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Wicked City - Pilot - Advance Preview

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   Premiering on the 27th October, Wicked City will be the last new show to air this season and it’s ABC’s newest anthology series ! Since American Horror Story did so well in its first season on FX, it has opened the way this genre. HBO has True Detective, FX has Fargo and ABC already has American Crime. I am particularly fond of this genre. The story is more planned, the writers know which end they want to get to, so IMO, it really improves the quality of the show. There is no need to have a couple of filler episodes, the story is more concentrated on what matters.
   Wicked City is a very different and unique genre for ABC, more than an anthology, it’s mostly a show about a serial killer (The Sunset Strip Killer) and the police investigation against him. It’s a bold and brave choice for ABC. I'm thrilled they have a show like Wicked City, which seems more suitable for a cable network; but it means there won’t be any graphic violence on the show and that can be tricky for a show about serial killer. It was my main concern about the show, but the pilot vanished my doubts. The pilot is actually surprisingly dark and sexy. Of course there is this attack in the car as shown in the promo happening in the first very minutes of the episode, but there is more ! There are very weird and uncomfortable sex moments, some blood and a mutilated corpse.

   First of all, I have to admit that the screener I had the pleasure to watch was edited before the recasting of Jeremy Sisto and Evan Ross. I don’t know if ABC edited it more, so I have decided to write the preview as a Q&A.

What’s the Story : Set in 1980, in Hollywood, everybody wants to be famous, even serial killers. The show follows the lives of Kent (Ed Westwick), aka the Sunset Strip Killer and Betty (Erika Christensen), his new love interest ; also in parallel and equal screen time, it follows the work of the detectives in charge of the investigation, Det. Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) and his newly assigned partner Det Paco Contreras (Gabriel Luna), with the interference of aspiring journalist Karen McClaren (Taissa Farmiga).

Where & When : ABC, Tuesday 27th October (I know it’s late, still confused about ABC’s decision. The timeslot and the network are tough but I really hope it won’t affect the ratings too much. The show really deserves to be watched)

Who’s Who :
Ed Westwick is Kent. Well, first I have to admit I have this little crush on Ed Westwick since Gossip Girl. His performance in the pilot is amazing, not just because he's amazingly hot. He portrays Kent with perfection. One moment, he’s this nice and charming young man, helping out his friends and the next, he has this creepy look in his eyes with a cold and hard face. The switch between the two personalities of Kent is remarkably executed by Westwick.
   Kent's personality is troubled, of course he's a serial killer. He enjoys killing women, but there's so much more about him that will unfold in the pilot and probably will disgust you. His killing ritual is quite interesting and somewhat fun to watch. And meeting with Betty will rock his world.

Erika Christensen is Betty : She’s the highlight of the show. Betty is a sweet and charming young lady, balancing her life between her job as a nurse and her family (she has two kids) when she meets with Kent and totally falls for him. That’s understandable, I would have fallen for him too.
    But there’s a twist about her : she is also damaged and she might not be as nice as she first seems. The producers already revealed something about her but I didn’t know it when I watched it and the surprise was excellent so I don't want to write much about it yet ! Christensen is really great in the pilot, I’m definitely looking forward watching more of her. I have a feeling she will be extraordinary in it. And Westwick and her have a good chemistry on screen.

Taissa Farmiga is Karen McClaren : Farmiga was great in her two seasons on AHS, and she also was one of the reasons I wanted to watch Wicked City. In the pilot, she’s excellent as usual, playing this naive but also sassy young woman. There’s something so fresh yet powerful about Farmiga when she's on screen, She might become my favorite character on the show quickly.
   So, she's Karen, a aspiring journalist, she has one dream and she really wants to achieve it but she also seems like a nice person, ready to do the right thing. She surprisingly ties with a detective, and the whole media / police could be an interesting angle for the show.

Jeremy Sisto is Det Jack Roth : I didn’t have the chance to see Sisto playing him so I really hope he can bring some special to the character. Because in the pilot, Detective Roth is quite the regular cold and vaguely complexed TV cop. His part disappointed me a little because there wasn’t something much original about him but I’m confident Sisto will change that. And I can't wait to meet the Roth family !

