Sunday, February 25, 2018
Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part F
It's the final part of the Olympics version of Pitch Your Show, featuring shows from S-Y. This version also includes the second most pitched show, Timeless, which begins its second season on March 11. Once again, I thank everyone who pitched their shows. I wish we could have featured every pitch, but the official spreadsheet is included in a link below so that you can see them all. Like before, 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 hope that everyone has found at least one new show to sample and that the rest of your TV season is filled with great characters, intriguing story lines, and twists that keep you guessing.
Ezio Auditore - If you have a taste for fantasy and magic genres, then the Shannara Chronicles is a show you should add to your must watch list. Thousands of years in the future, civilization as you know it is gone, desolated by centuries of conflict. The world, now known as the Four Lands, is ruled by elves, trolls, and other mythical creatures. The story features three youngsters: Amberle, the elf princess, Eretria, a human thief, and a gifted half-elf named Wil under guidance of Allanon the druid (Manu Bennett). Together, they have to protect the Ellcrys, a mystical tree that serves as a barrier keeping an army of demons sealed away. When the Ellcrys begins dying, the three unlikely heroes set on a quest to restore it before the demons return and lay waste to the Four Lands.
Folielex – You know how in shows you usually have the misfit nerd character, who's too smart for the people who surround him? Well Silicon Valley is a show where essentially every character is that guy. Richard Hendricks, a bonafide computer genius has set out to make his mark in the cutthroat and ever evolving world of computer startups. Surrounded by his merry band of coders and engineers (not so much misfits in this world), we see him stumble, fall, and get back up again, constantly relying on the one thing he rarely has any doubts over: the quality of his tech. It's fascinating to watch the backstage going-ons of this world most of us can never really understand, but whose products we all use. The characters are all fascinating and the dynamics between them are inherently interesting. The humor is sharp and funny, even when it might, at times, get a little crude. However, the true winning quality of the show is its persistence in showcasing perseverance. These guys get knocked down all the time, yet they are determined to make a mark in this world. It's the age of the geek, baby, and damn it, they are the best the species has to offer, so succeed they will. Season 5 will start in March so it’s a great time to check it out.
Milo – A brilliant look inside the tech industry in Silicon Valley, this show just as easily could have been a hyper competitive drama series but instead, the comedy that the writers go for here really elevates its material. I'll laugh at least once per episode as it deals with a terrific ensemble drawn from comedic talents that include the likes of Thomas Middleditch and more. It's really worth catching up on because it's just damn good.
Ellys Cartin – Though it starts as something of a kid show, Star Wars Rebels grows into one of the most compelling entries in the franchise. The two main characters are Kanan, a survivor of the Jedi massacre, and Ezra, a Force-sensitive orphan who crossed paths with Kanan and his team of rebels. The series is the perfect bridge between Sith and New Hope (sorry, Rogue One), as it explores the breakdown of the Empire and traces the rise of the Rebellion. It has visuals so cool you won't believe it and fan favorites from The Clone Wars make appearances often, but the show doesn't neglect its core cast, taking each one through harrowing physical and personal journeys. It's thoroughly entertaining and well-worth watching even if you're not a Star Wars fan.
Milo – If you're a fan of the original Star Wars Trilogy or looking for the next best thing to a second season of Firefly, then you need to be watching Star Wars Rebels. It's Disney XD's best show that takes place in the years up to A New Hope, following a small band of rebels including two Jedi as they fight against the ever-growing might of the Empire. While it does start off a little weak it gets better as it goes on, featuring several crossovers from its predecessor, The Clone Wars, which you do not have to watch to understand what's going on. There are some very awesome episodes in this show including those that feature Darth Vader. With the show expected to come to an end this year, now's the perfect time to catch up.
