Monday, September 29, 2014

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Selfie - Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 30; Starz Gives Us Sampling of LeBron James Produced Comedy

Selfie

Selfie - Tuesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But one lonely day, she has a revelation: being friended is not the same as having actual friends. She asks marketing guru Henry (John Cho) to 'rebrand' her self-obsessed reputation and teach her how to connect with people in the real world. Loosely based on My Fair Lady, Selfie explores the modern struggles of Eliza and Henry, as he tries to teach her how to live life offline - whether she 'likes' it or not.

Cast Details:

Karen Gillan as Eliza Dooley
John Cho as Henry Higgins
Tip Peper as Ethan Chase
Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Charmonique
Allyn Rachel as Bryn
David Harewood as Sam Saperstein

Karen Gillan (Eliza Dooley) is a Scottish actress best known for her long-running tenure as companion Amy Pond on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. She also starred as Nebula in the blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy. Her other film and TV credits include a starring role in Oculus and a recurring role on NTSF:SD:SUV::.

John Cho (Henry Higgins) is best known as Harold Lee in the popular Harold and Kumar film series. He also had a starring role in the NBC sitcom Go On. He has numerous other film and TV credits, including roles on FlashForward, Sleepy Hollow, Children's Hospital, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, and Grey's Anatomy.

Tip Peper (Ethan Chase) is a Broadway actor primarily known for his stage work, including a starring role in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoats. He also had guest roles on Law & Order, Guiding Light, and NCIS on television.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Charmonique) is best known for her starring role in Ghost: The Musical.

Allyn Rachel (Bryn) has appeared on several TV series, including Workaholics, Weeds, Comedy Bang! Bang! and New Girl.

David Harewood (Sam) is best known for his role as David Estes on Homeland. He has also appeared on several British TV shows, including Doctor Who, The Body Farm, and Hustle.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 8:00PM ET/PT)

After an embarrassing incident, social media-obsessed Eliza Dooley must find a way to reinvent her image into someone that's actually capable of friendship. She enlists her co-worker Henry Higgins to help "re-invent" her into someone who's just friended into someone with actual friends.

Analysis:

Selfie is a show that I wanted to like more than I actually did. I was a fan of Emily Kapnak's previous creation (the dearly departed Suburgatory) and I'm a huge fan of both Karen Gillan and John Cho. All of these people are immensely talented, and I have faith that all of their combined talents will eventually form a show that's at least pretty good, if not fantastic. But the pilot isn't quite there yet, and it's not helped by the show's frankly unappealing concept, which boils the vast medium of the internet and the advent of social media into a bunch of obnoxious stereotypes. The shows' focus on the social trends of the moment strangely make it feel slightly dated in parts - there's a handful of internet memes from the not-too-distant past referenced that already feel more like throwbacks than current references (Flappy Bird was the biggest offender, along with the phrase "epic fail"), which might have been current when this script was being written but now demonstrate some of the issues of a show on this kind of time schedule attempting to be as "of the moment" as this show is.

The parts of Selfie that do shine are the parts that leave the annoying internet speak by the wayside and instead focus more closely on the potentially interesting characters that Eliza and Henry are at their core. Gillan and Cho both play these aspects well enough to suggest that the show could become something to look out for if it starts heading more towards that direction, and although Eliza Dooley needs to be turned down from the 15 out of 10 she's currently at on the cartoonish scale, both of these characters have potential to turn into something interesting. The last scene of the pilot suggests the show's ultimate goal is not the "let's fix this shallow person" plot it starts off as but rather a far more promising "let's have these two flawed people learn from each other route." And that's what will determine whether or not Selfie will be a show to look out for or not - if it can tone down its grating internet satire and and highlight the more nuanced details about this fairly interesting pair of characters, it could turn out to be something. There's no guarantee it'll go in that direction, but here's to hoping.

Conclusion:

Selfie isn't all there yet, but there's bits and pieces of a promising show lurking around the center of this pilot. If it can get the irritating meme-based comedy out of its system and start to become a more grounded, character-focused show about two flawed human beings, then this talented cast and writing team might be able to produce a show that's worth taking a look at. Let's hope that's the case, because there's far too much talent on Selfie to be wasted, and there's parts of this pilot that suggest there's a really good show hiding in here somewhere.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Selfie Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Survivor's Remorse

    Starz is offering multi-platform, nationwide sampling of the first two episodes of the new Starz Original Series, Survivor's Remorse, available now since Saturday (Sept. 27). The six-episode first season of the half-hour scripted comedy series executive produced by Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Mike O'Malley, Paul Wachter and Victor Levin and premieres Saturday, October 4 at 9 pm ET/PT on Starz. Select multichannel video distributors will offer linear, on-demand and online sampling opportunities of the episodes on September 27, one week in advance of the Starz series premiere. Approximately 78 million multichannel video households will have access to the sampling opportunities through select cable, satellite and Telco affiliates in the United States, as well as online through select websites including Starz.com, the Survivor's Remorse Twitter page, the Survivor's Remorse YouTube page, Survivor's Remorse Facebook page, STARZ ON DEMAND and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States. The episodes will also be available on Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Sony Entertainment Network and Xbox Video.

    The comedy is a six-episode half-hour comedy series that follows Cam Calloway, played by Jessie T. Usher, a basketball phenom in his early 20's who is suddenly thrust into the limelight after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a professional basketball team in Atlanta. Cam, along with his cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn, played by RonReaco Lee, move to Georgia to start Cam's journey to success. The two confront the challenges of carrying needy family members and their strong ties to the impoverished community that they come from. Cam, Reggie and an unforgettable group of characters wrestle with the rewards and pitfalls of stardom, love, and loyalty. The series is executive produced by Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Mike O'Malley, Paul Wachter and Victor Levin and the cast includes Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold, Teyonah Parris, and Erica Ash.


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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 19)

    Monday, August 19

    • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People) - Watch Billy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
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