Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pilot Review: The Night Of

The Night Of (HBO)
Premiered July 10 at 9pm

I don’t usually watch miniseries or TV movies only because there are so many regular series airing on a weekly basis, but, then again, it’s hard to tell what a limited series really is these days with shows like “Fargo” and “True Detective” falling under that category. As I’m finally catching up with my TV, I figured that it was worth checking out this very highly-acclaimed premiere. There’s definitely one hell of a story at play here, with an enormous ensemble and many different threads. The way that this double episode played out was intense since it followed our protagonist, Naz, as he began a simple night that turned into something much, much crazier. It’s good to see Riz Ahmed from “Nightcrawler” and “Four Lions” in a lead role like this, and I think he’s very well-equipped for the part. I also recognized Peyman Moaadi from “A Separation” and “Camp X-Ray” as his father, and there are a handful of other actors in the listed cast with great television resumes. John Turturro made quite an impression towards the end of this premiere, showing up as a seedy lawyer who has good intentions and will do good for his client even if he didn’t ask for his services. This show hasn’t hooked me yet, and I’m not ready to commit, but I think that it’s probably worth giving it another shot to see where it goes next now that all the exposition has been presented and things can proceed from here.

How will it work as a series? This is structured as an eight-episode limited series, much like most other recent anthology series like this, so there will be plenty of time for things to play out and transform over that time. I think it’s exactly the right length – the question is just whether it’s going to prove appealing and involving enough to sustain the commitment.
How long will it last? Reviews have been very strong, which is a good sign. This is based on a British show that had two separate seasons, so something tells me that HBO is going to want to improve their “True Detective” track record and invest in another serial drama. A second season renewal is likely.

Pilot grade: B

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