Friday, July 8, 2016

Pilot Review: American Gothic

American Gothic (CBS)
Premiered June 22 at 10pm

Didn’t ABC just air a show about a prominent family in politics whose secrets started threatening to become very public? I didn’t much care for “The Family,” and I think I like this show even less. Naming a serial killer the “Silver Bells Killer” was this show’s first misstep, and it’s hard to take it too seriously from there. Mainly, it’s difficult to fathom that this killer could go unnoticed for so many years and then it would take just a moment for two enterprising siblings to realize that their brother disappeared at exactly the same time that this vicious killer did. The mother being in on all of this adds a considerable twist, but not one that much interests me. When I find it difficult to connect to any element of a show, I tend to latch on to the cast members I recognize, and there are plenty of those here. The first actor I knew didn’t last long, and that was Jamey Sheridan, famous from “Homeland” and “Handsome Harry.” This was a good part for him, but obviously it was just a guest spot. Virginia Madsen scored an Oscar nomination for “Sideways” back in 2004 and has appeared in a handful of short-lived shows and recurring roles since then. I don’t think this one is going to stick. Lastly, there are three TV actors who I know well from other recent series. Justin Chatwin was a boon to “Shameless” and he’s back to playing a less well-adjusted part like he did on “Weeds.” It took me a minute to recognize Megan Ketch, who plays Susanna on “Jane the Virgin,” as the intrepid sleuth daughter Tessa. And then there’s Antony Starr, the New Zealand-born actor who just wrapped a powerhouse role on “Banshee” and is now reduced to this poorly-written part. I’m disappointed, and can’t imagine I’ll think about this show again anytime soon.

How will it work as a series? There’s a lot of darkness and secrecy going on here, and I think this show’s moodiness is going to keep it from really being interesting. There are so many siblings with their own private agendas, and it’s going to be a mess to keep track of that I don’t think this show is equipped to handle.
How long will it last? This debut airing didn’t attract a large audience, and the show fell in its second week. CBS has done relatively well during the summer in recent years with its new slate of shows, and I’m all but certain that this show will not join those ranks and is likely to be cancelled soon.

Pilot grade: F

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