Amazon has their new pilots available for free viewing. So far, I’ve watched two of them.
Mrs. Nat’s TV was correct when she pegged Mozart in the Jungle as having a taste of the beloved Slings & Arrows behind it. This time, it’s an symphony rather than a theater group that is facing changes, but it’s got that very insider-y, real-except-we’re-exagerating-ourselves-to-be-kinda-epic feel to it. Clearly not a cheap piece to produce (lots of sets, known actors like Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters, and in the lead, Saffron Burrows), it didn’t catch me up the way Slings & Arrows did, but if it goes to series, I’ll definitely try a second episode to see if it grows on me.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street felt like it specifically wanted to be The Adventures of Pete & Pete; it’s a narrated story of a group of children in a setting that was basically our suburbs with these fantasy elements worked in (and by the way, that’s a genre I’ve done a couple short stories of in prose, so it’s one I have a taste for.) Alas, where, Pete & Pete managed to have a gentle sense of whimsy and winging it, of not taking itself too seriously (perhaps encouraged by some of its cheap production values. This all feels much more calculated and thus much less fun. Calculated and slick can work in these regards (see: Pushing Daisies), but you gotta have some real magic that this pilot doesn’t show.