Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pilot Review: Love Bites

Love Bites (NBC)
Premiered June 2 at 10pm

I feel like it’s a privilege just to be able to see this show at all. It’s a shame that a decently creative series like this endured such obstacles during its production and then experienced schedule-related sidelining by NBC all throughout the past year, all but ensuring it no possible future. That said, at least we’re getting a peek at the nine episodes of this show that were produced, and they couldn’t come at a better time. With practically nothing on and shows only gradually returning over the next few weeks, this is a real treat. I should start by mentioning two things about the pilot that influenced my viewing experience considerably, perhaps unfairly so. Having seen the original trailer released over a year ago by NBC, I knew almost point for point what was going to transpire in this episode, eliminating the element of surprise. Additionally, the trailer I saw was the same but for one major plot restructuring. That involves both the departure of Jordana Spiro, who left back before “My Boys” got cancelled, and the pregnancy of Becki Newton, which meant that her “thing” could no longer be that she was a virgin, but rather that she is serving as a surrogate for her sister. What that takes away is more of Newton, since she’s relegated to a smaller role, and I think she is entirely fabulous thanks to her amazing role as Amanda on “Ugly Betty.” What that adds, of course, is Krysten Ritter, who recently anchored Starz’s highly intriguing “Gravity.” She’s far more creative than her storyline, but that’s not a big deal. I’d like to see more of them as they move on to more interesting things and get over these pilot plot points. The other two storylines weren’t quite as great, but I do like seeing people like Steve Howey, who plays Kev on “Shameless,” and Craig Robinson, Darryl from “The Office.” Greg Gunberg is in an unexciting role that is a great fit for him, so that’s good. Lindsay Price has to live with yet another show she’s on suffering a quick death, but at least it’s leagues better than the likes of “Eastwick” and “Lipstick Jungle.” I’m holding off judgment on the show until the next episode, since this really is a prototypical pilot and little more. It’s most certainly watchable, and I’ll be tuning in for the entirety of the series.

How will it work as a series? No way to tell. All three of the plot points are very self-contained and can’t really carry over to the next episode. I do like having three separate threads so that they can each go in different directions, and this is an appealing format for a weekly show that might not depend on continuity all that much and could be good, light summer fun.
How long will it last? Well, that we know. The pilot performed okay, but at this point we’re down to the question of whether all nine episodes will actually air. I’d certainly like to see them broadcast, since, in an age where the rest of the show would probably be made available online, there’s something worthwhile and dependable about being able to tune in to a show every week.

Pilot grade: B

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