REVOLUTION - 10:00pm on ABC, Mondays
Every time I the logline for a new JJ Abrams/ABC show, I get extremely excited. They sound exciting and interesting and I cannot wait to see where they take it. Then, I think every single time I become disappointed as soon as I actually sit down to watch. To begin, it is never a good sign when in a stack of watching about 20 or more pilots you end up turning one off about 15 minutes in to it. I try my hardest to make it through every pilot that I watch, and for me it is a very bad sign when I don't. Sadly, this is what happened when I watched Revolution. The worst part is, I have tried to rack my brain and waited to write this review until I could figure out why. I'm not sure that I'm there yet, but I will try to articulate.
Revolution feels like a watered down show with a great concept. The series revolves around a civilization that must adjust when due to some "event" the entire world loses all electricity and all technology that goes with it. This then basically leaves the entire world living and existing in a very simple state where cars becomes planters, food is grown by everyone, and weapons are downgraded to cross bows. This is the part where I said it sounds like a fascinating concept. I have a huge interest in watching a show about what would happen if we lost all technology. I'm sure most of us would be screwed and not know how to exist and there would have to be some good television in there. Too bad, Revolution doesn't seem to be that. This concept seems to simply become the catalyst for the newest entry in "conspiracy theory" shows that have not worked in recent years. In the beginning scenes we see a man try to save a program before the lights go out as soon as he realizes that "it's happening". What "it" is, we don't know and I the series assumes we will care enough to stick around and find out. This follows the format of Terra Nova or Flash Forward, which of course would be great if this was the one that can successfully break the curse of those shows, but for me, it is not the one.
I was surprised by which moment I turned the show off because it was the moment that the actor that created one of my favorite characters in recent television history appeared on screen – Giancarlo Esposito. He played Gus Fring in several seasons of Breaking Bad, and is one of my favorite villains to date. I was surprised because I would have thought I would have liked to see him in a new role, but when he turned up on screen as the head of the militia, I just felt like this show wasn't worthy of him. I know that might not be fair to him or the show, but it serves to show the delicate balance that goes in to television casting that must be considered. In addition, I'm not sure that I loved much of the cast, and I'm not going to be fooled in to thinking that because Billy Burke had a role in Twilight, he is one of the greatest actors of our time now. The pilot was directed by Jon Favreau, which is interesting that he wasn't able to add that action punch - but I hear there is a good scene towards the end that you can see his "stamp" on.
Overall, I apologize for this not being a complete review and hope that if you want to continue the whole hour, I will not discourage you from doing so. It can be the downfall of watching tons of pilots at one time and I take that in to account. I can't imagine loving or watching this show….but if you do, please report back and convince me I'm wrong!
THE MOB DOCTOR - 9:00pm on FOX, Mondays
This is one that I actually finished, yet am surprised that I did. In the pilot, Jordana Spiro stars as a doctor who finds herself in a tough position when she tries to pay off her brothers debt by agreeing to help out a mob boss (Michael Rapaport). For some reason, what she does not expect is that what they will use her to help "get rid of" potential threats to the mob. Therefore, the conflict begins when she is asked to essentially murder a witness during a surgery because they don't want him to be able to testify. What follows is Grace Devlin's (Spiro) internal conflict as to what she should do. She is essentially a good girl at heart, but the confusing voiceover at the beginning and end let us know that she was pretty fucked up by her father and his death, so maybe she is not as good as she seems. At least, I think that is what it means. Oh, and along the way, of course we see her deal with her relationship with doctor boyfriend (Zach Gilford) who gets upset when she makes a questionably ethical medical decision because she is friends with a patient. It feels contrived and uninteresting story and they have zero amount of chemistry as a couple.
I see what they are doing with this pilot as they try to put a new "mob" twist on a medical show, but what comes out instead is a show that has no idea what it wants to be. It doesn't have enough action and grittiness for a true mob show, but then also doesn’t conjure up solid medical stories that could replace the hole that House will leave FOX's schedule this fall.