Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Unforgettable'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
The Pitch:"Remember that Marilu Henner segment from '60 Minutes'? We're gonna give it a CBS spin!" "You mean she can remember everything *and* she solves crimes?" "DING!"
Quick Response: This is just one of those names you don't want to give your new show, because CBS' "Unforgettable" is, regretfully, an almost aggressively forgettable show. How forgettable is it? The last line in my notes? "Meh!" This is assertively, confidently, professionally average TV and it's populated by a slew of actors I really respect, including Kevin Rankin and Michael Gaston. I particularly like leading lady Poppy Montgomery, who kept me watching "Without a Trace" for a least a season or two longer than I otherwise planned to do (the excellent Anthony LaPaglia didn't hurt). She's gorgeous, holds the screen with authority and I have absolutely no idea what accent she thinks she's doing in "Unforgettable." Directed with predictable generic thriller proficiency by "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" helmer Niels Arden Oplev, the pilot looks good and has an interesting key motif, as the main character has to go into almost a fugue state to journey through her memory to pick out details that got stuck in her brain that she didn't previously realize she'd noticed. That's neat. What's much less neat is that the pilot script is constructed not around our hero's aptitude, but around a series of coincidences and symbolic ironies -- a woman who forgets nothing is investigating the death of a woman with seemingly no past -- that become unbearable by the end. I stopped caring very early in the pilot's mystery-of-the-week and I couldn't bring myself to re-care by the time the writers decided to hammer home the obligatory ongoing mythology that involves the one day our hero can't remember. If "A Gifted Man" and "Person of Interest" feel like CBS (for better or for worse) trying new things, "Unforgettable" feels like it could have been made for any CBS development cycle in the past decade. Meh!
Desire To Watch Again: Like I said, I stuck with "Without a Trace" mostly for Poppy. But "Without a Trace" was also a really good show at its best, so there was no pain in that transaction. "Unforgettable" is going to have to very quickly establish how this character will be able to assist in cases that don't involve her very coincidental involvement, or I'll probably forget to set my DVR.
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'The Playboy Club'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Charlie's Angels'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Grimm'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'New Girl'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Hart of Dixie'
Take Me To The Pilots ' 11: ABC's 'Apartment 23'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'A Gifted Man'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots installments.