Sunday, February 11, 2018
Pitch Your Show – Olympics Edition – Part A
The Winter Olympics are here and while many celebrate that throughout the world, for the SpoilerTV fan it can be a time of mourning the temporary hiatus of favorite shows. What’s a TV fan to do? The SpoilerTV team and readers are here for you, ready to recommend their favorites in this very special version of Pitch Your Show. Last summer, over 200 pitches came in covering almost 100 shows. Since that is too many for one article, I have broken them down alphabetically. A new section should be posted every couple of days and hopefully you can find a new favorite to pass the time. (Unless like me, you are sucked in by sports you only follow every 4 years.)
To keep the articles short and readable, all pitches were edited for length (less than 300 words), clarity, and grammar. I have also limited nominations to 3 per show with a few very popular shows having 4. I am truly sorry if your nomination is not in here. Know that I appreciate your time and pitches. Making the choice of what went in was difficult. After all sections are posted, I will include a link to the original spreadsheet so you can read them all in their entirety.
I hope that every reader finds at least one show they are interested in trying. If you do, please comment in the section below. I know those who nominated would love to hear from you. Also, if you would like to add something to a show's nomination, please add your thoughts in the comments. Thanks again to everyone who created pitches. They have been a fun read and I have been busy adding things to my to-watch list already. Without further ado, here are the pitches for TV shows #-B.
Ellys Cartin - One of the smartest, most well-acted dystopian dramas I’ve seen in a while. It’s also full of amazing actors and actresses I haven’t seen before, which adds to the thrill of discovery. In the future, most people live in near poverty on the Inland, but when each person turns 20 they are eligible to enter the Process. If they survive/win this series of elimination challenges, they can then go live in the Offshore which is more affluent and technologically advanced. The show follows a group of candidates, as well as the people operating the Process. There’s an element of conflict right of the bat because the Offshore has sent a woman, Aline, to observe the Head of the Process, Ezequiel, and determine if he should be replaced. There are several intriguing characters: shady Michele, disabled but brilliant Fernando, sly Rafael, and tough cookie Joana. By the end of the pilot, the show has already turned everything we thought about each of them upside down. They each have very different reasons for wanting to go to the Offshore. I commend the show for its balance between backstory and current events. Only one crucial episode is mostly backstory. Also, there’s a group that wants to abolish the Process, and one of their people made it through and murdered someone on the Offshore. Two of the current contestants are working with this group, so there’s immediately suspense as to whether or not they will make it through. The first season leaves you on the edge of your seat, desperately wanting to know what happens next. Thankfully, it’s been renewed.
Ellys Cartin – I've rarely watched a show that so completely changes from beginning to end. What starts out as your regular time travelling adventure evolves into something much more. The cast is excellent, and, for a time travel show, it's surprisingly grounded, very suspenseful, very mysterious, and yet there's method to the madness. The writers are not making it up as they go along, which results in rewarding payoff for viewers. The basic plot is that about 30 years in the future, Dr. Jones recruits James Cole to travel back in time to prevent a plague that killed billions. So simple, am I right? To accomplish his mission, Cole ends up working with Dr. Cassandra Railly in 2015 but they find themselves thwarted at every turn by an elusive secret society led by a trio of dangerous characters who always seem to be one step ahead. One of the best dramas I've watched in a long time, season 1 goes from good to enthralling, season 2 goes from very good to Oh My Greatness, and season 3 takes your breath away. P.S. Nobody who watches TV should miss Emily Hampshire's performance as Jennifer Goines. So freaking amazing.
Ivan – Time travel can be seen as very stupid or annoying with rules always changing, but 12 Monkeys takes time travel and makes it a human story. This show is a story about what you would do to save someone you love. It has a cast that is very underrated and performances that will bring you to tears, but it will also make you laugh and think about what you would do if you were in the situations the characters are in. The effects of this show are very well done. The Syfy Channel has been seen as a bad channel for years now but 12 Monkeys has brought it back to the Golden Age. This show may be based on the film but it leaves it behind well in the pilot. If you see this show, I promise you will never regret it.
Maria Sol - Last year was the first time I participated in Pitch your Show, writing about a few shows that I’ve watched. As I wanted other people to read what I had written, I decided to return the favor and read everything that everyone else had submitted. The very first pitch from the very first of post I read was about 12 Monkeys. When I read the pitches, I became interested since they referred time travel well done, interesting characters, attractive twists and good quality, so why not put it in my list. So here I am, one year later, inviting you to watch it. The story is so interesting that you never get bored. The time travel element is amazing and the twists keep coming in every episode. The characters are so real, even when they’re in a context of sci-fi, because they’re not totally good or totally bad. I still haven’t watched the movie, but the story has evolved beyond the original idea and it hasn’t diminished its quality but improved it. They just announced season 4 will be its last one but it won’t air until summer so you’re right in time to watch the previous three. You won’t regret it.
