Tag Archives: pilot review

First Look Review: The Exorcist

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Alan Ruck and Geena Davis in THE EXORCIST. (c)2016 Fox Broadcasting/Jean Whiteside

A dark an eerie take on the timeless cult horror flick pits Geena Davis against a demonic force that has set its eyes on her family.

Joining the ranks of the ‘reboot’ fad, The Exorcist has a more tender ground to tread on than others within the field thanks to its cult fandom background.  Considered to be one of the scariest films of all time, the 1973 movie of the same name produced an iconic film filled with memorable quotes and scenes (a 360 degree head turn anyone?) that have been done and redone so many times that this new incarnation has to be very careful of not to try and out-do or recreate what has been done and done well.

Thankfully, in this new outing for The Exorcist, it leaves little opportunity open for fans and viewers to mock or gripe.

Taking the lead (and bringing in some worthy star power) Geena Davis plays Angela Rance, a religious upper class working mother who is concerned that the noises and strange occurrences happening in her home might be more than just your everyday easy to explain happenings.  Her husband Henry (Alan Ricks) is a former version of himself due to a workplace accident, her eldest daughter Kat (Brianne Howey) is dark and depressed after a tragic accident that killed her best friend while youngest daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka) is a care-free and easy going young woman with the world at her feet.

Concerned that troubled Kat may be ‘under the influence of a demon’, Angela asks local priest Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) to do a cleansing of her house though Tomas’ spiritual demons find him playing cat and mouse between a concerned mother worried her daughter is possessed and another priest, Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) who has very close ties to the world of exorcisms.

What ensues is a stylish and slick tale about religion in the modern day versus the barriers provided by old-school religion.

At an hour long, the first episode doesn’t feel rushed or have too much crammed into it though there lies a problem in that you begin to question how Angela is so convinced there is a demon in her house when we are not actually privy to any demonic activity (the only real signs is through her telling Father Tomas about cupboards and chairs in the kitchen moving about) and the scene where Father Tomas and Father Marcus meet – via demonic children filled dreams is semi-sketchy to say the least but one could say it’s divine intervention from a higher power to bring the two together.

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We do catch a glimpse of this demonic force, though it’s not until the end of the episode and provides one of the best surprise plot twists presented in a pilot in some time and it’s not the series only card up their sleeve.  The big reveal comes towards the end of episode five that will have those who know the movie literally gagging with excitement about what’s to come.

The Exorcist  begins Sunday December 4, 8.30pm on Showcase.

Pilot score: 4.5/5

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Pilot Review: Code Black

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Marcia Gay Harden leads new medical drama Code Black (c) CBS 2015

Medical dramas are a staple on television and have been for years.  From M.A.S.H to Chicago Hope, ER to Greys Anatomy and some other ones in between.  They’re like your cop/crime procedurals that infiltrate our TV listings but sometimes there’s a bit more blood and a bit more drama but in the end, there’s nothing really new or exciting about them.  Code Black (starting August 25th, 9.10pm on Channel 7) attempts to throw out everything we know about medical dramas and smears it with added blood for good effect.

Code Black follows the hectic work lives of doctors and interns at Angels Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles where on numerous occasions the patients outnumber the staff and resources available – hence the title Code Black.  Even in the opening scene we’re informed “while the average ER goes into code black five times per year, Angels Memorial hits that level 300 times per year.

For those familiar with the array of medical dramas that have been televised, the opening scenes of Code Black may feel a little familiar with Senior ER nurse Jesse (Luis Guzman)  going through the motions of introducing four new interns (including Bonnie Somerville as Christa and Benjamin Hollingsworth as cocky Mario) to life at Angels Memorial – what to do, what not to do and how not to kill patients before Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden) whips through the ER like a medical genius hurricane informing the crew that a “Code Black” is imminent.

While your usual shows like Greys are full of pristine hospital wards where everything is white and sterile and most staff can maintain their ‘inside voices’ while spewing out hospital speak, Code Black is full of shouting, yelling people moving very fast… and  blood stained floors saturated by unflattering hospital UV lighting.  It’s a major contrast to what we know but also feels very ‘slap-in-the-face-we’re-different-ok?’

