Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Pitch Your Show - Summer, Part C (In the Flesh - The Originals)
Welcome back to Pitch Your Show where we're into the third segment. I am going to take a short one-day hiatus on posting these so the next one will appear on Thursday. Sorry about that but I need to finish The Last Ship season 1 review and get the season 2 preview up. Thanks to everyone who nominated. Once again I apologize for not being about to get everyone's nominations into the article, but you can check out ALL the nominations in the spreadsheet link below. You can find links to the first 2 segments there also. Don't forget to comment about any shows you are tempted to try. It is encouraging to all those nominating. So until Thursday, I hope you find some great shows to try over the hiatus.
Link to spreadsheet
***Nominated by Sandi - In the Flesh is a unique and powerful take on the zombie genre which aired on BBC Three and BBC America. The series starts some time after the Zombie Apocalypse, in fact near all of the 'Rotters', as they are called, have been rounded up and have been cured to a certain extent. They are now called PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferers, and control their urges with a daily injection. We join the show's lead, Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry), as he is set to rejoin his family home back in his quiet Lancashire village just as his past undead life is catching up with him through flashbacks. The show does have moments of the more typical zombie violence and gore-fest you expect, but the real horror comes from an unexpected quarter. Dominic Mitchell (creator/head writer) explores human's prejudicial nature - be it racism, homosexuality, suicide or extreme religion - both through analogue and by directly using the PDS sufferers and their struggle to fit in their old surroundings. It gets pretty dark in places, with government plots, secret testing labs, a messiah who may save zombiekind, murders and cover ups, PTSD and more. It's not all doom and gloom however; there are also some very uplifting moments. Amy (Emily Bevan) in particular is a character who lightens just about every scene she is in. She becomes Kieren's BDFF - Best Dead Friend Forever - and is one of my favourite female characters ever. She's strong, smart, funny and has the confidence to not care what others think of her or her condition.
***Nominated by TwiX - When I first saw the iZombie promotional pix before its release, I thought it was just a waste of TV space. But after seeing its trailer I gave it a go and I feel extremely lucky to have done so because iZombie is now in my Top 3 favorite shows. It follows Liv Moore through her adventures as a zombie during which she uses a certain magical power she now posseses to solve crimes. But this isn't the whole story...the show focuses on a larger secret and side plots combining to give a great thrill of an hour to the audience. Watch 3 episodes and you will understand what I mean. Plus it involves not only a super attractive cast but also a good pick of hot guest stars. It serves many genres like drama, action, romance, horror, thriller, fantasy, crime with a bonus of apt comedy. There isn't anything more you could ask for. It doesn't drag in a plot of love and relationships which many shows survive on nowadays. It has just the right amount of romance in it. You will be very glad you gave it a chance.
***Nominated by Luana - I'm not really a zombie-fan but this show has so much charm. The different personalities the main character takes are very entertaining to watch and the dialogue is the funniest I've seen in a long time, even if it's not a comedy.
***Nominated by Squibbles - Have you ever loved a show so much that you don't know how to describe it because you feel no matter how well you describe it you're still not doing it to the level that the show deserves ? That's exactly how I feel about iZombie. I know many viewers were turned off by iZombie's lackluster trailer and the fact that it was about zombies which TV has been doing a lot of, but iZombie offers something new and fresh to the worn-out genre. It perfectly balances fluff, humor and heart with more dramatic plots. It doesn't paint its characters as stereotypical zombies, instead the zombies have many different personalities and are as flawed as human beings. The characters may seem stereotypical at the start of the season but at the end, they are flawed but unique and fully actualized human beings. The show also does not play it safe. It is not afraid to take chances and pull all the shots which makes it a truly entertaining hour of television. I cannot finish this review without mentioning Rose McIver's wonderful performance as the lead character; her performance of Liv is on par with the groundbreaking performance of Tatiana Maslany's in Orphan Black as she has to tackle a new personality each week.
***Nominated by Patrick Maloney - While it is not a drama or the type of show intended for this, I would recommend the comedy stylings of Jack McBrayer and Robert Smigel to anyone who is tired of the same old boring sitcoms that are aired by other networks (IE anything from NBC & CBS).
***Nominated by Mihail Petrov - Jane the Virgin started rough because people accused it of being the reason why "The Tomorrow People" was cancelled and many people didn't give Jane a chance. But actually JTV is a good comedy with some drama in the mix. Jane the Virgin opened so many doors to the CW, being nominated for a Golden Globe and other prestigious awards. So my message is give it a try; it really deserves it!
