NYTVF: Pilot reviews, part two of six
When we were offered to review pilots featured in the NYTVF, I not only jumped at the chance to finally see TV products with some substance this summer (due to the channels I get here, I was stuck watching mostly reality shows over the past 3 months) but also to experience something new. I offered to review one of the comedy DVDs but didn't request a specific one since I had no idea what I was in for.
Even if I had no expectations, I wanted the comedies to at least entertain me and make me laugh at least 2 or 3 times. Sadly, the pilots I reviewed didn't deliver the goods (you can view the pilots at MSN).
Here On Earth
After a regulation requires that all TV stations include some type of children programming in their line up, a Buffalo-based network decides to hire two "losers" to produce a show titled Here On Earth set to air Sundays at 4 a.m. The pilot is a sort of mockumentary following the production of the show within the show. I didn't laugh at all, and the jokes were rather stupid and easy but what kept me entertained was the fact that the two leads are really bad at what they do so I kept wondering how low they would go. For example, they knowingly interview the wrong man, they badly reenact evolution, and they have one of them dress up as KFC's colonel in order to play the part of Darwin (pronounced "Darween" by their drunk narrator).
Out of the four pilots I watched, Mild Mannered was my favorite. It follows the adventures of a comic book store owner who can transform into various heroes when he is angry. This show would have probably been less interesting if he transformed into Superman or Spiderman because their powers are conventional. What made Mild Mannered funny was the fact that the geeky lead changes into comic book heroes who have unusual powers such as the sense of fashion! The storyline is also similar to what one could find in a comic book: the lead character receives a sort of hollow coin from his estranged father; this object turns out to be a "gateway" that a bad guy with powers wants; the bad guy kidnaps the lead's potential love interest so that he gets the object in return; the unlikely hero transforms into a comic book hero in order to save the day with his two sidekicks. This pilot could even lead to a series of episodes since there is an endless amount of comic book heroes and villains.
Oh! Be Joyful!
This was the pilot that bored me the most. There was nothing much original in it and I didn't laugh once. The pilot follows the life of Tom, a cooperate guy who now lives with two of his friends (both actors) and the recently-out-of-the-closet father of one of them. The most important storyline in the episode was that Tom and his girlfriend broke up. The breakup was not really fun to watch (even the scene during which the girlfriend wants her cat back and bring her super friends with her for support). The main "funny" storyline was that Tom's coworkers believe he needs to get a new suit because he always wear the same out-of-style brownish one (see picture on the left). Interesting TV, eh? The characters are not well-developed and are rather boring and there is so much going at once that it's difficult to focus and get a sense of what the show is all about.
In the first minute of the pilot, I thought that it looked promising: two somewhat geeky roommates taking part in a sort of documentary where they talk about one another truthfully and with a dash of humor (a bit à la The Office). But when the third roommate appears, things looked less interesting. The roommate is an actual rainbow! Yes, your eyes read that right: a colored rainbow who owns a pot of gold! The pilot follows the rainbow as it not only tries to gain it's smile back (the rainbow has been depressed lately) but tries to avoid being deported as the mayor hates rainbows (he even shows what the mating of a human and a rainbow would result in!). It's clear that the rainbow is the equivalent of any immigrant arriving in a new city where there are no other people from his/her race/country/religion and that the storyline wants to highlight what those people have to go through. However, I would have preferred a real person instead of the rainbow. The latter made a promising episode look silly.