It’s Pilot Season – 2017

The Fall 2017 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 Orville

Unabashed Star Trek fan Seth MacFarlane’s new series sees him as the captain of an intergalactic vessel charting the galaxy in a comedic fashion. I am absolutely not a fan of MacFarlane’s work. Family Guy is one of the most insipid, vacuous excuses for a TV show of all time. Ted was nothing more than a live-action version of his crassest jokes with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. So, I was not looking forward to this series. On the other hand, I, too, am an unabashed Star Trek fan, and since we haven’t had a Star Trek series on TV in 12 years, I decided this was as close as it was going to get, so I gave it a shot. (Yes, I am aware Star Trek Discovery started this year, but I’m not going to pay for CBS’ shitty streaming service to watch it.)

To my surprise, The Orville wasn’t half-bad. The concept is exactly the same as what you’d find on Star Trek. MacFarlane captains a starship filled with a variety of alien species as they explore the universe. The main gag here is that MacFarlane’s first officer is his ex-wife, whom he hates because she cheated on him. The show presents her as maybe not all that bad, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for her since she’s a cheater. MacFarlane gives a restrained performance, pretty much playing himself and not Peter Griffin. He’s even likable, as he is sensible with the crew and his actions.

The pilot episode features the crew discovering a time-altering device, which is coveted by the deadly alien species, the Krill. They battle it out on land and in space, and use the device to save the day. The writing was pretty solid, the action was serviceable, and the interactions of the crew were believable. But this is a comedy, right? Yeah, there is a hefty helping of comedy, but it doesn’t get so loopy as to take the audience out of the show. They don’t have cut-away gags, and they don’t have any jokes about present-day Earth politics/people. Most of the jokes arise out of the situation, and nothing feels totally out of place. Thankfully, MacFarlane left all his shit jokes for his other projects.

The Orville was much better than I expected, and I plan to check out the next episode. It certainly felt more like Star Trek than the reboot films, and that is definitely a good thing.

Verdict: Average

The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor is a cheesy, self-righteous, dumbfuck medical show. This time, however, the premise is so mind-bogglingly stupid, it’s enough to make you drop dead just from watching it. The series follows the career of an autistic surgeon. Have you ever met an autistic physician? Have you ever even heard of an autistic physician? No, of course not, because having autism and becoming a doctor are incompatible. Aspberger Syndrome, sure, absolutely possible, but autism? No way. Becoming a doctor involves thriving in social settings, being able to effectively communicate, having high stress tolerance, and being able to pick up on non-verbal signals. People with autism struggle with all of these to their detriment. But, OK, let’s give the show the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say someone with autism got through med school, hey, anything is possible, right? So what happens next?

The show has no understanding of even the basics of how medical training works. The CEO of the hospital hires the titular doctor to be a new resident without first getting approval of the board of directors and program director of the surgery department, and this causes a huge row that sucks up half the episode. First, boards don’t approve the doctors that get hired, department heads do that. Second, the program director of any residency program chooses who they want; there is no chance in hell that a program director would not have personally interviewed every candidate, and weeded out the ones that weren’t to their liking. Third, you don’t “hire” residents straight out of med school. After program directors interview applicants, a complicated computer algorithm called The Match links applicants and programs together in order to get the best “match” possible. Now, since the entire pilot episode focuses on the CEO unilaterally hiring a new resident, well, none of it makes a lick of sense. You might as well make a show about how a janitor at NASA hired a biology undergrad to be the head of the FDA. That would make just as much sense.

Moving past how unrealistic the show is, let’s talk about the drama itself. It’s excruciatingly cheesy. We get flashbacks to the titular doctor’s traumatic past within the first MINUTE of the show: we see him beaten up on a soccer field. And these lame flashbacks continue throughout the episode. We see his little brother fight to protect him, we see his father MURDER his pet rabbit, we see him and his brother run away to live like a couple of hobos, and we see his brother squashed by a train. The flashbacks have such overwrought acting and intensely sappy music, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. With each successive flashback, they pile on big fat slabs of Gouda higher and higher.

