Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pilot Review: Get Shorty

Get Shorty (Epix)
Premiered August 13 at 10pm

I’m a big fan of the 1995 film starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, and Dennis Farina that itself was based on a book by Elmore Leonard, who wrote the books that were made into “Jackie Brown,” “Justified,” and others. I was excited to see the poster for this show since I’m a big fan of Chris O’Dowd from his previous TV show, “Family Tree,” and I liked Ray Romano a lot in his most recent film role in “The Big Sick.” Unfortunately, this show was off-putting from the first scene, where for some reason we had to watch – and hear - some guy’s tongue getting cut out. I remember Farina getting shot multiple times in the movie, which was considerably tamer and much funnier. This pilot was a mess, and there are so many characters, most of whom don’t need to exist. I started liking it a lot towards the end when O’Dowd’s Miles worked up some courage to pitch Romano’s Rick on his movie script, but then he decided to get back in league with the goons who are going to make his life miserable, even though he came up with a brilliant money-washing idea. In addition to the stars, we also saw Paul Sparks from “House of Cards” as the writer offed mid-sentence and Topher Grace as the demanding actor, but otherwise most of the cast wasn’t familiar to me. I preferred both lead actors in previous roles, and I just don’t think there’s much of an appeal if this clunky, slow start is any indication.

How will it work as a series? Miles’ partner is right – it’s a bad idea for him to get into business with people he knows regularly kill anyone that they no longer find to be valuable to their organization. Such a project, with a star like John Stamos, is also going to be way over Rick’s head based on what he usually does. This is going to be a disaster, and not an entertaining one, in my opinion.
How long will it last? Both of Epix’s first two original series, “Berlin Station” and “Graves,” were renewed. Ratings aren’t available for those shows, so the only real comparison is reviews, which seem to be pretty similar for all three programs. I think that this show should be able to earn a renewal though it’s hardly guaranteed.

Pilot grade: C