Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilot Inspektor Tim: Unforgettable

The show: Unforgettable, Tuesdays on CBS

The premise in ten words or less? Detective with photographic memory.

Any good? Unforgettable is easily the worst drama pilot I've sat through in the last two weeks – one of the worst I've seen all year – and, unlike Ringer, it doesn't even have the decency to be bad in an amusingly zany fashion. This is Generic Cop TV 101; soft-brained, zero-ambition pabulum ladled out from the CBS procedural assembly line with a sneer and a "fuck you America, here's the shit you like!"

The protagonist is Carrie Wells (played with resounding "I have successfully hit my marks and delivered my lines"-ness by Poppy Montgomery), a former detective with hyperthymesia, meaning that she can remember every moment of her life with photographic clarity, except, of course, the day her sister was murdered, the one case she can't solve. But the cops need her help on a murder, so she's back. The main cop is Al, played by Dylan Walsh, and in the very first scene – the very first scene! – between Carrie and Al they drill in with alarming assertiveness that will make you cry in the shower later that there's an EPIC ROMANCE on the horizon between the two. Because lord knows you've failed at making a pilot if you don't establish an EPIC ROMANCE on the horizon.

Carrie's memory skills are depicted by scenes where we cut between Poppy Montgomery thoughtfully furrowing her brow and then walking through her own memories in frozen time, looking around at things she may have seen with her peripheral vision. It's kind of stupid and absurd, but it's definitely better than the overwritten scene earlier in the episode where some old guy quizzes her about what happened on March 27th, 1998 and she rattles off a litany of facts. That was some seriously rancid shit.

This is shorter than my other reviews because there's really nothing to say. Outside of the visually and dramatically inert trips into memory land, absolutely every single aspect of this pilot is identical to every sloppy, lazy police procedural episode you've seen since time immemorial. Visit the crime scene, police station, flat "witty" banter, a couple red herrings, questioning witnesses and suspects, final predictable twist, half-assed action scene, rinse and repeat every week. It goes without saying it's going to be a monstrous hit, because it asks absolutely nothing of its viewers, even by CBS standards.

Will I watch again? Fuck no. Life's too short to spend watching episodic police procedurals even if they aren't this stupid and bland.

Premise: D

Execution: D

Performances: C-

Potential: D


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