Amazon Studios has posted eight new comedy pilots at Amazon.com, which they are allowing viewers to watch and leave their feedback before the studio decides which of these projects will go to series. The greenlit projects will eventually go on to become part of Amazon Prime's original streaming content. We're taking a look at all of them and sharing our thoughts on each of them this weekend. Here are the reviews for Zombieland and Those Who Can’t.
Written by:Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring: Kirk Ward, Tyler Ross, Maiara Walsh and Izabela Vidovic
The good news? The pilot episode of Zombieland is better than Amazon Studio's awful trailer for the zombie romantic comedy (or zom-rom-com, if you prefer) adaptation made it look. The bad news? Not by much. Even with the lowered expectations after seeing the first and only promo, the finished product was still severely lacking in suspense, 'special' special effects and most importantly, the legs needed for an ongoing series.
For those who haven's seen the film on which the series is based (you should, it's much, much better), Zombieland is set in a world where the living are sparse thanks to the feeding habits of the fast and furious undead. These aren't George Romeo's zombies, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have created a 'land' similar to something like Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later only with the sensibilities of a Shaun of the Dead.
And while the film manages to be incredibly entertaining, the transition to television didn't turn out nearly as funny, sharp or visually stimulating. In many ways, the TV adaptation of Zombieland feels like a fan made version of Ruben Fleischer's movie. Worst of all, since the show centers around the same four main characters, there is absolutely no suspense because you know Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock are going to be okay. At least for a few seasons, if the pilot were to go to series. Whatever that means at Amazon. There were a few clever moments in Zombieland (well, one for sure) and the cast was charming enough (save Columbus) but the project pales in comparison to its predecessor and almost makes me appreciate The Walking Dead.
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Written by: Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy
Starring: Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy, Nikki Glaser, Kyle Kinane, Rory Scovel
It may seem silly to talk show titles, however, they are undoubtedly important not only to catch viewers' attention but also serve as the first introduction to a potential series. Those Who Can't is a great name for this show, both a catchy common phrase (part of one, anyway) as well as perfect for conveying the setting, story and tone of Amazon's comedy pilot. Oh, and the rest of the episode was pretty promising too.
Those Who Can't is about three thirty-something teachers - Loren (Espanol), Coach Andy (P.E.) and Ben ('People's' History) - who are just as, if not more, juvenile than the students in their respective classes. The trio are not only friends and similarly slackerish, they also happen to share one particularly troublesome high-schooler named Bryce who quickly becomes their collective nemesis and is, of course, immune to their (comically over the top) discipline thanks to his powerful family.
Do wealthy people really donate wings to high schools? Anyway, besides that and a few other well worn premises and characters - like the Charlie-Waitress (It's Always Sunny) style romance with the Librarian and the New Age Principal - there was a lot to like about Those Who Can't including funny performances from all the leads and a few really big laughs. The pilot was entertaining and did an excellent job setting up the off-kilter characters, exaggerated setting and the simple revenge story arc. Enrol now! Sorry...
3.5 out of 5 Stars
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