Gabriel Luna is Det Paco Contreras. He’s Roth’s new partner, but they already share a complicated past. Let's just say they're not that friendly at first. I’m not a huge fan of him but Luna is convincing enough.

Karolina Wydra as Dianne Kubek : she’s an undercover cop, working as a drug dealer in Sunset Strip. She’s quite funny in her way, she definitely has a temper. You don't want to mess with her.
   Wydra is excellent in her part, definitely looking forward watching more of her.

Why you should watch it : Sex, Drug, Murders & Rock'n'Roll ! ! ! Do you need more ?
   The pilot is solid. It’s a good episode, it does the job, it introduces all the characters to the viewers. Everything unfolds quite naturally and quickly which is much enjoyable. It’s not boring at all, the balance between the investigation and the killer daily life is well executed and really adds a great dynamic to the episode. The writing is surprisingly dark and mature and the cast is just great. So, Wicked City really has everything expected from a good pilot.
   But most of the all, the best thing about Wicked City is the soundtrack. As it's set in 1980, the music is huge part of the show. The pilot is like one the best TV soundtrack ever. It has Billy Idol, Foreigner, Soft Cell, Joan Jett, Blondie, Romeo Void... The songs are always perfectly chosen, for the right scenes. It’s amazing how much power it can give to the show. More than the make up, the clothes and the hair (which are all excellent and fun), the music is really what gets you back to 1980. I think I felt like dancing about 10 times during those 42 minutes ! The setting in 1980 really gives something special and fun to the show.

What’s my opinion : Wicked City is a very promising show. It has a very talented cast, Westwick, Christensen and Farmiga really stood up in the pilot for me, they’re all perfect in their roles. Steven Baigelman wrote an addictive and entertaining pilot, so I’ll definitely tune in for the show.
   The pilot basically sets up the relationship between Kent and Betty, they quickly understand they have a special connection. That part is excellent, and totally looking forward more of them. The only weak point for now is the investigation. In the pilot I’ve watched without Sisto, it wasn’t really original or surprising. It's good but nothing catchy (whereas Kent does something I won't forget right away). The addition of Karen McClaren and her boss Hawkes as journalists is a great idea, it gives the story more layers, with three different points of view of the same story (killer/media/cop), which also ties up with the Hollywood/everybody wants to be famous theme of the show.
      The construction, telling the killer story along with the detectives' isn't new, The Fall already covered it still, it really gives a good dynamic to the show. I'm very interested to see how Wicked City will handle the juxtaposition of the two stories and how and when they will tie together. The mouse/cat game is so much fun to watch when you see both sides.

   So, I really hope you’re excited for Wicked City Series Premiere Tuesday 27th October on ABC ! In my opinion, it’s one of the best pilot of the season (along with Quantico, Supergirl and... That's it. It wasn't a great fall season for new shows).
   I know Wicked City has a lot of negative reviews on internet, maybe people betting it will be one of the first cancelled show but I’m sure we’ll be surprised how good it is when you’ll tune in ! I was surprised how much I loved it.
  For now, let’s discuss it in the comments !

About the Author - Romain Ossust
I'm a 29 TV addict. Here is a non exhaustive list of my favorite shows : 12 Monkeys, Ab Fab, 24, Alias, American Horror Story, Banhsee, Bates Motel, Black Sails, Carnivale, Daredevil, Daria, Dead Like Me, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, ER, Fargo, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Girls, Grey’s, Hannibal, Homeland, HIMYM, HTGAWM, Looking, Lost, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Medium, OUAT, OUAT Wonderland, Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, Pan Am, Penny Dreadful, Person of Interest, Power, Pushing Daisies, Raising Hope, Rectify, Reign, Scandal, Sex & The City, Six Feet Under, Sleepy Hollow, Spartacus, The 100, The Affair, The Americans, The Big C, The Fall, The Killing, The Leftovers, The Missing, The Strain, The Tudors, The Walking Dead, Transparent, True Blood, True Detective, Tyrant, Ugly Betty, United States of Tara, Utopia, V, Veronica Mars, Weeds.
For SpoilerTV, I'm reviewing The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Banshee, American Horror Story, Wicked City, Westworld, Bates Motel, Girls, & Orphan Black
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