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Anyone see the premiere of the Messengers last night? Thoughts???

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The Messengers Series Premiere Review: Misguided Prophecy
TV.com CBS By Cory Barker
April 17, 2015 11:04 AM
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The Messengers S01E01: "Awakening"

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The 2014–2015 TV season has been very kind to The CW. The network has gone three-for-three with a trio of new shows—The Flash, Jane the Virgin, and iZombie—that (still small) audiences seem to love and critics can't help but praise. And while it will probably never fully compete with the old guard on broadcast TV, this season has probably been The CW's best one in the history of the network.

Well, you know, three out of four is still pretty good.

The CW's last significant new project to make it to air as part of the 2014–2015 cycle is The Messengers, and while the pilot episode featured a couple of moderately intriguing elements—particularly Stephen Williams' direction—it was ultimately a bumpy, and at times quite boring, starting point.

A brief summary of the plot is necessary here. The Messengers follows a quintet of people spread across the southwestern part of the United States: researcher Vera (Shantel VanSanten), troubled single mom Erin (Sofia Black-D'Elia), quiet teen Peter (Joel Courtney), undercover agent-turned-fugitive Raul (J.D. Pardo), and televangelist Joshua (Jon Fletcher). When an anomalous object goes streaking through the air and hits Earth, the five are subsumed by a mysterious aura and seemingly killed before returning to consciousness with very little understanding of what just happened. But we know what happened; they've been turned into angels, or something! And in that streaking object? A man (Diogo Morgado), with—get this—some messages to share.

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As I was watching "Awakening," I couldn't shake the feeling that The Messengers is a relic that somehow got lost in time. In many ways, it's the kind of show that would've debuted in the post-Lost era on any number of networks. It features a surprisingly wide scope and sprawling cast of normal people who are "connected" by an event (not The Event, at least I don't think) they can't really explain or comprehend. And as these things go, the series premiere attempted to illustrate the day-to-day experiences of the people who are about to be thrown into the center of some big, mysterious plot, but those scenes were about as generic as it gets. Dedicated scientist. Single parent. Law enforcement dude. Introverted teenager. Preacher with daddy issues. It's difficult to establish characters on shows like this, which is why most of them fail, but The Messengers' efforts to do so were especially feeble.

Likewise, we're expected to be curious about what happened and why, but the pilot made the mistake of revealing some of that long before the characters discovered it, which is really just the worst way to watch a mystery unspool on television. After the fab five were embraced by "the light," if you will, it didn't take long for The Messengers to divulge that they'd become angelic in some form. Are they angels? Maybe, maybe not. Nonetheless, we at home already know something is up, whereas only a couple of them (Vera and Joshua) seem to understand that they've been significantly altered in some way. Maybe everyone will begin to comprehend their changing bodies in Episode 2, but it's always dangerous to give the audience information that the characters don't have and then expect to hold our interest.

This problem was made worse by the fact that the story itself wasn't particularly engaging. Presumably, The CW looked at the success of Castiel and the angel stories on Supernatural and hoped that blowing it out into a whole new series would yield a nice supplement to superheroes, vampires, zombies, and pregnant virgins, but The Messengers suggests that isn't really the case. The Man might be moderately imposing, but that's such a rote character type, at least as of this one episode, that it'd be hard to really care about his true motives, or what role he plays in the group's newfound skills.

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Weirdly, the best part of The Messengers' pilot was how it looked, which is not something you might expect from a CW series. Like Jane the Virgin before it, The Messengers scores some extra points by shooting somewhere other than Canada or Atlanta, and director Stephen Williams (he of Lost fame) took advantage of the wide-open landscapes in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico to give "Awakening" a unique feel. The sequences with Vera out in the middle of nowhere were particularly nice in the way they underscored her small stature in the grand scale of the environment (a little touch that helps the story, too). The interior scenes presented that kind of generic CW style, but you know what? The special effects weren't too bad, either. The visualization of the light/streak-thing taking over the characters wasn't overdone, and the translucent wings moved nicely.

Of course, solid effects and beauty shots of a landscape we don't typically see on The CW weren't enough to make this first episode enjoyable. The Messengers' debut was not good. It wasn't embarrassingly bad, but it didn't have the kind of wild, compelling moments or standout performances that define current-era CW shows. There's a reason why the network buried this show on Friday night, this late in the season. But hey, three out of four ain't bad!





EXTRA MESSAGES
– There was some especially bad and melodramatic character stuff peppered throughout the pilot. Single mom Erin has an abusive cop for an ex who threatened her in the middle of a hospital with no consequences, while Joshua discovered that his televangelist dad is the true father of his unborn baby. Not great, Bob.

