*Third in a series of posts examining the Fall 2011 TV Premieres.
Things are winding down. We only have two entries this week and after Walking Dead, Psych and 30 Rock finally premiere in the coming weeks we'll be essentially done. p.s. I've already seen Psych and I can't really tell you about it but... (smiley face)
Me and House have an interesting relationship. I fell hard and fast when it first premiered and made it through the first 2 seasons solid before the weekly freak-of-the-week premise started to wane on me (oh really? It's NOT lupus again?).
So I abandoned it and it went on in my peripheral vision for a few years. Then, two season ago, I heard that Dr. Gregory House was in a mental institution being rehabilitated from his drug addiction. I was intrigued. That premiere was fantastic, and the subsequent season which showed House off the drugs and fighting to improve his life under the watchful care of a therapist was fan-freaking-tastic (Olivia Wilde didn't hurt anything either). I got back on board like we had never been apart.
Then there was last season. The first half was spent with House and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein, who I've never cared much for) in a boring and horrendously implausible relationship. Spoiler They break up, and the back half of the season shows Hosue back on the pills and acting out in ways so over the top insane that the original moniker of "Genius with bad bedside manner" is shot completely. All the progress made in the character the prior season was completely scrapped and the show as a whole just because convoluted, melodramatic and a little juvenile.
Which brings us to the premiere. House is in prison for Spoiler driving his car through Cuddy's front room in a fit of jealous rage. He's about to be released on parole but is having a hard time falling in line with the inmate heirarchy, althewhile trying to diagnose a fellow inmate. It was a cute 44 minutes (and featured the lovely Odette Annable who I know from Cloverfiled. It always makes me happy to see the Cloverfield actors working) but altogether uninspiring.
Sorry, Doc. I had vowed to stop watching this show and the premiere did little to change my mind.
Class: Kill and Bury
American Horror Story
As far as pilots are concerned, American Horror is just about perfect. Let's face it, most TV shows are either a re-interpretation of The Cosby Show, Seinfield, Friends, Law and Order, or M.A.S.H. It's not the studios fault, certain things just work and we, the viewers, expect certain things. Still, every year the networks roll out a new slate of shows promising us, for whatever reason, that it's "fresh" and "like nothing you've seen before." New Girl, they tell you, is groundbreaking because it has a female lead with male supporting players. Person of Interest, they say, is different than all the other crime serials because they stop crimes before they occur. Et Cetera, Et Cetera.
Well folks, American Horror is literally like nothing you've ever seen. Ever.
The pilot gives us just enough backstory without beating us over the head with exposition. Wife has a stillborn pregnancy. The ensuing marital issues contribute to an extra-marital affair. A repentant father eager to keep his family together moves his clan to a L.A. for a fresh start. Oh yeah, and the house they move into just happens to be haunted.
Of course, THEY don't know that. Yet. But we do. It's dramatic irony, except instead of a piano about to be dropped on a mime's head, we have a mysterious creature named "The Infantada" lurking in the basement, a cleaning lady who's a little something for everyone and a man in a rubber fetish suit lurking around and Spoiler possibly impregnating mom?
The pilot is a lot of setup, but under the crazytown tutelage of Ryan Murphey, (the Glee guy, which makes it even better) setup has never been more intoxicating. AHS is a show built on that emotion we feel when we wonder if we should look away but don't want to. On the literall sense the show is definitely M for Mature, with 2 sex scenes and 2 other sexy-time scenes, not to mention a hefty amount of Dillon McDermott au naturel. In the metaphorical sense the plot deals with emotional damage and scars and the way that human beings can act when they are motivated, for good or ill.
I still have no idea where this show is going, or how they're going to get there, but I'm curious enough to find out. I've been told by my colleagues at EW that Episode 2 is "the scariest thing you've ever seen." This IS water cooler entertainment. The show's subject material is definitely not for everyone but whether you tune in or not I personally guarantee that you'll be hearing about it.