Friday, October 03, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'The Ex List' review

In today's column, I review "The Ex-List." While it would be easy to dump on the show given that producer Diane Ruggiero -- the key reason I liked the pilot -- quit over creative differences, the fact is I did like the pilot, and I have no way of knowing for sure what the post-Ruggiero episodes will be like. I'm not optimistic, but I'll be watching for at least a few weeks, both for those early scripts and because Elizabeth Reaser is really likable in the lead role.

Not going to do a separate spoiler post, so if you watch tonight, feel free to comment here.


Anonymous said...

there's the problem of stretching out a premise with a built-in expiration date over the hoped-for years and years of an American television run.

C'mon, this is CBS we're talking about. The fact that's it's already been doomed to Fridays, and that there are no guns or car chases guarantees that it was never planned to continue beyond 13 episodes.

Bix said...

I take it that if there questions about how to sustain the timeline, they don't go the easy route and make each episode take place over the course of a day or two with the next episode taking place immediately afterwards?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bix, Diane Ruggiero said she was going to play fair with time and have the first season take place over roughly a year. With her gone, maybe the new showrunners will take a different approach.

Pamela Jaye said...

thanks for the reminder on this. I have a special search in my DVR for pilots, but it's inactive. Making any individual series' pilot active is a complicated task, so I wasn't sure if I'd activated this one, but you gave me the chance to check.

(changing inactive to active tends to cause every pilot airing to be recorded - needless to say, this would not be fun. I believe the trick i was taught was to click on the second episode and choose record at any time on this channel. the problem is, this pretty much only comes up in the fall and is easy to forget in a year.)

I activated the pilot, but not the series. Fixed now.

I saw Elizabeth on Craig Ferguson. I must have not been watching her, cause he had to actually ask her if she was nervous before I noticed he had a reason to ask. He had one.
How does CBS feel about Sympathy Ratings? (no, really, I wouldn't watch it if she wasn't in it, and i might hate it, we'll see)

Christy said...

Wow! I absolutely did not recognize Ava from Grey's Anatomy, where I found her charmless and unappealing.

Enjoyed the pilot and found Balfour in tats Hot! Hot! Hot!

Pamela Jaye said...

just watched

the prospectf watching this girl get her hopes up, only to either

be smashed

or get grossed out and dumpthe guys again

for a whole season?


I recognized Ava. The girlfriend from American Dreams, however, totally a different character!

that said, revenge served cold - actually funny.

SMM said...

This was one of the best pilots I've seen in a long time-- the Balfour storyline really played well. And everyone in the cast is appealing.

(What would "The Ex List" season two be about? Either she's married in a year or she isn't, right?)

Eh, this can be taken care of. She doesn't have to be married once, and she doesn't have to stay married. Think Ross & Rachel style Vegas wedding for a season finale cliffhanger. (This assumes the prophecy has two separable parts: you must be married within the year, and in order to avoid spinsterhood, you must marry someone you've already met. That wasn't exactly how it was laid out, but it can be retconned -- it's a fortune, not a formula.)

Pamela Jaye said...

Eh, this can be taken care of. She doesn't have to be married once, and
she doesn't have to stay married.

I've never watched Prison Break, but the above scenario sounds familiar.

and every time I see Eric Balfour, I'm happy that he was turned into a vampire and then staked in the Buffy Pilot.

(couldn't type earlier - was using a remote control keyboard and a TV screen. keyboard loves to repeeeeaaatttt keyyyyyss)

joy said...

I try to admit when I'm wrong, and I was *completely* against watching this show. Like, to the point where I was even evangelizing against it.

The pilot was cute. Reaser was much more likeable here than her characters in either Saved or GA. Surprisingly so, because she bugged the life out of me in the other shows. And, totally, the chick from American Dreams was almost unrecognizable in her ditzy role here. (And, man, is she tall.)

The rest of the posse are still unknowns to me, their dynamics and relationships to each other were still confusing, despite their attempts at exposition.

I should probably wait for a final verdict to see what Ruggiero's leaving does for the show, but so far, it's fairly watchable.

The premise still needs to bear out for me - it makes sense the way the Israeli show had it, only 11 episodes. But, we'll see.

Oh, and yay for Eric Balfour, for yet another pilot role...

Anonymous said...

I only made it through half the episode...I was thoroughly disappointed.

Was I the only one annoyed by every single character? Not an endearing one in the lot.

It just made me miss "Men In Trees."

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it. Music supervisor did a great job, I liked the way it was scored (Tainted Love, punk rock style anyone?).

My only previous exposure to Elizabeth Reaser was Grey's Anatomy, and it was hard to reconcile the two performances (Ava versus Bella) being by the same actress. Needless to say, I much preferred her here.

Loved that the psychic was always eating.

Matt said...

This was WAY better than it had any right to be. The biggest problem is that it seems a complete mismatch for CBS's "all procedurals all the time" lineup. Would seem to be a much better fit over on ABC.

Anonymous said...

Hmn... well, I guess I'm getting a little too old for this stuff. An extended, pointless subplot about a woman's pubic hair styling? Really? Is that what passes for clever these days?

Most of what I liked was Johnny and his anger rock. I liked when she went to the bar to hear his music now that he's become popular, and he's singing about Bella: "Bitch! Left me on my birthday..." But best of all was the ending of that relationship. I thought he was going to write a bunch of sappy love songs for her, which would destroy his career. But no, after all that, he draws attention to her in the bar and sings another anger song blowing her off. "Revenge! You'll be single forever. Revenge, Revenge! You'll die alone." I laughed out loud at that, though I'm not sure whether the emotion was actual amusement or just relief.

... but then I had to ask myself, how can I enjoy a show where my favorite part is watching the main character get knocked down a peg? At one point, the psychic told her, "it's not just about you," and I thought, this might be an amusing show if her quest was more to go around, give closure to all the guys she dumped, and give them all a better life before she could find her own true love. Sort of a romantic My Name is Earl. But I don't think it's going that way. I think I'm supposed to like these main characters, Bella, the roommate with the pubic issues, etc., and I just don't.

Stef said...

I liked it a lot, and I'll probably keep watching. It's just too bad it's in such a forgettable time slot.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have watched "The Ex List" if I hadn't read about it here, and I really enjoyed it! If things don't work out with CBS, the CW should take this show on--in its best moments it reminds me of "Gilmore Girls."

Pamela Jaye said...

what time slot is it in?

(have DVR will travel)

Pamela Jaye said...

PS, CBS - Pubic hair?? Uck!

Unknown said...

I hope someone can give me the title and singer of the other song beside Tainted Love. Many thanks