Ellys Cartin - It's not about suicide. Despite the headlines, this well-acted, heartbreaking drama is about the impact people have on each other, both for good and bad. Kate Walsh and Dylan Minette, in particular, deliver career best performances as the mother and friend of a girl who took her own life. Their grief and pain reminds us in each episode that Hannah's terrible choice was the wrong one. A talented young cast plays the other young people Hannah interacted with; odds are many viewers, like me, will recognize these kids from people they've known or people they've been. The show's realism is one of the many reasons adults and teens alike are watching and talking about this show. It's never preachy, just authentic in a raw way. It gives you characters to love, characters to hate, characters to mourn for, and characters to hope for.
Martin – It shows you how complex a person can be. Our heroes are not completely heroes or perfect. They have their issues, their villain moments, selfish moments, and emotional moments. Also, it shows how far people are willing to go to survive and the moral burdens of decisions. It’s a great show, with amazing, unpredictable plots, and solid acting.
Ellys Cartin – Orbiting the Earth, the Ark contains the descendants of the only people to survive a nuclear disaster that devastated the planet. Harsh laws have been imposed to ensure humanity's survival; the most minor of crimes are punishable by death. But the Ark is dying, so 100 juvenile prisoners are sent to Earth to see if the planet is habitable again. Some were imprisoned for trivial reasons (being a second child, which is a violation of the population laws, or stealing a loaf of bread a la Jean Valjean) and some are murderers. Naturally, once they touch down, rivalries and love triangles and mayhem ensue. BUT...that's not where it ends. Everything changes by the end of episode 4. Earth isn't what they were prepared for and they are not alone. This is NOT a teenager drama. It's about SURVIVAL, FRIENDSHIP, MAKING HARD DECISIONS, and ACTION (lots of action). So much action. I would also say it has the strongest character development and most satisfying emotional payoffs of any show I've watched. Ever.
Maria Sol – This one is another that I decided to try after last year’s pitches. I heard about it and its huge fandom in Spoiler TV, but I wasn’t sure since it sounded like another teen drama, and not being a teen myself… But I still included it in my watch list and started early this year. I’ve just watched season 1 and a few episodes of season 2 but for me that’s enough to pick it as a keeper. Season 1 was sort of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. I like its characters and their dynamics and the development of the various stories that occur at the same time in different places. If you’re doubting, I recommend you to give it a try and decide if it’s for you.
Lucy - Underrated, surprising, emotional and intense!
Maria Sol - You’ve probably seen the first movie of Captain America and remember Peggy Carter, his girlfriend who was left behind heartbroken after he got lost in the ocean and woke up 60 years later. Well, she is such an interesting character that she got her own TV show. This one tells us the amazing things that happened to her after she lost the love of her life. Through Peggy’s story, we get a glimpse of how things worked for women in a world of men, right in the middle of the twentieth century and how strong they had to be to stand out. All of this is in the context of sci-fi and action, which makes it completely different from other period shows and also gives it another tone than other super hero shows. Sadly, Agent Carter was cancelled after just 18 episodes (2 seasons) but that doesn’t diminish its value, so I invite you to watch it and enjoy it as much as I did.
Noor - This show was a hidden gem. It's a period piece set in the MCU, a genius idea because it gives the world tons of depth. It also features one of the greatest casts to ever grace the screen. The characters are iconic and its storytelling is fun but with important messages about equality, war veterans and a world torn by war. If you are worried it ended on cliffhanger, simply skip the end credit scene of the last episode and you're good.
Dahne – While I watch superhero shows, they are not my favorite. Imagine my surprise then when Agent Carter came out and I was enthralled. Peggy Carter was one of the strongest female characters on TV and she did it without superpowers. Instead, she is a modern, post-WW2 woman trying to make it in a world that values women more for their looks than their brains and courage. In short, she is a character to root for…and she’s not the only one in this show. Her banter with Jarvis makes them one of the best platonic male and female friendships I’ve seen. If you are looking for a superhero show with a whole lot more to say, this is the one for you.