There is, of course, a medical case. While en route to his job, the titular doctor sees a pane of glass fall on a teenager. He helps save the teen’s life. They did do one thing, which, I admit, was pretty cool. He created a one-way valve using some hose and a liquor bottle to successfully treat a pneumothorax. Unfortunately, nothing else they did was remarkable or interesting. The doctor rides along with the teen to the same hospital he was hired at. Except nobody knows he’s been hired, so no one will let him in to help finish the case. There is something still wrong with the teen, and no one can figure it out, except the titular doctor. Ah yes, of course, only the new grad with no experience knows the answer while the collective minds of all the attending and resident physicians are clueless. (*facepalm*)

It all works out, though. They let him into the hospital, he explains what’s wrong, and they start emergency surgery. And then the titular doctor tells the attending physician he is arrogant. If an intern on their first day told off an attending, they’d be reamed so hard and thrown out of the OR so fast, their head would spin. And this autistic doctor, who just takes bullshit from everyone his entire, life suddenly grows a pair right then? What the fuck? Who wrote this garbage?

Worst of all, there is a subplot where one of the surgery residents can’t get a patient to consent for his procedure. She tells her attending she ordered a psychiatry consult, and she’ll have the consult by tomorrow. OH RIGHT THAT’S HOW IT WORKS, THE PSYCHIATRIST WILL JUST BRAINWASH THEM INTO SIGNING THE FORM, THANKS A LOT ASSHOLES! Another resident is able to get the consent by telling the patient that if he doesn’t consent to the procedure, he’ll be discharged from the hospital. The audience is supposed to think this was a dirty trick, or unethical or something. But this is how it is. If you are in the hospital for surgery, and don’t agree to the surgery, you don’t get to just hang around, you get discharged to make room for someone else who is sick.

Look, I know that medical shows focus on drama and not realism. If they were realistic, they’d be boring. But you can be kind of realistic and still create good drama. And you can have characters that at least act like semblances of human beings. You don’t need to manufacture drama with cheese and maudlin music and people shouting at each other all the time. As far as medical shows go, The Good Doctor is one of the worst I have ever seen. It doesn’t deserve to exist.

Verdict: Shitty


Wow. Ugh. Holy shit. Oof. I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Ghosted must be the worst new TV show I have seen in a decade. I only watched it because it stars two actors I like: Craig Robinson and Adam Scott. I’ve been a fan of theirs since their days starring in The Office and Parks and Recreation, respectively. So, how could a show starring them both be bad? Well, it was bad. Really, really bad. Like Nicolas Cage starring in garbage because he needs a paycheck bad .  . . maybe even worse.

The gist of the plot is that Robinson and Scott are two average guys who are abducted by the government so they can participate in a supernatural investigation bureau. Robinson is a mall security guard, and Scott is a former Stanford professor and conspiracy-theory nut. Their personalities are polar opposites. One is loud and jokey, and the other is quiet and thoughtful. One is short-tempered and the other is meek. And you put them together and get ZANY SHENANIGANS! For fuck’s sake, this show hits pretty much every buddy-cop movie cliche in a span of twenty minutes.

And let’s remember that the story doesn’t make any goddamn sense. The US government’s supernatural investigation bureau has great agents and the latest technology, yet they feel they have to recruit a couple of bumbling outsiders to do their work for them. The main characters are IDIOTS. They scream and gesticulate, mugging for the camera, but doing nothing of value. The jokes are unfunny, and the story is as by-the-numbers as it gets. And if you think they are doing this intentionally to parody shitty buddy-cop movies, think again. They are 100% invested in this, thinking this is comedy gold, when it is comedy shit.

As I write this, I realize I cannot effectively convey in words how horrible this show is. You’re reading this thinking, “You didn’t give a lot of examples of why this sucks more than other shows.” But I can’t do it. It’s an impossible task. Ghosted is like The Shitty Matrix, you can’t describe it to someone else, you have to experience its shittiness for yourself. But please don’t watch it, don’t subject yourself to such torture.

Verdict: Shitty

Check out previous entries in this series:

It’s Pilot Season – 2016

It’s Pilot Season – 2015

It’s Pilot Season – 2013

It’s Pilot Season – 2014

2 Responses to “It’s Pilot Season – 2017”

  1. October 30, 2017 at 2:09 am

    The Orville (first ep) was pretty amusing and I’m keen to see more. Ads for Autistic Doctor came on TV the other day and I just groaned when the main selling point was “from the creators of HOUSE MD) and I’ve never heard of Ghosted but if it makes a whole season order I’ll go heave a dry shit out my mouth.

    • November 5, 2017 at 7:59 am

      I’ve watched a couple more episodes of The Orville since writing this, and so far I’m liking it. You should definitely check it out. I haven’t seen more of the other shows, as they were utter garbage, but from what I understand, Autistic Doctor is very popular (ugh).

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October 2017


BrikHaus - Find me on Bloggers.com

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