Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pilot Watch 2007: ABC, Part 2

And so we come to the end of Pilot Watch '07. Unlike last year, most of the networks (except Fox) didn't bother sending out their mid-season stuff, so I haven't gotten a look at "Lipstick Mafia" or "Cashmere Jungle" (or whatever they're called) or "Swingtown." On the plus side, the only fall show I didn't get a pilot for was "Moonlight," and that's because they're starting over from scratch. (Watching the Shannon Lucio/non-David Greenwalt version would be as big a waste of time as watching Fox's "Wedding Album" a year ago, which got completely revamped into "The Wedding Bells.")

Thoughts on "Big Shots," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Women's Murder Club" coming right up...

"Big Shots"
Who's in it: Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Joshua Molina, Christopher Titus, Nia Long, Paige Turco, and more
What it's about: Four Master of the Universe types get together at the country club to play golf and get advice on handling the women in their lives
Pluses: Good to see all the leads employed (I was a big "Titus" fan), and McDermott and Titus play well against type.
Minuses: One of the guys actually utters the line "Men -- we're the new women," apparently to justify the amount of time the guys spend talking about relationships and their feelings. I'm already frustrated by a Niles-and-Maris-style running gag where Titus is forever complaining about his wife without us ever getting a good look at her.

"Dirty Sexy Money"
Who's in it: Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, Jill Clayburgh, Billy Baldwin, Samaire Armstrong, and more
What it's about: When the private attorney to a rich and powerful Kennedy-type clan called the Darlings dies under mysterious circumstances, the Darling patriarch (Sutherland) recruits the lawyer's do-gooder son (Krause) to come work for the family that dominated his childhood.
Pluses: It's a Greg Berlanti production, which means it has all the soapy elements you expect, but more smartly executed. Despite playing a character who could easily act like more of a self-righteous prig than Nate Fisher, Krause is very likable. Glenn Fitzgerald (who did a multi-episode stint on "Six Feet Under" as a young guy dying of cancer) is a lot of fun as the most obnoxious Darling -- who just so happens to be a man of the cloth.
Minuses: As the Darling sibling who's had a lifetime of semi-resolved sexual tension with Krause, Natalie Zea (a Rebecca Gayheart lookalike) doesn't seem as irresistible as the script is calling for. Most of the characters are very broad -- especially Armstrong as a Paris Hilton-type -- which is fine for a pilot where you're introducing a lot of characters, but no good going forward. (I trust Berlanti enough to not worry too much about this.)

"Women's Murder Club"
Who's in it: Angie Harmon, Laura Harris, Paula Newsome, Aubrey Dollar
What it's about: A San Francisco cop, prosecutor, medical examiner and reporter regularly get together to solve the really tough cases and provide relationship advice to each other. Based on the series of James Patterson novels.
Pluses: Where most of the season's other new cop shows like "Life" and "New Amsterdam" either treat the crimes as an afterthought or just can't be bothered to come up with a good one, former "Angel" writers Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have written some decent mysteries (or at least adapted them well from Patterson's books). Harmon's well-cast enough as a self-destructive cop that it made me realize how badly Sam Waterston missed her. For what it's trying to do, this show does it well.
Minuses: What it's trying to do isn't something I'm terribly interested in.


Anonymous said...

What did you think of Joshua Malina on Big Shots? One review I read thought he was really miscast and said they wouldn't be surprised if he was replaced before the season started.

Alan Sepinwall said...

For the most part, he's typecast, in that he's playing a nerd (there's a line like "I'm short, repressed and lactose intolerant"), but he's also committing adultery, which seems a very un-Malina thing to do.

dark tyler said...

I was very interested in Women's Murder Club to begin with (what with the two Angel and Shield exec producers running it) so I like seeing positive reviews to pop up.

Anonymous said...

Women's murder club will do very well. The cast is solid the ideas are slick the writers have the green light to take the story line to the highest heights.