It’s been a week since I watched The After, the new Chris Carter pilot for Amazon Prime and I’m still trying to get my head around whether I liked the show or not.
Carter, best known for creating The X-Files, has been absent from television since that show went off the air and as such The After was by far the most anticipated show of the 10 new pilots commissioned by Amazon.
Set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, eight apparently random strangers are thrown together when they are trapped in an underground garage as initial events unfold. French actress Louise Monot plays Gigi, an aspiring actress who misses out on a part in the opening scene, and serves as the lead of the show. A policewoman, an escaped convict, a lawyer, a call girl, a clown, a foul-mouthed Irishman and a very rich older lady join her in the garage.
No, that isn’t the start of some convoluted joke, but the characters are incredibly one dimensional and as utterly stereotypical as the descriptions would imply. And maybe they needed to be, given the 55 minute run time of the pilot. The other interesting Amazon pilot, Bosch, suffered from not advancing the plot quickly enough while adding some nice layers, so it is quite possible that Carter is correct in his decision making. A lot of TV pilots in the past were launched via a 2-hour movie and it is easy to understand why.
Aldis Hodge, best known for playing Alec Hardison in Leverage, plays Dee the escaped convict who claims he is innocent and Jaina Lee Ortiz is the way too trigger-happy cop. The only other actor to garner real attention is Andrew Howard whose swearing Irishman is so ridiculous that it leaps confidently past stereotype into the land of parody.
So given all of the above why on earth would I be on the fence about this show? For three reasons, one of which is Carter. The X-Files, at least the earlier seasons, remains one of the most enjoyable series ever so I’m willing to give him a chance. But the second and third reasons are in the actual show. It turns out that the randomness of the eight isn’t so random after all and there is a confrontation at the end of the pilot that just begs for a further explanation especially if you were paying attention to a number of visual clues that were sprinkled about in the episode.
Simply put, I want to know what happens next and where Carter intends to take this. And when all is said and done, isn’t that the purpose of a pilot?
– Wallace Poulter