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Direct Beam Comms #45


Falling Water – Grade: D+

The new series Falling Water on USA has a nugget of a great idea — that dreams might be interconnected and through these connections greater truths can be gleaned. Alas, other than that kernel Falling Water is a mess.

falling-water-3In the first episode these interconnected dreams don’t actually lead to much of anything. We see a few characters within other’s dreams, but for the most part these dreams are just, well, dreams. One character dreams of his mother, another of a son and the third a love. But otherwise not much happens in them. In fact, story-wise not much happens in the first episode at all.

The four main characters of the Falling Water don’t seem that unique or even all that believable either. There’s Tess (Lizzie Brocheré) who’s a bit like a toned-down version of the character Lisbeth in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but instead of being a computer hacker is a sort of style prognosticator who can tell what’s going to be hot in a few months. There’s Take (Will Yun Lee) who’s a stock police detective as seen on many other TV series. There’s Burton (David Ajala) a corporate security director who feels like he’s a clone of the character of Michael Clayton. And there’s Bill (Zak Orth) who seems to be the rich, eccentric character from loads of series who’s the one person who suspects that dreams might be interconnected.

I’ve got no problem with series taking character types and putting them into different shows, but the characters of Falling Water seemed to be almost copies from other sources. Still, this could be interesting if the overall story had some intriguing aspect(s) to it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much story in Falling Water and what story there was I wasn’t totally sure what’s going on.

Take’s investigating the death of a woman that leads to him finding a mass suicide that ends with someone’s house blowing up while Burton is trying to figure out if the girl of his dreams is real or is literally from his dreams. And Tess and Bill meet and begin to delve the depths of the interconnected dreams. But there just wasn’t any main story to hang things off of yet.

And that’s a big problem I had with Falling Water. It’s the show that’s built around this big central mystery of what’s going on in the dreams and how this relates to reality where the plot will be dribbled out throughout the season. There’s also hints that something else weird is going on from certain characters having monstrous shadows to the word “Topeka” turning up in different characters’ stories. Which is fine, except I’ve been burned too many times on series that do this, that rely on a season-long “mystery” rather than telling a story within each episode, to have any patience whatsoever with Falling Water. Maybe Falling Water will have a brilliant story and maybe not, but the only way to find out is to watch the whole season which I’m not willing to do.

It doesn’t help matters that the series is shot in a way where it seems to be aesthetically close to that of a pretentious perfume commercial with hands intermingling and characters gazing at each other across rooms both inside and outside the dreams. Plus at times the dialog came across as fake and phony that it seemed like the writers of Falling Water were more concerned that people recognize them for the craft than having the characters come across as believable human beings.

Maybe I’m wrong and Falling Water will be one of those shows that people look back on at the end of the season and think how great it was. If so, someone will have to tell me since I’m done with this one.

Channel Zero – Grade: C-

11-channel-zero-candle-cove-w529-h352Much like Falling Water, the first episode of the SyFy series Channel Zero isn’t so much a story unto itself, it’s a portal into the six episode limited series. But when the first episode of this horror series feels long and drawn out as this one did it can’t bode well for the rest of the series.

Here, Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation) stars as Mike Painter, a very Stephen King-like character who’s a writer returning to his hometown years after he first left. Back in 1988 disturbing things happened around town, some of which we glimpse as flashbacks in the episode, but the major event for Mike was the murder of his twin brother. And once Mike returns to town weird things start happening again with creepy creatures stalking the countryside and the return of a children’s TV series called Candle Cove that only kids seem able of seeing and hasn’t been on the air since 1988.

Honestly, the first episode of Channel Zero felt like a cross between some lost King story and the movie The Mothman Prophecies, which sounds great. But somehow Channel Zero came off feeling long and drawn-out and I was quite bored with it by the halfway point of the show. Plus, I was never quite sure what the main plot was for the show. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I felt more confused than intrigued. Mike has flashbacks to when he and his bother were growing up which seemed to show that the more they watched Candle Cove the more Mike’s brother started developing weird powers. And there’s also a thing that seems to be covered in teeth running around as well as someone in a skeleton looking costume.

The more that I think about the show it seems like it’s got a lot of good ideas going on all taken from other sources as base material for the show, but none of these differing things ever gelled into a one coherent story. Unfortunately, Channel Zero is a mess I don’t think I’ll be sticking around for any more visits to.


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  • 2004: The TV series Battlestar Galactica premiers