***Nominated by omabin - This is one of the most bizarre concept shows out there and I don't really know with which show to compare this one to, to convince you to try it out because frankly, there really isn't anything like this out there. I wasn't entirely convinced when I saw episodes 1, 2 or even 3 whether or not I liked this show but halfway through the season something clicked me with me and I was definitely in love with this show. Biggest strengths: THAT CAST!, more twists than you probably ever had in all the comedies you have watched, hilarious moments (I am speaking laugh out loud moments, which aren't all that funny in comedies actually), A LOT of reliability in the characters, heart in the relationships, different from everything you've probably found, Carol Pilbasian who is one of the most hilarious characters around and portrayed by the awesome Kristen Schaal. Caveats (better to be upfront after all): The main character can come off as obnoxious at times. He is certainly flawed but he is flawed in such a human and relatable manner that I don't think he will prevent you from enjoying the show and the show acknowledges that in pretty big ways, so you have pay offs for that obnoxiousness.
***Nominated by SGU - This TNT show was a pleasant surprise for me last Summer. It takes a premise that's been done many times, a virus outbreak, and manages to make it entertaining again. It's extremely action packed but it has its lighthearted moments. The cast is great and they all have wonderful chemistry on screen. It left me on the edge of my seat more than once with its intense moments, definitely a show not to be missed!
***Nominated by Dahne - The Last Ship was my favorite new summer show last year. The best thing about it is the pacing, which moves rapidly from one crisis to the next. There is very little downtime and even an episode devoted to the lack of water is riveting. It is also a feel good show with more pep talks and Independence Day speeches than all other shows combined. Still it all comes down to the characters who work together to save the last remnant of the world.
***Nominated by omabin - Okay, there is no way I can give you a show that is comparable to this one because, as far as my television knowledge is concerned, it doesn't exist. The Leftovers is about what happens to the world when 2% of the world's population suddenly vanishes without explanation. However, do not let this premise fools you: the show is NOT about what originated that occurrence - there is no exploration of that mystery and, in fact, other than the act itself, there is nothing remotely sci-fi about this show. Instead, it focuses on the reactions of all those left behind and in the way that every day you now get to wake up knowing that something unexplainable like that happened. What would you do if your entire family vanished and you were supposed to move on with your life? That's the question Nora Durst, portrayed by the astonishing Carrie Coon, has to answer. How do you use God to explain what happened and in which way does it shape your beliefs? Matt Jamison, portrayed by the also brilliant Christopher Eccleston, tries to answer that. What happens when this event leads you to believe in something completely out there and to completely change the way in which you are able to live your life? Chris Zylka, Amy Brenneman and Ann Dowd, among others, try to show you that. And finally, what happens when your entire family managed to not be among the vanished, yet your family is still entirely torn apart by the event? That's the question our main character, Kevin Garvey, tries to answer, brilliantly portrayed by the most underrated actor on television, Justin Theroux. In case you couldn't tell, I am in awe of the cast of this series and I personally believe that, from every show I've watched in the past year, no one has done anything more award worthy than Justin Theroux, who I legitimately think should be winning every single lead actor category.
The Leftovers is a very dark, very depressing and very slow paced show. I am totally aware that this isn't a show for everyone so chances are that you listen to me, you go give it a shot and you end up severely disliking it. But if you can do dark, if you can do depressing, if you can go slow paced and if you are remotely interested by anything I have been saying, then I highly encourage you to just give it a shot because the mere possibility of your liking it is worth the risk of you not liking it!
***Nominated by Owen - Leverage is a show about five thieves, who fight corporate and governmental injustices, but for me, this show is all about 'family'. The relationship between characters is always the highlight for me. Beside this, the plot of each episode is well written and full of twiste. If you are looking for a show which is fun, full of twists and heartwarming, Leverage is your best choice.
***Nominated by Dahne - Leverage may be the show I miss most. Following a group of Robin Hood thieves, what really set the show apart were the character interactions. Although they start out with an "every man for themselves" mentality, they quickly become a group that depends on each other with their lives. There's also tremendous character development throughout, especially with Parker. Parker is one of the most dynamic, fun, and intriguing female characters in all of TV. In fact, she ties Fiona Glenanne from Burn Notice as my all-time favorite. Eliot and Hardison are also favorites and their growing bromance becomes another highlight of the series.
