Thursday, March 1, 2018

Pilot Review: Shoot the Messenger

Shoot the Messenger (WGN)
Premiered February 26 at 10pm

As broadcast networks are beginning to bring back their shows from a brief hiatus during the Olympics, a handful of other networks are still premiering relatively old series that debuted back in either the UK or Canada on other networks over a year ago. One of the options on deck is this CBC import from Canada that aired in the fall of 2016 and wasn’t brought back by its network for a second season. Putting it out on WGN may be able to attract a new audience, but I’d argue that “Bellevue,” another CBC series that started up on WGN a few weeks ago in exactly the same situation, is a far better choice than this one. I kept thinking about the similarly-titled film “Kill the Messenger,” the underrated 2014 film starring Jeremy Renner, which also focused on a journalist in way over his head with a crime operation. I’ve been seeing lead actress Elyse Levesuqe billed from her time on “Orphan Black,” but I couldn’t even remember who she played since she was among the less memorable characters on that great show featuring some formidable acting from a number of actresses (mostly Tatiana Maslany, of course). The only actor I do remember is Al Sapienza, still going strong after so many years following his iconic role on “The Sopranos.” This show started with sex, as so many series tend to these days, and all of the sleeping together, both with Daisy and Frank and Chloe and her boss, it’s obvious that things are going to get very complicated and people are going to have to defend each other because of their glaring conflicts of interest. Daisy’s editor calling in a male employee to help her with her dress after she changed in front of Daisy was a bit much for me, and I think this show is all about exaggerating things, like the unfortunate typo in the victim’s name which steered the story the wrong way, to make it more dramatic. The threat to choke someone through the phone was another example. It’s just not effective, and this show feels extremely original.

How will it work as a series? Daisy getting knocked out at the end of the episode after making a major discovery doesn’t mean that she’s in serious danger, but rather that she’s much closer than she thought to something big and is going to have to remain involved in the story whether her boss likes it or not. There’s going to be more sex and scandal, but I think that’s expected.
How long will it last? Being cancelled by its original network and then not debuting until over a year later in another country is a bad sign since everyone should already have moved on to other projects even if for some reason it went over strongly enough in its new setting to get the conversation about continuing it started again. This show just isn’t that great, so I can’t imagine anyone will be suggesting that.

Pilot grade: C

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