Laura Markus – Suits is a legal drama based on the would-be partnership between the best closer in New York, Harvey Specter, and college dropout, Mike Ross. The pilot offers everything to determine if you'll enjoy the show or not. The firm Harvey works for only offers jobs to those who went to Harvard, and as someone who got kicked out of Harvard, hiring Mike leads to some crazy shenanigans and stories down the line. All of the best stories and episodes involve his secret (minus some in Season 4), but the relationship between Harvey and Mike is what the show is based on and Suits is at its strongest when it remembers this. In addition, we also have a bada** boss lady, played by the impeccable Gina Torres. Think Annalise Keating without the murders, although I wouldn't put it past her to kill someone one day. There's also the insufferable Louis Litt, and although Rick Hoffman has some truly Emmy-worthy scenes, Louis is often tough to watch. However, it is his love of law and for the Pearson Specter Litt firm that gets him through, and that's sweet. There are a slew of romances, some involving Rachel Zane, which aren't the best, but Donna Paulsen shines in earlier seasons. The legal cases, courtroom drama, hijinks and humor between all the characters are when the show really hits a high. Each season has great variety and after the setback of Season 4, Season 5 made a surprising comeback. It's definitely worth a try, with the pilot being one of the best episodes of the series. Suits has really quality writing when it tries, and the acting across the board is phenomenal with Dulé Hill joining in the seventh season.
Lindsey – You may see the show referenced in the tabloids, now that Meghan Markle is marrying Prince Harry. Do you, however, know what the show is really about? Suits is legal show that doesn’t spend much time focusing on the law. After being instructed to hire a graduate of Harvard Law, Harvey Specter does the opposite and knowingly hires a fraud who never attended any law school. While keeping secrets isn’t easy in an environment as dramatic as a law firm, the writers create a balance by adding in scenes of lightheartedness and fun. The show also has a few “shippable” pairings if you’re into that.
Maria Fernanda – There are many reasons why people should see Supergirl. It is a fantastic show and the way they approach different topics is spectacular, specifically the Alex and Maggie relationship. It has helped thousands of people; they are more than characters. They have a healthy relationship and the response to it has been very good. Watching everyone around Alex react to her coming out as a lesbian has been totally positive and I think this is one more example of how all people are the same. There is discrimination but above all love and understanding is never lacking.
Samantha Ross – This is a female empowerment show with the added element of superheroes. However, there is something for guys; the action sequences are to die for. One of last season’s top storylines belongs to Alex Danvers, played by Chyler Leigh. She is the adopted sister of Supergirl and would do anything to protect her sister. Last season her storyline involved finding yourself, and we can all learn something from what she went through a part of us all can relate. Alex is a hero in own right and that also makes this show wonderful. The humans are heroes in their own way with a stellar performance by Chyler.
Tuna – Superstore stars America Ferrara and Ben Feldman as retail employees at a big box superstore. The supporting cast includes Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nichole Bloom, Mark McKinney, and Nico Santos. The show follows the everyday life of all the workers at the Walmart-like retail outlet. Superstore is a very well-done workplace comedy, the comedy genre NBC does best, and no comedy on TV speaks more to the America we live in than this show. This show has some of the most likable characters on TV and many heartwarming moments while maintaining many laughs as well. Season 1 is very good but the show is trying to find its groove, which it does in season 2. Season 2 touches on some topical issues like gun laws and transgender rights but it also very much improves its comedic delivery and I found myself laughing out loud many times. So, if you just watched the pilot or season 1 and thought it was just alright, I would highly suggest giving it another chance. Superstore is one of the most underrated comedies on TV and one of my favorites, so do yourself a favor and watch it.
Milo – Do you like shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine? NBC's excellent Superstore is something that you'll find yourself falling in love with. It's quirky, funny and entertaining - and basically follows a similar format only taking place in a store named Cloud 9, focusing on a bunch of mismatched retail employees. It's full of excellent humor and incredibly charming. Now on its third season, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't check it out as soon as possible.
Carmkarn – This show may have been canceled after one season, but it is totally worth your time! Two girls team up and become vigilantes on their college campus to take down sexual predators, which I found to be an exciting and original concept! It's rare on TV to see women get to do the whole vigilante thing and also rare to see women fighting back against rapists, so it feels very refreshing to watch! While both girls have their own relationship problems they're dealing with, the main focus of the show is on their friendship, which develops incredibly as the season goes on. The show handles rape with a lot of sensitivity and while I'm generally not a fan of storylines involving that subject, I didn't mind it here, mainly because it gave power back to the victims. Obviously dealing with heavy themes makes the show a bit intense at times, but I never found it overwhelmingly so. The first (and only) season does wrap up most of its plotlines by the end, giving you a tease as to what a second season might entail, so no need to worry about ending on a cliffhanger.
