All in all the day went pretty well – the lines were not too terrible though I may have just come to accept them as a fact of life at this event. Also, I didn't try for any ‘exclusive' freebies or SDCC only toys. That always helps.
After grabbing my press badge, I headed out to get a bite to eat before heading back to watch all the new Warner Brothers shows. I checked out the following previews – “Tomorrow People,” “Pet Squad,” “Almost Human,” and “The 100.” I also watched a quick preview of Star Crossed and am thankful they did not show an entire episode. Caution SPOILERS ahead – though these are only what you'll find in the pilot episodes.
Tomorrow People looked interesting even if having a basic story line that we have seen 100 times. There's a young man who finds himself struggling with strange things happening in his life. He gets confused. He wakes up in strange places. No, he's not a heavy drinker… he's special. When we meet the character, we find that he's been medicated to mask some of the symptoms he's displayed. Turns out he's part of a larger but secret group with powers and would you believe it, his father (who is believed to be a deadbeat dad) was one of them too. Then there's ULTRA, the evil empire, bent on rounding up all the super powered peeps and keeping them under control. The leader comes across as a ruthless so-and-so and even goes so far as to kill one of the super powered peeps. The audience didn't see blood but the clear intention was to make it seem as if the bad guy shot a super powered guy in the back of the head. Oh, and if you're wondering why the super powered folks don't just wipe out Ultra, it's because the new supers have an inherent INability to kill. They short circuit, grab their heads and fall down. This might generate a few plot/story issues as the show goes on but whatever, it's an interesting weakness. As you might imagine, the leader of Ultra has a connection with our hero. While it's not his father (a la Star Wars), it is his uncle (Daddy's brother). I won't give away too much more here but despite my initial misgivings about the show, I actually quite liked the pilot. When I stop scrutinizing and just enjoy, it's OK and it looks like it could be entertaining. The photography reminded me of Smallville, though that's probably just a coincidence. This first episode had a few interesting plot twists that left me feeling hopeful that the show would be a success. I'm giving this one a thumbs up and will be on the look out for the show.
Next up P.E.T. Squad – I'm on the fence about this show. It's corny, raunchy, and there were a few funny moments. I felt like some home-youtube-video makers were given a few extra bucks to make a pilot. The Paranormal and Extraterrestrial (PET) Squad is about a group of ex-community college students who are on the hunt for ghosts and, I'm sure, other weird creatures. Again, there were some funny moments but at this point, I don't see myself following this one too closely. It's just too cornball to allocate my precious, too little, TV viewing time. I'm not saying I can't watch these types of shows, just that this one didn't draw me in.
Almost Human (produced by J.J. Abrams et al) was probably my favorite of the pilots I viewed on preview night. Karl Urban stars as John Kennex, a police officer who has recently come off leave after having been ambushed and critically injured. The setting is supposed to be a not too distant future where crime rates are very high and for some reason humans police are paired with android partners (not made by Google™ though). Kennex hates the androids and while we've not explored all the possible reasons, the fact that one left him while in the middle of a firefight certainly could not have helped matters. Kennex' partner died and, as mentioned, he was critically injured in the battle (right leg blown clean off). The leg is replaced by some sort of synthetic prosthesis that yells at him to calibrate. Obviously, as a robot hater, he's struggling with his own dependence on robotic devices for his day to day life. We follow his attempts to regain his memory and watch as he's called back to work. His boss, Maldonado (Lily Taylor), wants him to work a special case likely related to his ambush. He rejoins the force and is paired up with a creepy new-model android partner. During the ensuing scenes, we see the android make Kennex angry and then be destroyed after being pushed out of a moving car. Kennex (i'm going somewhere with this) is then paired up with an older model called a DRN (“Dorian”). The DRNs were known for going off the deep end and were programmed to mimic human emotions. The episode continues after these 2 are paired up and I enjoyed the interaction between the two actors. I won't give away more of the plot but I will say that I was intrigued and will plan to add this to the DVR list in the fall. Almost Human premiers Nov 3 on FOX.
Star Crossed – this one looked really bad. All we saw was the trailer and that's supposed to be the good stuff right? Avoid.
The final show I watched on preview night was The 100. The basic premise is – the earth had a nuclear war and the folks in the space stations surrounding the planet all joined up together. The 12 joined space stations were floating there for 97 years and when we join up with them they've decided to send 100 young criminals to the planet to see if it's safe (also to reduce population because, uh oh, their are problems on the ark). This is like the futuristic version of Australia or a next gen Lord of the Flies. There may be some appeal to a younger audience but I'm going to pass on this one. The special effects were weak and I feel like I've seen this story one too many times. One of the survivors is thrashed around by some kind of mutant snake thing and the wounds literally look like someone sprinkled some fake blood on a leg. I can use my imagination as well as the next guy but it didn't even seem like they were trying. There is some redeeming quality to the story (it is a classic) but not compelling enough to place on my ‘must watch' list.
If you saw any of these pilots, what were your thoughts? I'm very interested to hear some counter arguments.