As the story goes, Code Black is a hectic show with lots going on.  Leanne is dealing with a traumatic past, Christa’s personal demons involving a close to home death cloud her judgement and Mario’s over inflated ego mix right into the crazy world of week to week cases – and there’s plenty of those too.  To pull off the Code Black feel, the pilot alone features seven cases among a myriad of background patients and a waiting room literally overflowing with more medical professional seeking members of the public suffering from ailments ranging from common colds to broken limbs.

A major play that Code Black has going for it is that while there is sooooooooooo much going on, unlike our beloved Greys Anatomy residents, there is no time for Code Black staff to bang each other in medical supply rooms while wondering “does he really like me?  Like really like me?”   And while sex between docs is on the down low, there is still a few hints of flirting among each other, but thankfully it doesn’t register on the McDreamy scale that Greys forcibly pushed onto us.

Code Black begins 9.10pm, Thursday August 25th on Channel 7.

Pilot Review: Shades of Blue

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Liotta and Lopez struggle with right and wrong on Shades of Blue. (c) NBC 2016

Premiering Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel is a brand new police crime series that sees all-rounder Jennifer Lopez go toe-to-toe with screen veteran Ray Liotta.  Titled Shades of Blue, the series delves into the corruptness within a Brooklyn police department led by Liotta’s Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.

What starts out as a cover up involving a skittish rookie with a touchy trigger finger and a drug dealer playing video games quickly evolves into an all-out undercover operation involving Lopez’s cash strapped Harlee Santos against her tight-knit crew of officers.

Harlee must find the line between protecting those she works with, her own family and giving the FBI what they need.  It’s not an easy task for Harlee as Wozniak is quick on the mark to note a mole within his crew.

As a whole, Shades of Blue doesn’t really bring anything new to the police procedurals that have flooded our screens over the years involving crooked cops but there is enough twisty plot moments within the first handful of episodes that actually keep the show slightly riveting.  Especially with the question of how much information on her crew Harlee keeps to herself and how much she hands out to the FBI while Wozniak is on the hunt for the mole in his crew.  Sadly though, once you’re past episode three, the series begins to stray away from its main story and offer up filler weekly cases and a somewhat unnecessary look into Harlee’s home life and her unruly teenage daughter.

Liotta, playing crooked cop dedicated to his team, is in his element here.  He tears through every scene he appears in, ready to lay some smack down and dole out some tough talking. While it works for Liotta, he is easily outshone by star Lopez…but not in a good way.

The ‘real’ problem with Shades of Blue is in fact Lopez herself.  It’s not that she is a bad actress or over-acts or anything like that because actually Lopez does hold her own against Liotta and fast talking Drea de Matteo (as officer Tess Nazario).  It’s that..well…it’s Jennifer Lopez.  Curves in all the right places, her perfectly tousled bob flowing effortlessly in the breeze as she totes her gun and flashes her badge in gritty and grungy NYC.  If anything, Lopez is basically one big distraction through no real fault of her own.

You’ll like it if: You enjoy serialized cop dramas with a gritty feel and some interesting plot twists.

You’ll hate it if: You enjoy heavily fleshed out police/crime dramas that delve deeply into character development while maintaining a steady pace to the main story line.

Shades of Blue begins  Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel .

Pilot Review – Wayward Pines on FX

WAYWARD PINES:  Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke.  @2014 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Liane Hentscher/FOX
WAYWARD PINES: Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke. @2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX

“Do not try to leave. Do not discuss the past. Do not discuss your life before. Always answer the phone if it rings. Work hard, be happy, and enjoy your life in Wayward Pines!”

How does one describe Wayward Pines?  A Murder-mystery with plot twists and turns?  A homage to the 90s classic Twin Peaks?  A drama filled with bat-shit crazy characters?  After watching the pilot episode of Wayward Pines, it’s easy enough to state that all of the above apply though the show itself becomes difficult to truly describe without delving into spoiler territory.

