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First of all, I love genre shows. I love stuff with creepy buildings and demonic presences and plucky heroines going down long, dank staircases… but… I just don’t know about this yet. I’m very torn! My brain is spinning!
Let’s analyze my confusion with some Fake TV Math. I’m going rate the heroine’s survival skills. As a show review. It’s going to work. Maybe.
Jane’s Survival Skills Rating
-2 for moving into a place called the Drake. It just sounds evil. Or like it should be hanging with Young Money. Neither of those things will help you succeed as an architect.
(more after the jump, with pilot spoilers!)
-1 for not fleeing the country when the villains smile and watch you play a violin from the shadows (I know this isn’t Jane, but that poor guy was an idiot).
+3 for marrying a very handsome and very generic dude. If one of the two gets killed on the show, it’ll be him.
+2 for talking about retrofitting like it’s the coolest trump card in the world. I like confidence.
-1 for blissfully ignoring all the ominous talk from all the hotel staff. “Oh, he moved someplace warmer.” “Not everybody gets to make it.” You live in the creepiest place. Pay attention to foreshadowing.
-1 again for the husband. The script is trying to make them sexy and bantery and cute and I just don’t believe it yet. He literally massages her feet in bubble bath. They’re both very pretty though.
+2 for being concerned about the guy in the basement with the bloody hand (also, that was a cool scene, but I digress). The best part was when she just responded, “Wash that with soap!”
+0 for believable but really boring small talk.
+0 for the awesomeness that is Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams as the villainous building owners. They are subtle and sexy and creepy and seem to understand the tone of the show better than anyone else.
+1 for being nice to that playwright. Because he is very, very doomed - though not in a very spooky way yet, unfortunately. He just seems to have kind of a cruddy marriage.
-3 for not reading the signals. If someone talks about their daughter in the past tense, then it’s probably not a happy story, Jane.
+4 for the Hawthorne plotline. Jane’s not really involved, but it’s by far the most successful and interesting part of the episode. Kind of a mainstream horror/morality tale plus just the right amount of gore to be unsettling. This should have been the main story of the episode, in my opinion.
+1 ew ew ew ghost kissing on her neck ew.
+1 for investigating the creepy basement. I like the cult storyline.
-2 for Jane, where are your shoes?
+1 for it only being a dream? Maybe? Ooh…
-666 for signing the damn contract. Really guys? Never sign contracts in a fantasy TV show!
Result: Jane gets a 5 on my completely arbitrary survival skills rating scale. That seems right. This show is very 5 out of 10 - right down the middle. A little trashy, a little sexy, a little scary, a little mysterious, a little bland… but it doesn’t go very far in any direction. It’ll be a great primetime soap if it commits more, and stops focusing so much on the cookie-cutter good guys. More people getting sucked into walls, please! I’ll give it maybe two more episodes to really make me jump.