September 28, 2011

THE SKED’S PILOT + 1 REVIEW: “Unforgettable”

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot in the spring and production of episodes for the regular season:  a writing/producing team is hired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover in the off-season) give plenty of notes, both helpful and otherwise, and critics begin to rear their ugly heads.  The results can include changes to tone, pace, casting and even story.  Here at THE SKED, we’re going to look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular episodes of this year’s new series as well.

Previously… on UNFORGETTABLE:  Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) is a homicide detective with hyperthermesia, which means she can remember to the smallest detail absolutely everything she’s ever seen or experienced in her life–with the dramatically ironic exception of the day her sister was murdered in front of her.  (In an additional irony, Carrie’s mother has Alzheimer’s, and for the most part has no memory of who Carrie is.)  Carrie is part of an NYPD squad that happens to be headed by her ex-fiance Al (Dylan Walsh), and together they solve a puzzling crime every week.

Episode 2:  The first regular episode, written by Consulting Producers Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Levin, and directed by pilot director Niels Arden Oplev, very much follows the template of the pilot.  This time the crime victims are an anesthesiologist and her husband, found shot in their own kitchen while their young son cowers in fear nearby.  Over the course of the episode, Carrie remembers a detail in one of many photos she glimpsed on someone’s wall, the tool belt worn by a cable repairman, what someone was watching on TV when she saw them, and so on.  The crime turns out to involve organ-harvesting, and the killer, in time-honored TV fashion, is ultimately revealed as the recognizable guy (Gale from Breaking Bad!) who only had a couple of lines in the first three-quarters of the episode.

The only addition to the continuing story of any note is the introduction of Al’s fiance, played by Annie Parisse in what will presumably be a recurring guest star role:  she’s at first somewhat hostile, but then comes to realize what a good cop Carrie is.  (Unintentional coincidence:  Carrie’s scene getting the silent boy to speak is markedly similar to one of the key sequences in last week’s Prime Suspect pilot.)  The jokes about distinctions between Syracuse (where Carrie and Al first met) and New York are already getting tired.

Basically, if you liked the Unforgettable pilot, there’s no reason to change your mind; conversely, if the show didn’t do much for you before, you’re not missing anything.

Original Verdict:  Change the Channel
Pilot + 1:  Watch Parenthood Instead

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."