Monday, February 10, 2014

Amazon Prime - The After

Amazon’s second pilot season is in full swing.  Ten shows, five primetime and five kids shows, are up for viewing via Amazon Prime.  Last time around Amazon produced seasons for Alpha House and Betas, neither of which made an impact pop culturally. 

But perhaps the second time is the charm.  We at Fission Spaghetti decided to take a peek at the primetime offerings and share our thoughts with you, our loyal readers. 

First up; The After.

The After boasts some serious geek credentials.  First off, it’s created by Chris Carter (who also wrote and directed the pilot.)  Of course Carter is best known for The X-Files, the shows that was equal parts procedural/monster-of-the-week with a pinch of mythology building in there for good measure. 

The After also boasts a familiar sounding premise; “eight strangers are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation.”  That’s basically the premise of Lost and virtually any other Lost clone.  It’s familiar enough to be comforting, but not so much so that it feels derivative.  It’s actually just shy of derivative. 

It’s quite remarkable how well the pilot pulls things off, which sound ridiculous on paper.  Lead characters thrown together because they were stuck on an elevator together sounds corny, but works rather well on the screen.  A tense garage face-off and creepy forest scene are equally well executed. 

The characters are pretty familiar archetypes; the angry guy, the guy everyone hates, the everywoman, the rich one, the vaguely religious one, the cop and the professional.  Again, they’re unique enough that we get hints of their layers, while being familiar enough that we feel like we know them. 

Carter also sets up several mysteries that need explaining.  Why do the leads all share the same birthday?  What exactly happened to the take out the power?  What’s the deal with the dude in the forest?  And what’s up with the tattoos? 

I also imagine, if picked up for series, Carter will the flashback route, ala Lost, in terms of explaining backstory.  Why were the cops in the hotel and what exactly brought everyone else to the hotel as well. 

It’s a really well put together pilot.  I will say the bit with Chekov’s Gun (and dialogue) felt a bit too cute for me, but that’s a matter of taste.  Beyond that it’s great at setting the table for a series to come.  The After is a show that I could see myself watching and that could build a following and a strong buzz for Amazon Prime. 

Based on it’s pilot, The After is more Lost than Flash Forward.  It’s definitely worth investing your time and, if you’re Jeff Bezos, your money in. 

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