the fall premiere season basically started a couple weeks ago, but it seems like it's just now entering full swing, what with new nbc shows premiering and some of fox's hottest shows returning this week.
nbc has been promoting its new shows particularly hard, even offering the pilots of some of its new shows weeks ahead of time to interested viewers. i watched two of the nbc pilots on comcast on-demand and offer my thoughts for you here, in advance of the actual premieres.
nbc has been promoting this show pretty heavily, and it's on the schedule right before heroes (one of my favorites) so i thought i'd give it a shot and check out the pilot. i shut the damn thing off after 20 minutes.
this show is simply stupid, and not in a good way. i can deal with "average joe becomes super secret agent" stories—after all, the new adventues of beans baxter was my favorite show of the '87 season. but the premise of chuck is ridiculous: through contrived circumstances, nerdy chuck ends up with all the cia's secrets stuck in his head. unfortunately, this depends on a conceit—the cia stores all its intel in the form of seemingly random-looking images—that i can't imagine any real geek taking seriously for even a second.
of course, i pretty much knew what i was in for when i saw in the opening credits that the pilot was directed by mcg (also an exec producer for the show), who's perhaps best-known as the director of the charlie's angels movies. so if you like vapid hollywood crap like that, then maybe your time is worth so little to you that you might want to watch chuck.
overall grade: D
i've been looking forward to this show for months, and i really wanted it to be an A+, but it wasn't quite. the pilot episode, at least, is no ghost in the shell or battlestar galactica. still, despite its flaws, i definitely enjoyed it, and it does show promise to grow into the show i've dreamed of.
my first complaint about the show is that the special effects weren't as good as they could be. they weren't terrible, but they weren't great either. still, this is a problem i can overlook.
my other main complaint is that i just didn't feel the emotional connection to jamie that i should have. the main exception was the awakening scenes, where jamie wakes up in a hospital bed and her boyfriend tries to explain that large parts of her body have been replaced with machinery. jamie, naturally, freaks out big time, and these scenes are both powerful and believable. but later scenes that are supposed to convey jamie's sense of disorientation and disassociation at what's been done to her just don't hit the way they should. they gave me the feeling that the pilot was several minutes too short, like they filmed a bunch more character development but had to cut it all out to fit into 43 minutes.
still, this is just the pilot episode, burdened with introducing the cast as well as the main concepts. and unlike battlestar galactica, they didn't have the benefit of the pilot being a four-hour miniseries, so they had to cram a lot into those 43 minutes. so while it wasn't quite the geek wet dream i'd been hoping for, it could still grow into that later in the season, once things really get going.
overall grade: B
i also thought about watching the advance pilot for journeyman (which premieres tonight on nbc after heroes), but it disappeared from on-demand before i got around to it, so i have the dvr set to record it tonight. the premise behind this show is basically quantum leap meets the butterfly effect, which could be pretty good or could be not so great. but it stars kevin mckidd, who was pretty good in rome (and i'd forgotten was also in trainspotting), so i'm going to give it a chance.¶