Dahne – I tend to hate “important” shows, ones that clearly have a message to deliver. I am also not a fan of shows that focus on sexual assault because that gets too heavy too quickly. However, I also learned from Teen Wolf, Eye Candy, and most of The CW lineup, not to judge a show by what I think it will be like so I watched the pilot of Sweet/Vicious and was immediately hooked. It is the single best portrayal of the aftereffects of rape that I have ever seen, and yet it adds in moments of levity and action so that it doesn’t get overwhelmingly dark. The main characters feel real and are very diverse at first, not friends at all. Still, their shared secret brings them together and in the end, Jules realizes that Ophelia is her strongest supporter. This show does female friendship like none other. While it can be a whole lot of fun, and I promise you will laugh throughout, it takes its serious moments very seriously and never makes light of rape. In fact, the scene where Jules finally confronts her rapist is the most raw TV moment I have ever seen. Eliza Bennett deserved an Oscar for that scene alone.
Ellys Cartin - This show is so much fun. Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore, was kidnapped as an infant, but thanks to her own courage/spunk and a little help from her future husband Eugene, the former outlaw extraordinaire Flynn Rider voiced by Zachary Levi, she's finally back home with her parents in their castle. Rapunzel struggles a bit. Royal obligations, getting everyone to like her (something the show amusingly points out isn't possible), her magical hair growing back, and getting to know her parents offer some very real challenges. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the show, though, is the ongoing feud between boyfriend Eugene and new best friend/lady-in-waiting/dynamo Cassandra! The latter is an especially engaging new character, well-rounded with her own baggage and ambitions. Eugene, meanwhile, tries to find an occupation. It's a hilarious, smart cartoon that can be enjoyed solo or with the whole family.
Kimberly Montague – The cast, crew, writing, costumes, and props are all first class. The storylines are fascinating with sometimes forgotten but always real heroes. It sucks you in with twists that you would never even consider. Just watch a couple of episodes, and you'll be hooked.
Mark Usher – If you passed on Timeless the first time around, I urge you to sample season 2 when the show returns in March. Why? Well first of all, Timeless is not just another time travel show trying to get plot mileage out of paradoxes and butterfly effects. The focus of Timeless is on characters and fast, conflict-driven action. The time travel element forms the backdrop, but for me it’s how the characters play off each other, how the relationships between them develop and intensify, and how they change in unpredictable ways that keep me magnetized to the show. These changes are often unexpected and regularly run opposite to how ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters are expected to behave in more traditionally laid out shows. The central characters of Lucy the historian, Wyatt the soldier, and Rufus the scientist remain the clear ‘good guys’ throughout but each has their own unique journey. Lucy and Rufus are both timid and apprehensive time travelers in the pilot but both have killed by the end of episode 12. Wyatt’s initial mindset is of a soldier’s tunnel-vision to carry out the mission but later he goes rogue to try to save his wife. And what of Flynn, such an apparently one-dimensional villain at the outset of the story? Before the season’s half-way point, we’re wondering if he’s the villain at all. Timeless doesn’t take the easy route because real life rarely does. In the end, that’s perhaps the biggest reason you have to try season 2. Excitement is guaranteed and it won’t be from wormholes. It will be from seeing where these wonderful, unpredictable, and very, very human characters go.
Rob Holland – This is similar to the old 60’s show Time Tunnel, featuring characters going back to important events in history and finding themselves in danger as well as risking unwittingly altering past events. As with that show, Timeless revels in the massive options it has in terms of what periods of history to visit. No spoilers here but part of the fun of watching this show is finding out which historical figures and what past events are going to be in the next episode. The team is usually in some kind of danger though and only Wyatt's military training, Lucy's extensive knowledge of history, and Rufus' technical expertise can save them. These three characters have great chemistry and their diversity provides the show with an opportunity to make social commentary about past attitudes. Rufus, for example, is African-American, so what happens when they go back to a time before slavery was abolished? And how does Lucy handle her treatment at the hands of chauvinistic men in the 60’s and 70’s? As the team tries to apprehend a rogue time traveler, their allies back at Headquarters deal with a dangerous organization in the present so there's usually lots going on. Finally, the bad guy isn't necessarily a bad guy. As with all good TV, the characters aren't all black and white, even when they go back to a time when television was black and white. In short, it’s a very busy and exciting TV show well worth your time.
