Thoughts on Resurrection: Pilot
Just because we’re already half way through the Spring season of shows, doesn’t mean we can’t have new ones. This Sunday on ABC was the beginning of a show that will – last maybe a season.
Resurrection starts with Jacob Langston (Landon Gimenez), a young boy, waking up in a rice field in China. Soon, it is up to Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps) to retrieve him from the airport in America and either find where Jacob belongs or hand him over to the department of Health and Human Services. But Martin gets Jacob to give some information, enough to find his house and his parents, who are naturally surprised to see him since their son has been dead for 32 years. Little by little, Jacob encounters people who remember who he was and proves that he has information that only he can have. The impossible has happened and Jacob’s true identity, as well as the nature of miracles and death, come into question.
I’ll admit, going into this I didn’t have high expectations. The idea is that people from this small town are retuning to life, without a known cause. This concept is a one off, it’s a basic ‘unseen conspiracy’ that relies on the characters as apossed to world building for the set up and the drama. My biggest problem with this, and other shows like it, is that they stretch themselves across many characters, lots of mystery, and little to no real explanations, not even theories. It’s fine if you want your story to be character driven, but I can’t really care about one character or what happens to them if there are more than five of them and none have clear or distinct personalities. The mystery of how the dead are coming back to life interests be, but I won’t sit through characters and stories I don’t really care about to solve that mystery.
I admit, I didn’t expect the story to follow Jacob so much. In hindsight it was the obvious choice, since they are only revealing one returned person at a time. However my original thought was that the show would begin in the town, with people in their daily lives, with them referencing and talking about lost loved ones here and there. Then, the dead would just show up and throw everyone for a loop. But that relies on the reveal of the dead as a surprise for the audience, and that was spoiled by the adds long ago.
One thing I did appreciate is the lack of a villain. At one point a man was portrayed as one, but in the end he didn’t seem to be. A common problem with shows these days is villains who are obvious and boring. They’re there to be jerks, screw people over, and/or further their own agenda and anyone with half a brain can see that they aren’t a good person. The fact that there was no bad guy gives me hope for a story about unnatural occurrences and normal people just having to react and deal with them in their own individual ways. But other factors in the episode, such as people’s behavior and the lack of character development, in addition to that fact that this is a network TV show, push my hopes aside.
Aside from the narrative, is the cinematography. The lighting was nothing special, but it was good and correct so that’s not a problem. The shots were the same, good but unremarkable. But it was the music I have questions about. At times it had the right emotion, but shouldn’t have been there or at the very least not been as loud. Tender moments of “oh my…” should be quiet, not have loud music, even if the music does fit. Some moment shouldn’t have any score at all, to enhance the gravity of the situation. Other than that, the music wasn’t remarkable either, which is okay. Being the first episode, they had to lay all the groundwork and it is only as time goes on that we can say how well the cinematography and narrative were handled.
I don’t feel motivated to continue watching at this point. But I think you should always give the pilot the benefit of the doubt and at least try one more before writing off a show completely.
The acting wasn’t strong, but as a first episode that’s forgivable. What’s not forgivableis lack of understanding when it comes to children. I’m sorry, I don’t care how adaptable you think kids are, you cannot hand a child from the 80s a smartphone and have him be able to use it, without any kind of direction. Jacob started to play a game, closed it, identified a drawing app, opened it and start using it, in less than five minutes! He has never seen a touchscreen. He has no basis for how to use this technology. And yes, I do feel this to be a relevant point. Also, Jacob gives directs from downtown to his house, which is a lot to expect from a eight year old who has just been through a very traumatizing set of experiences to do. Let me just say, it’s a good thing none of the landmarks Jacob used to find his way home, streets, stores, homes, trees, or buildings haven’t changed at all in 32 years! Also, he’s very bland and even when we know he’s supposed to be happy, he doesn’t run around or get loud or do anything you would expect of a child. I don’t blame the actor, I blame the writer for not remembering how children behave. But these are minor and I can overlook then. As long as they get better.