Could Amazon’s The After be the new X-Files?

The After

Chris Carter returns to television with an Amazon Original pilot, ‘The After.’ Can he recapture that old ‘X-Files’ magic?

 

UPDATE: Amazon announced on March 11 that The After and three other pilots, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, and Transparent have been picked up for series.

Amazon has been trying desperately to get into the original programming biz while watching Netflix take the lead in the new era of television with their hit original programs House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and the resurrected Arrested Development. Amazon has tapped major talents and launched a few shows, but none of them have had the buzz of any of the Netflix originals.

Amazon hopes to change that with the return of Chris Carter, head guru of the beloved The X-Files, to the world of television. Or this brave new world of television, as it were. Carter has created a new pilot for a proposed series called The After, and if anyone has the tiniest hope that it could be the new X-Files … I’m sorry to say their hopes may be dashed after watching the pilot.

The foundation for the story finds a group of cliches trapped first in an elevator, then a parking garage, then a fabulous Beverly Hills mansion. The reason for their entrapment — something bad has happened. There is no power, at least not on the nation’s power grid (batteries, cars and the such still work), there is a strange booming sound that has the power to shatter car windows, and civilization has come to a grinding halt … although if you can get to an airport, the planes are still flying.

Among the group we’re stuck with is struggling actress Gigi Generau (Louise Monot), an LA cop (Jaina Lee Ortiz), a drunk Irishman (Andrew Howard), a prison escapee (Aldis Hodge), a lawyer (Adrian Pasdar), a diabetic old woman (Sharon Lawrence, looking shockingly old), a prostitute (Arielle Kebbel) who can quote the Bible, and a party clown (Jamie Kennedy). This group of characters is in the dark, literally, as much as the viewers (figuratively) with neither knowing what’s happening. With the appearance of a strange being at the pilot’s climactic moment, one would be tempted to think aliens, but references to the Book of Revelation have me thinking we’re probably dealing with demons and the Tribulation.

This pilot does not live up to what it could have been.

As much as I want a new Chris Carter series, this pilot does not live up to what it could have been. The premise of the power being out has been done (Revolution) as has the apocalypse (Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow). Carter certainly has the talent to put a new spin on these situations, but the pilot lives or dies in its casting and for this show to even have a chance of surviving, it needs some major re-casting if it goes to series. Familiar faces like Pasdar and Lawrence do fine with what they’re given (and this is a surprisingly thin script with some surprisingly awful dialog) and Kennedy could be the comic relief if his character wasn’t so whiny. Monot, however, seems to be the “lead” and she also struggles with the script and her heavy accent. Ortiz, Howard and Kebbel seem straight out of community theater, having landed their first big break (and again, I have to blame Carter’s script because they do have lengthy resumés), but Hodge does register, as best as he can, as a real person. (Although the number of F-bombs dropped during the pilot’s 55 minutes is comparable to The Wolf of Wall Street‘s record.)

We spend a very long 51 minutes with a bunch of people we may end up rooting for to die.

The pilot is very well-produced and looks expensive, and the introduction of the humanoid at the end is a great hook but it would have been nice if it had been introduced sooner and Carter had done away with some of the extraneous material as the group explores the mansion belonging to the old woman, or having Kebbel take time to strip down for a quick swim in the pool. Yes, the power is out, the world may be coming to the end, but let’s all have one last swim before Armageddon. As it is, we spend a very long 51 minutes with a bunch of people we may end up rooting for to die before something truly interesting happens. If this were produced for a major network, or even a cable channel, I doubt it would get past the pilot stage.

The After needs a major casting overhaul and better writing to succeed.

Amazon thought they had something people wanted to see with a Zombieland pilot that went nowhere, and Chris Carter’s return to television should be a major event (and he even seems to put a nod towards The X-Files in the pilot with a small moment involving a bee), but unless The After gets a major casting overhaul and better writing, Carter’s return is going to be very short-lived. And that makes me sad. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can watch the pilot episode for free, or non-members can get a 30 day free trial and view the pilot for free as well. Viewers can then go to the Amazon Originals website and let them know if The After should sink or swim.

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Photo Credit: Amazon Originals

6 Comments on “Could Amazon’s The After be the new X-Files?

  1. a group of cliches is being polite. The idea here was excellent … but the implementation of said idea was laughable at best.

    I still don’t understand why the police officer was hanging off the back of the ambulance when they were trying to escape downtown LA

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    • Yeah, I was wondering that too. Wouldn’t it have been better to have her in the front seat with the other guy with a gun and put the bad actress in the back with everyone else?

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  2. I watched he “After” and it isn’t the show for me. Theunreal doesn’tappal to my ikings. I thought the birthday hig was iterestng, but other than that, would not watch this series.I was getting into it unti thse rage hing appeared in thewoods. Not for me at all

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  3. Oh, I didn’t think it was that bad. Some of the acting was pretty wooden and some of the writing was pretty cliched but AFA pilots go, I’ve seen a lot worse. Carter was always much better at “monster of the week” then he was at building a lengthy mythology or getting emotion out of his cast.

    And either Sharon Laurence has a great make up person or oh my god what happened to Sharon Laurence?

    AFA Amazon shows go, I think Alpha House is a hoot and Bosch looks like it has potential.

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  4. I also have mixed feelings about the pilot. I feel that there were a few moments of originality surrounded by mostly B (at best) rated dialog and acting. You can get away with one or two stupid lines or situations in a show but one after the other and you’ll lose most of your intelligent audience. I too thought that the police officer on the back of the ambulance was REALLY stupid. Who makes these decisions and why didn’t someone try to change their mind? There are really too many questionable scenes to even mention them all but if cars were still working why didn’t they take the old woman’s car and drive through the garage gate? She said she had keys in her purse. The last 60 seconds were enough to make me at least want to see another episode to see where it goes but I really do think that a show like this should be a mini series though, maybe one season – but give us closure before you pull the plug!

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