Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pilot Review: StartUp

StartUp (Crackle)
Premiered September 6

I haven’t watched anything on Crackle before, and the only reason I even managed to catch this was because I read about it the day it premiered and thought it sounded intriguing because of the actors involved. While that’s always the primary thing I focus on, it doesn’t tend to be the best recommender of a show’s quality. “Mr. Robot” is doing infinitely better things with EvilCorp and its own currency than this show hopes to do with a young programmer storing her servers in her parents’ garage working with someone trying to launder his father’s money to revolutionize the way money works in the world. I was surprised to see the pairing of Martin Freeman and Adam Brody as this show’s two stars. In reviewing Freeman’s career in my head when he first appeared spotting a pretty flawless American accent as a tough-as-nails FBI agent, I remembered that I first knew him as Tim, the original Jim, from the British version of “The Office,” before he went on to star in the Hobbit series and in “Sherlock” and “Fargo.” He’s undeniably great here, even if the writing doesn’t quite match his commitment to his character. Brody, who excelled on “The O.C.” among all his costars, does a decent job as the less moral but far more personable Nick, who slowly came to be part of the story as his father was revealed to be the man in a sticky situation at the start and then Izzy pitched her concept to him. Ultimately, this show is supposed to be gritty and dark, but just comes off as unnecessary violent and headed nowhere particularly interesting despite two strong central performances.

How will it work as a series? By the end of the pilot, everything came together, but that complex construction isn’t going to be able to replicated since now all the cards are on the table. It seems like everything is a bit too closely related and this show is going to have to work hard to keep its various threads going since they could easily be totally tied up now.
How long will it last? Like Netflix and Amazon, Crackle launched the entire first season of this show this past Tuesday. Reviews weren’t terribly positive, like mine, and it’s hard to know how the network, which hasn’t yet firmly established itself, will react. I think this will be all the show gets but it could just as easily be renewed for more.

Pilot grade: C

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