Six Degrees: Pilot (series premiere)
(S01E01) This, by far, is the most disappointing new show of the season.
And it pains me to say that, because I like J.J. Abrams and I like stories with lots of characters set in New York City, but this show starts with a concept that turns out to be pretty damn bogus to start with and then does nothing with it.
Here's what's wrong with it.
The opening narration (and ABC's relentless ad campaign) wants to remind us that this show is all about the strangers that we meet on the street everyday. They could become our best friend, they could have an impact on our lives. We just never know what's going to happen when we meet a stranger. Um, excuse me, but isn't that the plot of pretty much every show when you get right down to it, and even about life in general? This whole "six degrees" angle the show is taking is just a gimmick. It's really just set up like any other soap opera: a bunch of random characters with different professions and personalities who end up interacting with each other. There's absolutely nothing new about it.
Which would be ok, if they gave us something to be interested in, but we've seen all of these characters before: the hot girl on the run from someone, the defense attorney with a heart, the tough business woman looking for more in her life, etc, etc. Really, the only character you have an interest in is Campbell Scott's photographer with the messed up life trying to do something for his son.
As if the whole "six degrees" and "fate" thing wasn't so forced down our throats, they also have to throw in coin flipping and a Magic 8 Ball that Scott gives his son. Gah. And the part with the business woman finding a random photo that Scott took while on a jog. In any other show, that would be called "contrived," but because this is high concept and it's all about FATE and SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, it's supposed to be dramatic. It isn't.
So, let me summarize: a bogus concept, lame writing, and a bunch of characters you really don't care that much about. You look at a show with tons of characters like Studio 60 or Lost and you see how great writing and direction/editing can introduce them beautifully and really hook you into the show.
But this show isn't Lost. It's just lost.