Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Pedigree: Stalker was created, written, and executive produced by Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, The Following). The pilot was directed by Liz Friedlander (The Following).
The Cast & How You Know Them: The show stars Maggie Q (Nikita) and Dylan McDermott (Hostages, The Practice), along with Victor Rasuk (Godzilla, How to Make It in America) and Mariana Klaveno (Devious Maids, True Blood).
The Premise: Stalker is a thriller about a police unit investigating – you guessed it – stalking. Meanwhile, their own pasts and secrets (and experiences stalking and/or being stalked?) continue to haunt them.
What Works: Do you like TV to scare you? I don’t. But maybe you do! If so, if that is one of your priorities in choosing your entertainment, you might like this. I came out of this afraid of cars, elevators, and my bedroom. I’m told some people like that kind of thing. Other than that … um, the B plot is actually somewhat okay. And the cast is attractive.
What Doesn’t: I know I just said I don’t like to be scared, but really, I’m willing to put up with it if a show offers interesting ideas and good writing. This one doesn’t, at least so far. And really, the scariness is the least of its problems. The bigger problem for me is that the show rests on, and seems to delight in, using terrible crimes against (mostly) women as entertainment. Again, these events themselves do not disqualify a show for me — I watch and read a lot of crime fiction — but they need to be used as part of something more complex and interesting, something that’s saying something. Here I felt like the show was relying on violence against women itself to qualify as entertainment just by definition. And, for the records, the “good guys” are only mildly less terrible than the “bad guys.”
Our Favorite Line: “Don’t be silly. I’m sporadically rude.”
You Might Like This if you like your procedurals on the thriller side and want to be scared, and have a strong stomach for horrible things being done to women. And maybe if you like The Following — it’s certainly more similar to that one than to Williamson’s other shows.
(Photo courtesy of CBS.)