Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Has the whole world gone mad?

So, I read a lot, A LOT of blogs, trades, read reviews, etc, and I've seen a disturbing trend of people liking terrible shows, specifically one terrible, wretched abomination of a show. So, I'm here to set the record straight on a terrible show that should NEVER get a good review. I should mention that I have watched 6 episodes of this show, and each has been worse than the previous one. I really wanted it to be good.


Watching the finale showed me just how terrible this show really is. It is not slam, it is not bang, it is not sexy.

Let me take you back. The show is about the witness protection program, and revolves around MARY, a witness protection agent, her partner MARSHALL, and her dysfunctional family.

The finale revolves around Mary's sister who has just been caught with a suitcase full of meth, and Mary, who was taken captive and almost killed. As the finale begins, Mary has been rescued, and her sister is on the hook for selling and distributing meth. Marshall has to figure out how to get her off the hook, before the real drug dealer goes free. Pretty cool scenario right?

Then, why do they spend 3/4 of the show discussing how Mary's father has been writing her for 20 years (oh, i should mention that her father is a bank robber who has been on the run for 20 years, and in that time hasn't contacted anyone but Mary). Seriously, there is a drug dealing kingpin out there, and Mary is at home putzing around, and we hardly ever get to see the actual crime. I think possibly we saw the crime investigation for 4-5 scenes in the entire finale. And, the resolution is incredibly unsatisfying. It's almost worth watching, just to see how bad it is.

I can't decide which is the bigger crime, the writing or the acting. This is a line from the pilot, a voiceover line: "Which is why I was driving my misogynistic nightmare across the desert". YUCK! And it just gets lousier.

On the other hand, the acting is terrible too. In one scene in the finale, Mary's on again off again boyfriend shows up, "drunk" to Mary's house, saying that he never sees her, and opining that she has not called him in two weeks. However, the actor can not play drunk. Instead, he looks and sounds sleepy. Just terrible. And lets not mention this is an incredibly unnecessary scene seeing as there is a CRIME INVESTIGATION going on that holds the fate of Mary AND her family in the balance.

I think my biggest problem with this show is that the idea is so interesting, the franchise is so cool, and the story could be something special, but instead it's bland, boring, and forces action that is inherent in the story.

But, this show is about how to make things well, and not about my personal opinion, so let's discuss just for a second what the storytelling elements that do and don't work.

#1-The Premise-- Excellent. I would easily strongly recommend this premise for a show. I love it.

#2-The Structure--Shmeh. While the franchise is good, people in witness protection and the U.S. Marshalls that protect them, the "family issues" are just completely unnecessary. There is not enough "slam, bang" to quote the commercial. There are not enough twists and turns. Instead, the characters do a lot of barreling towards a single goal, but Mary's family interrupts and she if forced to deal with THEIR issues. It works in Burn Notice, but not in this show. The best characters fail, or at least get turned around. BORING.

#3-Characters--Weak. While the characters have the potential to be excellent and complex, they turn out to be flat, uninteresting, and contrived. They don't make believable choices and their journeys are not rich. They never seem to learn anything, and they are definitely NOT richer for the journey.

#4-Dialog--Adomination. It's impossible to understand how this got past the classy, fun, and intelligent executives at USA...they have tons of good shows, and they let THIS on the air. It's wooden, boring, and many times out of character for the people saying it. The major issue is that it's just bland and unoriginal.

As you can see, there is little good about the show outside of it's premise and franchise. I hope they bring this show back, but fire the show-runner and re-tool the writing staff, because I do think this show could be really cool if the writers were better.

The show seems to have gotten past the network completely on the merit of the premise, and attachments, a classic high-concept, pitchable show with poor execution.

I do applaud USA Networks for putting the entire season on the air. On Network TV this show probably would have been pulled in 3 episodes, but leaving it on allowed the show to find its audience. So, kudos USA.

There is one good thing about this show...it's not Mary McCormick's fat lip, or the fact that the scripts are written by a 6 year old. No, it's that if this piece of junk show can get on TV, we all have a chance of getting a show on TV.

So please, please, please, STOP writing good reviews about this turd of a show.


BooM said...

Agreed. Wholeheartedly. Though I've yet to see a glowing review of the show. The finale undid all the good that could have been. Or something.

screamwriter said...

Ouch! The pilot was arguably the best episode, but the dysfunction kept me coming back.