Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pilot Review: I Love Dick

I Love Dick (Amazon)
Premiered August 19

The second of Amazon’s offerings for its latest pilot season is definitely its most notable one because it comes from the creator of the network’s most highly-acclaimed series to date, “Transparent,” which is soon going to premiere its third season and has already been renewed for a fourth. While that show was a resounding hit from the start, I’m not nearly as impressed by this one. Part of the problem is that it’s not entirely clear what’s going on, with two intellectual New Yorkers struggling to adjust to life in rural Texas with one poorly-named professor at the center of their thoughts. To me, that doesn’t have the same appeal as someone who has spent his entire life as a man coming out as transgender to his adult children. What I do like is seeing Kathryn Hahn back with director Jill Soloway after their teamwork on Sundance hit “Afternoon Delight.” I’m a big fan of Hahn’s from a number of projects, including her recurring role on “Parks and Recreation” and her recent stint on Showtime’s short-lived “Happyish.” This does seem like a better part, and she’s cast opposite Griffin Dunne, a background player in the likes of “House of Lies,” who seems more than well-equipped to portray a self-obsessed husband with little interest in his wife. And then there’s Kevin Bacon, who is doing something much, much better with his time than “The Following” and playing a man capable of entrancing Hahn’s Chris and shattering her whole worldview with one conversation. I’d be up for seeing more but wouldn’t be too devastated if this show didn’t get picked up.

How would it work as a series? Chris seems to have found unique inspiration following her dinner with Dick, and the obsession she has with him is only going to build. There’s more going on with their neighbor and of course the subplots of her unfortunately-scored film and Sylvere’s professional relationship with Dick. It has the potential to be weird and spirited, certainly, and I imagine could get really interesting.
Will it live on to be a series? I imagine so. It’s based on a popular book and comes from Soloway, who has made herself a valuable commodity with Amazon. I think its title could just as easily appeal as it could detract, and while this pilot isn’t a knockout like “Transparent” was, this seems like the best bet of the three to earn a pickup.

Pilot grade: B-

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