Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Strikes And You're...


Ah, the Fall TV season.

Okay, first off, let me give you a little insight into my TV watching.   Every September, I survey the new fare offered by the networks to see what may hold my attention for 18 to 24 weeks.   I sample the pilot, but then also watch the next two episodes to make my determination whether said program is worth my fandom moving forward.

Past recent winners of this process include "The Big Bang Theory," "The Middle," and "Madam President."   If I claim one new show per season, that's good.  In Fall 2016, there seems to be one big winner which I will discuss at a later date.  (Spoiler alert: it stars Kiefer Sutherland.)   But there is also one big loser and I sadly had a lot of hope for it.

See the poster above.   "Pitch" on Fox.  A huge swing and a miss.

Naturally, you can understand why I would be initially attracted to this drama. Wow, a TV show about Major League Baseball.  With the full support and cooperation of the league.   Allegedly shot in real ballparks.   I mean, for me, this is bases loaded with none out.

Guess what?   The show fails to score.

And it should be no surprise considering the developers of this weak grounder to short spent more time addressing all the supposed requirements of a TV series in 2016.

A female lead character.  Check.

A lead character who is African-American.   Check.

A supporting character who is Hispanic.   Check.

A supporting character who is Asian.   Check.

How the LGBT requirement got passed over is beyond me.   But I'm confident that future episodes might feature the first transgendering Major League Baseball player.  By that time, I will have long since left the stadium.

So, essentially, all of the above gets thrown into the sausage maker and you wind up with...well...not even a Dodger Dog.  The end result of all this category fulfillment results in a TV show that is incredibly mechanical and non-interesting.

For those who have not been subjected to this foul pop-up, "Pitch" is about the first ever female Major League Baseball pitcher who is called up to the San Diego Padres.   Okay, right from the get go, I have a raised eyebrow.   Hey, I have nothing against this happening, but the likelihood is slim, especially given the physical make-up of the actress they selected for the role.   She looks like a stiff wind in ATT Park could blow her off the mound.

To cover the Hispanic requirement, the Padre general manager is played by Kelly Ripa's hubby, Mark Consuelos, and that assignment really comes off as gratuitous because the character is given nothing to do.  To further enhance the world as it is seen by Hollywood, three major White characters (the owner, the team manager and the girl's agent) are written as villains.  Naturally.   

While the production design does look real (although I believe there's a lot more CGI than they are letting on), it doesn't cover up the fact that the script is full of meat by-products with zero nutritional value.   They try to enhance it all by including a lot of Fox and MLB baseball announcers and reporters at every turn.  This really does nothing but get these folks some SAG cards.   Yawn.

And not content to let the baseball milieu tell its own story, the show creates a romance between the girl and one of her teammates.   Suddenly, "Pitch" uncomfortably becomes an episode of "Empire" and that's certainly not a TV role model to emulate either.   You can see some really soapy elements emerging that will take this program to an even lower level if that's even possible.

Oddly enough, buried in this inning-ending double play is the germ of a good idea.   The character of the aging catcher, played by an unrecognizable Mark-Paul Gosselaar from "Saved by the Bell," is incredibly interesting.  He's dealing with the potential of the approaching finality of his career and all the ramifications.   I'd watch his story every week because it's real and organic.   The only problem is he's in the wrong show.

Now the notion of Dodger fans always leaving a game early is really a myth.   But, in the case of "Pitch," it's only the second inning and I'm already looking to exit and beat the traffic.   Because, eventually, I think folks will be leaving "Pitch" in droves.

Dinner last night:  Hamburger and salad.


No comments: