Hit or Sh**: The CW’s FREQUENCY
In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.
I cannot, in good conscience, recommend a show that uses Oasis’s “Wonderwall” unironically in its pilot episode. For those of you curious about the television adaptation of Dennis Quaid’s 2000 sci-fi time-travel thriller, FREQUENCY, find something else to watch this season. Besides the critical song-choice error within the first 10 minutes, the show’s opening is uninspired, and the chemistry between the father and daughter characters comes across as uncomfortably romantic.
The show’s premise: NYPD detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) begins communicating with her dead father, Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith), via an old ham radio in order to solve crimes. It’s definitely a must-see if you’re a radio fanatic as it features a lot of interesting kit that you will recognise and even be inspired to look into further. For example, you might want to find the best ham radio money can buy and try to replicate some of the more exciting scenes yourself. In the tale, the version of Frank that Raimy is communicating with is alive in 1996, and her interactions with him impact her real-time 2016 life. Sounds kind of silly, but okay, it’s pretty much verbatim from the movie, which performed decently at the box office. As Raimy attempts to make her father less dead in 2016, other lives and relationships become jeopardized in her wake (surprise!).
Quality time with Dad
Despite being a fan of showrunner Jeremy Carver’s work on SUPERNATURAL, FREQUENCY begins on the wrong foot with an ominously overdone voiceover of Raimy vaguely explaining her daddy issues before a disorienting and unnecessary flash forward into a sex scene between Raimy and her boring British boyfriend Daniel (Daniel Lawrence), with whom she has less chemistry than with her father (yikes!). If you’ve managed to hang on through those first few minutes, you will quickly be deterred by the epic soundtrack faux-paux.
FREQUENCY blasts “Wonderwall” at approximately 9:48 minutes in with no solid justification — and if you’re going to deliberately choose to use one of the most overplayed songs of the last 20+ years, there needs to be good reason. Even if it’s an attempt to set the tone as 1996, it’s ineffective, as “Wonderwall” is a radio constant to this day, and it’s not as if it has any particular relevance to the setting of Queens, New York. This actually surprised me, because the CW usually has on-point song choices, even in shows like VAMPIRE DIARIES that have already run their course, topically. To use “Wonderwall” haphazardly without acknowledging what a joke it’s become in popular culture seems particularly out of touch.
This is not what you want me to be thinking while watching your very serious show
But if you make it through “Wonderwall,” then today is gonna be the day that you experience two actors who should have been cast as romantic leads attempting to be in a cross-time father/daughter relationship. Their chemistry is undeniable, it’s just misplaced, which might have to do with the fact that in the original movie, those characters are cast in a father-son relationship. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing written into the script that seems intended to give this relationship a romantic vibe, but the age of the characters and the intensity of the delivery has you feeling heat instead of fuzzy warm family feelings. Frank and Raimy are around the same age because of the time warp, so when he calls Raimy “Baby,” it sounds a bit off. It’s also a stark contrast to the complete lack of “umph” you feel from Raimy and her boyfriend, which makes it obvious and hard to unsee. Please, we don’t need an entire fandom devoted to shipping Raimy/Frank. Stop this before it gets out of hand. I see you internet, I see you.
Way too many sparks flying between this pair to be kosher
Steer clear of FREQUENCY unless next up on your playlist is “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind, and you call your boyfriend “Daddy.” If you want a time-warp thriller, you can always throwback to the original movie.
FREQUENCY airs on Wednesdays on The CW