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S01.E01: Pilot

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SERIES PREMIERE - With her friends and family in danger of losing their homes, rebellious high school teacher Sarah Cooper vows to stop Lydon's bulldozers.

Longer synopsis:


The bucolic tranquility of Greylock, New Hampshire is upended when a massive vein of coltan - an incredibly valuable mineral used in tech - is discovered under the town. State-backed mining company Lydon Industries swoops in with plans to extract the mineral, which will wipe Greylock off the map. With her friends and family in danger of losing their homes, rebellious high school teacher Sarah Cooper (Stella Baker) vows to stop Lydon's bulldozers.

Leading Lydon's efforts is Sarah's estranged brother, Danny Cooper (Luke Mitchell). After enduring a difficult childhood at the hands of his mother, former New Hampshire state senator Ellen Cooper (Megan Follows), Danny is eager to exact his revenge on a community he feels abandoned him. Sarah enlists her friends - fellow teacher Corinne Dearborn (Hope Lauren), police officer Amy "AJ" Johnson (Nia Holloway), and diner manager Grover Simms (Ian Duff) - in the fight against Danny.

There seems to be no way to stop the town's impending demise, until Sarah proposes an oddly intriguing solution: Greylock could declare independence, since the town's land was never properly claimed by the United States. With the help of a group of supporters that includes Sarah's friends and three of her teenage students - LA transplant Maya Jiménez (Izabella Alvarez), introspective outsider Tyler Easterbrook (Forrest Goodluck), and preppy "popular girl" Bella Whitmore (Landry Bender) - they win the vote. Now, Sarah and her allies must confront an even more daunting task: building a country from scratch.

Kat Candler directed the episode written by Jeffrey Paul King.

Airdate: 6/14/2021

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So, I watched it. It was just ok for me. It wasn't so awful that I'll never tune in again, but it wasn't so great that I'm in it for the long haul. It falls mostly in the middle, leaning a bit more toward the negative side due to the several cliche storylines that I already can predict their outcome. 

The premise is unique, for the most part, but the way they're handling it is clearly heading into cliche territory. 

The characters are...ok, mostly. Some are better than others. But the relationships are all predictable. So there's not going to be much substance for me there, not unless they find a way to shake things up.

The teen drama underneath the main storyline is going to grate, just because I was hoping to have more of the adult storylines take focus, but I don't see that being the case, not with several main teen characters. And I'm just gonna not touch this aspect of the show at all because it holds no interest to me.

The premise is thought provoking but, in reality, it wouldn't work long-term. Nobody would back this idea because, as the ending showed, there's a lot of complications with spontaneously declaring yourself as an independent country. I know this first season will largely be tackling these issues, but I think the idea would have ended before it really began, realistically, because politicians would have strongly advised against it. It's just too much of a tricky situation to navigate through.

A rarity, but I actually DON'T care about the family drama in the Cooper family. Ok, so Mommy Cooper is an abusive drunk who will QUITE CLEARLY get redeemed by the end of the season. Danny's a complete dickhead who decided to leave his sister with their clearly abusive drunk mother to take care of for years. As a result, Sarah's a little bit of a mess herself who has a love interest who she won't pursue because of....TV conflict reasons. Oh, and Danny's staying in town because his ex fiancee's son is quite clearly his and that's the only reason to get him to stick around, especially with the cliche story where someone from a broken household must BREAK THAT PATTERN with a secret child (usually a son) that he knew nothing about until recently.

Actually, I do want to touch on the teen drama since there's, like, three different plots there. LA Spoiled Princess is certainly rude AND homophobic. So don't care about her redeeming herself through making up with her dad after she said that nasty stuff about him. I get it, it's a pilot, she only has to go up from here. But, c'mon, girl, saying that your dad "turned" gay? They set her up for me to hate her; I don't care that her mom's in jail and she got forced to a small town. I don't care if she's angry and taking it out on him. And Bella/Tyler, whose new spark in love will be thwarted by the Big Bad Evil Quarterback (I presume he's QB; all teen dramas have a QB in the forefront, either as a Villain or a Hero). Big fat meh for me. 

I am trying to find some things that I enjoyed, and there really are some. I like that Sarah is a history teacher. I like that history was involved in this pilot, even if some of it was made up. Some of the adult characters were given just enough to do that got me interested in them.

Overall, I'll give the show a couple of more episodes, because I know pilots are either a hit or miss due to them mostly being information/setup-driven. But they really need to give me something else that isn't predictable. 

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It was...okay. 

The premise is definitely interesting but they went about it in the most straightforward, cliche ridden way possible. 

Sarah is fine but didn't particularly stand out for me, you standard TV do gooder rebel with a heart of gold and the rest of the characters have even less to them. I realise this was only a pilot but the only thing I'm interested in is the independence storyline but none of the characters. 

