It’s been twelve long years since Chris Carter’s ‘X-Files‘ TV series finished up on the small screen. Now he’s looking to make a comeback with his new series ‘The After‘. I first heard about this project about a year ago and have been waiting for news of its development with baited breath ever since. So, I was quite surprised to see it suddenly released via Amazon Video last week with almost no fanfare.
I really wanted this to be awesome after having been cheated from any resolution by shows like ‘The Event’, ‘Flash Forward’ or ‘Awake‘ but, I have to be honest, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I absolutely loved the ‘X-Files’ and admire Chris Carter and Co. for the great writing and deep mythology of the series. However, the pilot for ‘The After’ was just awful on so many levels.
While the cast had great potential, they made it painfully obvious that they all felt like the whole thing was a bit of a joke. Adrian Pasdar aka Nathan Petrelli from ‘Heroes‘ is a case in point. He plays an arrogant lawyer so stereotypical and predictable it was painful to watch. I knew what he was going to say before he even said it. Smirking while delivering “dramatic” lines is probably better suited to comedy and might be more appropriate on something like ‘Saturday Night Live’ or ‘Star Wars: Episode I’ (yes Ewen McGregor I’m looking at you) rather than the pilot episode of a series you’re trying to sell to a mega corporation the likes of Amazon.
I thought Pasdar was great in ‘Heroes’, so we know he can certainly act if his heart is in it. Unfortunately, the other characters were no better, the elderly lady who seems to suddenly become senile, the over zealous cop who shoots a guy for running towards her, the “falsely accused” prisoner, the “Irish” guy who can’t stop dropping the F bomb….please!!! It was just embarrassing. Why would we invest any emotion into these people? Or is that the point? Must they redeem themselves from the pathetic excuses for human beings that they are? God only knows.
The “event” itself is purposely left unexplained presumably to try to add some mystery and intrigue but only adds to the frustration. During the outside scenes, explosions can be heard that sound somewhat “unnatural” and when Gigi (the pretty French woman who seemed to be the only one taking the show seriously) starts asking passerbys what is happening, she is met with vague answers that explain absolutely nothing. Most puzzling of all is the police officer who tells her that “we haven’t had communications since yesterday” which is odd because they only appear to have been trapped underground for a few hours at most. The mystery deepens, by mere millimeters, when it’s revealed that all the characters trapped in the car park together have the same birthday, March 7th. The only relevance of this particular date seems to relate to the 66th day of the year according to the Gregorian Calendar. Plonk a six in front of that and bam you’ve got yourself an arbitrary number that supposedly reflects yet another religious mandate. Pffft.
The most significant insight as to the mysterious “event”, however, was the freaky looking demon creature in the last few minutes of the show. Sooooo, this is the rapture then? All the good God fearing folk have been vacuumed up to heaven while the rest of us evil sinners are left to suffer the folly of man here on Earth? Really? Hhmmm that sounds an awful lot like another show currently in development.
While it might have sounded good on paper, it plays out like a B-Grade movie on TV. Good luck Chris, maybe God will help you with this one.
Judge for yourself. Head over to Amazon to sign up for a 30 day trial and download the episode for free.