Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Save Me'
Anne Heche stars in a Showtime half-hour misplaced on NBC
[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. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Show:"Save Me" (NBC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "What would happen if we did a Showtime half-hour on NBC?" "It would probably do Showtime ratings." "I'm OK with that if you are."
Quick Response: A few years ago, there was a rush of "Women who may or may not be prophets" dramas. I'm thinking "Wonderfalls" and "Joan of Arcadia," though if you expand gender boundaries and your definition of "prophet," you might include "Book of Daniel" or "Dead Like Me." After letting the genre lay fallow for a while, NBC is jumping back into the fray (after, possibly, HBO's "Enlightened," which has similar underpinnings without needing to be so darned overt) with John Scott Shepherd's "Save Me," in which Anne Heche plays an awful woman who has a near-death experience and begins to think that she's a prophet. Or maybe she is. One thing she certainly is is a Showtime-style comedy leading lady, in that she's quirky, flawed, prickly and only occasionally [rarely, even] funny. And when you look at the director and producers on "Save Me," it isn't even slightly surprising to see that their credits include "Californication," "The Big C," "The United States of Tara." And, heck, NBC's entertainment operation is overseen by former Showtime boss Robert Greenblatt, so really none of the Showtime-ness of "Save Me" is surprising. And if "Save Me" were, indeed, on Showtime, we'd probably be talking about Anne Heche as a possible Emmy contender, because she's got her best part in years and she embraces every peculiar, not-entirely-likabe aspect of this character. Figuring out the exact point of "Save Me" is a bit more complicated. It either has a very superficial theme regarding faith and spirituality in the Midwest and in the suburbs, or else it's eventually going to make a bigger point that hasn't even been approached yet. And beyond Heche and Alexandra Breckenridge as the main character's husband's mistress, none of the actors or characters in the pilot make even the slightest impression. And, performance-wise, nobody seems to know exactly what the tone of the show is supposed to be, so some actors are playing it as a "Desperate Housewives" style comedic soap, some are thinking it's a sitcom and some are playing straight drama. It's confusing. [I'd point to Michael Landes in the "most confused" category. And I don't know which version of the show Landes would really succeed in.] Some of those Showtime "comedies" have also struggled to find their subtext and tone in the early-goings and have eventually become quite solid. But those shows have had the ability to produce in a vacuum and premiere without worrying about ratings. "Save Me" won't be able to do that and it is, like "Red Widow," another midseason show that isn't a fabulous match with its future home.
Desire To Watch Again: Moderate. I liked Heche and I was perplexed, but interested by "Save Me." I want to see what an episode or two of "Save Me" sausage will look like after it goes through NBC's development meat grinder. Or maybe I'm just perversely fascinated to see where NBC intends to schedule this show and how they intend on promoting it without raising an uproar from special interest groups that often take exception when a TV character talks to God.
That's it for the 2012-2013 installment of Take Me To The Pilots...What a crazy journey it's been...
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Red Widow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Cult'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
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Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
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