Hit or Sh** Roundup: Fall 2016

hit or sh** roundup

Yee-haw pardners, it’s time to wrangle some pilots! As of the publication of this article, we’ve covered a whopping 38 pilots this fall! Some of them we’ve loved (FLEABAG), some of them we’ve despised (KEVIN CAN WAIT), and others we weren’t so sure about. The time has come to revisit our so-sos and offer a final verdict on whether or not they’re fit for your viewing pleasure.

hit or sh** gomorrah

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GOMORRAH (SundanceTV)

I am fairly confident that GOMORRAH is shaping up to be an impressive show, despite the fact that 20 minutes into the second episode pasta has been featured prominently at least three times (stereotypes, after all, are based on facts). GOMORRAH has all the makings of a solid, watchable show, and prefers a slow-burn style of storytelling in order to fully develop its characters. This being the case, the show definitely takes a while to get going, but tries to throw in a few gunfights and sexy times to keep audiences interested. Don Pietro proves himself to be what would happen if Walter White from the end of BREAKING BAD suddenly turned into Walter White from the beginning of BREAKING BAD as he desperately tries to maintain some modicum of control over his criminal empire, especially among his henchmen and his enemies. Ciro emerges as a schemer, brown-nosing Pietro’s son Gennaro in order to curry favor and perhaps exert his own control over the Savastano empire. Imma, Don Pietro’s wife, doesn’t yet seem to grow into the powerful Cersei-like character I hopefully envisioned her to become, but Pietro called her a lioness in one episode, so I guess that counts for something? I’d recommend giving GOMORRAH a shot, even if you’ve never been one to sit through foreign/subtitled films and media. [Steven Porfiri]

Final Verdict: Hit

hit or sh** better things

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BETTER THINGS (FX)

Despite Louis C.K.’s continued role as a creative force, BETTER THINGS steps away from C.K.’s trademark surrealism and roots itself in the harsh reality of balancing motherhood and career. Adlon’s relationship with her daughters continues to steal the show, consistently creating scenarios that perfectly highlight how difficult it is to be on either side of the mother/daughter relationship. It echoes this struggle with Adlon’s relationship to her own mother (who is adorable, oblivious, and British), adding a level of nuance one comes to expect from this show after a few episodes. Not only that, but it is outrageously funny while never losing its sincerity or stepping away from the permeating darkness at its core. My initial review expressed concern that BETTER THINGS would struggle to find its own voice, but it has discovered it beautifully. Kudos to the little spinoff that wasn’t! Adlon deserves everything that’s coming to her for this one, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. [Kate Brogden]

Final Verdict: Hit 

hit or sh** quarry

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QUARRY (Cinemax)

In many ways, QUARRY is this fall’s equivalent of INTO THE BADLANDS. It’s a cool premise with flashy execution, but carried out with the same nauseating angst you’d expect from a Shadow the Hedgehog fanfiction. The only difference here is that where INTO THE BADLANDS had robot acting and sloppy writing to match the edgelord tone, QUARRY is only cringey in the most stylistic sense. Yes, characters have “quirky,” cartoonishly embellished traits (Mac is an alcoholic who is never sober; Buddy is gay, has a pink gun, and is always singing), but they are otherwise wonderfully realized. In the same sense that I can’t denounce KNOCK KNOCK simply because it made me want to curl up in a ball, I can’t ding QUARRY, a show about assassins, for tackling its subject matter with an almost childlike glee. Love it or hate it, QUARRY is undeniably one of the strongest dramas currently on TV. [Ed Dutcher]

Final Verdict: Hit 

hit or sh** poster

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SON OF ZORN (FOX)

Everything SON OF ZORN does right is consistently offset by an equal amount of boring recycled material. The high points include about 33% of the dialogue, soft-spoken psychologist Craig, and the animation-reality blend. I’ve laughed at least once in every episode; it feels suitable for a hazy stoned viewing in the wee hours of the morning. But nothing about the show feels terribly fresh after just three episodes, and the rigid, predictable main characters never really connect. SON OF ZORN wants us to think that it has something to say about family dynamics, and even makes attempts at commentary in the fifth episode, but ultimately the show doesn’t elicit any feelings other than guilty laughter. [Dan Blomquist]

Final Verdict: Sh**

hit or sh** designated survivor

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DESIGNATED SURVIVOR (ABC)

In its first month of airtime, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR did not advance the plot beyond the pilot. The same focus on tedious minutiae that made the pilot drag has besieged the whole show. In short, it’s just boring. DESIGNATED SURVIVOR is a show that just happens to the protagonist, President Tom Kirkman. He takes little initiative and avoids making decisions until he must. It’s very difficult to make us care about someone who is basically inert, and DESIGNATED SURVIVOR is not the rare example of success in this. The pilot showed promise in its (forgive me) explosive premise, but has failed to build an engrossing story on its foundation. Like the protagonist, the series can’t seem to pull the trigger on anything. TL;DR: I miss 24. [Nicole Barraza Keim]

Final Verdict: Sh**

hit or sh** pitch

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PITCH (FOX)

A handful of episodes in and PITCH has established itself as a predictable yet moderately entertaining hour of television. Ginny rightfully falls from her history-making grace and reveals herself to be a woefully stubborn 23-year-old struggling to connect to the people in her life. I like her, I really do, but I also question her feasibility as a real person. It doesn’t help that the people introduced from her past do little to further her character development. From her brother who is selfless without explanation, to her ex-boyfriend with whom she has zero chemistry, to her estranged mother (don’t worry, they worked it out by the end of the episode), it’s just not quite clicking. The supporting cast has similar issues. Eliot is more of a joke than a character, while Blip and Evelyn’s marriage is both utterly implausible and painfully dull. While the budding friendship between old timer Mike and Ginny is incredibly sweet and grounds a show that often makes me want to roll my eyes, it only makes me wish all the other storylines were this strong. What PITCH offers is an escape into a fantasy world, and it’s only entertaining if you don’t look too closely. [April French]

Final Verdict: Sh**

Crossfader Staff

The good people of Crossfader Magazine.

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