Given my slant toward The CW, I have taken the last two weeks to check out two new shows in the lineup, Tuesday night’s “No Tomorrow” and Wednesday night’s “Frequency.” Both follow flagship superhero shows for the network and both offer very different entertainment options. I usually have to take in a couple weeks of watching a new show before forming an opinion since Pilots are usually too polished. So how are these two shows delivering? The results are surprising even me.
This is the show I had the lowest expectations with. After all, I’ve been very big into The CW’s genre offerings. This is a quirky little romantic comedy, definitely not my sort of thing. They why am I loving this show so much? “No Tomorrow” definitely falls in my “major pleasant surprise” category for the fall season.
The show is still trying to find it’s footing with supporting ensemble, but that doesn’t matter right now because the two leads are that damn good. I remember Joshua Sasse fondly from “Galavant” (one of my favorite all time shows) but I wasn’t sure he could top that role. I was wrong. As Xavier, aka the hot British guy from the farmer’s market taken by a girl handling a rutabaga, he’s an enigma, but a completely fun and hard to resist enigma. He and Evie Callahan (co-star Tori Anderson) have the ideal chemistry, but they’re both very strong in scenes on their own. Anderson’s flaky yet adorable Evie is quite a character herself and ends up through her eccentricities pushing Xavier into straight man territory at times. Just at times though. Just when you think Xavier is going to play it straight, he goes an entirely different direction. I never new that having 9 washing machines in your backyard could be so fun.
I do wonder how long the concept of crossing items off a grand bucket list can go before getting stale. After all, anyone one remember, “My Name is Earl?” In this case though, I’m willing to watch all the adventures until the so called doomsday in 262 days actually happens. I love the differences between Evie’s and Xavier’s lists, yet they take on together each other’s challenges with delight. The jump off the cliff into the Pacific Ocean (aka off the most gorgeous Sea and Sky highway in British Columbia, a place I drove by while they were filming in August) has to be my favorite moment to date not because it was picturesque, but the lesson to come out of it is pretty inspired. Once you’ve jumped off a cliff like that, you can take on anything, like efficiency consultants at work. My second favorite list item? Microwaving a potato wrapped in tin foil. That’s living large and I laughed through every bit of it.
What’s mostly happening in this series though is characters are being established and I find myself interested in getting to know them. There is a good supporting cast, but they’ll easily need these 13 episodes (and probably more) to develop. The work ensemble at the Cybermart still needs some work, as well as Evie’s family and friends talking about new hot guy. The fact that Ted McGinley plays her Dad alone spells doom for a show (the “Jump the Shark” patron saint anyone?) but so far he’s been great and the well meaning yet goofy appliance salesman. I most like Evie’s ex-boyfriend, Timothy, who’s nice and sweet and…safe. As we know with this concept, safe doesn’t get you anywhere. I’m very interested to see where his story goes, as long as it’s not littered with hijinks. Less skinny jeans, more sincere scenes like retrieving the smoke alarm battery at Evie’s house. He really melted my heart. May he find the perfect woman.
I mainly like this show because its fun to watch. The other CW genre shows are weighed down in mythology and taking themselves too seriously at times. It’s nice to have an alternative after Barry Allen’s latest time traveling exploits that’s easy to watch, funny and pleasant. Two episodes in and I’m ending the program a big smile on my face. Congrats, “No Tomorrow,” you’ve earned a higher ranking on my weekly DVR watch list. I can’t wait to see what adventures come next.
Grade, Pilot and “No Crying in Baseball”, A-
I’ll admit, I never saw the film of the same name that this show is based on, but it’s my understanding this interpretation is a lot different, thus comparisons are not needed. One thing for sure, time travel is the popular concept of this TV season, and “Frequency” is riding the wave.
It really doesn’t matter though, because I was engrossed in the pilot all the way through. I loved the emotional exploration of both Raimy and Frank establishing contact via Frank’s beloved ham radio and their slow acceptance of what was happening. They both realized they had been given a gift, a second chance, bonding thanks to the New York Yankees winning the 1996 World Series. Raimy’s predictions of what happened were a little too on the nose for Frank to ignore! Raimy saved her father by warning him of what happened the night of the so called “sting” that got him killed. He took precautions by stashing a gun and lived. The entire montage of the sting, Raimy’s current day emotional meltdown, and her tearful triumph at the end was riveting! The memories hitting her of Frank being there as she was growing up, being there in the squad room to welcome with pride his daughter the cop, was the climactic emotional payoff that got me hooked.
Naturally though, as with any time story, you mess with one timeline there are others. Raimy’s fiancee suddenly doesn’t know who she is. Why? Because they met when her mother was his nurse. Except her mother is now a tragic victim of the Nightingale serial killer that she’s currently investigating, killed by him 20 years ago. Time’s cruel twist, exchanging one parent for another. It was also weird that Raimy remembered both timelines, just to show how screwed up the complications of messing with time are.
Episode two played out the story from there, with Raimy pleading Frank to try and help save her mother Julie. It played out like a procedural, showing Frank’s investigation in his timeline and Raimy in hers. They have 11 weeks to stop Julie Sullivan’s murder, and suddenly the plot for the remainder of the season has been laid out. Still, it’s not your ordinary murder investigation. By asking Frank to check out the house of one Thomas Goff back in 1996 after she did so in current time, the visit resulted in the kidnapping victim getting away and it changed history. Suddenly Thomas Goff doesn’t live there anymore, nor the shed where he kept his victims. Telling Julie what happened doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore. Raimy learns her new boundaries, what she’s doing changes time.
Unfortunately, the second episode did lose me a bit. It wasn’t quite as emotional as the pilot and the story was focused quite a lot of the investigation more than really building the characters or delivering an audience connection like the pilot did. I did like watching Frank and Julie’s agonizing talk and parting of ways, another side effect of Frank’s survival. Living has him paying a price as well. It tells us that even if Frank and Julie live, they likely won’t be going on together. The damage has been done.
I’m still very much interested in the path of this show, but I’m looking for it not to get so wrapped up in procedural elements of the mystery and focus more on the emotional struggles to the core characters. Frank is skating on dangerous ice trying to take down the captain that set him up and that story isn’t capturing my interest. The first two episodes though have tried to slowly build the suspense from beginning to end and that seems to be working beautifully.
Grade, Pilot – A, “Signal and Noise” – B-