Today I attended the Warner Bros Sydney Screenings. Every year, Warner Bros replicate their LA Screenings in Sydney, so that those who are not sent by their companies to LA to attend that year’s pilot screenings, can still get to see what Warner Bros has on their upcoming schedule. It’s a great day!
This year they presented an impressive slate of shows. “Arrow,” “666 Park Avenue,” “The Following,” “Partners,” “Revolution,” “Golden Boy” and “The Carrie Diaries.” (All Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers, copyright 2012).
I must admit I was pretty damn excited to see “Arrow.” I’d heard from people who did attend the LA screenings, or had managed to get their hands on the pilot, that it was one of the best of the crop for the season.
“Arrow” introduces the mythology behind the character or Green Arrow. Oliver Queen, billionaire son, is marooned on an island for 5 years after a catastrophic shipwreck that killed his father and his girlfriend’s sister, with whom Oliver was having an affair. He returns home with a lust for vengeance, some amazing skills and a set of epic scars and muscles. Once home, he sets about righting wrongs, seeking justice and making the fat cats who have destroyed his city, pay.
Oliver ‘Arrow’ Queen is played by Stephen Amell with Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, his ex-girlfriend, for whom Oliver still holds a flame.
“Arrow” was great. I had every reason to be excited about this one. It’s dark and mature. The characters are grown up and well written. The script has just enough wit to take the edge off the drama. The action is impressive with some fantastic acrobatics. The sets are equal parts lavish and bleak and Stephen Amell looks suitably buff and heroic. I get the sense that a lot of what happened to Queen will be told throughout the opening episodes via flashbacks. In the pilot we see via flashbacks who he was prior to being marooned on the island, the shipwreck itself and some of the conversation with his father that leads Queen on his new path as Arrow. But what actually happened to him on the island, how he got all the scars, tattoos, badly healed fractures as well as his incredible athletic skills, muscles and talent with a bow and arrow, still remains a mystery by the end of the hour. We only know that something awful happened to this guy . We also find out what his mission is and see him set himself up as Arrow, the green hooded avenger.
Those of us that are “Supernatural” fans know that “Arrow” will be the lead in for “Supernatural” on the CW’s new Super/Hero Wednesday. With “Arrow” at 7/8 and “Supernatural” at 8/9. It’s so important to have a lead in show that is not only good, but also ‘fits’. This way you can guarantee a larger portion of your audience share will flow through from one show to the next. “Arrow” fits. The level of maturity of the characters and writing and the grim nature of the story will sit well up against “Supernatural,” a show that has become a mature drama over the past 7 years. I can’t imagine how both of these shows won’t become ratings leaders for the CW. I should also mention that David Nutter executive produced and directed the pilot for “Arrow.” “Arrow” is a must see.
666 PARK AVENUE
This is one where I think I have to see the 2nd episode. It was a very piloty pilot. By that I mean there was a lot of character set up and exposition to get us to the suspenseful cliffhanger style end.
“666 Park Avenue” stars Terry O’Quinn as a Devil/Faustian type character with his equally diabolical wife played by Vanessa Williams. The pair, the Dorans, tempt people into their Upper East Side address, The Drake, which is actually 999 Park Avenue, by offering or making available to them their ambitions and hearts desires. Of course there’s a price. There’s always a price. You either have to continue to do certain tasks for the Dorans, like murder, or your contract comes due. There are also 10-year contracts apparently. We open with a 10-year contract coming due. Demons, they love a 10-year contract! Enter Jane and Henry who take up residence as the live-in apartment managers. Jane has an interest in architecture and history and the Dorans have an interest in Henry. We don’t know why yet. There are people getting sucked into walls and strange dragon mosaics in the basement, along with flickering lights and ghostly apparitions. For any of us that watch this style of show, it’s all pretty familiar.
My thoughts on this one are, it’s entertaining and well made, but could get soapy real quick. I think it might be “American Horror Story” light. You know, creepy house, creepy people, but with out the kink and rubber. It will be interesting to see episode 2, now that the premise is in play and we can get down to more plot and less explainer. “666 Park Avenue,” it’s worth checking out.
Written by Kevin Williamson, “The Following” automatically got my attention. The premise is, Ryan Hardy, retired FBI agent, played by Kevin Bacon is called back into the field when a serial killer he put away, Joe Carroll played by the always charming, yet disarming James Purefoy, escapes custody in a bloody rampage. Carroll is an ex-English professor/novelist, who killed 14 of his female students by cutting out their eyes. He has a thing for Poe. In his original killing spree, one of his students got away. Now the fear is he’s trying get to her to finish his story, which is his version of Poe’s last unfinished work.
“The Following” feels like it’s going to be a bit of a stock standard FBI, hunt them down procedural, but it’s not. Carroll is so charismatic that over his years in prison, he has gathered a following; students as such, people who will to go to any length to help him. No one knows how far his tentacles have reached into society.
“The Following” was excellent. I usually don’t dig this kind of show but Kevin Bacon is as wonderful as ever, Purefoy is handsome and creepy, it’s INCREDIBLY gory and violent and just when you think it’s all sort of wrapped up, the last 5 minutes are an ABSOLUTE CORKER. The last 5 minutes made me go, oh wow! I’m not telling you anything else. It’s just a really neat idea, really well done and though I see this as probably playing out as an episodic show with an overarching serialised plot, it’s different enough from the usual procedural cop stuff, to stand head and shoulders above it. Williamson has shown again why he is one of the best and most original writers out there. “The Following,” you got to see it just to enjoy the cleverness of the bad guy and what he has in store. Watch it…possibly with your hands over your eyes here and there.