Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pilot Review: Pose

Pose (FX)
Premiered June 3 at 10pm

Ryan Murphy may well be one of the most powerful names in television today. He started his career off with “Nip/Tuck,” moved on to “Glee,” and now operates not but one three monstrously successful anthology series on FX: “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story,” and “Feud.” It’s no surprise that the network that got him started would want to give him his next big show, in collaboration with frequent partner Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals. Like his other past and current projects, this show has a distinct sense of what it wants to be, transplanting audiences to a moment in time and showcasing a group of people that don’t always get their due, and certainly didn’t at that moment in history. What’s interesting about this show is that it’s particularly overt in its casting of James Van Der Beek and Evan Peters as high-up executives working directly for one Donald Trump. Mentioning the now-president by name as the wealth and prosperity of those two characters contrasts so sharply with the situation of the trans and greater LGBT community is surely no accident, and it’s one of the many audacious moves this show tries to pull off in its opening double-decker episode. Its ball sequences and the closing emotional dance audition by Damon were the high points in an overstuffed extended pilot that firmly establishes it as a portrait of the era, always eager to spotlight a lofty speech by a character about what they see in the world. This was more than enough for me, but it was certainly immersive.

How will it work as a series? It’s only been two episodes and we’ve already seen a face-off between House Evangelista and House Abundance, and, especially after a loss, that’s sure not to be the last of that conflict. Stan’s family life and newfound financial success is also sure to collide with his side interests in a way that probably won’t be pretty for anyone involved.
How long will it last? Both reviews and ratings seem to be decent enough for this show, and given that everything Murphy has done on FX has been a success, I’m sure this one will be too. Pairing it with promos for season two of “Snowfall” shows that it’s what FX is all about these days, taking on HBO and Netflix for its mastery of period dramas. I predict a renewal very soon.

Pilot grade: B

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