Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fall TV Preview - Aliens In America - Pilot Training

Aliens in America - Original Pilot - directed by Dennie Gordon, written by David Guarascio and Moses Port
Premieres Monday October 1st, 8pm on The CW

A typical America family in the Midwest takes in an exchange student, but instead of the blond British they thought they were getting, they get Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan), a Muslim student coming from Pakistan via Heathrow. Franny Tolchuck (Amy Pietz), the mother, is freaked about the situation as much as outcast son Justin (Dan Byrd). At school, things go even worse when Raja attends the local suburban high school, and Raja's perception of an open and accepting America is tarnished.

Though the premise sets it up to allow for a more biting satirical, this amusing little comedy is more sweet, heartwarming and good natured. The original pilot that I saw (where the father has since been replaced by Scott Patterson (Luke from Gilmore Girls)) wasn't as funny and cynical about the politics of America post 9/11 as I thought it could be but I guess they need to save some of it to be spread over the series.

Still, Amy Pietz is fantastic as the matriarch of the family Franny (and in finally redeems herself from Caroline in the City (she was good in a sucky show. A sucky show I kept watching)) and Dan Byrd is endearing as Justin, a teen loser in a high school world where being cool means life and death. As Raja becomes and outcast, Justin realises their similarities and becomes friends. It's nice to see a Muslim character on TV that isn't a terrorist and at least it's much funnier (and better made) than the CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie (which is cute at most but still too sitcomy).

The pilot itself for Aliens in America is 3 Stars (***) but the show has potential to be higher, since the first half-hour pilot still has too much set up to really get into anything deeper, but so far so good. The charming buddy chemistry between Byrd and Kalyan works and Pietz grabs her role with feisty fervour, and the addition of Luke Danes Scott Patterson can only be bonus.

Here's the promo for Aliens in America:

Dan Byrd

Adhir Kalyan

Amy Pietz

Lindsey Shaw

Scott Patterson


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Anonymous said...

te amo lindsey!
xaooooooQ kisses...