Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pilot Review: iZombie

iZombie (Tuesdays at 9:00 on The CW)

Have you been craving a fourth season of Veronica Mars? Good news! You got it! Only Veronica is a half-zombie this time around.

I feel like this was the pitch for iZombie, the new series from Veronica Mars mastermind Rob Thomas and former Mars writer Diane Ruggiero-Wright. While the CW show is adapted from a DC Comics storyline (yup, another one, just in case you didn't get your fill with Arrow, The Flash, or Gotham), it has been changed so much to fit into Thomas's oeuvre that it feels like a completely different animal, and not always for the better.

Pilot Review: One Big Happy

One Big Happy (Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC)

It's a shame when bad shows happen to good people. With such likeable personalities as Elisha Cuthbert and Nick Zano in front of the camera, and everyone's favorite dancing talk show host Ellen Degeneres working behind it, you would think NBC's latest offering would be, at the very least, enjoyable. But One Big Happy can't even manage that.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pilot Review: American Crime

American Crime (Thursdays at 10:00 on ABC)

American Crime is often an uncomfortable show to watch. It's unafraid of throwing hard issues in its audience faces, the exact kind of issues we typically try to avoid talking about: race, class, gender, addiction, poverty. It's the kind of show that aims to start a conversation, to put an intelligent, semi-balanced face to abstract but emotional ideas about how society shapes our views of ourselves and everyone around us. It will make you angry; it will make you sad; it will annoy you and piss you off. But it will, undoubtedly, make you feel something.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pilot Review: CSI: Cyber

CSI: Cyber (Wednesdays at 10:00 on CBS; Premieres March 4)

These long-running CBS franchises that continue to be expanded (both NCIS and CSI have spin-offs this year, and Criminal Minds has had one in the past and another on tap) are not exactly brain food. They don't challenge audiences; they don't make you think. It's why they're so damn popular. People can relax in bed or curled up under an electric blanket and check their e-mail, read a magazine, eat dinner, talk on the phone, or doze off and not really miss anything. And if you do miss something important? Meh, there'll be another episode just like that one on next week, so it's no big deal. But they're just entertaining enough, just the right amount of bland and fun, that they make for great background noise or detached, casual viewing. CSI: Cyber is no exception to this formula.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pilot Review: Battle Creek

Battle Creek (Sundays at 10:00 on CBS)

Welcome to CBS's newest (well, most recent, considering this pilot was first written over a decade ago) exercise in pointless mediocrity, Battle Creek: a show that blends some wonderful creative talents with a great, quirky cast and yet somehow still ends up feeling like the Dullest Dullard in Dullsville.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pilot Review: Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies (Sundays at 9:00 on ABC)

If there's one genre I want to see die out, it's the "dead kid mystery" genre. You know exactly what I'm talking about. It began a few years ago with The Killing, found its way overseas to Broadchurch, came back to the States as Gracepoint, and was most recently explored on the new Amazon streaming series Bosch. Now we get Secrets and Lies, a remake of an Australian miniseries and one of the duller entries into the field, despite some good moments and some decent performances.