Saturday, February 17, 2018
Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part C
Continuing our Pitch Your Show series, today we have shows F-G and they contain some of my personal favorites like Fringe and Forever. I can’t say enough great things about them so check them and all these others out. Here’s hoping you find a new favorite to watch. Speaking of Forever, it was by far the most pitched show in this edition. It also had the longest pitch. 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. Also, don’t forget to add your comments below. What shows do you recommend?
Chris - I really don't know how and why I started watching this show, but I'm glad I did. The premise is a girl dealing with her best friend's death told through various comedic situations, dating, family, etc. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is truly amazing and she is also the creator. The first season has 6 episodes and it's so engaging, you will finish it in one seating.
Editorial Note – This was the most pitched show by more than twice any other. It also contained the longest pitch, at over 1200 words, which you can read in its entirety after the last section is posted.
GatorFan - In 1814, Dr. Henry Morgan is fatally shot while defying the captain’s order to throw an ill slave overboard. A few moments later, he returns to life in the closest body of water, the first of many such occurrences. His prolonged life gives Henry the ability to participate in history but he views his gift as a curse so he hides himself from the world and studies death in an effort to reverse his immortality. While working as a medical examiner, he survives a fatal subway crash and begins working with detectives Jo Martinez and Mike Hanson. Abe, the only other person to know his secret, encourages this. As time passes, Henry must choose between trusting Jo or continuing to hide. Forever’s writers weave the threads of emotional pain, death, immortality, and human relationships into a stunning tapestry, revealing the beauty of life—in the memories of family and friends and the creative culture of the living. Even the contrast between Henry’s and Adam’s experiences are woven into the stories, reminding viewers that although life’s beauties are temporary, they are very meaningful. In a drama about dealing with pain, aging, death, and immortality, one would expect that the series would be very serious but Forever does have a considerable number of comedic moments. These moments tend to lighten what can be a somber mood. Each episode is well-researched, as demonstrated by the writing, the set design, costumes, and acting. When watching Henry’s flashbacks, especially those in Europe, it is very difficult to believe that they’re filmed them on set. The tightness of the shots gives the illusion of the Orient Express while the costumes recreate 1929 Paris.
Jackie Ferguson – It's a crime drama, with historical flashbacks and a little bit of fantasy/sci-fi thrown in. When you have a coroner who has this much experience with death, through his long career and his firsthand knowledge, solving crimes just gets that much more interesting.
Annette Simpson – Dr. Henry Morgan is an incredible character who has the perfect combination of charm, intelligence, intrigue, whit, and dashing good looks. I guess it IS easy to become the perfect gentleman if you have had 200+ years of experiencing life in many different places and through many hardships. This show develops Henry's character, relationships, and history by weaving his modern story with experiences from his long past. Forever is a story about many different and sometimes complicated relationships. There’s a budding romance between Henry, whose wife disappeared almost 30 years ago, and Jo, who is still processing the sudden death of her lawyer husband. The father/son relationship with characters who "look" like their roles should be reversed is touching and full of wisdom. The protagonist /antagonist relationship between Henry and Adam is riveting and fascinating, considering that Adam has lived for almost 2,000 years and has even more history to share than Henry does. Matt Miller's brilliant storytelling and the superb acting makes this unique police procedural irresistible! Forever appeals to all generations (middle school and up) and a more intellectually savvy audience. If you like to learn about history, science, etc. and you also enjoy police dramas, love stories, and rich character development /relationships, then Forever is a "must watch" for you! Don't miss out on one of the most unique, intellectually stimulating, and entertaining shows to grace the airwaves in, well, forever!
Cathy Carey – Forever was billed as a procedural drama, but it is so much more than that. It turned out to be a family show (age 11+) as people of all ages watched together. Parents LOVED having a show they could watch with their teens that wasn't too graphic or filled with zombies. Adults loved watching with their elderly parents. Forever is filled with great relationships & one harrowing one. It has the best father/son relationship you've ever seen on TV as well as supportive friendship, teamwork, mentorship, beautiful romance, and budding love. There is also an anonymous caller/stalker storyline that weaves in and out. There are fantastic historical flashbacks, philosophical voice over narratives, Oscar and Emmy caliber guest stars, and tremendous heart at the center of it. The cast is the best in the business and once you get to know the characters, you'll find so much humor that calling it a drama is actually a misnomer. There is something, or someone, for everyone in Forever. It was created by Matt Miller, who was also the head writer and show runner. I've listed so many elements to the show, but I can assure you, it is not a convoluted mess. The pacing is perfect and the storylines are easy to follow. I cannot recommend Forever highly enough. It really is the best television show I've ever seen. (I'm 50+.) Please watch; you won't regret it.
