Amazon’s new pilots today include two dramas, neither of which is very good, unfortunately. These are just pilots, and these are simply preliminary reactions, but … devote your energies to the comedies instead. Unless you really, really love Ron Perlman’s manic moping.
Hand of God Oh, great, another show about a sad, angry dude who makes life miserable for everyone around him — but goddammit, isn’t he just the most important thing that ever was. Ron Perlman stars as a judge who starts losing his grip on reality after his son and daughter-in-law are attacked; the son remains in a coma following a subsequent suicide attempt. “God chose me to mete out justice, just like Solomon,” Perlman says. And one of the ways he does this is by forcing his daughter-in-law — forcing, by force, forcibly turning her body so she’s facing in the direction he wants — to stare at a suspect’s exposed genitals in an attempt to have her identify her rapist. Somehow, this isn’t presented as an aspect of villainy: Perlman’s character is obsessed and having hallucinations, but in this moment, he’s standing with a perfectly sane cop and lawyer who say and do absolutely nothing to indicate that they see anything wrong with this behavior. (They’re simply upset about the suspect Perlman has identified.) There’s violence, the exposed breasts of a genial sex worker, and a sad wife, but none of the humanity or panache that makes for an actual prestige drama.
Hysteria When members of a teen-girl dance team start having unexplained tics and convulsions, the local hospital calls in an expert neurologist — one who’s from that very area and has trouble returning home and confronting her dark, spooky, murder-adjacent past. Do you buy Mena Suvari as a said expert? It’s not clear that this show even buys that casting, but she’s the star of the show anyway.
The series is yet another in a long line that considers female teen sexuality a dangerous, alien force — can’t they stop throwing themselves at middle-aged men and orchestrating staged sexual assaults? No wonder they transmit their weird tics through, uh, social media. (No, really.)