***Nominated by Lindsay - Agents of SHIELD is truly the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while it truly should be Hamlet. The show tackles amazing twists, breathtaking moments of action, and an ever-expanding world of characters that all have depth and desires. In the midst of it all, this show has all the thrills, spectacle, and saving-the-world impact that can only come from Marvel in a seasonal show and there are so few shows these days dealing with superpowered people along with a healthy cast of badass ladies.
***Nominated by Missions - I just finished season 1 and have not even watched season 2 yet. Hence, my recommendation will be based off of the first season. I went into this show with low expectations due to the negative response towards the first eleven episodes of the season. I thought they were just okay, not good but not terrible. However, it set up the whole storyline very well for both the story itself and especially the characters! In episode 11 the show started becoming really, really good and at one point the show became awesome! The twists are incredible and brilliantly executed. The visual effects and fighting scenes are very well done and the action is on spot! In my opinion, all characters are likable and develop a lot during the first season. Now, after having watched the first season, I am desperately waiting for the second season to come out on Netflix on Thursday. At the moment, it is my favorite superhero show (and I watch both the Flash and Arrow). Don't be blinded by the first half of the season and embark on a journey of excellence by watching!
***Nominated by omabin - Masters of Sex is probably the most underrated show around, in my very humble opinion. Some shows compensate the lack of huge numbers with an overwhelming strong online presence/ cult following. Others get to enjoy a degree of critical acclaim that makes all else seem acceptable. Masters of Sex sadly doesn't really fall on any of these situations, which is a real shame. This show is about a group of characters who live in the 50s and about the complexity of these individuals and the brutality of the relationships they develop with one another. Yes, the show also happens to follow the evolution of the learning about sexuality and yes, there is a fair amount of sex on this show, but at the core of it all, it really is about the characters. None of the scenes they do feel gratuitous and all of them serve a purpose character wise. This really is a character piece so if you enjoy those, you really should go for it as you will find some of the better constructed and better developed characters on television. The acting is top notch all around headlined by the insanely talented Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan and the writing is some of my favorite on television for how deep it is. I recommend it in particular to fans of The Affair, Mad Men (from the little I've seen of it) or The Americans but, in general to anyone who likes characters front and center and amazingly written and acted characters. It won't be for everyone (and if you can't deal with nudity and such, it certainly won't be for you) but it may end up being for you so it is definitely worth a try!
***Nominated by Pablozky - By far the most endearing and heartwarming comedy I have ever seen with well defined characters that have evolved through the series run, The Middle is a show that isn't afraid to grow. The lines are stellar, the plots are usually fairly amazing, the character treatment and the amazing cast is enough to win you over. It gets better with each season, hitting all cylinders on season 4, while keeping the quality on check in the following seasons.
**Nominated by Jagoda - I loved it since day 1. It has since become one of my all-time favourite TV shows. :) Can't wait for more...
***Nominated by Dahne - If you're looking for a fun, snarky, swift-moving, action-filled series, then look no further. The Musketeers has some of the best sword fighting on TV and a ready quick quip to make it even better. The characters are well-developed and the episodes that provide back story for our heroes are my favorites. Also for a show set in the 1700's, they have well-rounded female characters. For instance the Queen is smarter and more capable than the King, while the premiere assassin is a woman from one of the main character's past. With plots that race and a sense of good times permeating, The Musketeers is perfect summer viewing.
***Nominated by Jon - Nikita (2010-2013) has three full seasons and a fourth one of 6 episodes to conclude the show. This means it has a proper ending so you won't be left with a cliffhanger.
- The lead actress is a WOC (Maggie Q). She's a kickass woman and if I remember correctly, she did a lot of her own stunts since she's pretty great at martial arts.
- If you like action, government conspiracies, spy cells, etc, this show is for you!
- If you like Agent Carter's Angie, you should try Nikita. Lyndsy Fonseca plays the other female lead, Alexandre Udinov. Her storylines are pretty amazing, and we follow her transformation from junkie to brilliant spy.
- There is romance, of course, but it's like, 20% of the overall show, meaning it doesn't overshadow the plots.
- It's definitely not a damsel in distress kind of show.
- The tech genius is really funny and the show, despite its serious plotlines, has great bits of humor.
- You can binge-watch! Since the show's over, you won't have to wait months for a new season.
- Good acting, convincing villains, good guys that don't shy away from emotions (they're spies, doesn't mean they can't break down and cry once in a while).