Lauren Esteph – Agents of SHIELD gives you a behind the scenes look at what goes on with the agents that make up the organization. The show has a great story line, an AMAZING cast and all-in-all, crazy insane FX and ideas. It's definitely an entertaining watch and great for those that want something more in depth than a Marvel movie release every few months to a year.
Maria Sol – This shows keeps getting better with each passing season. I started it just a year ago when I decided I wanted to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe in order, but don’t feel that if you have to watch everything else to like it. It’s true that there’s a few connections with the movies here and there, but Agents of SHIELD is worth it by itself. From the first episode it got me with its story, characters and twists. You never see what’s coming next and everything keeps changing with every episode. This show has some of the best episodes I’ve ever seen on TV. So, if you like a mix of action, science fiction, super heroes and good character development, then you should watch this one ASAP.
1- Excellent pacing and cutback on filler. Season 4 featured the best use of 22-episode format hands down with hardly a dull moment!
2- Interesting layered and consistent characters. None of them are perfect but they feel very human.
3- Amazing acting. The main cast of AoS is very talented. Moreover, any time a new character joins for even a small role, I'm blown away by their performance. Some great industry veterans join, such as the late Bill Paxton (RIP), Kyle Maclachlan and Lucy Lawless, as well as smaller names that go on to become stars like the amazing, Oscar nominated Ruth Negga.
4. Steller and Creative storytelling with very few potholes, character driven stories, and great twists that make sense and feel planned in advance! The focus is human nature through a science fiction lens and a dash of superhero antics, action and humor that makes it fun when it needs to and heartbreaking when it should be. It is not afraid to ditch 90% of the cast to tell a compelling story about one character or use different formats to spice it up.
Other reasons – great effects, well-done sets and production design, inventive and diverse fight choreography, writers don’t give into fan demands, it has an evolving universe that takes risks, the characters are diverse without feeling forced, and it gets better every season. It's not without flaws and is definitely not for everyone (no show ever is). It is also not very shipper friendly and will kill off or send away some of your favorite characters. It starts slow with a "case of the week" vibe and plays the long game sometimes, so it requires patience and not judging storylines until they unfold, but that makes it all the more enjoyable.
Milo - Bryan Fuller's adaption of American Gods is one of the weirdest and most unique series of all time. It isn't afraid to go into increasingly WTF territory as it introduces you to a world where gods are real and their greatest fear is being forgotten. Gillian Anderson plays both Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie. Based on one of my favorite novels of all time, Neil Gaiman's titular American Gods, the show adapts the book incredibly well, telling a richly compelling story over the course of the series. Unmissable entertainment, this is likely to feature very highly on the best of lists.
Ellys Cartin – If you love a good whodunnit, you can't go wrong with this twisty limited series. Virginia Madsen is the matriarch of the Hawthorne family, who find themselves in the wrong kind of spotlight when new evidence links them to an infamous serial killer. Everyone reacts differently. Her husband Mitch has a heart attack, her eldest daughter Alison reconsiders her run for mayor, eldest son Garrett reappears after being gone for years, and son-in-law Brady, a police detective, suddenly finds himself in an awkward position. The show explores the impact of the revelations and investigation on each family member, but it also never lets the audience forget that there is a killer among them. Fascinating to watch with satisfying payoff.
Ellys Cartin - Andi has a cool life. She's still too young to have acne worries, just got a sweet motor scooter, has two groovy best friends Cyrus and Buffy, and has some pretty nifty crafting skills. THEN Andi finds out her rebellious older sister Bex isn't actually her older sister. The only person more turned upside down than Andi is her mom Celia. From there, the sitcom is just plain fun, as Bex, Celia, and Andi navigate their new dynamic....while Bex tries to show Celia she can be a mature adult and Andi handles the rest of life. The show might be aimed at kids, but it's smart enough to enjoy if you're an adult who likes family comedies like those on ABC. It has lots of great young talent, from Peyton Elizabeth Lee who plays Andi to Asher Angel as her ultimate frisbee champion crush Jonah. The grownups Lilan Bowden and Lauren Tom have plenty of great moments as well. This comedy has a fun spark; I can see it sticking around for a long time.
