17
Oct
15

It’s Pilot Season – 2015

The Fall 2015 television season is upon us. And that means we’re inundated with the worst the networks have to offer. Each year brings us new series; a few will be great, but most will be unwatchable trash. There’s far too many horrible series out there for me to review them all. So, I’ve decided to watch the three pilots that had the most promotional advertising of this season and review them. Please note, my reviews are not necessarily what I think of the entire series, but simply my thoughts on the pilot episode.

The Muppets

The Muppets have been an entertainment staple since the beginning of time. Ever since Thomas Edison’s phonograph played Mary Had a Little Lamb, the Muppets have been there to make us laugh. Everyone has grown up watching them, and everyone loves them. They love them so much, in fact, that they have become desperately protective of them.

The Muppets are flexible, and have changed their style, format, and humor as the times have changed. In the 1970s, they had a hit show which was based on the popular variety show format of the time. In the 80s, they did feature films. In the 2000s, they had a long dry spell where they only did Disney-based attractions (and Kermit got heavily involved in alcohol). Today, they are back on TV, and the format has changed once again. Now, they are doing an Office-like show, a behind the scenes comedic look at running a TV series, complete with A and B storylines and cut-away confessionals.

People don’t like the new format. Why? Because people are stupid. They cling to nostalgia the same way an NRA nutcase clings to his guns. Since the Muppets’ new show is different from whatever version the audience grew up with, IT’S AN ABOMINATION AND MUST DIE, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

Fuck all that noise. The Muppets have to change with the times or die. Nobody watches variety shows anymore, so they can’t do their same old variety show. The Office format is still popular (although certainly on the decline), and it makes the most sense as a vehicle for the Muppets. There are a ton of characters, they work in show-business, and what better way can you think of to showcase all of that?

The humor of the pilot episode is a bit hit-and-miss for my taste. Sure, there were a couple of funny jokes, but for the most part I wasn’t laughing. It’s not bad, though. I was definitely smiling and enjoying the episode, I just wasn’t laughing out loud. The jokes might start to come around as the writers find their voice and the right tone for the series.

The other thing people got mad about was Kermit and Miss Piggy breaking up. I’m sorry, but this is not a valid reason to dislike the show. It’s not as if the Muppets’ entire history hinged on their relationship. It’s not like if they break up, the entire façade will crumble. Having them broken up affected nothing. Kermit is still a “gee-shucks” character, and Piggy is just as narcissistic as ever. Nothing has changed, people, get over it.

Based on the first episode alone, The Muppets is not great television. But it’s certainly far from being bad television. I think that the show needs time to grow and develop, and once it does it could be excellent. For now, they have good jokes, fun characters, and make the best of the current popular TV format. Although, if they want to not get cancelled, they’ll need to do more than just rely on people’s nostalgia.

Verdict: Average

Blindspot

NBC has had success with The Blacklist. So much so, they have churned out this ill-advised series that is basically the exact same show except with reversed genders. In The Blacklist, mysterious male James Spader enlists the help of a female FBI agent, and each week they solve strange cases and lock up spies and other assorted bad guys. In Blindspot, a mysterious female enlists the help of a male FBI agent, and each week (presumably) they solve strange cases and lock up spies and other assorted bad guys. The formula seems to work for NBC, and, hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The main character, Jane Doe, has amnesia. She was pumped full of magic chemicals that completely wiped out her entire memory. She remembers nothing whatsoever, her name, her childhood, nothing. What she does remember, however, is how to fight, shoot guns, and speak Chinese fluently. As the series goes on, I imagine she will remember how to do another amazing things like SCUBA dive, diffuse bombs, and speak 12 different languages without breaking a sweat.

Jane Doe’s body is covered with tattoos, and not the usual butterfly ankle tattoo. They are weird tattoos, each of which contains a hidden message. Each message leads them to the villain of the week. So, the series telegraphs it’s structure immediately. Every week, Jane Doe and her partner will decipher one tattoo, which will lead them to the villain of the week, who they must kill. Next week, they will repeat the process. There will be some kind of overarching storyline, but it will only be divulged in the final minutes of every episode.

I didn’t enjoy Blindspot much. It had too much of the usual procedural, villain of the week thing going on. For having a unique premise, it does not have a unique execution. It plays out more like CSI or something of that nature, with flat characters and little to get invested in. The male FBI agent growls his lines, and is so generic looking he could be changed with any other handsome white male on TV, and nobody would notice.

