“Reba” and “Living With Fran”: A Duet of Haikus.
Reba’s always mad-
being ginger in Texas
can’t be easy.
OW. Jesus Christ, Fran!
How is your voice WORSE here? HOW?!
Thank God for Awesome.
So, for our pilot project here at AllTheTV, we put on our best mushroom shirts, comically 90s skateboarded over to our TVs, and watched the pilot two-parter of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, Eric Balfour and all.
The one big thing gained from this experience? Even shows that get as awesome as Buffy did can start out rough.
See what I mean? But beyond the dodgy makeup work and those fun 90’s fashions
the Buffy pilot’s got a bunch of problems. Most notably, the Jesse situation, which just makes everyone involved seem like an awful friend or an awful Eric Balfour. Willow’s complete nonchalance at his death is just such a strange moment, it’s almost like the show realized all that was a problem and was trying to get us to deinvest in Jesse, but it just ends up looking bad for everyone involved. Then there are plot points like Buffy’s magical fence-jumping but not door-shutting superpowers which disappear from the show after the pilot, thankfully. Basically, for how incredible the show got, you wouldn’t be able to guess from the pilot.
But you might have an inkling. While Matt and Caroline weren’t necessarily going to “buy” based on the pilot, I know personally I was fully prepared to, if only because some of Joss Whedon’s dialogue does show that promise of the show to come (“Don’t you have an elsewhere to be?” is a personal favorite). But, at the same time, for every “What’s your childhood trauma?” there’s Mysterious Douchebag Angel whispering “Good luck” to an empty mausoleum, so I don’t know.
Other things learned from the Buffy pilot:
•Nobody cool has Epstein-Barr anymore
•Try not to make it so your big bad is stuck in an underground cave. That light flatters no one (and no one’s makeup job).
•Pilot cliffhangers involving the title character possibly not surviving have super-high dramatic stakes. Will Buffy The Vampire Slayer die in episode 2? Tune in to find out!
•Buffy’s got a pretty fly nail game (Or at least Matt says so on the podcast)
Basically, even for fans of the show like us at AllTheTV, this pilot is pretty weak. But, if you’re like Kayla and you watched Charrrrrrrmed instead of Buffy (aka you’re the worst), don’t let the pilot stand in the way of the amazingness to come down the line.
[Next Week: WB Double Trouble- Reba and Living With Fran]
So as promised, we at All the TV watched the pilot episode of The WB’s Charmed. Despite all the snark, as far as WB shows go (and they do go pretty far), this one was kind of a big deal. It did last eight seasons after all. That’s almost as many as Brenda
Walsh Hampton’s breakout hit, 7th Heaven.
And sure, it’s easy to forget that this:
all started with this:
On second thought, that’s kind of a natural progression. But not the point.
The point is what we all learned from the “Something Wicca This Way Comes.” And that’s that Charmed’s first episode — and season — is pretty boring. The lawmen cannot get it, and neither can the Charmed Ones. That never really changed as the show went on (unless Julian McMahon’s character Cole Turner counts — the District Attorney would be a “lawman,” right?). The wardrobe hadn’t reached vag tat-revealing (safe for work, but ridiculous MS Paint) levels yet, but seeing as how Piper Halliwell’s wardrobe in that last screencap (and those bangs — Lea Michele, she is not) is questionable at best, it’s no surprise she went on to spawn mother of the Ariest of Them All.
We also learned that not all puns are clever or fun. Which is why Charmed will forever be Charrrmed! — and other variations — in our All the TV hearts. The writers had the audacity to title an episode that; they need to learn.
I, personally, learned that hairless cats are good for nothin’ types of brothers. Silly witches — why are they trusting cats that scurry away in the face of danger to protect them? Or when it’s time to pay their bills (bills, bills).
And as mentioned on this week’s podcast (which, if nothing else, had a pretty good Charmed discussion, far less rambly than this), neither Nate nor Matt had never seen an episode of Charmed before this and probably won’t be continuing with the series, unless they drunkenly watch “Charrrmed!” or we all decide to watch the Season 4 premiere — where Rose McGowan rolls up all illegitimate child storyline-like — for the pilot project. Kayla and I had already seen every episode, so there’s nothing we can do about that. But Caroline saw the potential for the show to be both good and to fuck itself over, and really, that’s all Charmed is in the end — squandered potential.
But at least that means there was potential in the first place, right?
[Next week: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Welcome to the Hellmouth”/”The Harvest”]
P.S. One thing that wasn’t apparent in the pilot but would come to be a staple of Charmed (besides the lack of continuity and near inability to tell a story with shades of grey) was the guest appearances (some even uncredited) of then unknown actors who are now kind of big deals. Off the top of my head, Zachary Quinto (definitely uncredited as a warlock, but not the kind of warlock whose voice gets autotuned — we’re talking post-pilot villainy here), Jon Hamm (as pictured), Amy Adams, Daniel Dae Kim, John Cho, Rainn Wilson, Eric Dane, Misha Collins all had guest appearances on the show, and that’s not even the tip of the Charmed (so, triquetra-shaped?) iceberg. Watching the series would almost be like playing the “Hey, It’s That Guy!” game, only you’ve got very recognizable Academy and Emmy award-nominated actors thrown into the mix.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered 14 years ago today, which means it’s time to start my 2011 re-watch of the complete series in all its endless glory.
The best part of WB promos is that the voiceover guys are the goofy, need-to-prove-themselves younger brothers of the always dire cable voiceovers (..can you imagine that dinner table? “TONIGHT! David is defrosting PEAS in the MICROWAVE because THAT’S ALL HE KNOWS HOW TO DO.” Just me? Okay.)
Anywayyy, back on topic: happy belated, Buffy. You were great, and then you weren’t, but you were always greater than Charrrmed! and that’s what’s important.
The WB Reject Project: Pepper Dennis
In 2006, The WB aired a television series starring Rebecca Romijn (just after she stopped rocking the Romijn-Stamos, natch) as the eponymous Pepper Dennis, a big fish in a small television journalism pond. Hilarity, of course, ensues as a post-Ally McBeal/pre-Cougar Town Josh Hopkins swoops in as the new lead anchor at her news station. Spoiler alert: sparks fly!
Sadly, Pepper Dennis only lasted for 13 episodes. But hey, it was the last new WB series ever, and that means something.
Reasons this show should’ve never been canceled:
Reasons this show was canceled:
So should you bother watching this WB reject? Yes. (Luckily, all of the episodes can be found on Youtube, right here.) There’s still so much more to “love” about this series that I haven’t even gotten into. But you should get into it. And you should report back with thoughts, comments, and concerns.
I’ve started my own Tumblr TV blog! *pause for applause* Right now, all there really are are my past reviews, but I’m nothing if not ambitious, so I’ve already got a bunch of stuff in store for all of you.
Just look at all the tags on the sidebar!