X-Files creator Chris Carter brings us the pilot of a new apocalyptic drama through Amazon’s pilot series.
Amazon just released a new batch ofpilot episodes of shows, they are basically beta testing to see which one will get taken to series. This is the same thing they did with Zombieland and Alpha House, the latter of which got taken to series and was the best new comedy of last the year. Robin Williams The Crazy ones was a a very close second in my book (Sorry Mork).
Chris Carter, the renowned creator of The X-Files franchise is behind one of these pilots – The After. Given his pedigree it’s not surprising it starts of in a weird place, the middle of an apocalypse, not leading up to it, not after, slap bang in the middle of the end of the world. Eight strangers meet and band together to try and survive the apocalypse.
The hook is no one knows what is happening, so they are trying to figure that out while also trying to survive. The nature of the apocalypse seems to be mainly no communications and mass panic though later we learn there may in fact be some supernatural influence.
The pilot introduces us to the cast, focusing on a French actress at the beginning, the show really kicks in when she gets in a lift (Elevator in American) with an odd assortment of people. A rookie female cop, a foul mouthed drunken Irish man with a large Ouroboros tattoo on his hand which may just as well say plot device in big letters, a clown, as in an actual clown with the red nose etc, and a rich old white lady who is more than a little conservative.
They eventually escape the lift to find themselves trapped in an underground car park where this motley crew is later joined by a shotgun toting, escaped convict, who instantly reminded me of Lee from the first walking dead game, a lawyer played by Adrian Pasdar, star of the legal drama suits, who apparently has no fear of typecasting and his “companion” in the firefly sense of the word.
Eventually we discover all hell has broken loose outside, possibly literally and they somewhat improbably stick together. I’m deliberately painting the picture in broad strokes to avoid totally spoiling it for people.
There’s a very heavy handed reference to the book of revelations and how the characters match some of the people mentioned made by the companion who randomly switches from a big city accent to a southern belles just for that section. Bloody odd decision that.
There’s no issue with the production or the acting for that matter but it may be a victim of the one hour format, there’s no room to flesh out characters properly so they have gone with stereotypes, makes it easier for the American audience I suppose.
It’s just a bit too predictable and obvious, I expected something a little more from Chris Carter but again it’s a one hour pilot so maybe he didn’t have a lot of room to manoeuvre
My final bug bear is a personal one, Andrew Howard (Limitless, Hatfields and McCoys) plays the drunken foul mouthed Irish man, he’s Welsh, is there a shortage of Irish actors over there? We have quite a few actors over here, we’d happily send some over. Hell, I’ll do it! You don’t need fake Irish people there’s plenty of real ones dammit!
That said his Irish accent is far superior to most we are subjected to by American television. Still though…
Maybe if it does get commissioned as a series Carter can fix it, it did take a while for the X-Files to find their feet and that turned out all right. Till the movies happened anyway.
3 out of 5 Nerds