A To Z Black-ish Forever Gotham How To Get Away With Murder Manhattan Love Story Pilot Reviews Red Band Society Scorpion Selfie Stalker The Affair The Flash Wrap-Up

Pilot Reviews 2014

f01a5-screen2bshot2b2014-10-222bat2b2-04-572bpmI didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch the pilot of Showtime’s new thriller, The Affair. Instead of a cliche and tired debut, I found myself watching a captivating character drama with a unique premise: the first half of every episode showcases the details of the aforementioned affair from the man’s perspective, while the second half recounts the woman’s version of events. This fascinating storytelling device reveals the distinct memory biases of our two lead characters as they tell the story in shockingly contrasting details. Both the pilot and the second episode promise a truly absorbing ride with some meticulously-crafted scripts. I absolutely can not wait to see more.  
Nad Rating

A

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Being an enormous Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fan, I was sure I would love Shonda Rhimes’ newest TV creation. I might be in the minority here but I didn’t find the pilot for How To Get Away With Murder to be so exceptional. Viola Davis is indeed a powerhouse, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in any of the characters. Nevertheless, the legal thriller is well-produced, and it zips along at a brisk and compelling pace with a couple of standout scenes. I’ll stick around for a while (thank you cliffhanger) and see if it morphs into fantastic television (God knows Shonda has earned that loyalty from me). But so far, I’m sad to report that I’m underwhelmed.
Nad Rating
B

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I mostly gave Scorpion a shot because of Katharine McPhee. She’s the only reason I ever watched Smash (at least in the beginning), and she’s excellent in this intriguing action-adventure about a group of nerdy misfits who are hired by the FBI to solve complex tech-related problems. While it’s probably going to end up being a procedural, the pilot is solidly directed, with an effective cast and a whole lot of heart. Plus, the hour ends with a mindblowing action sequence featuring a plane and a Ferrari that can’t really be described in words. It’s insane and unbelievable, but it’s also oh so entertaining.
Nad Rating
B+

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Seeing as how the creative team behind The Flash is also responsible for Arrow, I was sure this pilot would be outstanding right out the gate. Sadly, I was disappointed. Everything about this hour felt manufactured: the star-crossed-lovers, the scooby gang, the mustache-twirling villains etc.. Still, I won’t give up on the show just yet. I’m a huge fan of comic book adventures and Grant Gustin is perfect in the role. This guy feels like a megastar in the making, and there’s hope The Flash will only get better.
Nad Rating
B-

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The story of an immortal medical examiner in New York City, Forever works purely because of Ioan Gruffudd’s charm and likeability. The pilot itself doesn’t offer too many fresh twists, but it’s an easy, enjoyable watch. Alana De La Garza plays a detective who soon finds herself forming a partnership with Dr. Morgan, and her chemistry with Ioan definitely has potential. If the show doesn’t become a complete procedural (the serialized elements have promise), I might keep watching. Also, the NYC backdrop definitely helps.
Nad Rating
B+

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Detailed review here.
Nad Rating
A-

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I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about Red Band Society lately so I decided to give this hospital dramedy a shot. I’m beyond glad that I did because this is a creative and unique little show with a number of touching and poignant moments. I’m not such a big fan of the show being narrated by a little boy in a coma (it feels too gimmicky), but the cast is pretty spot-on and the subplots all entertaining. This just might be this season’s undiscovered gem. Oh and Octavia Spencer is a freakin’ national treasure, so if nothing else, watch this for her.
Nad Rating
B+

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I really wanted to like Black-ish. It feels like it should have been a wicked little comedy in the vein of Suburgatory and The Mindy Project. Unfortunately, apart from Laurence Fishburne’s terrific performance, I found this pilot to be both boring and grating. I get that it has a strong message about race that it wants to get across, but I was unamused and uninterested. Maybe it will improve down the line? There’s always hope, but I’m not really interested at the moment and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
Nad Rating
C-

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The creator of one of ABC’s most high-profile comedy offerings this season is Emily Kapnek, a masterful writer responsible for one of my favorite comedies of the past few years (Suburgatory). Unfortunately, Selfie is kind of a dud. My main issue with the show is the fact that the show’s lead, Eliza Dooley, is extremely unlikeable. Obviously she’s supposed to be a social media obsessed narcissist, but the character crosses every line there is. I might give the show another episode before totally writing it off since the premise feels relevant in our world today, but I’m not expecting miracles. Who knows, it might turn into yet another cheap comedy that I’ll enjoy hate-watching (see 2 Broke Girls).
Nad Rating
C-

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Unlike Selfie, A to Z is a charming little creation headlined by two highly charismatic leads: Cristin Milioti, who was brilliant as the Mother in How I Met Your Mother, and Ben Feldman of Mad Men fame. The comedy’s gimmick is simple: the show will chronicle the two’s entire relationship – highs, lows and everything in between. I was immediately sold on their dynamic, and I have a feeling this could be a breakout success next year. Also, it’s narrated by the awesome Katey Sagal of Married With Children fame.
Nad Rating
B