Ellys Cartin – Welcome to Fortitude. A tiny town on the edge of Arctic Nowhere. The brochures tell visitors it’s a peaceful international community, where everything is white and the Northern Lights are bright. Then, for the first time ever, a gruesome murder rocks the town. What, if anything, could this have to do with a scientist eaten alive by a polar bear, a recently discovered wooly mammoth's body, and the community governor (a splendid Sofie Gråbøl)'s plans for a glacier hotel? In season 1, Inspector Eugene Morton (Stanley Tucci...so good) locks horns with shady town sheriff Dan Andersssen (Richard Dormer) in a search for the truth. It’s an absolutely cativating character drama with sci-fi horror brewing under the surface. The season 1 mystery is wrapped up, and season 2 adds Dennis Quaid and Michelle Fairley to the surviving cast members.
Darla – I'd never seen the movie, but the whole set-up of the show had me intrigued from the get-go. It's got very smart writing and a brilliant cast. Also, every episode keeps you at the edge of your seat and leaves you wondering what tiny detail might have a bigger consequence that you ever could expect in the future. I also loved how much attention was paid to actually making sure they shot according to the time which part of the story was taking place - whether it was the different music used for 1996 compared to 2016, or the computers and other equipment. This was by far my favorite show of 2016 and it's a shame it was cancelled.
Dahne – Frequency is one of my family’s favorite movies so I was hesitant initially about the idea of remaking it as a TV show. It ended up being an intriguing mystery with a great sci-fi flair. It’s not perfect and Peyton List’s character can get hard to take in places, but the time anomaly plot is very well done and the center mystery is well-executed. The writers obviously had a plan right from the beginning so nothing feels like they were winging it and hoping it would stick. The TV show deviates enough from the movie to become its own story but still holds on to the elements that made it such a great tale originally. Note - You don't need to watch the movie to understand the show.
Noor – Fresh Off the Boat is simply delightful. It tells the story of the Huangs (based loosely on Eddie Huang's biography), a Chinese-American family of 6 moving to Orlando and learning what it means to find their place in the world. When it's not laugh out loud funny, it's charming and heartwarming. The mother character, Jessica, is by far the best, as her overbearing yet loving nature makes her stand out and reminds me a little bit of my own mom! The kids too are surprisingly good actors, and so adorable and innocent you can't help but love them! The Father Luis and the Grandmother, who only speaks Chinese, as well as the extended family add a very different feel to the show that sets it apart from others. It feels a lot like my family, so I might have extra personal reasons to like it, but it goes to show that it's a step in the right direction for introducing different cultures to the audience. Another thing I love about the show is that it takes place in the 90s. The little future references and jabs at technology are so hilarious, it’s a little treat for my generation. Check it out. If you are not in love with the characters after few episodes, you might have to consult a doctor to locate your missing heart.
Dahne – If for no other reason, you have to check this show out for Constance Wu. She is brilliant portraying Jessica, a self-proclaimed tiger mom whose love for her kids shows in everything she does. Think Beverly Goldberg with less poufy hair and more tendency to hold her kids accountable for their actions. Wu is amazing in this role and is, in my opinion, the best comedic actress on TV. The first few episodes are rough because they focus more on Eddie, the eldest son, but the network soon realized that the real heart of the show is the parents. Once the focus shifted on them, this became one of my favorite new comedies and I am notoriously hard on comedies since so few actually make me laugh. Fresh Off the Boat has laughs in spades but it also has a whole lot of heart. The interactions between the parents and the kids are relatable and awesome as is the relationship between Jessica and Louis. Still, my favorite relationship is between best friends, Jessica and Honey. They are so wildly different in personality but they make for one of the best female bonds on TV and there just are not enough positive female friendships showcased these days.
Christian Chirico – It has 3 of the best characters of all time and the best father-son relationship ever seen on TV in my opinion. ~~~Editorial note: I think the Walter-Peter relationship is by far the best TV father-son bond too. Forever’s Henry and Abe are high on the list as well. -Dahne
DarthLocke – A great science-fiction family saga that unfolds and explores consciousness across parallel universes! It has great characters like the most memorable Walter Bishop, and a well-explained mythology. It's a nice hybrid of a show that can be case of the week but gets more and more serialized. It’s one of Bad Robot's best offerings if you also liked Alias, LOST, or Revolution.