Based off the novels by Blake Crouch, produced by M. Night Shyamalan and developed by Chad Hodge, Wayward Pines, more than anything, plays as a very tight, well done and intriguing shout out to David Lynch’s cult series where the ‘who killed Laura Palmer’ mystery is replaced with ‘two missing secret service agents’.

In this ten-part series, Matt Dillon stars as Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke who, following a car accident, awakens to find himself in the sleepy town of Wayward Pines, Idaho.  His phone and wallet are missing, his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) isn’t returning his calls and no one is able to provide him with answers regarding the two missing secret service agents he’s been sent off to look for.

Well no one except for barmaid Bev (Juliette Lewis) who seems to be the only of-sound-mind resident in this creepy town and secretly leads Ethan to both missing agents…one dead in an abandoned shack, the other, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) claims she’s been living in Wayward Pines for 12 years even though Ethan knows he was with her 5 weeks ago.

Instead of making us wait for answers regarding Ethan’s sanity, it’s made very clear early on that all this ‘crazy’ is not in his head and in fact, even after a severe car accident and subsequent beating, Ethan is actually in a proper frame of mind. During the first few episodes, we learn that surveillance equipment is everywhere, and that the townspeople live by a strict set of rules which forbids them from discussing the lives they had before coming to Wayward – but the bigger question remains – who is listening in?

The first four episodes don’t seem to offer much in the way of variety with each one feeling just as similar as the the previous but for those who stick around, the pay-off comes from episode five on when everything ticks into place and sets the wheel going for a crazy season back end.

It’s not far along into the pilot when that familiar Twin Peaks feel kicks in with Pine’s cast of wayward characters (played by an A-list roster) begin to be introduced.  Toby Jones as psychiatrist Dr. Jenkins, Melissa Leo as Wayward Pine’s head nurse Pam and Terrence Howard as ice-cream loving Sheriff Arnold Pope are just some of the questionable residents of Wayward Pines we meet in the first episode.

Check out the trailer below:

For this first outing, Wayward Pines is one to watch and easily become involved with.

Wayward Pines premiere’s Thursday  May 14th 8:30pm on FX (Foxtel)

Review: Empire ‘Pilot’

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Mixing the age old tale of King Lear, the mid 80’s soapie Dynasty and the modern world of r&b/hip hop music and drug money, Empire (Channel 10, Sunday 9pm) offers up a pilot episode that enters the ‘too good to be true’ category of first run shows because you know what…..it’s good!

I will admit, I was somewhat hesitant going into Empire as my scorecard of being entertained by shows with a musical back-tone (Smash/Glee) currently sits at a big Z E R O, but, Empire has notched up my first tick on my card.

This first episode, our first foray into the world of Lucious Lyon (Oscar nominee Terrance Howard) and his world engulfed in Empire Records, is glitzy, shiny, tough, fast-paced and it’s packed full with a lot of dialogue and back story that, if in the hands of anyone else besides Lee Daniels (The Butler) could have gone horribly wrong.

The setup has Lucious Lyon is at the top of his game.  His Empire Records…empire…has provided him with power (he’s on first name basis with Obama), money, and a lavish lifestyle we imagine someone like P.Diddy to be living in.  He’s looking to take Empire Records to the next level but he’s also holding onto a secret – he’s just been diagnosed with ALS – for which there is no cure, and sets out to find the rightful heir to his kingdom.

The problem here is that in Lucious’s eyes, none of his three children are the perfect fit to take the job.  Andre (Trai Byers), the eldest, is the well educated, business minded one but has zero musical talent – Lyon believes the next in line should be a musician – which brings us to Jamal (Jussie Smollett) who is filled to the brim with musical talent – but he’s gay, a topic that Lucious has never been able to accept (there’s a powerful flashback scene in which Lucious, so enraged by Jamal’s effeminate nature, literally throws him into the garbage can) so that leaves youngest Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) but he’s brash, uncontrollable and completely obliterated by the dollar bills readily available to him (remember Chris Lilley’s S’Mouse creation? – #NailedIt).

