I love me some genre fare, and the CW has been on a roll over the past year. It’s got bonafide hits with Arrow and The Flash, and a whole lot of promising potential with The 100 and iZombie (both of which I plan on watching in a more serious manner this summer). The network’s latest production is right up my alley: ordinary people suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances, a global scope, and a hopefully-dense mythology. Sadly, this pilot wasn’t as effective as I was hoping it would be.
That’s not to say Awakening is an entirely bad introduction, but The Messengers doesn’t really offer anything new in the grand scheme of things. The fact that a meteor crashes on Eartha and turns our core cast into angels as opposed to typical superheroes is an ambitious twist, but the powers they exhibit don’t exactly scream originality (telepathy! healing tears!). Still, the religious aspect of it all could supply the show with a unique identity if the writers know how to play their cards correctly.
The pilot’s biggest misstep is terrible casting when it comes to the villain of the piece, Lucifer (here referred to as “The Man” – how original). Diogo Morgado is completely miscast in the role, and instead of coming off as threatening, he’s just a random presence who doesn’t ooze the least bit of menace. Hopefully his performance improves over the course of the next few episodes, because a show is only as good as its baddie. Also, his introduction is a direct rip-off of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. Not cool!
Thankfully, the rest of the cast is fine. The Messengers is populated by a number of somewhat familiar faces who previously co-starred in other CW shows. Chief among them is Shantel VanSanten of One Tree Hill fame. She’s a likeable actress, and I certainly have no qualms about her character Vera being the show’s de facto lead so far. I could however do without Erin and her cliche role (her abusive ex-husband is a cop – haven’t seen that before).
Also, the ending is supremely underwhelming.
It’s got some serialized potential buried deep, but The Messengers’ derivative pilot isn’t the most explosive debut. I’ll give it another episode (or two).