A lot has changed since the virulent strain of zombie media first made the leap from movies to the small screen, but we are nearly a decade in from day zero of the zombie apocalypse and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to find the cure any time soon.
In the early days of The Walking Dead, there was nothing quite like it. Viewers being able to spend more than two hours with the protagonists before they either succumbed to the zombie horde or found a way to live peacefully with their zombie best friend for the rest of their days? Who wouldn’t be compelled to see average human beings struggle against the living dead and continuously persevere? There have been a handful of shows that have tried to pry the baton from The Walking Dead‘s hands (including a spin-off), but like the creatures it is named after—the show continues to trudge along, even after it had been pronounced dead by many professionals. So, while the zombie copycats might have stopped rising from the pile of dead ideas in the last few years, the virus has mutated in ways that we might not have thought possible in the early days of the outbreak.
The zombie mutagen has transformed into everything from zombie medical examiner to zombies dealing with racism to whatever it was Z Nation was, and now? Now, we’ve got a small suburban family trying to stick together while mom has developed an insatiable hunger for human flesh and the delicious, meaty organs that lie beneath.
Outside of Charlie Day and Danny DeVito, the gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has pretty much kept to their own show. Sure, Rob McElhenney found his way onto Lost for a moment and Glenn Howerton had a handful of episodes on The Mindy Project, but for the most part—the gang has always seemed content just being the gang.
That was true, anyway, until Kaitlin Olson decided to branch out from Philly with The Mick.
During the first “golden age” of television, screens across America were dominated by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone and the myriad of “Playhouse” and “Theater” programs—which makes it hard to argue against anthology series being the king of the ’50s. This was probably in part due to the radio plays that ruled the airwaves utilizing a similar style of storytelling. The anthology series held on strong for quite some time, but seemed to have all but faded in the last few decades preceding of the 21st century.
All of that seemed to change in the last few years as the style has gained moment with series such as American Horror Story, Fargo and True Detective. While the genre has adapted in most cases to allow for season-length stories, the one-off story style of Twilight Zone and its kin still exist in shows like the recently returned Black Mirror and the subject of this review, Easy.
Amazon has done an excellent job building up their original programming catalog over the last few years, bringing us fantastic titles such as Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, and Red Oaks to name a few. And while I don’t think the voting is taken into account by any means, I do really enjoy the Amazon Pilot Season as a means to establish hype for their upcoming programming.
Seeing as Fleabag was an acquired series from the UK’s BBC Three, I didn’t feel that initial connection to the series. That connection that I have in the past, for the originals that I had spent months anticipating from pilot to full season order. What I did find after giving Fleabag a chance was something both enjoyable and confusing.
I’ve been struggling to write this review for quite some time.
Michael Schur has made a career out of making workplace comedies nobody knew they wanted and with Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine being the breakout hits that they were, it makes sense that expectations would be high for his next project. The Good Place is not the typical fare one might expect to be served by Schur, however.
Instead of a comedy about an otherworldly government employee trying to manage their corner of “heaven”, we are offered a show about a woman who has found herself at the beginning of her afterlife and she might not deserve to be there. Though, I would not be surprised if there was an original draft of The Good Place out there told from the former’s perspective with Ted Danson as the lead. I probably would have watched that show too.
Note: The first two episodes of The Good Place aired together as a one-hour premiere, so I will be reviewing both episodes as they were delivered—as one complete package. Keep this in mind if you’ve only watched “Pilot” and not “Flying” as well.
I’d like to take a moment here before I start this review to say that I appreciate when a series makes the effort to name their pilot episodes something other than “Pilot”—unless of course, the first episode of your show has something to do with an aviator of some sort (see: Lost). I suppose there is something to not naming your chickens before they get a full series order, but I find that I am more excited to watch a pilot that has an actual title and that probably is reflected in the way I review things, too.
Speechless‘s “P-I-PILOT” isn’t too large of a step away from the widely-used premiere title, but it definitely deserves credit for adding a twist to the classic to match the premise of the series. Even if you know nothing about the show, if you were given the series name along with the episode name I am pretty certain you’d be able to surmise the general nature of the sitcom I’m about to talk to you about.
So, let’s talk about “P-I-PILOT”.
There is a problem in television (and film) where people get typecast after a strong performance in a particular role and they are stuck with offers for the same sort of characters for, potentially, the rest of their career. But, is it still a problem when you’re creating the same characters for yourself year after year? If Adam Sandler can break records while making uninspired movies with his friends, I am sure Kevin James can find some modicum of success doing the same on television with Kevin Can Wait.