This struggle for Lucious to find an heir is put into turmoil by the untimely release of his ex wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who has spent the last 17 years in prison for a crime that provided the initial seed money to create Empire Records, and she’s looking for her share of the dosh.

As I said, there’s a lot stuffed into the first episode, but what helps keep things on track is it’s leads in Howard and Henson.  Howard’s approach to Lyon – you want to feel for him…his life’s work building this musical kingdom is about to come crashing down, but his approach to his children (he treats, respects and raises each one completely differently) and ex Cookie just doesn’t sit right, but he’s sick and dying…it’s a constant struggle between the love/hate and love to hate you’ll have for him.  Henson on the other hand, complete standout.

With Cookie Lyon, there’s no bars held here.  She works the weave, the furs, the fake nails, the leopard print and her biting words “I want to show you a faggot can really run this company“.  Seriously, said by anyone else, this would have been an ultimate disaster for any show, but Henson, as Cookie Lyon, manages to walk away from this remark with viewers clapping their hands.  There is truly no one like Cookie on television and hands down, Hanson is probably the best thing on Empire.

I’ve managed to glimpse at the first 5 episodes of Empire and the show holds it’s own after it’s impressive first hit and i’m excited to see more.  Lee Daniels set out to create his “black Dynasty” and that he sure has.  Murder, lies, back-stabbing, secrets, illness, sex….it’s all there and it’s highly seducing.  Even the music (which obviously plays a big part in Empire) could have felt a little bit too Glee, but with uber producer Timberland taking the helm, it all seems to fit in nice and snug and brings the entire production together.

Empire should be on your watch list this coming Sunday night.  Mark it down!  Sunday, March 1st, 9pm on Channel 10.

Pilot Review: State of Affairs

Katherine Heigl as CIA analyst Charleston Tucker.  Source: Privided

Katherine Heigl as CIA analyst Charleston Tucker. Source: Provided

Are we ready for another chance to hate-watch a show for it’s star?

There’s a moment in this first episode of State of Affairs where you begin to question your current feelings for star Katherine Heigl. Heigl herself, once beloved by fans as Izzy Stephens on medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, had a very public exit from the show followed by a string of mediocre rom-com movies and earned herself a ‘difficult to work with‘ moniker.

So the question begs….do we like her or not?

Now it’s been some time since Heigl has graced our screens (large and small) but she’s back as a top CIA analyst Charleston ‘Charlie’ Tucker (Isn’t that the most ridiculous name btw?) working directly with the Constance Payton (Aflre Woodard) who happens to be the President of the United States.

Both are dealing with the pending anniversary of an attack they suffered while in Kabul in which the president’s son – and Charlie’s fiancee was killed.  Charlie’s way of dealing is with the use of lots of alcohol, random sex and the wearing of mainly black clothing…but only when there’s time for it as Charlie has plenty to do.

From being a complete bitch to her therapist to briefing the POTUS on potential threats and shouting demands down the phone, it’s a wonder she finds time to even do her hair but even in the dead of night, walking down the halls in her impossibly high heels, Charlie still manages to look like she’s just stepped off a vogue cover shoot.

While there’s daily threats for Charlie and her rag-tag team of analysts to deal with, it’s those events in Kabul which propel the season along.  Just who killed the POTUS’s son?  Why can’t Charlie remember what actually happened that night?  Who is sending those mysterious and threatening text messages?  Why is she wearing big thick black rimmed hipster glasses?

To put it nicely, State of Affairs is a watered down , fluffy version of that other woman-who-protects-the-country-but-has-issues show – Homeland but where Homeland and it’s star Claire Danes aren’t afraid to get dirty (and give us that now famous ugly cry) State of Affairs keeps it’s hands rather clean.

Don’t get me wrong, it is watchable and if you stick with it, over-time, story-lines and characters develop a lot more (especially with Tuckers team members), but don’t come in expecting the quality that Homeland gives us.

State of Affairs begins Thursday night, 9pm on Channel 7.