Just watch this show. Trust me. It took me two weeks to watch all three seasons + the conclusion.
***Nominated by Gator Fan (edited for length) - For the longest while, it seemed as though brothers Don and Charlie Eppes shared only their last name, parents, ancestry, and genetics. After a stint in minor league baseball, Don joins the FBI. Charlie, a child prodigy, becomes a rock star in the math community. The only time their lives intersect is when they visit their father, Alan, at their childhood home. One day, that dynamic changes. Frustrated with a case, Don visits Charlie and Alan. Charlie spots the map that Don left on the table and volunteers his expertise in mathematics to help Don solve the case. After Charlie’s model yields an arrest, the two brothers begin to work closely with each other. At the same time, both brothers are exposed to aspects of each other’s lives. Both communities simultaneously oppose and support the brothers’ efforts to fight crime. The relationships in Numb3rs have major appeal to the audience. When the series opens, the family is only Alan, Don, and Charlie. Over time, the family grows to include 11 people, including Don's teammates, Charlie's graduate student, and Charlie’s best friend. As for Don and Charlie, they begin to bond over cases and over Charlie’s mathematical expertise. In addition, various team members find romance. The bonds between teammates are tested and strengthened over the years. Most of the testing comes from opposition in both communities. The CalSci community prefers that Charlie spend more time making scientific discoveries and less time fighting crime. Don’s superiors at the FBI dislike the idea that outsiders are directing investigations; the team’s success rate, however, prevents the superiors from disallowing the relationship between academia and law enforcement. Several times, however, the testing of the team’s bonds comes from the teammates themselves as their beliefs and actions collide with the FBI’s mission. In those times, the team find themselves making a decision whether to stay loyal to each other.
One would not expect a show about math to be interesting, but the math also appeals to the audience. In some of Numb3rs’s cases, the cases actually happened. “Pilot” is based on a case that Dr. Kim Rossmo worked in Louisiana while “Waste Not” is based on an incident involving toxic waste that happened near writer Julie Hebert’s hometown. The series’ writers have taken two topics, math and law enforcement, and have married them in a unique and satisfying way. Over the course of the series, viewers see the both the predictability and unpredictably of human nature. Law enforcement officers often seek patterns of human behavior that differ from the norm. The assistance of the mathematical community in cases accelerates the search so that justice can be served more quickly. At the same time, pain and suffering, love, friendship, and social bonds can occur unexpectedly and are very unpredictable. For those worrying about the level of violence, sex, language, and nudity, Numb3rs’ levels are about the same or tamer than most network procedurals. There are several violent exchanges of gunfire in several episodes, but, most of the time, characters are seen running and hiding from the firefight. The language and sex are very mild; in one particular scene, the most that comes off is a hairband and a jacket, and the camera cuts away before it turns into a sex scene. As for the nudity, it is very rare. In one episode, a drug dealer orders an undercover female agent to strip to her underwear so that he can check for a wiretap, and viewers can tell that she does not like the idea at all.
The storytelling in Numb3rs has been enhanced by various aspects of the filmmaking process. The acting is quite believable; one can sense what each person is thinking or feeling during a tense moment. A few times, Don and Charlie engage in brotherly horseplay. One does not need to know advanced math to follow Charlie’s rationale. The math is demonstrated through graphics and exposition that occur either when Charlie has an idea what mathematical model to use or when he is explaining a concept to the FBI. The music sets the mood for various scenes; twice, it is used during car trips. Several well-known directors, among them Emilio Estevez and the late Tony Scott, have directed episodes for the series. Tony Scott’s episode “Trust Metric” feels like a movie more than a television episode.
***Nominated by Valeria - Guys, Robert Carlyle and Lana Parrilla together...Do you need anything else?
***Nominated by Goodbye Revenge - Once Upon a Time is a beautiful tale about Emma Swan who after reuniting with her son, Henry, goes to a town called Storybrooke where the traditional characters from fairy tales come to life such as Snow White and Prince Charming. Henry tells Emma she is the "savior" and that she will wipe out the curse which The Evil Queen had created causing the fairy tale characters to be stuck in a place without magic. Swan is forced fight the forces of evil in order to save the town. This show takes these traditional fairy tale characters and portrays them in a new light. It's a fantasy show which brings two separate worlds together, an ancient world filled with magic, witch-craft and all, and the present one. The switching between the two worlds is smooth and the plot flows very smoothly. In my opinion the best actress is Lana Parrilla who plays Regina Crane/Evil Witch. Her talents absolutely shine as the evil witch and it's so exciting to watch! Alongside her, Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) also does a splendid job acting. With a great supporting cast the show becomes even more excellent. Great acting/cast paired with very interesting plot lines will keep you watching intently for the entire hour of every episode! The special effects used throughout the show are convincingly crafted and make the magic seem very real. I recommend this show to anyone who loves fairy tales or the fantasy world! Even if you don't, give it a try. I'm sure you'll love it!
