The Line, “Episode 1” (1.01)

This summer, I reviewed the bulk of the first season of George F. Walker and Dani Romain‘s newer show, Living in Your Car. Today, I sat down with a group to watch the pilot to their previous collaboration, The Line. What did I think? My review after the jump…

Well, that was embarrassing.

The Line was, and I don’t say this lightly, the worst pilot I’ve ever seen. It’s racist and sexist (and I don’t think in the way it intends), but worst of all, it’s unfunny. The writing is awful, the direction pedestrian, and the acting laboured. I spent the entirety of the pilot alternately feeling badly for Sharon Lawrence, who I know deserves better material than she was given here, and crossing my fingers that a minor character would go on a rampage and murder every single character in this cast.

The Line is The Wire if The Wire did everything wrong, essentially. The Line also tries to show a ‘gritty’ world where the line between the criminals and the police aren’t as solid as one would think, but they do so by making both sides unbelievably stupid. Neither side does anything particularly interesting, with the police wandering around for an hour either getting drunk or having listless affairs with other unlikeable characters, while the drug dealers argue about rice crackers. It’s just a bunch of unlikeable people (and the cast of this beast is massive) doing selfish things for an hour. The Line also divides its focus between white and black people, but both sides are so horribly stereotyped that no-one in the room was sure whether to laugh at the pilot or ask that it be turned off. The writing is clunky, unsubtle and unfunny, with no grasp on reality whatsoever.

When I say ‘unlikeable people doing selfish things’, I don’t mean flawed people doing morally questionable things, like American shows love to do these days. It tries to do that, but none of the dialogue is distinctive enough nor the plotting engaging enough to make a single character worth watching. Six Feet Under this is not.

Folks, I enjoyed the pilot of Do Not Disturb, the comedy that was so bad that the creators posted a ‘forgive us for how bad the pilot was and please keep watching’ letter on the Internet. This was a trainwreck. And it’s currently airing a second season on what I consider to be Canada’s strongest producer of scripted content.

Why am I constantly apologising for the Canadian television industry? Why is “good… for Canada” a descriptor that I apply to almost every Canadian television show I like? Why can’t our industry squeeze a decent series out of someone who won the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement? What is wrong with this picture?

I don’t know. All I know is, watching this pilot and knowing that this was commissioned, and continues to be commissioned, by the channel closest to being the Canadian HBO is disheartening. To say the least.

One Response to “The Line, “Episode 1” (1.01)”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] more resembles the one shown here, this might have elicited a laugh. But I doubt it. Not since The Line have I wished the entire cast of characters a quick and painful death. The comedy was obvious, […]

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