THREAT MATRIX - 09/18/03 - "Pilot"

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by David Williams, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    I was very pleasantly surprised. Not as subtle in its machinations, perhaps, as Alias, but not as crappy as AICN has painted it to be. The early critiques have been middle of the road, and I think the show is a clear step up from it's closest, departed competition, The Agency.

    The series has a really cool set of opening titles. Oddly similar to Jake 2.0, though (but executed much better).

    As for the episode itself, I really like Kelly Rutherford. I think the show has done a disservice to her character (Frankie) by setting her up as the team's weak link. The team's liaison says straight out that they won't negotiate with terrorists but they trade her up after she gets captured for some Al Qaeda boys. She should have pulled a Sydney and escaped her captors since she had done such a good job for the most of the episode by evading them.

    As for the rest of the characters, they really come off as likable but need further fleshing out (we could start with some names!) Anne 'The Lark' Larkin is a very interesting character along with Jelani, Mo and the deaf girl (who, unlike Marlee Matlin, doesn't talk. Jelani and Lark translate for her to the rest of the team). The whole team is well-oiled and works well together, which really elevates it from The Agency, imho. Kilmer, played by James Denton, makes a pretty good leader so far (I especially liked the way he dealt with the terrorist at the end of the ep).

    I'll be very interested to see if they can sustain the adrenaline of fresh new stories or fall back on terrorists every week... This show is in the horrible position of being up against really tough competition, so it will really have to shine.

    If you missed it, ABC is rerunning the pilot at 8e/7c on Sunday night.
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    I liked it, but I will watch anything with Kelly Rutherford in it. Period. [​IMG]

    I think they'll strenghten her character in weeks to come.

    In my house, I'm capable of easily recording two shows via PVR while watching another. Most homes do not, and most viewers are not so motivated.

    They need to get this show out of the Friends/Survivor timeslot quickly, or else it is just fodder.
     
  3. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Damn, I missed it. I wasn't paying close enough attention and thought it would be in the 9 o'clock timeslot(mountain time). I was looking foward to watching it in HD.

    I'll catch it on the replay on Sunday.

    DJ
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Minor nitpick: At the end of the episode, they should have had Kelly's character's right arm around the main guy, not her left arm, which had been stabbed near the armpit.
     
  6. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Two things that really took me out of the episode:

    1. The manipulation of the B&W video was just plain laughable. Never mind the fact that determining color by grayscale alone is utterly impossible, but their ability to eliminate subjects in the foreground to reveal the people in the background was just too ridiculous to maintain suspension of disbelief. It would have been so much better to have a team of analysts performing the hard work of frame-by-frame examination of the footage until a match was made. Even from a writer's perspective, I think it would have been better to show the “heroic tedium” of analysts' work, even if it is behind the scenes, than to make national security appear to be a simple job performed with just the right magical tools (overseas agents' roles notwithstanding).

    2. Each additional pound of explosive produces an exponential increase in the yield of the explosion? Pardon me, but not in this Universe. And the kicker is that this cheat wasn't even necessary. All they had to say was that he had a huge amount of C4, enough to bring down “whatever sounded scary enough to engage the viewer.”

    And a third, minor nitpick – the explosion containment tank was actually cool. I know bomb squads use shipping containers and dump trucks filled with sand to contain explosions, so a portable containment tank isn't too much of a stretch to be believed. Even better, the writers chose not to communicate any of the tank's specifications (“Get the titanium-rubidium-alloy, two-meter-thick-walled containment tank to the Chicago Board of Trade, stat!”), which made believing it could exist even easier for the viewer. But something that could contain such a huge explosion, if it indeed exists, would need something a lot more substantial than a 3/8” thick, stamped steel pin to lock the door shut.

    Oh, and one more thing: The bomb guy was careful to use non-metallic components to construct the bomb so he could get through the metal detector. In addition to the plastic explosive, I imagined plastic polymer conductors to energize the explosive, and a glass/nylon capacitor to store the electrical energy. Pretty cool stuff. Yet when they opened his jacket, there was an electronic timing device with a ticking digital display that no way in hell could have passed through a metal detector without setting it off. What were they thinking when they wrote that?

    Other than those admittedly minor things, I enjoyed the show, and have made it a Season Pass on my TiVo.

    And speaking of “heroic tedium,” I wonder who got to clean out the explosion containment tank?
     

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