Lexie – Heroes and good backstory
Ellys Cartin – Another week, another episode of Arrow I watched out of obligation. Then everything changed. Seasons 1-2 of Arrow are suspenseful, bada**, and full of healthy amounts of good storytelling and shirtless salmon ladder scaling. Irresponsible playboy turned avenging dark angel Oliver Queen shot terror into the hearts of the people he held responsible for dragging his city into poverty and crime for their own personal gain. He won allies to his side and earned formidable enemies. It had some of the best stunt sequences in TV even! Then the show rested on its laurels (no pun intended) during season 3 and a sharp decline in both viewers and quality followed. Season 4 tried to clean things up with mixed success. Star Stephen Amell promised season 5 would be a “return to basics” and he did not fail this fan. By the final third of season 5, a villain more cunning and evil than any before him has made Oliver Queen and everyone he cares about the target of his own vendetta. Arrow brought things full circle in season 5, paying off earlier emotional investments and plots, and providing just enough backstory for new viewers to be able to start with season 5. Some of its best work yet! If you checked out, you won’t regret checking back in. If you’ve never watched Arrow, I assure you it is wonderfully bingeable. Dig in and find out. Arrow may not always hit the bullseye, but it’s always captivating to watch.
Milo – Want to know why there's so many superhero shows on television right now? That answer can largely be placed in the hands of Arrow, which although has not had the most consistent in its five seasons so far, is still worth a watch if you disregard Seasons 3 and 4. It focuses around the DC Comics character Green Arrow, played by a fantastic Stephen Amell, whose acting gets better as the show gets better. The series itself starts with Amell's Oliver Queen returning home from the last five years spent on an island, ready to save his city and right his father's wrongs. There are some memorable antagonists in the series, and you also get the first appearance of multiple characters on shows like Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash here as well. Just avoid Seasons 3 and 4 and you should be fine, because most of seasons 1, 2 and 5 are really something special and definitely deserve a watch.
Milo – Of course I'm going to recommend this show. It's awesome, packing in all the ingredients for a grand space opera and it's one of the defining masterpieces of the genre. Regardless of whether or not you're a science fiction fan, this is incredibly accessible viewing as it tells the struggle of humanity's survival and search of a new home amongst the stars after their home worlds were wiped out by machines of their own creation. There are no aliens here, and the show itself manages to use its complex themes well to tell a captivating, compelling story with bada** male and female characters alike. You will recognize most of the cast who have gone on to star in multiple things after this show, and it's just a must watch. For me, nothing else beats it. Start with the 2003 Mini-Series which does an excellent job at laying the foundations for what follows, and allow yourself to get sucked in with the pilot, "33", which is one of the strongest pilot episodes of all time, featuring a masterclass in suspense and tension.
Dahne – This show came to my attention in a previous Pitch Your Show article. I was intrigued by how passionate people were about this series and put it on my binge list. I am so glad I did. This is my vote for the single Most Bingeable Show ever! Milo is right. The pilot is one of the finest episodes in TV history and sucks you right in. I loved and hated every character at alternating times in its 4 seasons. (Well except Gaius, who I just hated.) The plot lines were both frustrating and satisfying but always intense, riveting, and well-done. Mostly though, it combined both the artistry of cinema and the entertainment of a good sci-fi story. In the current wave of TV that is often one or the other but not both, Battlestar Galactica is for anyone who enjoys deep-thinking TV with all the action of a summer blockbuster. Caution – Make sure you have ample time set aside for this show. Once you start, you’ll need to see the next episode because these guys know how to end an episode on a cliffhanger that will keep you coming back for more. Also, use online guides for the order to watch the episodes because there are movies that fit in throughout the series.
Milo - You like pirates? This is the show for you. It's a Treasure Island prequel that wrapped up in 2017 and features real-life pirates such as Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Charles Vane and Jack Rackham in all their glory. The center of the show explains how Long John Silver and Captain Flint got to where they are in Treasure Island. It's bada**, awesome, doesn't hold anything back, and overcomes a slightly rocky start to be on the same level as Game of Thrones in terms of quality by the series' end. It has a perfect finale too and despite its period setting, isn't afraid to give LGBQT characters the spotlight featuring a bisexual lead in Flint, who is brought to life by Toby Stephens' incredible portrayal. The dialogue, action, and drama are fantastic and if you want a show where the female characters kick butt as much as the males, then this one should be right up your street.
Dalva – This family drama will change your definition on what family is and how far family is willing to go to protect each other. It is so dysfunctional in so many ways.
Milo – Kyle Chandler is one of the most underrated actors around and his performance in this three season-long Netflix original crime drama, from the creators of Damages, pulls back the curtains behind a seemingly ordinary American family. Its mystery is fantastic and although it is a slow burn, it's worth watching because of how captivating it is and how brilliant the performances are, making the most of a richly compelling mystery. It may not have received as much attention as Netflix's premiere shows House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a watch.
