Friday, March 1, 2019

Pilot Review: Flack

Flack (Pop)
Premiered February 21 at 10pm

As much as possible, I don’t read or watch anything about a show before it premieres, and therefore I usually have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Pop isn’t a network that I often find airs memorable programming, though what we have here is a series that’s coproduced with British network W but apparently airing first-run original episodes to American audiences. Anna Paquin, who famously won an Oscar at the age of eleven, should be most well-known to TV watchers for her role as mind-reader Sookie Stackhouse on the vampire drama “True Blood.” This role couldn’t be any more different, as any shred of kindness displayed by the well-meaning southerner Sookie is absent in the cold, calculating Robyn, who just wants to get her job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, freely admitting that lying is a necessary part of the business. Her one soft spot is for the intern that her colleague Eve is set on tormenting, though even the secret compensation she offered her was done under threat of punitive measures should its charitable nature be revealed. This show didn’t waste any time in establishing what its characters do and how they do it, but my question is whether we really need another show about fixers. “Ray Donovan” and “Scandal” have handled this in a more overarching way, while “Dirt” feels like the closest comparison to this show in terms of tone and general cruelty. Paquin is decent but the ending of this episode felt far too much like “Mad Men” or “Nurse Jackie,” yet another instance of a character who puts on one face at work only to return to a shockingly domestic life at home, two identities that can’t possibly be reconciled. I’m not too interested.

How will it work as a series? Robyn is obviously open enough with her sister that she tells her what goes on in her life that clearly wouldn’t be acceptable to the relationship she has at home, and it’s likely that her duplicity is going to catch up with her, especially after she slept with a high-profile client. The most intriguing journey to watch may be that of Melody, whose work as a hapless intern is sure to transform her into a far less decent person.
How long will it last? It’s hard to know with Pop since the network isn’t typically a notable ratings player and they don’t put out too much information about their programs. I do imagine that this being an international coproduction will help, and I assume that whatever star power Paquin has will propel this to a somewhat productive life, likely lasting a few seasons.

Pilot grade: C+

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