Review for Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998, Point Of Honor, The Man in the High Castle and Cocked
We recently had a chance to site down and take in a group of Amazon’s new Pilots. In a one night binge we took in four new series. I can see some real potential with these shows but of course one a few will have a chance to make it. Amazon has yet to launch a Pilot that had staying power. Will this group have a breakout hit? Bellow are the Streaming Advisor’s reviews of Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998, Point Of Honor, The Man in the High Castle and Cocked. The rest of the grown up fair will come later this week.
Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998
A self-obsessed former supermodel tries to rebuild her career after 10 years in rehab. I am just going to say it. I wanted to hate this show as soon as I saw the plotline. I was surprised to find myself chuckling a number of times. It is not a brilliant show and is a plot that has been used again and again but I found the leads just endearing enough not to turn it off. Unfortunately every time this plot device has been used in the recent past (most recently Selfie and Don’t Trust The B in Apartment 23) it has failed. The show feels predictable and shallow but that never stopped something from making it big. I have to admit I sort of like how mean everybody is to each other. Reminds me a bit of the film Zoolander, which also presented the world of modeling in a very over the top and cartoonish light. Not a great show by any stretch and would likely die quickly on a normal TV network, but has potential as an Amazon show. Would have preferred to watch this story play out in “Selfie”.
Point Of Honor
This show is not very well thought out. I found the dialogue poorly written and plot poorly conceived. The concept actually felt like 1980’s mini-series the North and the South without the strong acting and writing or the slightest attempt at historical accuracy. At times I almost expected someone to pull out an iPhone. The show also dealt with the slaves in the middle of the struggle depicting family life on the plantation as though it were normal and expected.
The characters could not be more black and white and I am not referring to the plantation owners and the slaves. Every character feels like a cookie cutter type. There is the Abolitionist soldier fighting for the Union, the honorable southerner (who hates slavery) fighting only for his home, there are the three sisters including “the whore” (who somehow never developed an accent), “the sensible one” and the “witless flower”, an over-the-top buffoon who I call the anti-Abraham Lincoln, (a pro slavery bumpkin who wears a Straw Top Hat) and the honorable aging patriarch or (Mr. O’hara).
Some reviewers are giving the show a pass on accents but I don’t. The actors are all making up their own dialects even one family member to the next. Even if an accent is incorrect at least everyone in the town should have the same one. But it looks like the director told the cast to watch My Cousin Vinny, Andy Griffith and Forrest Gump and just choose whatever accent felt best to them. And the central tenant of the show (the union emphasis on abolition) is terribly historically inaccurate.
The Man in the High Castle
This show is well filmed, decently written and very imaginative. The story centers around two spies in an alternative version of world history where Germany and Japan won World War 2 and conquered the US. The backdrop was intriguing enough to get me to watch this one first. The creators did a good job of rebranding iconic American spaces like Times Square and Golden Gate Park with the symbols of Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany. The show has received incredible buzz on Amazon’s site itself where it has nearly 3000 5 star reviews at the time of this writing. If that is any indicator of things to come then I expect this will be one of the shows Amazon will produce moving forward. In general I found the story gripping. Some of the characters are not as well developed as I would like but as you watch you can see the potential. As a full series its weakness would be figuring out what to do with it. Will it be a limited run that concludes or will it be a never ending struggle as TNT’s Falling Skies is.
Cocked is a series about a somewhat dysfunctional family that owns a firearms production and manufacturing company. The story is built around a family man who is coerced into helping his father and brother save the floundering business from itself. The pilot played out like Sweet Home Alabama and other “You can never go home” genre films. Awkard adjustments, realizations about the past and hope for the future. The writers appear to be working with three different story lines. One is a grandfather (Brian Dennehy) connecting with grandchildren he never knew. Another is the relationship between Grady Paxon (Jason Lee) and his tween aged nephew and third the relationship between the protagonist (Sam Trammel) Richard Paxon and the entire situation. This is a tried and true formula that works well as a movie. I have to wonder if it will have staying power as a series.