Wednesday, November 25, 2015

TV Pilots - clearing the smoke - part 4 (final)

This is the fourth part of the 2015 autumn TV series pilot review. See parts 1,2 and 3 before this one.

The Frankenstein Chronicles is a terrible title. Inspector John Marlott investigates a series of crimes in 19th Century London, which may have been committed by a scientist intent on re-animating the dead. Sounds like a mix between Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein. Interesting enough it stars Sean Bean, who is also the lead in Legends. Does that mean Legends is on its way to cancellation? Anyway, Bean seems determined to not die in movies anymore!

The beginning is quite well done, with Sean Bean being some sort of police officer in a London plagued by crime and corruption. He finds a corpse, apparently made of pieces of several other bodies, and then he is tasked to find the responsible, not out of civic duty, but because it clashes with a planned legislation against unlicenced medical professionals. Quite gritty and quite interesting set up. If the rest of the pilot is as good, I guess this will remain in the list of shows to watch.

Unfortunately, the show is not as good as I would have liked. It tries to shove all too many clichés down your throat, while being slow in pace and low in entertainment. I will keep watching it, like I do Jekyll and Hyde, but I think they both will not be worth watching.

The Last Kingdom. The year is 872, and many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Danes, leaving the great kingdom of Wessex standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred. Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is captured by the Danes and raised as one of their own. It sounds like an attempt to follow on the success of Vikings, which I have to say has more to do with casting and music than the story. Anyway, time to watch.

Well, it is with Matthew McFadyen, well known to me from The Pillars of the Earth and Ripper Street, but I believe he will only be in the first episode. Rutger Hauer is also in, however still for one episode only. It smells like bait-and-switch.

The pilot starts with Vikings attacking Northumbria and killing everybody due to their superior training and tactics. They take away a boy and a girl to serve them, the boy being the lord's son. Soon he will become the Dane's earl adopted, but that will change when he is a man. That is his story. Damn it, I wish I had reasons not to watch it, but... I find none. This one stays.

Two to go: The Romeo Section Lies, corruption, murder - welcome to the world of The Romeo Section where spies are recruited to seduce for secrets. I hope it is not another government agency that solves crime thing. The description leads to some pretty dark thoughts in my head, but it might just as well be beautiful people acting all sexy the entire thing. James Bond without the action or the brain, that sort of thing. Personally I expect people who get recruited as spies in order to seduce secrets away to be soulless sociopaths or tortured souls looking for redemption... or both. Let's see which one is it.

The episode starts with an exotic location: Hong Kong, a well aged gentleman at the horse races and people watching him or giving him "subtle" hints in conversations. Funky jazzy music (almost like a heist movie one - oh no!). 15 minutes and nothing happened other than posturing and fancy musical themes. 10 minutes later some sex scenes in which not even boobs are being shown. That's really brave... More and more talking, posturing, meaningful looks. At the end of the pilot I wasn't interested in the section, the head of the section, the members, the cute girls they are banging without showing their bodies or the fucking heist music that is telling me "wait, this is cool" without actually showing me anything cool.

Conclusion: no way! Dark enough for me to like it, but damn slow, badly acted, horrendously edited and plain dull.

Wicked City. A pair of LAPD detectives track down serial killers terrorizing the Sunset Strip. Cop show. I will watch 10 minutes and if I don't like it by then, it's a no.

The interesting thing is that it is set in 1982. The actors, I quite like: Jeremy Sisto as the cop and Ed Westwick as the first killer. Some more boobless sex... Police investigating, killer wiggling around, killer's girlfriend that may or may not be killed at any moment...

I actually watched two episodes on fast forward. I was still waiting for something to happen. It's better than most cop shows, I guess, but kind of slow and bringing nothing terribly new to the table. I will not watch it.

So, final list of autumn 2015 TV series pilots.
Liked: Blood and Oil, Into the Badlands, London Spy, Jessica Jones, The Expanse, The Last Kingdom
Undecided: Flesh and Bone, From Darkness, Heroes Reborn, Jekyll and Hyde, Limitless, The Frankenstein Chronicles
Discarded: Agent X, Quantico, River, The Player, The Art of More, The Bastard Executioner, The Coroner, The Romeo Section, Wicked City
Ignored: all the rest