Pilot Review: Stalker on Channel 9

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q hunting stalkers.  Source: Provided
Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q hunting stalkers. Source: Channel 9/Provided

“Stalking Stalkers is all very Stalkerish”

I’ll just come out and say this….I HATE Bones, Castle and other weekly crime procedurals where a male detective solves crimes with his female partner…..and then they marry.  You all know what I’m talking about right?  Crime solving becomes second focus behind all the sexual tension between our leads….I swear everyone was waiting for Benson and Stabler to throw off their SVU suits for wedding attire.

Okay, now that rant is over, another weekly crime procedural is coming our way, but thankfully, the likelihood of our two leads hooking up seems pretty slim (I’m 8 episodes in and zilch sexual tension exists between our two sluethy leads) leaving for a rather creepy and torturey (my new word) crime show.  Now to be blunt, Stalker wasn’t that well received by critics when it premiered back in September 2014 in the US.  Words like ‘nasty’ and ‘worst’ were used however, I still gave the series a shot, and now, it’s become a weekly must watch for me.

Starring Maggie Q (Nikita) and Dylan McDermott (Hostages), Stalker follows Lieutenant Beth Davis (Q) and new partner Detective Jack Larsen (McDermott) as they hunt down stalkers as part of the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit (or stalkers unit if you may).

Things don’t start off too smoothly for Davis and new partner Larsen, who’s just transferred from New York.  She’s heard the rumors about his affair with the wife of a superior officer back in New York and she’s not to keen on his way of breaking the ice i.e – complimenting her breasts.  Obviously it doesn’t work and actually, McDermott’s Larsen comes off as the least likable character in the pilot.

Our main story-line focuses on a masked man with a penchant for young pretty women, gasoline cans and lighters…the opening scene in particular in which a young woman (played by Pretty Little Liars’ Torrey DeVitto) screams 90’s slasher flick Scream’s opener with Drew Barrymore – but without the “what’s your favorite scary movie line”.  At the same time, keeping out heroes busy, Williamson wants to make it clear that stalking is not a one way sex street so we a also get a college guy (Darren Kagasoff, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) stalked by a former and obsessive roommate (Erik Stocklin, “Mistresses”).

Both story-lines are engaging enough though they are constantly interspersed with filler scenes involving Larsen trying to make his new boss like him (you know she eventually will) and much like most new shows in their post-pilot episodes, various aspects of the show are tightened up and back characters including Det. Janice Lawrence (Mariana Klaveno) and Det. Victor Rausk (Ben Caldwell) begin to make more of an appearance and impact.

While Stalker is mainly a weekly crime episodic (with cases fleshed out by familiar faced guest stars including AnnaLynne McCord (Beverly Hills 90210), Jessica Tuck (True Blood) and Caity Lotz (Arrow) among others), it doesn’t take long for the season long story arc to take shape that plays about in most of the episodes following.  Without revealing too much, it does involve Beth, her mysterious and traumatic past that we never really get to know much about and the return of a loonie we meet very early on.

I did enjoy Stalker and from the handful of episodes I’ve seen, it improves upon it’s pilot that was so widely panned.  You can take it as a PSA on how to avoid not being stalked/killed or take it for a pretty darn creepy show looking at a topic not heavily covered by the masses of crime shows flooding our airwaves.

Stalker begins this Sunday night (April 12th) 9:30pm on Channel 9

Pilot Review: Can Gotham Survive Without It’s Batman?

GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.   ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX

Batman prequel series, Gotham premiered last week in America to strong audience of over 8 million viewers, but how many will stick around in a Gotham that doesn’t have it’s Batman?

As it is with pretty much every re-telling of the Batman origin, Gotham starts off with a scene most familiar to fans of the DC comics hero – Martha and Thomas Wayne brutally gunned down in a dark alley by a man in a ski mask, sparing the life of a young Bruce Wayne.  It’s been done many times over though Gotham offers us  a slight twist on the traditional story with a young Selina Kyle, perched high on a ledge on the buildings above, to witness the tragic event.

