and the verdict aint good:
"Supernatural" - A TV Pilot Review by 'Rick Kelvington'
This is an interesting new X-Files meets the OC, meets Buffy type show from the WB which is being positioned after the Gilmore Girls, the show stars Rory's former deflowerer play by Jared Padalecki who plays Sam Winchester the younger brother of Dean Winchester played by Jensen Ackles of Smallville fame.
Within the first ten minutes of the show we see the baby version of Sam react as his mother is immolated on the ceiling of his nursery, while his father saves him and his older brother. Only to be whisked ahead in time about 18 years in the very next scene where we see Sam at college pretty well adjusted, with an OC type hottie girlfriend and probably going to get a full ride next year into law school. When older brother Dean shows up and wants him to come away from all this to find his missing father. On a personal side note, if your famous for playing a character like say oh I don't know, DEAN from Gilmore Girls, then either your character should be called Dean or no one of the main cast should have that name. In the end of the pilot he even refers to his brother as Dean-uh or perhaps Dana. This is too damn confusing is ALWAYS going to take people of of the story. YOU HEAR THAT FAITH FORD? "Hope & Faith" my ass.
We find out that the boys have had their share of ghost hunting Buffy-esque missions in the past and Sam is renascent to go look for his Papa because he's got a big interview next Monday and can't miss it. After the promise this will only be a weekend hunt, the boys pull out an arsenal that would make homeland security jump up and take notice and they decide to go and try and save good old dad. Now I have to admit, while we all love our Dad's, I can see me leaving the bed of a wicked hot college girl in the middle of the night to go ghost hunting, not matter how much fondness I have for Pops.
We cut to Jerico, California, where we learn once again that no good deed goes unpunished, and you can NEVER EVER pick up a hot hitchhiker without paying a stiff penalty. This time in the form of having your guts spayed against the inside windows (that's windows plural) of your car.
In the next few scenes we see the boys work on their angst of their collective childhood drama, impersonate federal officers, illegally check out a crime scene and use phony credit cards to buy gas and treats. Not the most promising start for someone who wants to go to law school. Plus the car we saw particulate brain matter scatter in a very Grassy Knoll-esque fashion the night before is perfectly clean and free of any evidence of a struggle, this all seems to climax with a ghostly game of cat and mouse involving a car and bridge and a very depressed ghost who lost her children in an "accident", we soon find out there is more to this ashen hitchhiker than meets the metaphysical plane, and the hunt is on to find and the boys are on the case to take care of this situation once and for all. A lot of this pilot could have been set in Sunnydale, and plays out very much like a fairly good episode of Buffy.
Steve Railsback from "The Stuntman" and "X-Files" fame plays the grieving husband to the woman in white, his part is short but memorable, if the rest of the series populates itself with such great actors it could be a saving grace.
The climax, or near climax comes with car crashing, ghost humping and a few borrowed elements from the "Ringu" and "Dark Water" films. Soon the case is solved and we are ready to go back to live a normal life. Unfortunately, when Sam gets home we find his girlfriend is about to end up just like his Mom did in the opening minutes and this leaves him free to go ghost hunting with his wacky brother, James Dean like brother. Oh did I mention his character's name is Dean?.
I have to admit this was not one of my favorite pilots that was picked up this year, but it does have some small potential, the boys seem to travel around with way too much impunity, escaping from police custody, doing some very bad boy like things, and there seems to be no legal consequences from having your girlfriend get burned to death on the ceiling of your apartment. Perhaps some Hollywood celebrity types were technical consultants on this one. Overall I would rate this as a possible half season run, I can't imagine the same people who tune in to see the Gilmore charm and intellect are going to find this Buffy want-a-be anything but lacking.
"The Loop" - A TV Pilot Review By 'Rick Kelvington'
This Fox sit-com which will start airing in January (the new Fall) revolves around a young go getter named Sam Sullivan played by former "Grounded For Life" regular Bret Harrison.
It's obvious from the first MINUTE of the show that some had just seen Topher Grace''s "In Good Company" and said, "we could bring that to TV, but man those rights will cost a fortune and Topher just left "The 70's" show to do movies so I doubt we can get him, so we'll do the next best thing. Alter the premise of the film, just enough as to not get sued." Guess what? It works. This is a laugh-track-less comedy that borrows heavily from the single camera style of "Scrubs" and "The Bernie Mac Show" complete with overlay graphics that explain things comes off as "not terrible" which is about the best thing I can say anymore about anything.
After the main characters are introduced we go to commercial. A Scion commercial to be exact, you know that cool new car that looks a lot like a couple of boxes stuck together with some wheels on it? You know, when you were a kid, and you took a shoe box and milk carton and drew wheels on the side. That thing, well this music video commercial for the car came on and oh wait, this is part of the show or opening credits or something, a minute of product placement for the Scion. Well, this show is certainly off to a good start. I sure hope he smokes later on, because we could really use some more product placements.
It turns out that when Sam isn't being an executive at an airline, (this explains so much from the last check in I had) he's hanging with his roommates, one of whom is an 'out of anyone's league hot' roommate played by Becki Newton, in sort of an "Animal House" meets "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" lifestyle. Smart woman and dopey roommates make for some wacky situations.
Such as, going to the bar with the hot roommate and nearly kissing her, and then deciding to get really drunk because you didn't and yet still make it to work on time the next day. Oh my sides are splitting from laughter, we've never seen that before.
Unbelievably, a moment later Mimi Rogers shows up as an airline executive sexual "predator" (their word not mine) and does the full Wendie Malick, older woman wanting younger man routine in every scene she's in. Again nothing new here. The spoiler in the group shows up in the form of the wacky or perhaps insane boss played by Philip Baker Hall, you remember him from "Magnolia" and "Bruce Almighty" and "In Good Company" wait he was in the film "In Good Company", what an amazing coincidence!
The rest of the episode plays out with a Birthday party, a scene where Sam has to come up with an idea at the last possible second to save his job and cut costs at the same time, after a night of partying and hunting thought rubbish (don't ask), and the cute and fun ending that makes you think there's hope for everyone.
I can't honestly say I hated this show, because I laughed out loud a few times, and I'll give them credit for not going with a laugh track when it would have been so easy to put one in, but overall if they want this show to succeed, the scripts are going to have to be a little funnier and far less into the cookie cutter mold of the crazy boss, horny older woman, and over qualified ethnic stereotype secretary who graduated fourth in her call as M.I.T. Since it's not starting to air until January I'll give this series a full season run, but unlikely to be picked up, if they do ten of them I'll be shocked, but I have to admit, I'll probably watch them..