INT. MY SISTER’S APARTMENT – DAY
Part II of the Fall Review
RAISING HOPE **
A comedy that follows the Chance family, a terribly flawed band of individuals, as they find themselves caring for a newborn baby.
· Surprises and unexpected reveals peaked my interest and invoked involuntary laughter – I know I shouldn’t be laughing, but I just can’t help it.
· Sabrina, the sarcastic checker whose random vandalism stole the show, but her questioning nature and compassion made her empathetic. She could really turn Jimmy’s life upside down and make it fun.
· Singing the baby to sleep. That one heart felt moment made me I realize despite all the bickering and backbiting, this family cares about each other and will help make this work.
· Jimmy, the protagonist, is a whiner who believes no one has any faith in him, which they don’t, but he spends too much time dwelling on that instead of finding solutions to raise Hope.
· Gross out humor – throwing up on the baby. A different twist on a tired joke.
· I felt like I was laughing at this family. Instead of standing beside them I remained on the sidelines, never fully engaged, never included.
Greg Garcia is in his element and this family feels like Earl’s relatives. I kept waiting for Jason Lee to strut through the door. “Growing up, embracing our mistakes and trying to better our lives” seems to be the message but it’s lost in the outlandish plot and gross out humor… Not my cup of tea.
BETTER WITH YOU ***
A comedy that tracks three different couples as they deal with relationship status, a new engagement and pregnancy.
· Revealing character introductions. With in the first five minutes I knew who the main players were and at least one of their exaggerated quirks so I could identify with them.
· Fresh scene transitions using photo booths pictures.
· The male characters are more fleshed out with relatable quirks and deliver the better comedic lines. Ben is Jerry Seinfeld with energy, witty and worried where as Casey is goofy, naïve yet true to himself. Together they make a great comedic paring.
· Too much information. Where as Raising Hope was simplistic, Better With You provided one reveal after another until I felt overwhelmed. The first reveal about the young couple getting married would have been enough to carry the show, but the second reveal – delivered in a comedic way – was unnecessary.
· Maddie, melodrama disguised as humor.
· Utilization of the older couple Vicky and Joel (Kurt Fuller & Debra Jo Rupp). Together, they possess a plethora of comedic talent; which is squandered in their minor roles.
Better With You has potential to be a hit – good clean comedy, great premises – but it needs to utilize its setups and refrain from getting too complicated as they continue their run.
A drama that follows Supreme Court Justice Cyrus Garza who quits his job hoping to right the system by starting his own private practice.
· Lucinda, the fiery private investigator, is complex, engaging and steals her scenes. Of all the characters, she’s the most fleshed out and cliché defying.
· “…No longer a victim, I’m in control of my life” is a powerful message. Garza has a strong sense of justice and a need to protect the innocent. It’s a tale of redemption and making a stand…
· The on going mystery of “Who’s the brute following Justice Garza?”
· The character’s set up was a rip off from Ironman, only the dialogue was changed. Garza is an older version of Tony Stark.
· Lack of scene energy. For the first half of the pilot, the characters (with the exception of Lucinda) felt like they were going through the motions, reading memorized lines… The intensity picked up in the final courtroom show down but by then, viewers could have changed the channel.
· Another courtroom drama…
Outlaw is a typical courtroom drama with a team of experts working behind the scenes to bring justice to a falsely accused man. However, in most courtroom dramas there is a sense of empathy for the accused. I never felt that. I never cared enough to hope this guy made it off death row. As interesting as the case was and the techniques used by the defense to obtain evidence I just didn’t find it engaging…
An action adventure that centers around two former spies, Steven and Samantha Bloom, who are thrown back into the espionage world while trying to lead a normal life.
· Chemistry: The Blooms are a loving married couple looking for adventure to rejuvenate ‘the spark.’ Alone, they more than hold their own, but together they are captivating. And human. Their flaws and forgiving nature built depth and empathy. I cared what happened to the Blooms.
· Action packed first act sets up an adrenaline-fueled adventure that swept us back into the game.
· Bill, the Sidekick. Crafted to reveal character through hero worship.
· Talky – Lots of dialogue, not unnecessary or redundant, but at times more could be relayed through non-verbal communication.
· Distracting camera movements. It’s not a stagnant shot if you keep the camera locked and let the characters move around. The style distracts from the story.
· After five years out of the game, wouldn’t they be a bit… rusty?
Undercovers grabbed me right from the start and lead me on a high-octane adventure with compelling characters, original action sequences and surprising act breaks. My biggest concern is budget. Can this series sustain its explosive, adrenaline rush for 22 episodes? I hope so… In the mean time it’s a must see.
Stay tuned… more to come.