Yesterday SyFy announced seven new television shows, including new programs from Kevin Sorbo and Lee Majors. Given that the we live in an era of snap judgments, I have already reviewed all seven shows based on a single press release.
You can read the full press release here, but I'll be covering all seven high-concept series down the list.
After months of emotional tumult, Edgar and Mallory call their relationship quits. As they say their final goodbyes, the ex-lovers are nearly hit by a meteorite that, it turns out, imbues them with extraordinary powers. Unfortunately, the powers only work when they are in close proximity to each other. Though the last thing they want to do is stay together, they'll need to try if they hope to overcome the newly arrived other-worldly forces that threaten to destroy them and anyone else who gets in the way.
Executive Producers: Bob Cooper and J.J. Jamieson for Landscape Entertainment
Executive Producer/Writer: Andrew Miller
Studios: A Universal Cable Productions/Fremantle Media co-production
My Rating: 4/10. At first I thought Ball & Chain was a really subversive scifi show. When I saw that meteorite scream through the troposphere toward Edgar and Mallory, I thought to myself, "Wow. Here's a show that's really pushing the narrative envelope. What TV show has ever killed all of its protagonists in the pilot?!? That's fucking gutsy." Sadly, this turned out not to be case — Edgar and Mallory were the victims of a reverse Hancock. Furthermore, their origins were weirdly reminiscent of the Power Pack. Why didn't they just make a Power Pack show? Oh right, they made one in 1991 but it never aired.
Still, why didn't they just reboot the unaired Power Pack show? Just recut the 1991 pilot but dub in the words "SMS text message" whenever a character says the word "telephone" and insert the phrase "social network" whenever someone says "friends." Anyway, back to Ball & Chain. I did like Edgar's power to transform into a Shetland pony around Mallory; I was less enamored of Mallory's telepathy. Still, their ability to morph into a centaur mid-coitus was a nice touch.
In this 1/2-hour single-camera series, a down-on-his-luck 20-something undergoes back surgery, only to find that the procedure did not go well. Enter Lee Majors, who claims he has the perfect solution. He entices the young man into his ultra high-tech lab and makes him bionic. Now intrinsically bound together, Majors tries helping his new partner get his life back on track.
Executive Producers/Writers: Matthew Salzberg and Jenji Kohan
Executive Producer: Steven Pearl
Rating: 9/10. This series left me absolutely gobsmacked. Why? Because it's a reality show. I had no idea that The Six Million Dollar Man was a documentary. No wonder Lee Majors looks so good for his age — he's a cyborg! Also, Lee Majors is a cyborg roboticist?!? That's like being a cobbler and an Olympic sprinter. Does this mean The Fall Guy was secretly one long 60 Minutes expose? In any case, I know who's got my write-in vote for the 2012 presidential election.
Also, Me and Lee indirectly confirms Bigfoot's existence...because this scene really happened.
National Treasure meets Firefly in this swashbuckling space opera about an adventurous female relic hunter and her team as they hunt down - and sometimes steal - valuable and powerful objects to sell on the black market, all while staying one step ahead of the bounty hunters hot on their heels.
Co-Executive Producers/Writers: Dirk Blackman & Howard McCain
Co-Executive Producers: George Krstic & Ryuhei Kitamura
Supervising Producer: F.J. Desanto
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
My Rating: 6/10. Orion, which comes to us from two of the writers of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, wasn't a bad show, but it really didn't do much for me. For starters, it followed the National Treasure template too strongly. Naming every planet in the galaxy "Philadelphia" was unnecessary and confusing. Also, the show runners really should have announced that Orion was an official spin-off of the Underworld franchise. When all the characters turned into werewolves, I assumed that I had become delirious due to a carbon monoxide leak.
In this "Robin Hood" story for the 23rd century, a young man of privilege teams up with a misfit spaceship crew to right the wrongs of his family.
Writer: Damian Kindler
Executive Producers: Damian Kindler, Martin Wood, and Amanda Tapping for My Plastic Badgers Productions
My Rating: 8/10. This series comes to us from Sanctuary creator Damian Kindler; it was really some crackerjack stuff. Sherwood blew everything I knew about Robin Hood tropes to smithereens. He really had me at the 50-foot mecha named LTL-J0N and a Friar Tuck who worshiped the Sun. All in all, the best scifi Robin Hood show I've seen since Q-Pid.
A 1/2-hour single-camera series in which Kevin Sorbo plays an exaggerated version of himself… a former syndicated television series star. When a fan approaches Sorbo to enlist his skills in combating the underworld mythological creatures that threaten to destroy Los Angeles, an unlikely partnership is formed. Together, they use their intimate knowledge of the myths of Hercules to defeat a myriad of beasts.
Executive Producer: David Eick
Supervising Producers/Writers: Adam Karp & Royal McGraw
Producer: Kevin Sorbo
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
My Rating: 7/10. I'll be the first to admit that I had my doubts about Legendary. I thought, "This sounds like JCVD the sitcom!" But Legendary really wowed me thanks to the writers' ability to get down to brass tacks tout de suite. Seriously, in the opening 30 seconds, Kevin Sorbo is drinking a Muscle Milk on Hollywood Boulevard when suddenly some random fan strolls up and screams, "THERE'S A MANTICORE IN THE VIPER ROOM." The show is a cannonball of action. Exposition is for suckers.
The Office meets Men in Black in this project featuring an office Temp who slowly discovers that his off-kilter and odd-ball bosses at the strange hi-tech "ad agency" where he works are really aliens working on a plan to destroy the Earth.
Co-Executive Producer/Writer: Scott Prendergast
Executive Producers: Michael Rotenberg and Tom Lassally for 3 Arts
Executive Producers: John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky for Ternion
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
My Rating: 2/10. They should have named this show My Asshole Boss Is An Alien. Y'know, like My Teacher Is An Alien but for disaffected twentysomethings? I did appreciate the guest appearances from Mallory and Edgar...he was disguised as a police pony, of course! Good on SyFy for experimenting with a shared universe.
In this 1/2-hour single-camera satire, when the zombie population of Marshall City overcomes the 30-foot barrier separating the infected people from the rest of the city, the Zombie Extermination and Removal Operations company (the Zeros) are called in to keep the peace. When they can get out of their own way long enough to focus on a case, they are pretty effective with very unorthodox methods.
Executive Producers: David Kenin and Steve Brenner
Co-Executive Producers: Chris Provost & Dave Hales
My Rating: 5/10. I liked Zeros. But what was with all the nudity?
[Press release via TV By The Numbers]