Folielex - Blue Bloods follows the Reagans, a New York family whose blood runs true blue, from top to bottom. The patriarch Frank (Tom Selleck) is the current police commissioner, and his father (Len Cariou) is a retired cop and former police commissioner himself. Frank's children are all, more or less, in law enforcement, with two sons active on the force: Danny (Donnie Walhberg), a revered 1st grade homicide detective despite his temper, and Jamie (Will Estes), a Harvard law graduate turned beat cop. A third, deceased son, Joe was also a police detective. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) , Frank's only daughter is also in the family business, being a star prosecutor for the Manhattan district attorney's office. CBS would easily have you believe this show is nothing more than your typical cop procedural, but let me assure you, at its core Blue Bloods is a family drama dressed up like a cop-procedural. There is the case of the week format, with Danny and his partner (currently Marisa Ramirez's Detective Baez) usually carrying the brunt of those storylines, but there's always more that goes into an episode of this show, from current civil rights issues to general conversations about ethics and morals to regular family issues and troubles. For the most part the show it is about this family, their bond and the reasons they've all chosen to "serve and protect"… and of course their traditional Sunday dinners.
Dahne – While I don’t watch this show on a regular basis, I have been catching some episodes on Ion. What impresses me most, like Folielex, is the care they take to balance the procedural elements with the family drama. It is a topical show, which incorporates current issues on a much more personal level than most crime shows because the viewer gets to know the characters through many different lenses. They are not just cops but a large, loving, and often disagreeing family, which allows for a multitude of viewpoints to be shown.
Yoana – Brockmire is a super funny and atypical show. It is not popular, but the jokes and the whole storyline is hilarious. With Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet as show stars, you won't lose. The first season has 8 episodes that are 20 minutes each and it was renewed after the first episode, so you can imagine how promising the show is. If you love to laugh, this is your show.
Milo – The best shows about sport can get you invested in the show despite not following the sport itself. That's very much the case with IFC's Brockmire, an eight-episode comedy series starring Hank Azaria that follows a former major league baseball commentator who suffers an embarrassing on-air meltdown that ends his career. Several years later, he's offered a job in a broken-down, rust-belt town that's far from what he expected. In a bid to regain his fame, Brockmire accepts, and from that you get one of the best comedies of the year so far. It's funny, brilliant and easily binge-able, and is up there with the best shows that you probably haven't seen but should be watching anyway. It's so fun, and regardless of whether or not you follow baseball, it's an absolute must watch.
Noor – A friend of mine recommended the show to me, and I binged the first 3 seasons in a week. I've had a hole in my heart after Parks and Recreation ended, and I thought I’d never find a similar smart, character-driven comedy until I found B99. I only recently learned the two comedies come from the same person. B99 is all about the great range of characters. You have the expressionless Captain Holt, who makes me laugh just by being on the screen! Die Hard-obsessed Jake may have joined the police department only for a chance to re-enact scenes from action movies! Amy is the teacher’s pet, a by-the-books, eager to please detective and there are so many more great characters. The show has a true ensemble feel and characters play off each other really well. It makes fun of procedurals - I personally love it when criminals are part of the scene and they chime in on personal conversations. It also has some great running gags and the annual Halloween episodes, which are my favorites! It's as solid a comedy you can watch so check it out for yourself.
Christian Chirico – A comedy with characters that are not flat and actually evolve over time. It’s also a cop show that faces important themes.
Laura Markus – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a cop ensemble comedy that manages to take the best parts of what those genres could be and infuses each episode with them. Each character is armed with an arsenal of traits and quirks that makes them not only unique and relatable, but also bada**. This show values diversity and good representation, and also takes care of its kicka** females. Perhaps the greatest proof of what this show can do best is when Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt doesn’t say anything at all. He has given this show such depth and stoicism that it has become must-see-TV every week. Many people regard Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta as the lead, rightly so, but they’ve also cited him as the reason they don’t want to watch the show because of his, “over the top, childish, and immature behavior.” I’m here to put those worries to rest because not only is this man woke as hell, but he grows and matures throughout the series, mostly thanks to his beautiful relationship with Amy Santiago. She helps him become a better person and the show is better for it. Dan Goor is one of the best showrunners in existence: he values our opinion and strives to craft not only one of the funniest shows of our time, but also one of the smartest. In addition to cracking the best jokes, they’ve tackled all sorts of serious issues, such as homophobia, racism, police brutality, and even transphobia. The privileged characters understand their privilege, and Holt has shaped his squad into a group of respectful (albeit silly) detectives. This show is seriously worth everyone’s time, so if you have not tried it yet - well, what are you waiting for?