Milo – What happens when Homeland meets the X-Files? The result is something like Fringe, a series that follows FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham who is assigned to the department's Fringe division that deals with unusual, often unexplained, affairs. The show is one of many that starts off as a procedural before becoming more layered and complex further down the line, and is something that is perfect for fans of The X-Files in particular. Plus, John Noble's performance as a formerly-institutionalized scientist is worth watching this show for alone. He's just so good here.
Noor – Do you fancy a great fantasy comedy musical that breaks the fourth wall and features ear worm after ear worm and absolutely lovable characters? Then look no further than the amazing, short lived series Galavant! If you need a reason to watch, go to YouTube and check out the Galavant theme song from season 1, which is the first 5 minutes of the pilot. Already hooked? Great my job is done! Season 2 is even better though, as the writers were keenly aware of their cancellation chances so they wasted no time poking fun at it and you won't be surprised to see the cast lamenting the fact they need a new job! It's just 18 episodes, doesn't leave you on a cliffhanger (the characters sing about that too!), and will enrich your play list. If that's not enough to watch, the premiere of season 2 was titled "A New Season, AKA Suck it Cancellation Bear.” For real!
Brandi Merryman – Galavant was hilarious and funny and massively under advertised. It was definitely something different which likely affected its marketing but it was also brilliant. The music is catchy, the cast is perfect and diverse, and they had a good relationship with the audience. Times now are rough and everyone could use a bit of laugh. Nothing makes me laugh like Galavant.
Dahne – This criminally underrated show is pure fun and has more wit than all the other new shows that debuted with it put together. While musicals are not for everyone, Galavant is pure brilliance. The characters are relatable and oh so funny. Plus, in 18 episodes, King Richard has one of the best character arcs of all time. The show is a fun romp that skewers fairy tale topes and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. Plus, where else do you get lyrics like: “We’re gonna have to kill you if you sing that freaking song. It didn’t win an Emmy so it’s time to move along.” “It’s a good day to die…We won’t. There’s one more episode.” “You’ll know hell’s freezing if we get decent ratings.”
Alice Hem - The Good Fight is all that its parent show, The Good Wife, was and more! If you liked The Good Wife, you are going to love it, and better yet, if you have not seen it, you do not need to in order to understand this newcomer. The show follows novice lawyer Mia (played by Rose Leslie from GoT), who is taken under the wing of her godmother and well-established lawyer Diane Lockhart in the aftermath of a family scandal. It is set in Chicago and takes place in an African-American law firm. Less politically oriented than its predecessor, this legal drama clearly reaps cases from the headlines which makes for great and relevant TV material (i.e., cases inspired by Trump’s sexual scandals or related to comment policies on websites). Although all characters are multidimensional, The Good Fight stands out for the strong, complex, and intelligent women that it portrays. You can catch the first season of this gem on CBS All Access.
Folielex – Ambitious, but timid and by the book detective Jack Bailey has found his career at a dead end when he’s partnered with Dan Stark, a washed-out veteran detective, who has coasted most of his floundering career on a big kidnapping case he solved back in the 80’s, which ended up being turned into a TV movie. Reminiscent of "the good old days" and buying into the "action hero" persona the TV movie gave his on-screen counterpart, Dan refuses to move on with his life and let go of his drunken, lazy, thoughtless and abrasive behavior, driving Jack crazy and into unwarranted trouble in the process. For the most part The Good Guys is a buddy cop show with all the tropes you'd expect from the genre, but one should really give this fun cop procedural dramedy a try, for no other reason than to see Bradley Whitford give the performance of a lifetime as the "larger than life" Dan Stark. Colin Hanks is also stellar, keeping up with Whitford with ease as Jack Bailey, the straight man of the story. The cast is rounded up by the always lovely Diana Maria Riva playing the frustrated and flustered lieutenant of the duo.
Ellys Cartin – In this year's most quirky new comedy with a super fun setup, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) winds up in the afterlife...the Good Place, to be specific. Just one tiny problem. There's been a mixup, and she's not the right Eleanor. To save herself from The Bad Place, Eleanor enlists the guy supposed to be her perfect soulmate, an ethics professor named Chidi, to teach her how to be a good person. A foolproof plan? Not quite. Every time Eleanor messes up, the Good Place glitches. Will her secret stay hidden? Will her perfect neighbor Tahani find out or Good Place custodian Michael (Ted Danson) or AI Janet maybe? By the time you get to the end, you'll want to watch it all over again. It's packed with fun performances and visuals (i.e. Good Eleanor's dream house has clown paintings on the walls!).
