I'm watching pilots of various series on DVD to see how they work, and also to see what series I might like -- hard to judge a series on a loose episode.
I've also found that Zip.ca
is the ideal way to rent things I've heard of that I may well not like. The faster you send something back, the more movies you get to rent for your $25 a month. (UPDATE: Though I can't recommend Zip any more!
I've been sending a lot of stuff back really fast.
I rented Dark Shadows
because I'd heard it had vampires. Little did I know that it takes 70 episodes to reveal that it has vampires. We only only watched about 6 minutes of it -- a silly argument between two people we didn't know, which took all the six minutes to reveal that one of them had been "snooping around," though we didn't know about what. That was enough of that. I was relieved to see from the site -- Dark Shadow.com
, natch -- that contemporary reviews thought the show was boring too. Viewers who liked it apparently liked the archness and the lame production values. I suppose the same goes for Dr. Who
Watched the Miami Vice
pilot. That was more interesting. Cop shows are dark now, but then cops were heroes and they always got their man. (I think.) So it must have been exciting when in the pilot, Crockett and Tubbs don't
get their man. It's Chinatown, Jake. It must have been interesting to have a divorced cop who drank too much, whose ex-wife accused him of being not much different than the guys he chased, "You're all players."
Some aspects of the pilot are weird. The show can't seem to decide whether it's goofy or dark. The story line is dark. There's a partner who gets blown up, another close friend who's crooked, etc ... but then there's Philip Michael Thomas playing a very annoying, weirdly goofy character with multiple accents and an overreaction to the alligator, yes, alligator that Crockett keeps in his boat.
My memory was Tubbs stopped being so goofy and annoying. They went for glamour and slickness and darkness, and stopped trying to be funny. That's the template I remember.
Funny how, in memory, the tone of Miami Vice
seems so clear, but from the pilot, it looks like they were flailing.
Couldn't help a few story editing notes. Next time you're going to blow up someone's partner, don't
have him tell the hero about his pregnant wife. It's a dead giveaway, like the guy in the hero's platoon who shows the hero a picture of his kid. Have them get in a fight. Then the hero can feel guilty that he got in a fight with his partner the day he was killed.
Also, it would have been far more interesting if we had not
known that Tubbs was a legit cop from New York looking for revenge up front. It would have been far more in keeping with the show (i.e. the show that MV later became) if we hadn't been sure until after
Crockett finds out he's not who he says he is.
But I guess the ship has sailed on that