Thursday, August 18, 2016

Emmy Episodes: UnREAL

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. This year, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

UnREAL: Season 1, Episode 1 “Return” (B-)
Nominated for Best Writing for a Drama Series

Once upon a time, I really was able to watch every single pilot each season. It’s hard to catch all the streaming premieres, but there are also a few networks whose new shows I don’t seek out, like Hallmark, ABC Family (now Freeform), and Lifetime. That leads to be missing the few shows from those channels that do become big, like this buzzed-about hit which premiered in June 2015 and wrapped its second season earlier this month. I wasn’t too interested in this show because it’s about a reality series, something that I don’t watch in any capacity and therefore wouldn’t appreciate seeing parodied as much as many other people. There is still plenty of that, with a decent focus on the content of the show that I found to be rather boring, but there’s a much darker, more intriguing story going on in this drama that’s set up as a mystery. I recognize Shiri Appleby from her “Roswell” days, though I don’t think I ever really watched that show, and Craig Bierko from his role on “Nip/Tuck” as a repeat customer who kept coming back for plastic surgery after enjoying being physically scarred, among others. I’m a big fan of Constance Zimmer from her recurring roles on “Entourage,” “The Newsroom,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” and “House of Cards,” and it’s great to see her finally earn an Emmy nomination for this role. Also in the cast as bachelorette contestants are Ashley Scott from “Jericho,” Johanna Braddy from “Quantico,” and, most exciting of all, breakout star Breeda Wool from “AWOL,” which I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival. Appleby’s Rachel seems pretty damn crazy, and Zimmer’s Quinn is more than happy to use that to her advantage in the most conniving way, which should at least make for soapy television. I can’t say I’m hooked at all, but I’ll watch the next two episodes to make it to number three, which is the hour that Zimmer submitted for Emmy consideration, to see if my opinion changes.

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