An Uncle Sam Review:
Last night I downloaded and watched the pilot episode of Aquaman on iTunes. The never-before-aired pilot, which was supposed to be the new CW Network’s tentpole show, is just one of many new television programs that the soon-to-be-defunct The WB Network has contracted with the download giant to offer.
As I was watching it on my computer I was immediately struck by the absolutely beautiful photography and location shoots. The camera angles and underwater shots looked like they were made for a big budget, big screen feature, not a fledgling television network. And the CGI? Totally realistic and awesome to behold!
Justin Hartley as the young AC (aka Aquaman) was adequate to the task and the show was balanced out with maturity with Lou Diamond Phillips playing his adopted naval officer father, and the forbidding presence of Ving Rhames as his Atlantian mentor.
The pilot’s story was gripping, fast-paced, chock full of scifi/fantasy concepts and ideas, all the way from aliens, sea sirens, nymphs, Bermuda Triangle mythology and Atlantis. What made the pilot intriquing was how the writers wove all these ideas into a believeable story for a 21st Century setting.
I watched shaking my head the whole time thinking, “Are the same idiots who did programming for UPN (the other network that merged with The WB to form CW) now making scheduling decisions for CW?” Aquaman had all the elements for being a mega hit for the new network, and yet it was the first to be axed by them without the pilot ever getting any airtime at all.
Then I got to thinking a little more. First, with the high quality of star power, live locations from around the globe, underwater photography and special effects, the production costs for the pilot alone had to have gone through the roof. So I had to ask myself, “could a fledgling new network have continued with this kind of cost and quality each and every week for 26 weeks? Probably not, which means ultimately the story and the franchise would have suffered. If this was the primary incentive for execs at the new CW Network to cancel the show before airing it, then I will applaud them for that decision, because, after seeing the high quality of the pilot, no fan would ever settle for anything less than that for each week’s show.
I do have a suggestion however, for the programming and money people over at CW. If you are listening, perhaps you could still resurrect Aquaman by making it a one time miniseries beginning with the existing pilot, or better yet, turn it into a special serial that returns every few months. Using that formula will still get the story told with the same level of quality exhibited in the pilot with both fans and advertisers walking away happy. I see it as a win-win scenario for everyone, especially the new CW Network.
On the Uncle Sam Scale of 0 to 5 *’s…..I give it a ***.