One could be forgiven for thinking that following this start, the rest of the show will just go with motions, being utterly predictable and boring but thankfully, this is pretty much where the ‘what we know’ ends and we’re opened up to a new representation of Gotham, this time, living life before Batman.

The city itself in Gotham is dark and moody and filled with an assortment of unsavories, much like the Gotham seen in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film though thankfully, it’s not as kitschy. Those familiar with the world of Batman will delight in seeing nods to known characters including Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Ivy/Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and of course Bruce Wayne/Batman (David Mazouz)

There’s also possible winks to future characters including Batwoman (James Gordon’s fiancee Barbra Kean, played by Erin Richards) and even the Joker, but to-date, it’s only speculation.

A young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), recently new to Gotham, is finding out the hard way that his idealistic views of crime and punishment are no where to be seen in a police force that’s filled with corruption. He’s taken to solve the Wayne murder with drunkard partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) who happens to have connections to the underworld and local mob members who may have information that may help solve the murders.

As Gordon, Ben McKenzie starts off solidly with his woe-is-me eyes as he struggles to maintain his morality in a city that has none.  Logue’s Harvey Bullock is a weary and dreary detective, too caught up in the darkness that has enveloped Gotham.  Bicondova and Mazouz don’t really have much to do in the pilot – there’s some tears, some climbing, some ‘let’s feed stolen milk to some stray cats so you know i’m future Catwoman’ – it’s meager stuff – at the moment.

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In this image released by Fox, Robin Lord Taylor, left, and Ben McKenzie, are shown in a scene from “Gotham” (Jessica Miglio / AP)

The ones to watch however is Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot aka the future Penguin.  As power crazy night club owner Fish Mooney (Mooney is a character created for the show and not from the Batman world), Pinkett-Smith shines in pretty much every scene she’s in, chewing through lines and swinging baseball bats all whilst still maintaining perfect nails and harsh one liners.  While Gotham, it seems, is  trying to eke out the camp factor, Pinkett-Smith’s Mooney is the perfect playoff, possibly channeling a 60’s-Batman era Eartha Kitt.

Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot is just downright deranged.  The first moment you see him you can tell he’s got more than a few screws loose up top as he takes pleasure in being offered the chance to take a baseball bat to a thief.

Gotham is aiming high, hoping to lure in those new to the world whilst trying to keep dedicated Batman fans happy.  It doesn’t seem like an easy task..asking Batman fans to watch a show that’s about Batman but doesn’t star Batman…asking viewers to tune into another comic-come-TV-series…yet as a whole, Gotham actually works as a dark and slightly erratic drama about one man’s mission to rid his city of corruption and crime while peppering the scenery and story lines with weird and unusual characters.

Gotham premiere’s soon on Channel 9.

8/10

Pilot Review: The Mysteries of Laura

Debra Messing leads the new series The Mysteries of Laura
Debra Messing leads the new series The Mysteries of Laura

1940’s DETECTIVE COMICS OR A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH?

Is it a comedy?  Is it a drama?  Is it a hard-edged police procedural?  These are the questions I found myself asking while watching the new The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing and Josh Lucas.  Mysteries follows Messing as homicide detective Laura Diamond who is a woman with a lot on her plate and not enough time to eat it all.

Laura’s juggling a busy work schedule as a detective trying to solve murders with mothering twin boys possibly possessed by an almighty demonic force and a soon-to-be-ex husband (Josh Lucas) who can’t bring himself to sign those divorce papers.

The mix of cop show meets family comedy meets personal life drama is an uneasy mix within Mysteries that often feels jarring and forced, not really knowing which direction it really wants to focus on.  One minute Detective Diamond is resolving a hostage situation by shooting off the perps ear the next she’s wiping blood up with a baby wipe and returning a worn bathing suit before arguing with hubby about how he is never around when it comes to her demonic brats who by the way spend time peeing on each other.