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I really wanted to love Manhattan Love Story. This romantic comedy has a cool concept: it chronicles the journey of a new couple in NYC as you hear their innermost thoughts. However, the script is weak and struggles to produce anything fresh with the creative premise. Moreover, Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman are far from impressive in the lead roles. Had the producers cast two performers with charisma who could rise above the material, ABC’s little comedy could have been saved. Unfortunately, it’s a dud, and there’s no point in getting invested now that the show has debuted with atrocious ratings.
Nad Rating
C-

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Stalker
has gotten a lot of hype in the last few weeks and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Critics are calling it “misogynistic” and “exploitative”, when in truth it’s a compelling and riveting procedural with a concept we don’t see very often. Honestly I watched the pilot out of pure love for Maggie Q who was astounding on Nikita, and she’s just as formidable as an elite agent who handles stalking cases. Dylan McDermott is less effective as her co-star (I never really liked the dude), but the pilot has a great twist at the end that will ensure my loyalty for at least a few weeks. If you’re not a scaredy cat, give this is a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Nad Rating
B+

10 comments

  1. I totally agree about “How to Get Away with Murder”. I believe Viola Davis will be the reason for me to give this show a chance since none of the other characters really stood out.

  2. While I agree with you on most points, I wish “Scorpion” was a bit rooted in reality! Technically, saying that the entire premise and subsequent development of the pilot is beyond flawed is an understatement. It's a disgrace! and giving it higher rating than “How to Get Away with Murder” and “The Flash” cast a lot of doubt of your scale 🙂

  3. Hehe I agree that Scorpion was TOO unrealistic. However, it wasn't lame (which is how I felt of The Flash which seemed too corny and forced). And it had a greater sense of fun for me than Murder.
    Still, in the long-term, I'll probably get sucked in by those two more than Scorpion, as I'm just not a fan of procedurals.

  4. I didn't want to watch Stalker simply because McDermott is in it (I don't know why I don't like the dude either), but I'm surprised to say it amused me a whole lot! I don't get why everyone's making a big deal out of this show. It's entertaining so far.

    As for Manhattan Love Story, boy that was a train-wreck lol. Extremely unlikeable characters and the listening-to-their-thoughts thing gets boring REALLY quickly.

  5. How To GAWM
    It’s watchable. But it will never have the character dynamics of the OPA Gladiators.
    The premiere unleashed all the shockers of the creator’s heart’s content to garner audience who would like to find out the who dunnits and the how did theys of those flashes all over the pilot ep like peek-a-boo.
    The next three eps will let me know if I will stick with this or if this will be beside TVD for me. Sorry.

    Scorpion
    I was looking forward in watching this; only to find out that it is a live action cartoon!
    My interest lies on the young boy, though. A filler for me.

    The Flash
    Not very impressed with the premiere.
    I was more interested when it was just a segment in an Arrow ep.
    I find the supporting characters bland.
    I’m also surprised to find some of the effects laughable.
    Hope it improves in the next three eps.

    Forever
    I like this ‘cause I like Ioan. He’s cool.
    I love vampire themed stories. Ioan’s character may not be a vampire but he’s supposedly immortal; so same thing. (Gimme a break.)
    It’s a relaxing show to watch. I need my feel good weekly refill and this is it. Hehehe.

    Gotham
    This, I love. Very promising. Pls. see my sents in your pilot review.

    Red Band Society
    A Steven Spielberg bankrolled show with a bunch of kids with attitude who happens to have long illnesses.
    Will not lose sleep if I miss watching. A filler for me.

    Black.ish
    Not interested in anything trying to copy the Huxtables.

    Selfie
    Just the premiere and that’s it. Big people playing nine year olds.

    A To Z
    Hmmm… warming up. 

    Manhattan Love Story
    Truly not interested. Sorry.

    Stalker
    Of course, I watched this, Nadim.
    Hey, I still have Nikita hang-over and love Maggie Q.
    Not that impressive a premiere but I like Beth Davis already. (Yes! I’m playing favorites.)
    I am not partial to Dylan M though; won’t protest if they change the actor or kill the character. 
    I want more kick-a** segments. You hear me writers?

    Well, that’s it for me, Nadim. Have a good one.

  6. Nice to read all your thoughts Platinum! I missed you 🙂 So true about all these shows being forgettable! Here's hoping Gotham doesn't disappoint us (since I didn't like the second episode)!

    And more Stalker asskickings please!!

  7. I only watched the pilot of The Affair, and yes that was one incredible pilot! Loved the storytelling and the characters' perspectives, and I'm even more intrigued about who dies in the future, and what they're doing at the police..?

    I should try to catch up on this show. I hope it stays as amazing as the pilot!

  8. Selfie – I saw the entire season but I wasn´t very impressed because the show wants us to root for Eliza when she is nothing but an airhead and so stupid and over the top.

    A to Z – The show was charming but the friends were way over the top.

    The Flash – The pilot was bad, the season was so so and I´m done with it, period. Too light and even a bit childish for my taste.

    Stalker – I liked this one and well, Maggie Q is amazing.

    Gotham – Didn´t impress me on the pilot, didn´t come back for more.

    Still haven´t seen “The Affair”, “How to get away with Murder”.

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