Pilot Review: My Generation

A documentary crew followed a group of American 18 year olds in their final year of high school in 2000, now ten years later they’re catching up on them.

A short review of this, because by the time I got round to watching and reviewing it, ABC cancelled it after just two episodes.

There’s a nice idea at the heart of this. There’s plenty of shows about teenagers, plenty about twenty-somethings, but the idea of being able to see how people change and stay the same through those transition years had a lot of potential. I was less keen on the documentary style, but it would give a method for the characters to talk about themselves and each other, allowing the viewer to get a pretty comprehensive coverage of how they saw themselves and each other both back then, now and an excuse to talk about how they think they’ve changed. I think this kind of thing has been done in the real world (The Up Series for one, although I haven’t seen them) but what real life documentary can’t be brightened up by some TV melodrama?

As it turns out, this could be used as a text book example of how that TV-ness can screw up even the best of ideas. They took an interesting idea, and managed to turn it into a really horrible experience. The characters were caricatures, the dialogue terrible, the directing clumsy and the acting over the top. Everything about it felt like being bludgeoned about the head. I have no idea where they would take the rest of the series, because after 10 minutes, you already know everything about these characters, who they were, who they are now, how they got there and what they’re going to do in the future. And most importantly, knowing all that, I had absolutely no desire to spend any further time in their company. The only reason I stuck with it more than 10 minutes was for the sake of writing this review.

Done with subtlety and talent, this could have been a really fascinating show with depth and humanity. As it was, it was a waste of a good idea and everyone’s time.

Reviews
TV Squad – ‘My Generation’ has promised a lot. The show’s creators hyped it as a ground-breaking new drama. But can the series live up to the buzz? The premiere has some great moments — but just as often, it falls back on standard TV clichés and pat reversals.

CliqueClack – ABC’s ‘My Generation’ has a premise that some people are going to connect with immediately. Unfortunately, for viewers that aren’t a part of said generation, identifying with the characters is going to be a challenge.

Links: Official site, wikipedia, TV.com, imdb.

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  1. September 3rd, 2011
    Trackback from : Narrative Devices
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