Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pilot Review: Will

Will (TNT)
Premiered July 10 at 9pm

There are some people who really like Shakespeare, and others who really don’t. And then there are those who fall somewhere in the middle, indifferent to the Bard but not necessarily eager to experience hours and hours of Elizabethan English either in written or cinematic form. I fall into the center camp, and I prefer the use of our modern-day dialect, which made my experience watching “Coriolanus” an only mildly fulfilling one. I personally haven’t wondered what Shakespeare’s life was like prior to the prolific part of his career, content instead to consider “Something Rotten,” a musical I saw in its final performance on Broadway, to be a far more entertaining and sufficient interpretation. This show begins like so many other similar stories do, finding an author will one day be great and known by all as an anonymous failure struggling to put his life together. A chance need for a play when one did not exist catapulted him almost instantly to some level of prominence, and now we’ll have to see how he begins the man everyone knows he eventually will. This show isn’t short on its depiction of brutal execution and torture of Catholics, treating viewers to miserably disturbing shots, and it looks like that will only continue to be a theme as the show goes forward. From among the cast, the only recognizable standout is Colm Meaney, who recently wrapped a series-long arc on “Hell on Wheels,” and whose voice was instantly recognizable to me even if his face wasn’t under his makeup and costumes. Shakespeare lovers might delight at this show being on; I couldn’t care less, especially after this uninviting and boring opening hour (I didn’t even bother to check out episode two which aired immediately following).

How will it work as a series? Will has already gone from nobody to somebody, even if he and those he interacts with haven’t realized just what he has become yet. There are sure to be many theatrics as well as lots of sex and persecution from oppressive authorities, all of which should mix together to be a pale imitation of the kind of comedy-drama that the future Will ultimately wrote.
How long will it last? Despite decent reviews, this show got off to a very uninspired ratings start, coming in below other TNT series that just squeaked by and barely registering compared to the network’s new mega-hit, “Claws,” that has already been renewed for a second season. I think this is all we’ll get of this show.

Pilot grade: D+