Monday, November 2, 2015

Pilot Review: Wicked City

Wicked City (ABC)
Premiered October 27 at 10pm

It’s already well into the fall season, but apparently we have some new series still in the pipeline. I didn’t have much interest in this show when I first saw the trailer this past spring, and there are definitely elements of this show which are unappealing and uninviting. That said, it’s a bit better than I expected, though I still don’t anticipate watching it again. Part of that is because its subject matter is rather gruesome, but that was always a given considering the premise. This show is all about the 1980s, with beepers aplenty and style to match. There are a lot of tropes of cop shows that come into play very much here, like Jeremy Sisto’s Detective Jack Roth shouting down the constitution and up-and-comer Detective Contreras emphasizing protocol and just being a general pain to everyone around him. Roth announcing in a press conference that no one cares about the killer was bold and brash, but he ruined his larger endgame by getting spotted talking to Karen by the same man he had publicly challenged on TV. Ed Westwick’s Kent loves kids and murdering women equally, and it seems that he’s found the perfect match in Erika Christensen’s Betty. Christensen is definitely the best part of this show, delivering a formidable performance in the extremely creepy scene featuring Kent’s sex game. Karen’s disappearance is an unsettling ending, and while my curiosity has been piqued slightly, it’s not enough for me to want to come back and revisit this show’s twisted universe.

How will it work as a series? I’m always wary of shows that surround serial killers since, in all likelihood, a majority of the characters will be killed off sooner rather than later. “Aquarius” seems to be doing well, while “The Following” devolved into absurdity within a few episodes. I think this could be more like the former given its historical basis, but it still won’t be a pleasant experience.
How long will it last? Based on its first episode, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this show got cancelled right away. The biggest problem is that it debuted opposite the World Series, and, unsurprisingly, viewers chose baseball over serial killers. Combined with reviews, I don’t see this show lasting too long, but it may improve in week two or three to the point that it makes it through the whole season.

Pilot grade: C

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