Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pilot Prattle: How to Get Away With Murder

From its first preview showing Academy Award nominee, Viola Davis, sporting a short stylish haircut and a red leather jacket being a bitch in front of a chalkboard, we knew we had found our new favorite show. Sorry, Olivia Pope, there's a new gal in town, and she's taking over #TGITs.

According to early Nielson ratings, the premiere brought in 14 million views. This compares to 11.9 million for this week's Scandal premiere, the show's most viewed epiaode to date.

The show is Legally Blonde meets I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Damages with a dash of Teaching Mrs. Tingle. In short, it's Pretty Little Liars for adults.

The episode begins with four panicked law students trying to figure out what to do with the murder weapon and the dead body they have on their hands. We flash back to three weeks ago, where we find out the four students are in the same class taught by Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), and besides that, the four don't have much in common.

Annalise is a no-nonsense professor who pits her students against in each other in classroom contests, all vying for the chance to help her with a case. Her personal life involves sitting on her desk while the most muscular detective we've ever seen (not her husband) goes to work on her downstairs.

As the pilot progresses, we learn more about the students we met earlier, but don't learn anything more about the body they have decided to roll in a carpet and burn.

Manipulation, an attempted murder case, gay sex, secrets, and lies fill the hour until we are taken back to modern day. The students unroll the carpet, revealing their victim as the closing credits begin to roll.

We gasped, we screamed, we giggled - it's everything a first episode should be. We haven't enjoyed a pilot this much since Veronica Mars. 

Viola Davis is perfectly cast as Annalise. We've seen her shine on the stage and the big screen, but she was made for television. Her performance is so enthralling that you can't help but be captivated by this woman. You find yourself rooting for her although she is a vile person.

With so many twists in the first episode alone, we can't wait to see where this show takes us. It's bound to take us on one hell of a ride, and we're not sure we want to wear our seat belts.

Pilot Prattle: black-ish

If you've been anywhere near our site during the past few weeks, you know that "black-ish" is one of the shows we've been most excited for. After watching the pilot last week, it did not disappoint.

Starring Anthony Anderson, the incredibly charismatic Tracee Ellis-Ross, and Laurence Fishburne, "black-ish" tells the story of a successful black family living in an LA suburb (read: all white people) and the inner conflict of the patriarch (Anderson).

We're not exactly fans of Anderson's work (his death in Scream 4 was the worst part of the entire franchise), but as Andre, he works. We believe, to put it in modern terms, the struggle is real for him.

The show begins with Andre introducing the audience to his opinions: His identity has been stolen, and "urban" (read: black) culture is being defined by large reared Kardashians, break-dancing Asians, and white R&B singers. Blackness has been compromised.

At home, his oldest son wants to turn in his basketball shoes for a field hockey stick and his twins describe their only black classmate by her characteristics, ignoring her physical attributes. His work life isn't any easier for him, recently being promoted to senior vice president of the new "urban" devision .

After arguments with his family about said issues, Andre decides he and his family need to "keep it real," which leads to a coming-of-age "Bro-Mitzvah" for his 13 year old son.

The views and commentary in this show may not be new, but they are certainly new-ish to television, which is a welcomed change. With most of the Neilson families being the white suburban families the show pokes fun at, it's no wonder Olivia Pope is more or less the extent of scripted black television. This year's fall programming has more than doubled the amount of racially diverse leads, which is a great start, but as far as having something to say, "black-ish" is at the top of the list.

What works best is that the show doesn't focus on just one view of what being black means, but instead, shows the opinions of all involved. The father has different opinions than the mother who has different views than her father in law who has different opinions than his grandchildren. There's a lot of emotions and different point of views being portrayed, and they are all welcomed.

It's deep, funny, and truthful while finding a way to not scare off white viewers by being too preachy. Creators of "black-ish," we salute you. Can we get a fist bump, brotha?