***Nominated by Spindae - Once Upon a Time is a show that transforms your favorite Disney characters into real life human being, with faults and humanity like you never could imagine before. At the same time the show is strange and marvelous, because it pushes all those heroes and villains out of the black and white zone into a gray area, as no one is completely evil or completely good. The show features a bunch of strong actors who really deliver on those heartbreaking moments creating a strong emotional bond with the viewers. It is far from perfect and sometimes gets caught up in some inconsistent writing but at the end of the day all those imperfections can't destroy the beautiful feeling you get while watching the show. If you decide to watch the show be ready for some pushy spells and curses, shipper wars brewing all over the web and falling once again in love with your favorite fairytale characters.
***Nominated by Mac (edited for length) - Usually spin-offs work like semi-sequels for popular shows and characters, making double the dime for the network and giving fans a double dose of their fix. Quite a few spin-offs embrace the fact that they are connected with their mother-show (Flash-Arrow, Chicago Fire-Chicago PD). Not so this show. Originating as supporting characters on "The Vampire Diaries," the original siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah gained a life all of their own. Stepping up to more major characters, they quickly managed to get their own spin-off. Being part of a generation scarred by the horrible Young Adult craze started with Twilight my first thought about this franchise was "Why would I watch that? I'm a masochist but not that suicidal." However I gave TVD a try and found myself fascinated by the balance it kept between its mythos and obligatory romantic arc. TVD lost that balance very quickly; The Originals serves as counterbalance these days. The focus on obsolete romantic arcs goes to zero (Not saying that there are none. This is the CW after all.) and the plot manages to focus on the show's strong suits. It's rare that a show manages to get better and better instead of taking a quick quality dive like oh-so-many shows tend to do. "The Originals" however is one.
"But Mac, I just don't care about clean shaven baby vampires" some might say, but let me assure you. These vampires aren't clean shaven. They can be unlikable jerks. There won't be a single character you could consider perfect, simply because they're not meant to be. The point here is to convince YOU to watch "The Originals", so I could crawl up your butt and claim that "it's the perfect show" but I want you to embrace the idea of unlikable lead characters. You didn't like Walter White, why? Because he was a jerk and a monster. That's the point of Breaking Bad but you sympathized with him. That exact plot element is used for The Originals' main character Klaus. Klaus is, well, a violent toddler. Take away one of his toys and he'll start crying while he pushes the blame on you. He's kind of like our favourite Simpsons' bully Nelson, a whiny bully. And while at times you'll feel the need to offer him a trip to the dentist you won't be capable of not sympathizing with some of his goals, because most are motivated by the simple fact that this character is not made for the immortality he's been given. Humans live, eat, screw and ultimately die. Klaus can't die. But the tragic thing is that while his entire existence should be limited to 60 years, his personality isn't strong enough. It's interesting and kind of philosophical to think about your childhood bully becoming immortal. Don't worry, if you feel that this bully won't be capable of keeping your attention; we have the anti-bully right next to him. His older brother Elijah, who takes a Dean-role on the show, keeps his brother in check and proves that immortality can work if you work on your personality construct.
But enough with the pseudo philosophical garbage. If you came here to read about sexual content and violence I can offer severed heads, massive amounts of wasted gallons of fake blood and a few punches, but really there is little gore and even less sexual content. So what is "The Originals"? It's essentially "Interview with a Vampire". Quiet, slow paced, well written, beautifully acted and most of all: atmospheric. The city of New Orleans is its own character on this show and gives this universe a lot more depth than it should have. What elevates this show from other CW and network dramas? A coherent plotline. I know, weird to read but few shows manage to keep a clear plot going or a theme. The Originals uses the complexity of its universe to suck you in. If you are looking for a show that focuses more on writing and acting than anything else? Well, then "The Originals" should offer you a great deal of entertainment.