Monday, November 21, 2016

Pilot Review: Shooter

Shooter (USA)
Premiered November 15 at 10pm

There are two things I knew about this show going into it. The first is that it was supposed to start a while ago, but due to actual shootings that happened, it was postponed twice, finally settling on this mid-November launch. The second is that it’s based on the 2007 film which I guess I saw right before I launched Movies with Abe nine and a half years ago, giving it a B with just this short line as a review: “Quite simply, it is a thrilling action film with an exciting storyline, directed very well and entertaining throughout.” I didn’t have particularly high hopes for this show, partly because Ryan Phillippe is no Mark Wahlberg, and I think the latter’s participation in the film was part of the reason that it worked so well. I also didn’t remember exactly what the premise of the show was beyond an ex-marine working to find other snipers and stop their kills ahead of time. It became pretty clear towards the end of this episode after we were treated to a few annotated montages about how the assassin could take out the president that Phillippe’s Bob Lee Swagger (what a name – apparently it’s the same as in Stephen Hunter’s books) was going to be framed as the one who took the shot. There’s no denying that the episode’s final scene almost demands a return viewing, but I’m not convinced that this concept is meant to play out as a weekly television series. I see a handful of familiar faces in the supporting cast, including Omar Epps, Eddie McClintock from “Warehouse 13,” Shantel VanSanten from “The Flash,” and David Marciano from “The Shield.” That’s not enough to entice me, and even though I’m mildly interested, this pilot didn’t offer up enough excitement to compel me to stick around.

How will it work as a series? The way this episode ended – totally in the middle of the action – suggests that the pacing will be fast and energizing, but the rest of the episode didn’t match that at all with its exposition. It could be solid, but it also might be predictable and unmemorable.
How long will it last? Reviews have been mixed but mostly decent, but, more importantly, the ratings are much more promising. This show compares strongly to USA’s successful recent series launches and has bested recent premieres that haven’t been much to write home about. My bet is that this one can snag a renewal soon.

Pilot grade: B-

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