Television as we know it is changing, and with the success of Netflix’s new model of releasing entire, instantly viewable series of streaming content, such as the acclaimed House of Cards, Amazon/LOVEFiLM have unveiled their latest pilot offerings. FILM IN WORDS casts it vote on which content deserves to make it big in TV land.
The Other Beautiful Game
Weighing in at just under thirty-minutes and providing the most obvious source of comic-relief amongst LOVEFiLM’s series of pilots, sports comedy, The Rebels, follows widowed ex-cheerleader, Julie Levine (Natalie Zea), and her struggle to run both her family and deceased husbands’ American football team, The Los Angeles Rebels.
Due to its diminutive run-time and familiar faces, The Rebels is perhaps the most accessible of LOVEFiLM’s new shows, though its content feels surprisingly unique and charming – even despite the clear influences of acclaimed comedies such as Arrested Development and the BBC’s Episodes. The Rebel’s comedy clearly draws upon American Football’s most absurd (though true-to-life) characters, their many high-profile PR disasters, and the many stereotypes which follow them through their lives back in reality; too rich, too young, and too much time on their hands.
Despite its reliance on somewhat absurd set-pieces, such as one involving a cocaine snorting, pistol wielding, pet monkey during a debauched party hosted by one of The Rebels’ star players, the show manges to balance its slapstick antics with elements of satire and a clear love for the game – such affection comes as no surprise with a list of executive producers including ex-New York Giants defensive end, Michael Strahan.
Ultimately The Rebels’ major strength is its characters. Natalie Zea (The Following, Dirty Sexy Money) shines in a leading role, providing a strong and loveable female force to cut through the overtly masculine world of American Football, while Hayes MacArthur’s down on his luck quarterback, Rick Massella, is an endearing and witty character – whom writers Jeremy Garelick and Jon Weinbach would be wise to place next to Zea as co-lead. Finally despite his reliance on frat boy-esque hijinks, Affion Crockett’s Lamont Slice will garner many a cheap laugh – and who’s going to argue if you’re laughing instead of waiting for jokes that never materialise? It may not yet be a touchdown, but it is 4th & Goal, and The Rebels is a few yards away from being a serious contender.