Lauren Esteph – A history teacher, a soldier and a tech guy/pilot take missions back in time to stop what they feel is a man threatening history, only to find out that the biggest threat might be the people closest to them. They travel to different eras in time each week, meeting with well known (Abraham Lincoln) and some not so well known (Bass Reeves) people in history. This show has the perfect balance of action, suspense, comedy, romance, and history. They stay extremely accurate to the history of the time period they're visiting, including how things were different for people of color (the pilot is a person of color) and women (the teacher). They don't sugar coat any of the problems that history has. To top it off, the FX's, the costumes, and the sets are amazing and on point. The actors do a great job each week and in the 16-episode season, you know each character so well you feel as if you've been watching them for years. Timeless is WELL WORTH the watch.
Milo - I just started watching this brilliant crime drama starring Elisabeth Moss, but it is one of the best crime shows I've seen in years. Set in a remote mountain town in New Zealand, it revolves around Moss' inexperienced detective Robin Griffin hunting for a 12-year-old girl who is not only pregnant but has also gone missing. Each of its two seasons is only six episodes long, and it really pulls you in with a compelling mystery drama. The cinematography in this show is just amazing, creating a fantastic atmosphere, and it's easy to see why Moss won the Golden Globes for Best Actress in a TV Mini-Series. Compelling and downright essential viewing for crime fans, this show cannot be missed.
Nao - When I started watching, I felt the need to apologize every time I said that I liked it. It was a bit cliché and the concept wasn’t revolutionary at all, but the more I watched, the more I loved it. Trying to prevent a series of catastrophes which brought the world to the brink of chaos, travelers from the future are sent into the bodies of people about to die. A mysterious Director sends the travelers on various missions without giving them a lot of information. The whole is intelligent; it’s both creative and surprising. There are many travelers, organized in teams, who follow a series of protocols. The creator is Brad Wright (Stargate) and the series is really Canadian with lots of cameos. While not revolutionary, it is efficient and works well in the long run. There aren’t many special effects, but it doesn’t look like they are lacking funds (as in Helix, for example). The actors are mostly unknown, but all the characters are very likeable. There is a good balance between their good qualities and their flaws. It’s fascinating without being frustrating – they aren’t super heroes, but they are focused and competent. Seeing them discovering a world that is not yet destroyed was absolutely wonderful. The future is never shown, only told through stories and memories and there are no filler episodes. We are immersed in the travelers’ mind, with a rationalization of their actions that look like indoctrination. Some things are presented as totally normal, but when you think about it afterwards, it becomes dizzying.
Ellys Cartin – A body snatcher procedural - that's the way I think of Travelers, which offers a fresh take on the time traveling genre. Eric McCormack plays Traveler 3468/Grant, the leader of a group whose consciousness' are transferred back in time to the 21st Century. They take over the lives and identities of the people whose bodies they now inhabit. Directed by a powerful artificial intelligence, the team works to change time. We don't really see the future, but we're shown what it's like through the character's actions. In one poignant scene, two characters marvel at the taste of a burger and soda. Other characters gape at the sun and sky because everyone lives underground in the future in bunkers. No "save the world" plan would be complete without some bumps in the road. The team is burdened with future knowledge, but their mission forbids them from changing anything/saving anyone except whom they are told to. My personal favorite character was Trevor, an older man who winds up in the body of a teenager. Jared Abrahamson plays Trevor with all the mannerisms and vernacular of someone much older. Challenges await the other Travelers as well. One finds her new role is a mother, another an addict. The series has a few stumbles out of the gate but things pick up nicely over the season. Each episode the team has to complete a mission, ranging from a heist to saving a life to altering the future. Of course, there's the slight catch in that as they change the future, their own knowledge of it is no longer accurate. It's terribly intriguing and entertaining.
Bradley – This is the funniest show I watched last year. I’m really glad it'll be back on later this year.
