Im going to say this, and dont take this the wrong way because i enjoy critisim, but dont all superhero stories have fantasy elements attached to them?
Of course! So please understand that I'm not prejudging or criticising this show intentionally before its release, as the release will show how the show really is. What I was trying to say - and clearly didn't do very well - was that at the moment, I'm not sure how well integrated all of these elements will be, and how necessary they are for the show. That doesn't mean I'm gonna think it's horrible before I read it ( ) but just means I can't be sure until the script comes out.
This pitch does sound real cool, but my biggest worry is that the world of gritty superhero-isms feels like it contrasts with the fantasy elements. I like the idea of hoards of the undead, but adding Vampires and Androids along with it just sort of makes the pitch feel like an unmixed pot of random ideas.
On the other hand, Archer and Red sound like awesome characters, with really intriguing story ideas I can't wait to see on screen.
To be honest, the only way I can make a fair judgement will be to read the pilot and see how well intigrated everything is but until then I'm unsure.
So, Avery Strange... This Pilot was, in my opinion, strange as it had some great moments and some beats that I no doubt feel could be improved. I'd first like to point out there were quite a few SPAG issues, but this is all something that could be fixed pretty easily, so I won't dwell on it.
The first thing I really like in this pilot is the distinct characterisations. All of your main characters are likeable yet unique, and the friendship between Fish and Avery is truly special, with a definite feeling that they have been friends for quite a long time. I commend you for that, as characterisation was incredible.
I loved some of the mysteries being started here, and the idea of a Spirit causing people to commit suicide is very intriguing, and had me on the edge of my seat. There's an air of originality floating around this series that shouldn't exist. The series should feel like it's been done a thousand times, because it has, but it doesn't. Again, I can only compliment you for that.
I'd totally (and respectfully) disagree with the V.O. being too much, as I personally felt they really added to the script. It helps to give it a slightly more fresh and light hearted tone, which were no doubt some of the strongest moments in the episode. In my opinion, keep the voice overs and make them a large part in your series.
My real problem comes with the ghost side of this story. I personally feel it wasn't executed incredibly well, and there was no feeling of amazement when we first saw the ghost. Everything on the ghost side felt like a mid-season story, instead of the story introducing Avery to the world of ghosts. I do think that could be worked on.
Also, more insight into Avery's dad's career would have really helped to create more of a divide between the pair, and I can't help but think the dad would own ghost books that Avery could read without having to spend $40 on one.
Overall though, it's worth taking into account this is Draft 1, with a lot of work to be done. This Pilot is solid, and in my opinion should definitely be picked up. Thank you for spending time writing it!
I'd give a really long detailed review, but I think Jack has said most of what I intend to.
The script, no doubt about it, has an awesome premise, and you can sort of feel the potential as the script goes on, but for me I feel that you never really hit quite what it could be. By this, I mean that I think almost every character beat had the potential to be quite good, but allot of it didn't really work.
I think, and you'll probably hate me for this, you should have a go at making this a full 45 minute episode. Fleshing out all of the characters before the incident will make everything after so much more powerful, and will allow you to create more realistic character reactions. I think the ideas for this episode were just too big for one episode webisode.
An example of a moment that I felt sort of came out of nowhere and felt a bit strange was when Maddie, despite Ella being back, says something along the lines of 'You stole my boyfriend!' I feel like I've met plenty of less than pleasant people, but I just don't think a character who can say that about another person can be at all likeable, and I don't think it was very realistic.
Don't give up with this series; the potential is there and the possible character beats are very cool, but you just need to keep working on making them effective and more hard hitting. This script, in my opinion, needs to follow Ella but give more of an insight into the mind-set of the other characters. Then we can understand why Maddie says what she does, and why all of these characters act like they do.
I look forward to the second draft!
P.S. I quite like the name Quentin. Seems to suit the character.