Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pilot Review: Seal Team

Seal Team (CBS)
Premiered September 27 at 9pm

Didn’t I just watch a new show about a group of covert American operatives executing dangerous missions on the other side of the world? It’s an unfortunate symptom of pilot season that certain series premiere at the same time as others with similar premises, and it’s hard to distinguish between them, especially when neither is particularly good. This show serves as theoretically anticipated return to television for David Boreanaz, who, after a successful stint on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” anchored “Bones” for twelve years. This show seems more serious, which means that Boreanaz is considerably less emotive. It has all the trappings of a traditional action drama that focuses on the excitement of being in the middle of the fighting and enemy territory and leaves legitimate character development behind. That’s not to suggest that it doesn’t try, resulting in a handful of unmemorable supporting players and family members. There’s a rebel up-and-comer who has family connections and some sincere bravery, but he’s held back by his overconfidence and distaste to authority, hardly something new for this type of show. I knew I recognized Mandy’s voice, and before I could figure out who was playing her, I saw Jessica Paré’s names in the credits. It’s a shame that this is what she’s doing as a follow-up to “Mad Men” considering her talents. I don’t see much in the way of originality or appeal here, and I’d say this was probably the least engaging pilot I’ve screened so far this fall.

How will it work as a series? There wasn’t the same kind of shock ending that “The Brave” delivered, so the only reason to come back is if you want to see these characters again. This show is pretty honest about what it wants to be, so I assume those who have watched “The Unit” and other series in the past will be more than happy with where it goes.
How long will it last? The reviews are decent if not great, which is to be expected, and the much bigger factor is the ratings. CBS is all about viewership, and even though this debut didn’t appear to attract the younger, more coveted audience, it did do well overall, and therefore I think it’s likely to become a staple for the procedural-heavy network.

Pilot grade: C-

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