Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pilot Review: Eyewitness

Eyewitness (USA)
Premiered October 16 at 10pm

There are some shows I’ve heard plenty about this fall, and then others, like this one, that catch me completely by surprise. Unsurprisingly, this is the umpteenth adaptation of a Norwegian show, adapting a format that worked well in another language but doesn’t translate nearly as compellingly to English. This feels very much like an anthology series, one that couldn’t possibly take more than a short season to resolve. I actually wasn’t clear exactly what it was going to be about at the start despite the title, and it didn’t help that it took a long time for it to get going. We have two teenage boys, one of whom is a popular kid who doesn’t want his secret gay life to become public and another who is living with foster parents and isn’t quite so good at keeping things quiet. Their forbidden cabin dalliance came at absolutely the wrong time, and a major bloodbath involving an executed FBI agent and a barefoot survivor made for one bad situation that is going to plague them for a while. It didn’t take long for the kids to be found, and I don’t understand the pacing of this show and how it’s going to work. I’m glad to see that Julianne Nicholson has found a new role, but after seeing her on “The Red Road,” “Masters of Sex,” and “Boardwalk Empire,” I’m disappointed by her potential here. This show is dark and uninviting, and it’s one anthology that I really don’t have any interest in seeing through to its conclusion.

How will it work as a series? It seems rather narrowly-focused, with the sheriff just happening to be the forest mother of one of the witnesses to a crime whose committer is definitely going to make sure no one can talk. I don’t know how well that can be sustained, and ten episodes seems like an awfully long time to play that out.
How long will it last? This show premiered to slightly better ratings and slightly better reviews than USA’s other new series, “Falling Water,” but it’s still nothing compared to the network’s veteran offerings and other new shows from earlier this year. Don’t count on this one to last for more than a single season.

Pilot grade: C

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