Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pilot Review: Hand of God

Hand of God (Amazon)
Premiered August 28, 2014

I’m actually a full year behind on this review since I didn’t get the chance to watch this Amazon pilot because it premiered about two weeks before I got married. Now, the full season is available as of September 4th, and I’m excited to start watching it on a weekly basis along with all the Netflix offerings I’m tracking at a certain pace. I’m a fan of Ron Perlman from his work on “Sons of Anarchy,” and it’s strange to see him in a different role, especially one that’s not as inherently villainous. The intense nature of religion and its role in the lives of these characters is interesting, and it intertwines quite a bit with sex at every possible turn. As if Alicia seducing the bank clerk for church money wasn’t scandalous enough, then Dana Delany’s Crystal literally grabbed Reverend Curtis by the balls to show him that she was serious about not contacting her husband anymore. The judge has done plenty to show his constituents that he isn’t stable, and hiring a man to kill the cop he suspects raped his daughter-in-law and caused his son’s suicide attempt is an irreversible decision, one which is even more worrisome since, before he died, he admitted that he was part of a larger group or plan involved in the assault. It’s great to see Garret Dillahunt, recently of “Justified,” as the violence-prone religious fanatic KD, and Perlman and Delany are also perfectly cast as Judge Harris and his fiery wife. I knew I recognized the reverend, and it turns out he’s played by Julian Morris, who was British boyfriend Ryan on “New Girl.” There’s a terrific cast here, and the story is extremely interesting. While I wish I had watched it back when it originally aired, I’m glad that I don’t have to wait a full year to see where it all goes.

How will it work as a series? This start is furious and ready to go in so many directions. Its only problem may be if it opts to get too sensational and focus on sex, religion, and the intersection of them in hallucinatory form since there’s really no way to reel that in. I think it’s going to be able to do well, and I’m intent on seeing how it does that.
How long will it last? Amazon isn’t always quick with its renewals, but getting picked up from its pilot airing is victory enough to start. I was surprised to learn from a visit to Metacritic that this show is not highly regarded, but I’m not sure good reviews are really what’s necessary for this kind of series to succeed. I think it will get renewed eventually.

Pilot grade: B+

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