Yahoo! Screen lands firmly in the middle ground of television production.
Here are some of the things I’ve said recently when describing Yahoo!’s original series Sin City Saints, a show about a Las Vegas-based NBA team dealing with numerous issues:
- ‘I watched all eight episodes, for some reason.’
- ‘If you put a couple of 23 year old college grads in a room and gave them a half hour to develop storylines for a show with this pitch, these are the storylines you would get.’
- ‘I’m kinda surprised it didn’t get offensive.’
- ‘They wasted Tom Arnold.’
Far be it from me to gloat, but I so called this. For all its several positives, Sin City Saints simultaneously hurried and meandered its way along, hitting a lot of good notes but often feeling like a dress rehearsal. It’s not great, but it’s not that bad… it’s very middle of the road in terms of quality-for-the-concept, and that’s just disappointing.
The writing is totally to blame. There’s a lot of real good comic talent on display, but (and this is possibly scheduling issues beyond the creative team’s control) their use is wildly inconsistent. Characters seemed to drop in and out at random, taking their story threads with them. Runners never really formed, which is bizarre as the occasional appearance of various gags was often quite good so the runners were right there. On top of all that, the show decided that what it was really about was the owner character. His storyline was no more nor less than any of the others, and there’s the problem: you could have had a zippy wry ensemble show; instead you edged into territory just like every other cookie cutter comedy out there.
Worst of all, Sin City Saints pulls a lot of punches. It’s trying to be edgy with its offhanded treatment of various topics, but never goes anywhere new. At least it doesn’t go anywhere too predictable1 or too lame or too offensive. But if you’re not going to put an interesting spin on any complex topic – and you’re not going to say ‘screw it – we’re gonna be Adult Swim-lowbrow’ – then… what are you doing again?
Sin City Saints actually kind of bugs me. I think I really dislike how a clunky set of scripts distracted from a lot of folks I wanted to watch say funny things. I think I dislike even more that I’ll probably slog through season 2, if it happens. But I’d like to be more engaged, Yahoo! Screen, if you wouldn’t mind having someone edit the interns scripts next time…
- Usually. I may have coughed politely once or twice. ↵