On the positive side, the production values were high, and Jane Doe’s actress was very good. NBC has definitely poured a lot of money into this series, and it shows. Unfortunately, they didn’t pour enough money into the writers’ room, because these guys are churning out insipid plots. For example, in the pilot, the villain is a Chinese militant with plans to blow up the Statue of Liberty because the US didn’t rescue his sister from some evil Chinese dudes or something. I don’t know. It was stupid.

Verdict: Bad

Scream Queens

Do I have to review this one? Really? Ugh, FINE.

Scream Queens is the latest piece of shit that Ryan Murphy has dropped out of his ass and landed on the Fox network. Fox is in love with his shit, because they keep putting it on the air. Scream Queens is his latest turd, and TV’s everywhere are the toilet bowl.

Scream Queens makes no sense as a TV series. It’s a drama/comedy/parody of slasher films. The first episode alone is 90 minutes long, already feature length, and they pretty much exhausted every possible joke you could make about slasher movies. And yet, there are 14 more episodes planned for the first season. First season?! Fuck me, how could they make MULTIPLE seasons of this crap? There just isn’t enough material to work with. They should have trimmed down the side character storylines, added another 30 minutes of runtime, and released this as a movie. It might have been better.

As a TV show, this fails miserably. The tone is somewhere between Mean Girls, Scream, and every shitty college movie you’ve ever seen. It seems to me that people who make these things have never even been to college. Nobody ever goes to class, everybody is hot, and they live in palatial housing that would never exist in real life.

The humor sort of works at first, as it introduces us to the snotty main character, the head of a sorority. But her narcissism wears thin after the first half-hour. You can’t center a TV series around such a dysfunctional person, because it’s exhausting to watch them. Things only get worse from there. While she is with the new pledges, she intentionally murders the housekeeper, and they cover it up. Then, the corpse disappears, and a person in a red devil costumes starts murdering people around campus.

The murders are done in a very tongue-in-cheek style (e.g. running over someone’s head with a lawnmower), and are definitely not meant to be scary or taken seriously. But it isn’t enough to sustain the series. There are no likable characters, everyone acts more or less like an idiot, and the mystery is not compelling in the slightest.

The biggest coup the show got was casting Jamie Lee Curtis as the dean of the university. Obviously, its because she got her start in the Halloween films. But she has little to do here other than act as a foil for the main character. She, too, isn’t given anything interesting to do, and languishes, her talents utterly going to waste.

Scream Queens is a regrettable show that has nothing to say. As a movie, with some beefed up writing, it could have been interesting. But as a TV series, it’s a wreck.

Verdict: Shitty

Check out previous entries in this series:

It’s Pilot Season – 2013

It’s Pilot Season – 2014

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6 Responses to “It’s Pilot Season – 2015”


  1. October 18, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Of these three I’ve only been watching The Muppets, and thus far I have to say it hasn’t grown on me. I’ve given it four episodes now and all I can think of is that the humor just feels… off. It’s like they’ve taken the Muppets’ light-hearted whimsy and non-sequitur humor and tried to panhandle it through an adult humor lens, and it just doesn’t work as well. Plus, most of the “guest star” guests have left me a little… meh, except for a nice turn by Christina Applegate as a fellow diva to Piggy at one point. If episode five doesn’t gel for me, I’m gonna stop watching.

    • October 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      I have kept up with this series. I thought episode 4 was the best one so far. I felt like they might have finally found their voice with that one. It seemed really funny (e.g. Swedish chef rapping the perfect song), and effortless at the same time. Plus, the Ed Helms guest spot seemed the least forced of all the other guest spots. I guess episode 5 will tell the tale of whether they really found their voice or not.

  2. October 19, 2015 at 7:08 am

    So, out of these, I have the first episode of The Muppets, thought yet to watch it. Pilot season is so painful these days. I usually end up waiting until pilot season is over, which pilots/shows are still kicking and then go back and pick some things up. Honestly, when there’s a pilot for a TV series based off of Rush Hour, something is wrong.

    • October 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Well, of the three I reviewed, The Muppets was clearly the best. The other two are pretty terrible, so I wouldn’t bother if I were you. I might do a separate post about Rush Hour. I loved the first two movies as a kid, and I know I won’t be able to not watch the TV show.


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