I saw the LIFE pilot on Tuesday. It was certainly the most interesting pilot I’ve seen so far this season, but the crime story/mystery was weak and it’s hard to connect with the lead character, a cop who was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now the cop is exonerated, rich, and back on the force. You’d think that would be a strong, emotional hook for viewers…but the hero behaves more like an alien visiting earth for the first time…which gets tiresome. I found the supporting characters, particularly his new partner, much more interesting than him. And although I liked the quasi-documentary gimmick of the people in his life being "interviewed," it tended to pull me out of the story (such as it was). Although I am tired of pilots that end with the troubled hero looking at the secret "evidence board" that he’s compiled, it’s the one new show that I might actually make an effort to watch again. It has some potential.
I gave up on THE REAPER about 30 or 40 minutes in. I was so dull and familiar. I felt like I’d already seen it before (wait a minute, I did. It was called CHUCK) and like so many shows this season about people getting superpowers, not a single character behaves remotely like a human being. I didn’t believe a second of it…or give a damn about anyone. I am so tired of seeing the slacker hero and his nerdier, slacker best friend, both of whom have dead end jobs at a big-box store. Considering that they got Kevin Smith to direct it, the show was surprisingly flat and listless. It had that dull, made-on-the-cheap-in-Canada-for-first-run-syndication-in-1989 feel to it. The only real surprise I got out of the show was seeing Allison Hossack as the hero’s Mom. She was one of the stars of COBRA, a made-on-the-cheap-in-Canada-for-first-run-syndication series that I worked on about 12 years ago. I wondered how she could possibly be playing the mother of a 21 year old guy. I mean, she’s the same age as me and I — and then I had a horrifying realization: I am old enough to have children in their 20s. When did that happen?
As disappointing as the new fall shows are so far, it’s nice to see two actresses (Gretchen Egolf and Allison Hossack) who co-starred in two series I wrote & produced (MARTIAL LAW and COBRA) back as regulars in new series (JOURNEYMAN and REAPER). I just wish they were better shows.