TV's "The Gates" Has Potential, but Needs Work

| by

"You can go to bed tonight knowing this problem is solved."

"Maybe. Or Maybe you just opened the door. Or the gate, as it were."

Bah duh bum!

I can admit when I'm wrong. And two weeks ago I wrote an editorial called "Why The Gates May Be The Breakout Summer Show," but after last night's episode-- which was only the second-- I am unfortunately second-guessing myself and what I am now thinking of as a snap judgment.

You see, I am one of the few who are still happily on the Desperate Housewives bandwagon, so adding some supernatural elements to it to form The Gates gave me the impression the summer show would be just as fun, if not a little campy, and I was eager to be along for that ride. But sitting down to watch last night's episode I was struck by just how uneven the episode was between pacing, plot, and even the level of acting. The "older" generation of actors know it is best to take pauses for character moments while the kids move about their scenes fast and intense, as if they just want to get them over with. And that's how I feel about watching the show: I'd much rather see what's going on in the new police chief (Frank Grillo)'s office than in Skyler Samuels' bedroom. She was born in 1994! That just makes me feel old!

The first half of the episode felt like it was just comprised of random scenes strung together in no particular order, for no particular reason. I know the characters needed to be "reintroduced" in a way, to some who missed the pilot or those who screened it awhile ago. I, for one, didn't watch when it aired last Sunday since I had seen a screener a couple of weeks prior. But the distance didn't make me forget; it made my heart grow fonder! And I didn't feel welcomed back; I felt like one of those outsiders-- someone who had been banished to the outside of the gates and forced to be a voyeur from a distance. Which is the exact opposite of what their promos seem to be saying: the gates open at the start to allow the audience in and then slam shut behind them, as if saying: "You're one of us now." But the show doesn't make you want to be one of them anymore; it is really saying "You're stuck here now." But thankfully I'm not. Because I have a remote control and a thousand other channels with my Time Warner HD Cable service!

I will say that last night's episode showed some potential, so I don't believe all is completely lost. However, there was a major drop off from the pilot, which scared me because usually it's the other way around. Pilots are rough because writers and producers have to cram so much information about who characters are, what their relationships are to each other, what the conflicts are, and sometimes (and in this case) what the mystery is. The second and third episodes, then, are the true test of whether or not a show has staying power and which actors really shine, promising growth and development for their characters.

Last night's episode of The Gates did have a little of that: Chandra West's spa/tea shop owning witch threatened Claire (Rhona Mitra), the vampire who suffers from cravings so bad she killed a guy in the pilot. She lied to the police and may even be "turning" citizens of their so-called idyllic community. She definitely is someone to watch. Unfortunately, she may be the only one.

There are a lot of characters on this show. So many that poor Kyle Secor who finally made this entrance as a young succubus' dad got relegated to quick shots of his puppy dog eyes, sadly staring at the child who doesn't know what's happening to her. Maybe they can pull it together. Maybe they'll pull a Community, start to see where their true strengths lie (in West, in Mitra, and not in that creepy yellow-eyed and yellow-haired teen stalker werewolf), and play to them. But I'm already so much more emotionally attached to a handful of this summer's reality shows (Losing it with Jillian, Last Comic Standing, Bethenny Getting Married?, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List) that it doesn't much matter. I wish I hadn't vowed not to write about reality on this blog anymore because I should have picked one of those as the "Breakout" summer show for sure!!

Read more at Made Possible by Pop Culture