Monday, November 22, 2004

[TV] The Days - Pilot episode

Hey, it's another family drama. In fact it could be a piss-take of fam-drams. After all there's a genius in there (see also Everwood, Joan of Arcadia, Gilmore Girls and The O.C.). In fact there's 2 (see Everwood). The Dad is having a midlife crisis (see Everwood, ... hell, see every other fam-dram ever made) and the son-dad relationship seems like a watered down version of Everwood's 'Dad wants to get close to distant son'. I love the mother-daughter relationship (if it develops into something more complex, I will have to compare and contrast it to Gilmore Girls ). Finally, it's doing the knowy pop-culture dialogue thing ... badly.

Let's take a look at the structure and see what it teaches us about the type of thrills offers. The daughter is pregnant before the opening credits roll. This is okay but I don't care about any of the characters yet. My first laugh of the entire episode comes at Commercial Break 2 when the surly-teenage-writer-genius-son (a wish-fulfilment character on the part of the series creator?) decks the father of his sister's baby, which is how the Mum finds out her daughter is pregnant just as the daughter arrives home. At CB 3 the Mum finds out she is also pregnant just as the Dad reveals he is unemployed. So, the appeal of The Days is its hyped-up soapy plot twists - every family member having a big life changing moment that collides with everyone else.

Can it keep up this pace? Is this The Lakes and we will have moved on from pregnancy and unemployment by the next episode? Or has this pilot set up a season's worth of issues, will it have more than a pilot's worth of plot points as cool as CB 2 and 3?

This is why I try not to judge TV on the basis of one or three episodes. Give a show a decent stretch - 6 eps at least - to see how it handles story arcs and character development - all that 'invisible' stuff that keeps me interested until the characters have enough backstory - and they either start pro-actively generating their own plots or they don't. That's when I make my judgment about a show.

Unfortunately I didn't record of the last five minutes of the episode. That means there are some 'format' issues about the show I'll be interested to see. Did it end in a cliffhanger? Will the next day (each episode takes place over 24 hours) be a lot further on in time?

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