The river was a good way of coming up with the reason Greylock was never part of the US or Canada, albeit extremely convenient that the entire town was in the loophole, but surely it would be more complicated than just holding a quick local referendum? 

Whilst obviously it was the premise of the show I'm surprised that so many residents decided to go for independence from the US with one speech. It's a pretty huge deal and it's not like they'd had decades or centuries of considering themselves different to other places in NH ala Scotland, Catalonia, Quebec etc. I guess the fact that they haven't thought it through is going to be what the series is about. And the US government isn't going to be happy about an entire town sort-of-seceding, clearly as she got arrested. Oh and she had the poster of (Patty Hearst was it?) with a gun that the camera lingered on. Especially with a billion dollars worth of coltan still to be mined. And if they want to make agreements and treaties with the US or Canada the residents are going to have to think about mining it themselves which is going to defeat the purpose of the declaration.  

There was no "wow, go girl, stand up to blackmail, do right by your kids" that there should have been in the mother admitting her drunk driving, abusive mom past because she'd been in one scene (drunk) before then and she isn't even a character yet. 

Danny and Corinne....I take it he didn't know about the kid before? Oh joy, I love a secret kid storyline /S I guess he's another that's supposed to be an ass who turns out to be just a damaged guy with a heart of gold. 

The teens were all cliche. The standard arsehole Jock/popular cool girl/cool, mysterious outsider meh. Of course each discovers that they love the other's "surprising" thing. Maya and her dad might go somewhere but he shone more in his scenes with Sarah. 


Edited by Featherhat
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For most of the episode, I was already planning my obligatory "It's rough, but expected for a pilot" response like with most show's introductions, but the twist/reveal that Momma Cooper (Megan Follows!) was an abusive drunk that even sent Danny to the hospital at one point, really makes me question things going forward.  Because it feels like they're setting things up to redeem her, but I really can't see that working out, outside of them revealing the character also had some kind of horrific past.  But even then, I don't see them being able to successfully walk all of this back.  And considering it was covered up and at least some others knew about it, I really can't blame Danny for hating Greylock and bailing like he did, even if it was wrong to leave Sarah behind (although I couldn't figure out if she was actually abused too, or was it all on Danny?)  Oh, and the reveal also made that already questionable moment where Sarah punched Danny even worse, because it just made me think "So, is there anyone in the Cooper family that doesn't use Danny as a literal punching bag?"  So, yeah, I'm already side-eying everything involving Momma Cooper.

The rest was okay, even though I suspect it would be way more complicated to "secede" from union/America like they did.  Plus, while I like the idea they are going for, I already suspect that a lot of interesting conflicts and stories that should naturally come with it will likely be pushed to the side for more atypical drama and fluff.  I could probably watch episodes of this new republic just establishing its government or establishing its own laws, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it is glossed over.

Episode definitely went all out with establishing the typical squad of characters and cliched stories, with Sarah's best friend who she clearly has feelings for (and vice versa), but he's not ready due to his deceased wife, Danny's ex with a kid who may or may not be his, loner girl from the big city that hates her dad, the star crossed attraction between the (ex) mayor's daughter and the Native American kid who both are more than meets the eye (He likes ballet too!  She's down with tribal rock, actually!), and Sarah's roommate who seems to be having an affair with the mayor's wife.

The acting was serviceable, but still mainly in the feeling out phase mode.  In particular, the actress playing Sarah had moments where she seemed spot-on, but other ones where she felt off for whatever reason.  And while there is nothing wrong with working on a CW show, it is kind of funny seeing Luke Mitchell here (after first noticing him on The Tomorrow People), after having stints on ABC (Agents of Shield), NBC (Blindspot), and CBS (The Code), because it made me picture The CW as Thanos all "You could not live with your own failure.  Where did this bring you?  Back to me!" to him.

So, it looks like Canada will now be playing the role of New Hampshire this time!  Hey, more realistic than Canada pretending to be San Francisco on Kung Fu!

All in all, not expecting great things here, but hey, it's the summer, so I'm sure this will be passable entertainment for now!

Edited by thuganomics85
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2 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

But, c'mon, girl, saying that your dad "turned" gay?

That's not what she said. She said "You're the dude that knocked my mom up 16 years ago, then remembered he was gay and ran off." And the running off part was her issue with him, not him being gay.

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I'm out because the show briefly acknowledged that the land was stolen from the indigenous people who lived there, but since no one filed the right paperwork, it was up for grabs. And instead of, oh, I don't know, returning the land to its original inhabitants or at the least putting their descendants in charge of how they move forward, they keep the land stolen and put a white chick in charge of a whole new country.  I'm saying it really poorly and I wish I could convey it better, but it's not like that's my only issue with this mess. Blech. 

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