Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Running Wilde

Running Wilde really never had a chance. It was never on consistently, getting bumped in favor of episodes of Tuesday night companions Raising Hope and Glee. Then its few remaining episodes were briefly scheduled for the dregs of Sunday nights in December, before Fox just pulled it from the schedule completely. No more show. I'll probably watch the last five episodes whenever they pop up on DVD somewhere, but I don't really need to to pass judgment on the show. There's a lot of talent behind this series, created by Arrested Development's Mitchell Hurwitz and star Will Arnett, and also featuring the lovely Keri Russell and Peter Serafinowicz in possibly his most amusing role. But the show itself simply isn't good enough for its cancellation to be a real tragedy. They never really found a proper footing in these eight episodes, which ranged from mildly enjoyable to mostly boring. It's just hard to mourn a series that never made you say, "Wow, that was great." I generally liked watching it, but the plots never seemed to go anywhere, and the inspiration just wasn't there. It's like they were trying too hard to make it more accessible than Development but forgot to actually make it good, and they ended up really pleasing no one.

Arnett plays Steve Wilde, the heir of the Wilde oil company. Russell is Emmy, the one who got away (there's a somewhat amusing metajoke to Steve constantly trying to please a girl called Emmy, and they thankfully never hammer it too hard), all the way to Africa. She's helping a native tribe survive with her daughter Puddle (who does some obvious narration and little else) and her fiance played by David Cross (unfortunately not a very interesting character), but through a series of events ends up living in a tree fort on Steve's estate back in America. There he tries to win her back over, but it's a struggle as they're constantly butting heads over everything imaginable. He's rich! She lives in the wilderness! These stories never get too complex as they basically just try to one-up and manipulate each other, and the fact that the show's central concept is so standard really hurts it. Serafinowicz plays Fa'ad, Steve's eccentric neighbor, and it's always a highlight when he shows up to outdo Steve's events and functions and show off his immensely thick chest hair, although he doesn't save the show by himself, and neither do the servants that make up the rest of the cast. I really wanted it to be good, but the truth is it's a show that Fox was justified in canceling. I wish I didn't have to wait until an undetermined date to see the rest of what they filmed, but like I said, it won't make a big difference.

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