Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pilot Review: Selfie

Selfie (ABC)
Premieres September 30 at 8pm

This pilot has been available online for a few weeks, and I watched it along with “A to Z” right around when it was first offered. We still have almost a month until it airs, and I think this is an example of exactly why you don’t want to preview your show before it airs. I think expectations were already astronomically low for this series, and getting the chance to see it does no one involved with it any favors. Its title is bad enough, but there’s plenty else to dislike about this new show. Karen Gillan’s Eliza Dooley is incredibly obnoxious, and it’s not as if her demeanor makes her inherently likeable or that her starting point is inspirational because of the change and growth she can achieve. Instead, she’s just a terrible person, and hardly a worthy protagonist for a series. John Cho’s Henry Higenbottam is almost at bad, mainly because he’s so completely unbelievable as a character. He’s an anachronistic gentleman whose sheer existence and additional willingness to help Eliza become a good person might make sense within the world of a musical, but not so in a modern-day technology-infused sitcom. The supporting characters are grating, and it’s hard to decide whether they’re actually worse than the leads. No one was clamoring for a present-set remake of “My Fair Lady,” and I don’t know why ABC thought this would add anything to its comedy block. Whatever wasn’t brutally unfunny was monumentally sappy, and it’s hard to feel a good about a show whose pilot feels like an unbearable eternity.

How will it work as a series? I don’t think we’ll have to find out, but were this show to go ahead and air its produced episodes and maybe even more than that, I have no doubt that we would continue to find Eliza chewing gum, being impolite, self-centered, and constantly on her phone, while Henry encouraged her to act a bit more like a human being and we saw some goodness peeking through every once in a while. That hardly sounds like a worthwhile or fun ride to me.
How long will it last? Not long at all. This seems like the easiest and most predictable cancellation of the fall without even knowing what other shows are out there. The only reason it might survive is if ABC thinks that the online viewership during the sampling period makes it a potential success. I’m dubious, and I think this one will be gone before the end of October.

Pilot grade: F-

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