– If you were concerned that The CW would produce a new series without populating it with actors from previous CW shows, relax. VanSanten did her time on One Tree Hill and Black-D'Elia helped ruin the final season of Gossip Girl as the young terror Sage. So there's that.
 
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Thanks for this thread, I just wish you had started it yesterday when I would have had a chance to program my DVR :(
I have a Pilot wishlist setup where it automatically records any new series with the work "pilot" in the description, which they generally do. Unfortunately the CW didn't seem aware of this standard as nowhere in it's description did The Messengers use the word pilot, so it didn't record :(
Apparently the CW has it available for streaming but my internet speed isn't good enough to reliably stream without breakups or fuzziness :(
And as much as the CW likes to repeat things, they don't have the pilot scheduled for a repeat in the next two weeks, for sure before the next episode!
I like it when other networks repeat a pilot, happening more and more. IMO it only makes sense, one more chance for people to catch it and also gives people that hear from word of mouth it's good, a chance to watch it without having to resort to streaming. I can't believe I'm the only one that won't start watching a series if I can't catch the pilot.
Oh well, lots of other good stuff to watch I guess. If it sticks around maybe I could catch it in repeats, assuming the repeats are in broadcast order.
For anyone who missed the pilot and has good enough internet speed to stream, a link to the pilot, courtesy of KenF.
http://www.cwtv.com/shows/the-messengers
 

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Actually watched it last night on Hulu+ because they play CW episodes the next hour after an episode airs. The pilot sorta just set things up so I need to watch another episode to see where they go with it but I'm not big on Biblical occult so it's a hard sell for me.
 

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A lot of characters, a conspiracy, an antagonist, and characters with their baggage.

I plan to catch next week's episode, because it looks like they have a lot of potential. However, I hope it doesn't become yet another Teen Angst vehicle with the story all but abandoned.
 

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Watched some of the first episode last night and it felt like cheap summer filler. Which I guess is what it is and the Friday burn slot doesn't inspire confidence.. Nothing about it seemed very passionate or well done and with Supernatural and Constantine I think I've had my fill of angels at war with demons for a while.
 
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I sort of enjoyed it. The end reveal is interesting. I assume the white wings folks are good, and the male in the center of the crater is the biggest bad or maybe a rebel archangel. The end result seems to be good and bad delivered in one shot. Celestial equilibrium at its' best.
 

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Watched some of the first episode last night and it felt like cheap summer filler. Which I guess is what it is and the Friday burn slot doesn't inspire confidence.. Nothing about it seemed very passionate or well done and with Supernatural and Constantine I think I've had my fill of angels at war with demons for a while.
watched 30 min and out. deleted recording the series. It
reminds me too much of how Touch, Dig, Revolutions, Under the Dome and other crappily written network genre shows were done & written - cliched cardboard characters or a silly premise. I figured out the agent was being setup & going to be killed by his buds in about 20-30 seconds (coincidentally the actor was in Revolutions). If they can't surprise me better than that...they are sh**ty writers.

Constantine the movie, thumbs up. Legion & Dominion, thumbs down. Been there, done that.

I watch CW for Arrow & Flash. Gave up on The 100 in the pilot and now this for same reasons. Much more interesting shows to watch now & upcoming month - Orphan Black, Tatou starts, Outlander, GoT, Ripper St, Penny Dreadful.

I've gotten much more discriminating in my viewing tastes over the last few yrs ;)
 

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So, did I get my take of "the Man" wrong?
I thought the show was implying that "The Man" was Lucifer, a literal fallen angel. Which means I am confused on the conversion of the Five. If they are going the individual powers route, I guess the "troubled single mom Erin" is the healer, and the "cuckolded televangelist Joshua" is the seer/prophet.
v/r,
C-F
 

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I thought the second episode was a lot more interesting than the first. It felt like the second half of the pilot. They really should have shown both these episodes on the same night, I think it would have made more sense and convinced more people to give the series a try.

Of course, requiring two hours to explain your premise is probably not a good thing in a era where the premise of most shows can be covered in a sentence or two.

I'm willing to give it another episode or two to see where it is going next.

Duane
 

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I'm already convinced that this is going to be one of those uselessly drifting shows that never gives proper answers to any questions except, "It's all part of the divine plan!" so I don't intend to stick around for the whole thing, but I do kind of want to know what the last woman's power is enough to watch episode 3, assuming that's when it gets revealed.
 

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I'm not sure I am up to another "let's take the end day prophecies and run them through the blender" show. However, I'll leave next week's show scheduled for DVRing.

Edited to add (May 9, 2015): if you ignore the scriptures and the show's odd interpretation of them, the show seems mostly tolerable.
 
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