If you were to separate the genres smashed into this one show, some of it would work and some wouldn’t.  Frazzled and over worked mum juggling twin brats with a less than involved husband (who also cheated) sounds like a decent drama or even dramedy.  Homicide detective trying to solve murders – it’s been done a million times over so I get why the career was thrown in, but as a whole, the murder case Laura and partner Billy (Laz Alonso) are working on and how it’s given to us is quite possibly a story line once featured in an episode of Scooby Doo and by the end, when the killer is revealed, the final result actually feels quite farcical and you’re left wondering why the need for so much focus on the cop aspect of Laura’s life, like are the writers so forced on trying to establish that yes, Laura Diamond, in 2014, is a mother and a woman with a career?

Stepping back, what does work within Mysteries is the chemistry between Messing and Alonso.  The two work great as a team and there is enough spark there to possibly push for a work romance story arc. Watching the two together felt like there could be a Castle meets Bones air about the show but that was destroyed when we were brought back into Laura’s world of cheating husbands and unruly children.

In the end, the problems seeping out of Mysteries is the tone of the show and what it brings to viewers.  Debra Messing…we all love her, though is she believable as a hard-nosed homicide detective…I’ll leave that up to you.  The family drama with a side of murder solving and over-the-top hijinks…perhaps if Mysteries was more thrilling in it’s murder cases and less on the family life…or the other way around, there could be something to work with.

Debra Messing is a win though the aimless script is a loss.

Rating score: 6 out of 10

Update: Oct 2nd – It get better.  If you managed to make your way through the entire first episode, you’ll be pleased to know that Mysteries does in fact get better.  By the end of episode 2, you’ll notice there’s a shift away from Laura’s home life with her evil twins and more focus on the crime/career/husband aspects with the show.  The weekly murder mystery is still a little kitschy but there’s an additional mix of some darkness thrown just to ground the show a little bit more.

Resurrection Reviewed.

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What’s this now?  A show about people coming back from the dead and there’s not a single zombie in sight?  Well it’s true and it’s coming to Channel 7 Tuesday night.

The first episode (airing Tuesday 8:45pm on Channel 7) starts off with 8 year old Jacob (Landon Gimenez) waking up in a rice field in China not knowing how he got there – or that it’s been 32 years since he was last seen alive.  It turns out Jacob is from a small town called Arcadia, in Missouri, America – and according to his now elderly parents, he died 32 years earlier in an drowning accident along with his aunt.

How did he come back?  Where did he come from?  Are others  like him coming?  It’s these questions that are there to hook you in and will provide for the continuing storyline throughout the series, but the answers aren’t going to to come quickly.  I’m two episodes in already and I’m no closer to finding out anything about what’s happened to these resurrected souls – where they have been, how they came back or why.

Resurrections pilot episode offers very fertile ground for plot development.  It’s a an eerie and emotional mystery that has the potential to dip it’s feet in the government conspiracy/religious/paranormal ponds while offering up some realistic modern day-to-day consequences of a child coming back from the dead (when Jacob goes off to play soccer with some local boys, their parents quickly usher the boys away leaving Jacob to play by himself.) though, I must note that there are some glaring issues within Resurrection that are glossed over and are barely even given a mention.  8 year old Jacob dies 32 years ago, but when given a smart phone, immediately knows how to change apps and use the touch screen and Jacob only asks why his parents and best friend look so much older than when he last saw them in a passing “you look different” comment to his mother.

These issues aren’t much, but you will find yourself asking the same questions.

Resurrection was a decent watch and for the most part, held my interest though I was somewhat frustrated with the lack of information and reveals coming in, but then giving away too much at the start doesn’t leave much to show for by the end.  The cast including Omar Epps amd Devin Kelley were pleasing enough and Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher as Jacobs elderly parents always add impressive elements to any work they are attached to.

Even though after watching two episodes I was never drawn to ask “What happens next?” or say “I Can’t wait for the nest episode” I can recommend giving it a look in and check it out for yourself.  While it’s got nothing on it’s French counterpart The Returned, Resurrection should have enough to keep your eye interested to find out more.

Resurrection begins Tuesday night, 8:30pm on Channel 7