Carmkarn – Trial & Error is a mockumentary of true crime documentaries and it does it so well. It has a lot of humor in the vein of Parks & Recreation, with characters dealing with the bureaucracy of living in a small rural town. Seeing John Lithgow in a comedy again, playing accused murderer Larry, is a delight if you were a fan of 3rd Rock from the Sun like me. He does a great job of keeping you wondering the whole season if he's guilty or innocent. The investigation team on the case becomes a bit of a found family for not only Larry but the audience as well, and you easily find yourself rooting for them. At the same time, you’ll love prosecutor Carol Anne Keane, mostly thanks to a fantastic performance by Jayma Mays. The show is highly binge-able and easy to catch up on!
Tuna - I did not start watching Trial and Error until it got renewed but this show easily became my favorite comedy of the year because it had so many great elements of classic NBC sitcoms that I adore such as Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock. If you adore those shows like I do, I definitely think that you would enjoy this show. Trial and Error is a mockumentary that parodies the true crime documentary genre and it does so brilliantly. You have people talking to and looking at the camera like The Office, hilarious one-liners like 30 Rock, and a rural setting in a fictional town in South Carolina that reminds me of Pawnee in Parks and Recreation. I found myself laughing out loud many times throughout all 13 episodes (not a big commitment at all) and the cast is incredible. For me the standouts of the season have to be John Lithgow and Sherri Shepherd, whose characters are very animated and they consistently bring many laughs. The rest of the amazing cast includes Nicholas D'Agosto, Jayma Mays, Steven Boyer, and Krysta Rodriguez. The show follows Nicholas D'Agosto as the defense lawyer of the accused murderer, John Lithgow. With help from his associates, Sherri Shepherd and Steven Boyer, and the accused murderer’s daughter, Krysta Rodriguez, they hilariously try to prove that Lithgow is innocent. Meanwhile the prosecutor, Jayma Mays, comes at them from every angle. Many of the episodes end in great little cliffhangers and not only is the show hysterical, but it also has a very good storyline and a great mystery element. Trust me; you will not regret watching this show. I just hope you like it as much as I did.
Milo – There's a reason why nobody stands a chance at beating Julia-Louis Dreyfus at the Emmy’s each year in the comedy department and that is Veep, HBO's best comedy masterpiece that really excels in the genre. It’s politically relevant at the same time, politically neutral (not once do they reveal which party the characters belong to), and is a show about terrible people generally just insulting each other using arguably the best insults ever featured in a television show. Initially focused on Dreyfus' character, Selina as Vice President, the show has since outgrown that role but it still remains excellent, with a brilliant ensemble that never disappoints.
Ellys Cartin – Jenna Coleman enchants in this charming series about young Queen Victoria. It's a coming-of-age story that follows Victoria in the early days of her reign. She happily looks forward to being her own mistress, only to realize she's terribly underprepared. Like every other young person, Victoria stumbles along the way of growing up. It's also a love story. We see her have a first crush, flirt with eligible princes, and then find her soulmate in the endearing Albert. Tom Hughes makes mustaches sexy again. But it's also a realistic love story so they have things to work through. I found their relationship issues much more watchable than The Crown's Philip and Elizabeth. It's also a historical drama, so there are gorgeous sets, costumes, and props! Also, don't miss the supporting performances of Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne, David Oakes as Albert's brother Ernst, Nell Hudson as Victoria's lady in waiting Miss Skerrett, and Ferdinand Kingsley as the palace's creative and dashing chef Francatelli. I also enjoyed how the show takes time to portray current events of that historical period and how they affect the characters.
Noor – Victoria is a charming, gorgeous show. However, I'm told it’s not very historically accurate so if this bothers you, then maybe this is not the show for you. Otherwise the characters, acting, cinematography, and music are all top notch!
Abi Baker - It's the only polyromantic show currently on TV and it doesn't fall into the usual tropes that standard shows which have 'throuple' storyline seem to. It's a comedy that has a lot of heart and follows the trials and tribulations of a suburban married couple who fall in love with a female grad student following problems in their marriage. Even though it's broadcast weekly on TV, it's a great show to marathon as every episode follows on from each other. You can't help but root for the main trio to make it work, and there really isn't anything else like it on TV. It's funny, yet also sensitive and relatable. It also scored a two season renewal in its first season, so the network definitely has a lot of faith in it.