Friday, March 30, 2018

Pilot Review: Alexa and Katie

Alexa and Katie (Netflix)
Premiered March 23

I wasn’t sure whether or not to watch this show, and, after deciding to do so, I now see that it’s classified under the “Kids” section of Netflix Original Programming on very reliable information source Wikipedia. It wasn’t the worst way to spend half an hour, and I knew going into it that a laugh-track sitcom about two high school girls probably wasn’t going to be for me. The hook here is that one of them has cancer, something that she’s trying to keep secret from everyone at school because she doesn’t want to be treated differently. There are some silly things at play here, like the fact that Katie keeps her brother on a leash, but overall it’s not so bad. The bond between Alexa and Katie is sweet, highlighted by their joint hair shaving at the end of the episode. The way that the parents behave like kids is typical for sitcoms, but it’s done to entertaining effect in this opening installment, especially with their fear of the principal when they had to go in for their daughters’ punishment. Maybe it’s because this is a show for kids, but it’s refreshing to hear teenagers hurl insults at each other that aren’t malicious or explicit but rather just creative ways of describing lack of intelligence. This is an exciting kind of show for today’s age, one that deals with a cancer diagnosis in modern times and how it might be received in a teenage setting filled with social media. I won’t be watching beyond this, but this show seems like a great fit for its intended audience.

How will it work as a series? Now that they’ve shaved their heads, there’s no way that they can keep her diagnosis under wraps, which means that they’re going to have to face it head-on as the school year starts. It will be interesting to see how this show handles its comedy when balanced with Alexa actually being sick, and I imagine that each episode will be sufficiently heartwarming when it wants to be.
How long will it last? That I really couldn’t say. I don’t follow much of Netflix’s programming that’s not directed at adults, and it’s also hard to predict which of their comedies they’ll opt to renew, as they parted ways with “Disjointed” and renewed “The Ranch,” the two series that are closest to this one in nature. I’ll go ahead and say that this one earns a second season, but with little confidence.

Pilot grade: B-

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