Ivan – If you're expecting a comedy where you don’t have to worry if you miss an episode, then this is the wrong show for you. The Good Place turns comedies on its head. This show is a heavily serialized comedy with great character dynamics. Its character growth is at the very top of the scale too.
Lindsey – If you’re into fantasy, comedy, and twist endings, you’ll love The Good Place. This imaginative comedy takes everything you think you know about traditional tv shows and twists them, adding new layers as it goes. This is one of the only shows that will make you laugh and gasp simultaneously. It is definitely worth checking out.
Joy Haldar – Gotham has an amazing cast, including its child actors. Plus, the acting of Robin Taylor and Corey Smith alone is worth tuning in. Its stunning cinematography is aesthetically pleasing to watch. Scenes are visually engaging with deliberate colorful lighting and actors arranged to create a true depth of field. There is no quickie solution at the last moment as there are no superhero powers, which raises the stakes considerably, and it’s self-contained so no need to watch other superhero shows to avoid confusion during crossover events. Also, no soap opera romances overshadow the ongoing storylines. They stay in the background and in moderation. Gotham has a darker, grittier, and more realistic tone than CW superhero shows and seamlessly executes multiple storylines in a coherent manner. While Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne are the main protagonists, each character’s story is told, and the show delightfully embraces its own insanity. The best quality about “Gotham” is the pace at which it introduces its villains. There's no magic fix at the end of the hour, raising its unpredictability factor. Last but not least, this show avoids obligatory melodrama. Nearly every action sequence in a CW show is paired with a slow, emotional scene of self-expression. It’s as if they have a drama quota to fill in order to unlock the actual superhero stuff. Is the episode moving at a break-neck pace and full of action? Let’s bring all of that to a screeching halt to have characters talk about their feelings. Not that Gotham doesn’t have its fair share of introspective scenes, but they never hamper the pace of the narrative.
Carmkarn – Don't let the fact that this is an animated Disney show fool you. This supernatural series covers everything. A pair of twins, Dipper and Mabel, spend the summer in Gravity Falls and discover that it's home to all sorts of mythical creatures and paranormal happenings, like body switching and time travel hijinks, that everyone else seems oblivious to. They deal with all that while slowly uncovering a mystery that may or may not mean the apocalypse is coming. Throughout the show the tone remains playful and fun, but it’s still grounded in characters you care about. If you like scifi/fantasy at all, then I highly recommend you check this out. There is a lot for both kids and adults to enjoy.
LauraLoo – Think Gravity Falls is just for kids? Then you are sorely mistaken and are missing out on one the greatest shows of our time. Combining the mythos of The X-Files with the quirky characters of, well, a kid’s show, Gravity Falls is an immensely creative animated cartoon that is begging for viewership. Follow the Pines twins, Dipper and Mabel, as they embark on a summer vacation at their great uncle’s tourist trap/home, The Mystery Shack. Only nothing is what it seems here, not even their uncle. Dipper is convinced that there are hidden mysteries, supernatural forces, and monsters beyond his imagination. Mabel, on the other hand, just wants to have a fun summer and fawn over cute boys that she meets. (She is a lot better than she sounds, trust me. She’s also fiercely loyal and morally good throughout the series, and that never waivers.) They run into many other adorable characters and some truly scary scenes as well. If this is meant to be for kids, then there are some kids out there that are probably scarred for life now. This show pushed the boundaries on what we should consider appropriate for kids, all the while enriching their imaginations and creative abilities. With seamless animation and excellent serialization in later episodes, this show has widespread appeal for any type of TV watcher. Rich characters and larger than life villains, combined with slick mythologies, make this the perfect time to join the Pines family on their quest to figure out what’s what.
Tuna – Great News stars Briga Heelan as an up-and-coming cable news producer whose professional and personal lives collide when her mother, Andrea Martin, gets an internship on her news show. Andrea Martin really is the standout of this show because not only is she great in the role of the mother, but she also is the funniest person on the show and really holds her own in the workplace. The rest of the cast includes Adam Campbell, John Michael Higgins, Horatio Sanz, and Nicole Richie, who is actually very funny in this role. I recommend this show if you like workplace comedies packed with funny hijinks and jokes that come flying at a mile a minute. I actually found myself rewinding quite a bit to catch some of the jokes that just fly right by you. If you also like heartfelt mother and daughter moments, there are plenty of those as well. It really starts getting good around episode 4 so don't give up after the first couple episodes. Stick with it because this show became one of my favorite comedies this year.