Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unforgettable: Somewhat Forgettable?

Fall is really a lovely time of year with its crisp autumnal weather and postcard beautiful scenery of leaves changing colors. But I have a hard time liking it because all it signals to me is the end of my beloved summer and the impending doom of another winter. (That may be a bit hyperbolic language for winter, but I really, really hate winter. If it were just cold, that would be bad enough. But it’s cold and pitch dark early every day – a horrible combination that makes me want to curl up in a ball and hibernate until spring comes along finally.) This year, I’m really trying hard to think of all the good things fall itself entails – it’s not cold yet but the cooler weather means that the cat curls up in my bed to stay warmer again, it’s no longer absurd to cook and use the oven without overheating the whole house, and it’s a great time to break out recipes for soups. There’s pumpkin carving to look forward to and my fridge is already stocked with limited edition pumpkin spice cream cheese and a creamy pumpkin pie. (Apparently, pumpkin might be the thing that tips the scales in fall’s favor.) And as my friend over on her TV blog points out, fall is the time for old favorite shows to return and new ones to emerge that might soon become favorites as well. Mostly, my interest lies in the former but there has been one new show I’ve been checking out – CBS’s drama Unforgettable.

Unforgettable is the story of Carrie Wells, an on-again-off-again police detective who has the ability to remember every moment of every day, except for the crucial day of her childhood when her sister was murdered. The premise of the show is an interesting one, but to date I’ve only felt so-so about the show. I’ve watched every episode that’s aired so far and I’ll more than likely tune in again for a few more weeks, but I’m just not sure that this is going to becoming a new favorite I’d watch from season to season.

On the plus side, I went in to the show thinking that I liked Poppy Montgomery in the past and I found that still to be true. Poppy Montgomery steals the show and literally stands out on the screen as the brightest thing in any given scene. I really like the character of Carrie -- from her interactions with her mother who can’t remember (which is an interesting foil to Carrie’s inability to ever forget) to her empathy for victims and suspects to her community service. Most especially, I’m interested in the back story of her sister’s murder and this is one thing that really pulls me back to the show each week. Al is an interesting character as well and they have a good rhythm with each other. You can already feel that there’s potential for the two of them to become deeper involved with each other as the show progresses.

In addition, the scenes of Carrie walking around in her memories to re-examine clues she might have missed the first time are pretty cool. It also makes her in line with detectives like Sherlock Holmes and his modern-day counterparts, Adrian Monk (Monk) and Shawn Spencer (Psych), in that it is the little things that she remembers that pull the case together. However, the cases themselves have not been anything particularly noteworthy. They’ve been interesting enough while viewing but not necessarily memorable (so they’re not so unforgettable, ha ha).

On the final plus side, I like that the opening of the show has taken a page from the introduction to Burn Notice by having a little spoken part about Carrie and how she remembers everything instead of a theme song, but I also like that there is an itty bitty theme song that shows up later when just the title of the show is flashed. Best of both worlds for a show’s opening.

Now to the down sides. There have been some bumps and gaffes along the way as the show stumbles for its footing. For instance, in the first episode, Carrie says she doesn’t want to become a cop again but in the second episode, she is back in the field again with nothing said about how she got there or what that process was like. Likewise, the first episode alludes to a past relationship between Carrie and Al and they appear to have chemistry again; however, in the second episode, all of a sudden Al has a girlfriend who is very confrontational with Carrie. Also, the show has yet to explain why Carrie can’t forget, at least not that I can recall. I certainly remember that the promos leading up to the show have a quote from Al explaining that it’s some sort of medical condition that she causes her to remember everything, but I haven’t seen that scene on the show itself.

But most damning of all for the show’s success (or lack thereof) is that the other members of Carrie and Al’s team don’t really stand out, so much so that I don’t even know all their names. That’s a major problem because when it comes right down to it Unforgettable is just another cop show and there’s so many of them out there already that a good cast of characters is needed to keep a new one afloat. I think the show has potential, but right now it needs a little more oomph.

Update: After viewing the fourth episode, it seems as though the show's writers are working on remedying this major problem of an uninteresting supporting cast. The other members of the team were given a bit more air time and we even got a bit of a back story for one. I didn't realize until the end of the episode that there wasn't a single mention of Carrie's murdered sister and that unsolved crime, yet I was still very much interested in the show. So there's potential for this one yet.


  1. I still need to check this one out more as I go through the plethora of shows I am watching, haha. But it's definitely still on list.

    Your comments regarding the second episode jumping into things that were never fully explained would definitely be something that also grind on my nerves. I do think this happens a lot from the pilot episode to episode 2. I've always thought that a pilot episode is a very odd duck. It's filmed so far ahead of the rest of the first season. Sometimes there are tweaks to the show along the way that never really make it into the pilot because they decide it's just not worth it to rewrite, re-shoot, etc. In any event, it doesn't excuse the jarring feeling that comes when episode 2 of a series doesn't exactly follow smoothly from the pilot, but I guess it does off some sort of an explanation.

    p.s. thanks for the mention :)

  2. I know, I'm behind on TV shows also and I don't think I'm trying to watch as many as you!

    Very true, a lot of shows don't transition too well from the pilot to the second episode. I'm guessing they must get feedback at some point from a focus group or critics or somebody on the pilot and then make adjustments for the next episode accordingly. The jump in Unforgettable wasn't huge - it didn't feel like characters suddenly became completely different people for instance - but it just needed *a bit* more of a bridge from episode 1 to episode 2 to make it smoother.

    P.S. You're welcome! :)