Amazon Pilots: The Man in the High Castle vs Salem Rogers

Fresh from the Golden Globe award shower for Transparent, Amazon launched their 2015 pilots in the hope of finding their next hit. I was excited about The Man in the High Castle, the adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s alt-history novel. And yet, despite the setting, the literary heritage, Rufus Sewell and the intriguing possibilities about the difference between real and manufactured realities…. It was a little dull. I don’t mind slow-moving and ponderous, but TMitHC just didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped it would.

Contrasting this was a show I thought I’d despise: Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998. A comedy about a washed-up supermodel, shallow, callous and politically incorrect, emerges from a decade in rehab to try and kick-start her career with the help of her former assistant turned self-help writer. Normally I wouldn’t have given it a second look, but perhaps the fact that it was directed by Mark Waters of Mean Girls fame, made me give it a chance.
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So, while none of the characters are directly likeable, it feels like actors Leslie Bibb and Rachel Dratch have been let off the leash after languishing in bit parts for most of their career. Everyone seems to have had fun making this sweary, inappropriate comedy and I was surprised to find myself loving it. Sadly there’s only one episode of each of the pilots available, and popularity will determine which, if any, get made into a full series. But I do hope to see more of Salem Rogers.

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