Today I watched a pilot screening that was awful on not one, but two levels:
1. The show itself was bad.
2. Even worse, the “big picture” concept being floated was terrible.
The show was tentatively titled Soulmates and it revolved around the concept of reincarnation. On the surface you might think “Hey, that’s a workable idea for a TV series.”, but oh my was the execution terrible.
The show is about a hypnotherapist (female, attractive) who takes on a client that looks hauntingly familiar. She hypnotizes him and when it’s over he acts like he’s waiting for her to start. Strange reaction, and it confuses her, but we hear no more about why for the rest of the episode. She has a dream about the both of them together during WWII just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I know that’s when it was because of this golden line of dialog:
“Come on, even Tojo would never attack a main military base on a Sunday.”
And no, I am not making that up.
Eventually they get together, but he turns out to be a mystery wrapped in an enimga. Of course after they’ve been together for a while she muses that he shouldn’t be her patient any more (duh), but with some very mild argument he convinces her that hey, it’s ok, he won’t tell anyone. During the next session he confesses that he’s killed a man, but remembers nothing when he comes out of it and doesn’t know he’s said that.
Later, she follows him and stumbles across some ultra high tech digs where a security guy puts a knife to her throat and asks why she’s there (funny they didn’t have the door to this highly sensitive location locked). Romantic interest runs up and diffuses the situation with some lame story to his cohorts about her surpising him on his birthday. It was stupid, trust me.
She’s confused, takes off to Hawaii to get away from things and runs into a guy at the airport that was also in her dream. Oh, amazing coincidences abound in this little gem. She then gets in a cab with a driver that of course, is connected to her boyfriend’s operation.
Turns out she runs into a reincarnation expert at her hotel (I didn’t know there was such a thing as reincarnation experts) and he takes her through some exercises where she recalls more of her past life. Seems her boyfriend committed the murder in the time period she dreamed about, and the guy he killed was her (at the time) fiancee, who happens to be the shoe salesman that she ran into at the airport that isn’t really a shoe salesman….
Let’s just cut to some of the overt badness displayed here… These three people’s past lives were only 60 years ago. To me that’s WAY too close to present time for a reincarnation story. Do I even need to mention that these three people looked exactly the same as they did in their previous life? Neat trick that, given different parents and all. Typical low-end TV series lack-o-logic. Then there was the music… felt like it was pulled from a bad afternoon soap opera.
But I’m saving the best for last, which happens to dovetail with item number two above… The show was extremely choppy and abrupt in it’s editing. Scenes ended almost in the middle of sentences (at least that’s how it felt). My assumption was that they took a one hour drama and edited it down to 30 minutes for the pilot presentation.
Wrongo! It turns out that studios are floating the concept of half-hour drama series, and I’m here to tell you that is a Bad Idea. There’s just not enough time to move a story forward and you feel like you’re being rushed. It was very confusing and it felt like they were trying to cram 10 lbs of potatoes into a 5 lb bag.
In my subtle style I cast my vote and opinion of the whole thing, and apparently the vast majority of attendees shared my opinion. Hopefully this is one series, and concept that will be killed before it makes it to the airwaves.