Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pilot Review: Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher (Thursdays at 9:30 on CBS)

Am I the only one with fond feelings toward the 2011 Cameron Diaz film the new comedy Bad Teacher is based upon? I've seen it dozens of times, including in a movie theatre full of laughing people, but most of the reaction toward the small-screen adaptation is, "Why redo such a bad movie?" While I agree that it's not exactly a good choice for the play-it-safe network, CBS, I thought Bad Teacher could work well enough as a weekly series on, say, pay cable or even a more subversive channel like FX. Because everything that made the film funny to me has to be stripped away for broadcast television: the vulgarity, the profanity, and the cast's performances.. So what we're left with is a fairly standard woman-behaving-badly sitcom without nearly as much bite as its source material.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pilot Review: Black Box

Black Box (Thursdays at 10:00 on ABC)

With Kerry Washington pregnant, ABC had no choice but to cut Scandal's episode order for the season short. They must be kicking themselves right about now, cursing the personal life of their star for leaving them with few options for May sweeps programming, save for the pretentious, muddled medical drama Black Box. Not only have they traded down in the ratings (the pilot of Black Box delivered less than half of Scandal's finale audience the week before), but they've also tonally shifted in the opposite direction from guilty-pleasure to no-pleasure.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pilot Review: Turn

Turn (Sundays at 9:00 on AMC)

There's a really great idea at the root of Turn, the newest period piece from AMC set during the American Revolution: what would a spy thriller look like set over two hundred years in the past? Unfortunately, that's the only question Turn's pilot episode answers. There's more time spent on the design and setting than on telling a gripping story, which leaves Turn feeling about as bland as its title.