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Mid-Season Pilots

My line of work affords me a lot of opportunity to watch TV shows while I’m editing or writing. I don’t stray too far from shows that i started watching at least two to three years ago; perhaps the most recent thing I watched was Hannibal or The Following, which were pretty interesting as far as TV shows go.

But I was nowhere near prepared for the 2013-20114 midseason shows. I don’t think I’ve never made a conscious decision to follow this many new shows in one go, since I’m very picky of about most everything in my life. I’d like to think that it’s because I’m a scintillating man who’s not that easy to please, but then again I watch Family Guy and American Dad, so I can’t really say for sure.

Back to the point, however; i don’t know if I was just really bored with most of the shows this season, or if there was something else that piqued my curiosity.

So far, my favorite new show this season. Taken from the show’s IMDB page.

So far, my favorite has to be the Amazon Instant Video production Betas, a hilarious show about four guys creating a social media app that’s guaranteed to make them millionaires – if only they can get the damned thing to work. I like how Madeline Zima is a guest star on the first episode (I’m a fan, yes), and I like how it takes The Big Bang Theory’s character templates, and places them in a more realistic setting with plenty of internal and external pressures not immediately present in TBBT’s sterile sitcom environment. If I were to compare how this show hit me, I’d say that I’m reacting to Betas in the same way I reacted to The Newsroom. I don’t know why, but the vibe, the urgency is almost the same.

The same could be said about The Best Laid Plans, although this show relies a bit more on upstanding characters than a snazzy script – but then again, the environment of TBLP is different from Betas, and the lack of geek presence in the world of British Columbian parliament makes for repartee that’s admittedly more grown-up than what you’d expect from most American comedies. For some reason, however, I can’t think of The Best Laid Plans without picturing Stephen Mangan. If there’s one reason to keep watching this show, though, it’s for Kenneth Welsh.

I’m on the fence on Black Sails. On the surface, the show’s great. The acting is fantastic, the set is great, and the abundance of T&A (that’s sure to taper off as the show progresses) is, well, great if you’re a guy. And hey, it’s a show about pirates! I’ve never had trouble watching a show, or reading a book, about pirates before. But the same could be said about Vikings, and I never really enjoyed the History channel show. So I’m going to give this show a couple of episodes more to see if I can find a reason to keep watching it.

And finally, we have HBO’s True Detective. This show is difficult to watch because of how it’s paced, and if you’re not hooked in the first five minutes, the show probably isn’t for you. But since I’m jonesing for an actual detective story that Sherlock, for all it’s brilliance, can’t deliver, I gave this a shot—and was rewarded with a story that’s part found footage, part Hannibal, in terms of quality. The best part is that the show is an anthology. The characters for this season won’t be in the next season, which means that there’s no way you can build too much affinity for one character that you won’t terribly mind them being killed off. A review of the show online also points out that this is also great since the show can actually invite actors who don’t want to stay chained to a production for too long, hence the inclusion of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in the first season.

Of the four, I’m staking my claim on Betas simply because the show is brilliant. The others are also all fairly good in their own way, and are worth watching too. Some of the shows that didn’t make the cut are The Spoils of Babylon (the camp self-depreciating format of the show didn’t really resonate with me), and I’ve yet to give The Musketeers a shot, but I loved The Three Musketeers, so I may end up liking this as well. You never know.


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