Friday, 17 May 2013

Amazon Instant Pilots (2013)

Amazon have taken a revolutionary way towards original programming, by showcasing a number of pilot episodes and allowing to viewers to vote for which ones get made into full series'. I have already reviewed the Zombieland pilot (found here), so shall review the remaining pilot episodes here.

Alpha House

Alpha House begins promisingly enough, with a brilliant cameo that's worth laughing about. Sadly, after this moment, the laughs don't come as often as they should, especially with John Goodman in the cast, but the operatic Filibuster does come close. The one-word idea of this series is pretty much 'Animal House in Washington DC', which is promising but sporadically lives up to that premise. While it may fall on the laughs, the show succeeds with its characters, who are realistic, with their interactions with other characters coming off as believable and the foundations being set for future storylines. Praise is also to be given for the great job that's been done in creating the believable world these characters live in. This show shows a lot of promise, here's hoping if made into a full series, it lives up to that promise.



Betas

Of the characters, the main one (whose name I forgot) comes off as an ass, while Mitchell and Nash come off as typical stereotypes, with the former barely registering and the latter being really awkward to the point of annoyance. Hobbs is definitely the best character, being the most perverse and foul mouthed, but likable enough that his buying of a robot vagina never becomes too much. The humor is never laugh worthy, focusing on more awkward attempts, with characters feeling like they've come from the Michael Cera school of awkward acting, but the sub-plot of Mitchell hitting on the girl he likes takes an interesting twist, and delivers a couple of chucklesome moments. So while it may fail with 3/4s of the main characters and on the attempts at laughs, there's certainly worse Pilots, and a bit of promise that it could become better. Plus, where else will you see Moby admit that he's Vegan because he fucked an Octopus?





Browsers

This pilot humorously begins with a warning that it contains musical numbers. If you're the type of person who detests musicals, this is a clear indication that you should watch something else. Sadly, it's not exactly a good for those who like musicals either. While the opening musical number is a good way of introducing the characters, all of the further musical numbers feel really unnecessary and hastily put together, with the foremost example of this being a song that's specifically about Twitter. All of the characters are rather uninteresting, with Josh coming off as a poor imitation of Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory, who was already a poor character, and how the writers were trying too hard to make Julianna into a terrifying and powerful figure, but ending up with a bland imitation of every terrifying boss in the workplace, only with an accent that sometimes disappears.




Dark Minions

Written by The Big Bang Theory co-stars Kevin Sussman and John Ross, this pilot follows the mundane lives of two slackers who are just trying to earn a paycheck on an intergalactic spaceship, while enduring mundane moments found in typical jobs, such as being late for meetings or having trouble with finding the correct room. Think Office Space on a Star Destroyer. Office Space-ship, if you will. The stop-motion style helps to make this show unique, and helps to sell this intergalactic setting more than any live-action show could. The characters are all wonderful creations, from the likable slackers Mel and Andy to the brilliant Drebnor, head of the ship. The humor is reminiscent to that found in the FX show Archer, and gives us plenty of great dialogue, including "are we destroying a civilization or throwing a birthday party?", to make one of the best pilots to come out of this arrangement.




Onion News Empire

This pilot takes a look at what goes on behind the scenes within a newsroom, showcasing a largely dysfunctional cast. It does an exceptional job showing how far journalists will go to stay at the top of their game, from blackmailing co-workers to even kidnapping a kid just to get a story. The entire casts performances and comedic timing are brilliant, especially Jeffrey Tambor and Laila Robins, but the writing is where this pilot excels. From a news report about how terrorists who posed as Americans became too fat to carry out their attack, to the characters tales about their tragic backstories and crushed dreams, a satirical look is taken towards the humor and handled with great humor, not dissimilar from the humor found in Airplane!.




Supanatural

Boasting a unique style of humor that feels like something you'd find on Adult Swim, Supanatural is definitely a show unlike others. The dialogue and the characters may put a number of people off, but I say if you get passed initial impressions, you'll find wit in the dialogue and surreal moments, such as when Lucretia is sat down with a Doomsday skull, bitching about her enemy. With hints as to where future episodes could go, involving a demon running for mayor, I look forward to future episodes from this unique show.




Those Who Can't

Taking place at a high school and following 3 immature teacher friends, this pilot has unoriginal written all over it. From the writing to the characters, everything feels like something that you've seen done better in plenty of other things. Despite a few humorous moments, such as the Spanish teacher insulting the secretary and the PE teacher informing a student that she's pregnant, the attempts at humor from the poor characters come off as awkward and humorless.

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