Summer TV Roundup, Week 1
The major networks are wrapping up the traditional TV season and presenting their new fall offerings, which is the biggest signal that we've shifted from the winter/spring portion of the schedule to summer TV. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of scripted series this summer. Time to see if we can find some diamonds in the rough.
I Love Dick, Now Streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered May 12)
About: This was one of the pilots that, when I watched it, I wondered why it was ordered. And now it's a full blown series. Yet, here we are. I'm sure part of the appeal is the outlandish comedy style and part of it is Jill Soloway, a co-creator and producer on the show who is also responsible for "Transparent," Amazon's biggest hit. For the record, I'm not a fan of "Transparent," either, so I may just not be the target audience for her style. "I Love Dick" has a strong cast, including Kathryn Hahn, who is great, and Kevin Bacon, who plays the titular Dick. The premise is weird and wacky, and the pilot was, too. The second episode was even weirder and wackier, which is great if you're into the characters and plot, but I wasn't. This feels like a big swing and a miss to me. But, again, I'm probably not the target audience here.
Pilot Grade: D-
Second Episode: D-
Anne with an E, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered May 12)
About: This latest Netflix series is a co-production with Canada, where it appeared on stations in March. The series is based on the L.M. Montgomery novel about "Anne of Green Gables," and trods over some familiar material, albeit in a new way. Those who were fans of the original movies and book will likely be glad to see the series bring the story back to life. The series creator, Moira Walley-Beckett ("Breaking Bad," "Flesh and Bone") has brought a little darker, more realistic take to the world. All seven episodes of season one are available to stream. The first episode is an hour and a half, the rest are a crisp 44 minutes as we see the adventures of Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty), the little orphan girl who has to find a new home on Prince Edward Island. The series doesn't have any big names in the cast, but it focuses on telling the story in a quality way. The first two episodes were a little dry for me, but I'm not the target audience. If you were a fan of the source material, you'll likely be pleased with what's been done with this series.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+