Post by Jason T. Davis on Jun 9, 2013 14:55:42 GMT -6
Season three comes to an end tonight. I'll be watching the two hour S3 premiere of "Falling Skies" right after the GoT finale, so if I don't have time to post my thoughts of the overall season tonight, I should be doing that tomorrow.
Been a pretty good season though, I'll tell ya that much.
Post by Jason T. Davis on May 28, 2013 20:25:26 GMT -6
REVIEW: Gangland - 1.01 - "A Tale of Two Cities"
Gave this a read, and I thought it was very good! Brilliant concept, you've created characters I can really see myself getting invested in, and solid writing throughout. When you first came up with the pitch for the show (I mean the original one) I loved it. The thought of following a bunch of people stuck on an island is interesting enough (see Lost), but the twist that these people were convicts, forced out of society by the government to live out the rest of their days in seclusion. That's the interesting hook that drew me in right away. When Amin got on board and you two added the second part of the series that focused on the people still living in the everyday world, it became even "bigger," even more "engaging," and I really saw something special here. This is unlike anything you've ever written before. Wider concept. Original universe for you to play in. A more mature cast and rating. So I didn't really know what to expect. But, after reading the pilot I can honestly say that you did not disappoint.
It may have started off a little slow since you had all of these characters to introduce, but once the story (or stories) got moving, the pace picked up pretty well, and I was able to really zone out and focus in on what was unfolding in the script. Even though we jumped back and forth between the island, and New York, and Detroit, etc... I feel like there was a clean-cut, smooth order to everything. Nothing felt out of place or forced. So, when it comes to structure, I think you really nailed it. I know you mentioned that this series would have a similar format to Game of Thrones, and I can see why you said that, and hey, it works, at least for me.
I can't really decide on which aspect of the show I prefer. The on-or-off island stuff is equally interesting for me, and I really want to see how both of those worlds develop. I like what Brady said about "world-building," in regards to setting up the different areas of the island, the territories, the gangs and how they operate. That was really cool to see throughout the script.
Since you gave me a lot to work with in this pilot, I'm just gonna give you my general thoughts on some of the characters/arcs you established;
Marcus Holden - We enter the story (at least the island stuff) from his point of view. He's our hero. I think, overall, he works well, but I would have liked to see more personality from him. I like that you gave him some motivation with the "search for Carla" angle, because if that wasn't there, I imagine he'd be an extremely passive character, and a lot weaker because of it. But still, his individual voice and arc improved as the pilot moved forward. Frank and William on the other hand, really made his arc sing. Especially William, since he's probably one of my favorite characters already. There's just something honest and endearing about him (almost like some kind of potential father-figure) and that was refreshing when all we've been getting are bad guys on the island. But Marcus' last scene where he's welcomed into William's gang was a big pay off for me. Felt like the beginning of an epic journey for the character, and I can only see him getting better from this point really.
Maria, Brett, and Jonnie - They were much more in the background, or sidelines here, which is just fine because I enjoyed what we did get to see with these characters, and with so many difference characters, I know everyone can’t get the same amount of focus. But onto the characters -- Maria's a bamf. That's all there is to say about her. Hate Jonnie with all my heart, but that’s not to say he isn’t well written. The fact that I hate him means you’re doing your job right Hate aside, It'll be interesting to see how his relationship with Maria improves or worsens in upcoming episodes. The stuff with him and Brett was hard to read. Brett seems like such a nice guy, and that'll probably be his downfall on this island. That shot in the cave where Jonnie's pretty much forcing himself on Brett after beating him to a bloody pulp... I'm so glad you didn't go into complete detail. You implied it pretty well, and I understood what was about to happen. Good emotion there too.
Law and Nikki - Another one of my favorite parts about the pilot. The relationship between these two characters is like a match made in hell. I got the sense that they are sort of the King and Queen of the island, almost. They seem perfect for one another, in the worst ways imaginable, and I really can't wait to see how much damage they cause the other islanders. I really liked Nikki's line "I like to spend my time pleasing the living. The dead can't pay me back later," or something like that! It almost felt like, and especially during the end scene, that Nikki’s really the one in charge, and she has Law’s ear. I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out.
Don't know much about Nikolai yet, only that he's a bastard. Casting was great though. Unlike Jonnie, this is a villain I think I’ll love to hate, because his dialogue was quite amusing in a lot of places. He legit, sounded Russian too! I don’t know how I came to that conclusion; but there was something about the words he used. It was very accurate for me, based on what I’ve seen from tv and movies. I'm interested in seeing how his partnership with Law and his gang formed and if it'll stay strong, because he seems like the kind of man that's got a plan of his own.
Now, moving on to some of the characters/arcs I really enjoyed in the "off-island" bits;
John Clarke -- Like we entered one side of the story from Marcus' POV, we entered the other part from John's and I think, overall, you were more successful here. I connected to John right away, and once the shoot out happens and especially that moment at the hospital where he talks back at Karth; that really sold me on his character and his purpose in the show. I see him as a very strong lead, or at least a strong entry point for the show.
Catherine Rinehart -- Probably my favorite character. I think out of all the characters, she had the most unique voice. She had a lot of personality, and some of lines she delivered just cracked me up. Loved that you showed a softer, more caring side to her at the end though. That rounded everything up quite nicely, and I'm looking forward to seeing more character moments like that from her. Also, I want to know more about how she got those robotic enhancements or whatever you called them. Hopefully we get to dig into some of these characters backstory and find out what makes them tick.
Joey & Lorrie -- Their relationship was another high point for me. I like how they seem to really "get" each other. They reminded me of an old married couple. They bicker from time to time, but in the end, they know each other too well and for too long to really let it get to them. I have no idea what they have against the Shepard family though. That was confusing, and I was thinking we'd get a bit of an explanation on that by the end, but I guess we'll have to wait a little while longer to find out what's going on there.
In terms of plot development, you were able to set up quite a lot of mystery. Like the whole "Alexander" thing. I see that returning somehow. And the reveal that Carla in fact IS on the island. Wasn't expecting it at all! At least not this soon. She’s with the WRONG set of people though, of course, you could make it easy for Marcus could you? Exciting stuff, already.
Overall, I loved this pilot. You established a bunch of characters and made me care about the lot of them. Everything came together in the end quite nicely. The story with the precinct and the mysterious anti-police organization was set up nicely, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. Great opener, Chris! I'll give this a 10/10.
Random note: That little part where Frank finds a cut off finger on the shore was a nice addition, assuming it was one of the guys that got eaten by sharks in the beginning. haha! I was wondering if they would be mentioned in the episode, so I guess that was your way of doing that
Post by Jason T. Davis on May 28, 2013 15:38:22 GMT -6
Chris, that's gotta be the best opening you've ever made. Love it to death. Also, this pilot just sprung up from nowhere, but I'm not complaining. Should be a great read based on what you've told me about the show from our little brainstorming sessions. Will read/review as soon as I can!
Post by Jason T. Davis on Mar 9, 2013 22:51:49 GMT -6
Thanks for calling me out. lol! I must have forgotten all about this. I think I might have looked at the pilot, typed up a few thoughts, but was just too lazy to form a clear review. Few days went by, life called, and I let it slip away from me. Maybe I'll go ahead with these reviews some time in the future. Summer break, maybe.
Post by Jason T. Davis on Mar 9, 2013 22:25:01 GMT -6
Okay, I was waiting for a third, but I don't think it's coming. Anyway, Zoe Saldana is a great actress. Love her to death! But I think Naomie Harris is the better fit for Storm Not by a long shot though; just a hair.