Saturday, January 13, 2018

"The Chi", pilot was well done --- plus a comment on Starz

This past week Showtime has been airing the pilot of The Chi, a drama set in southside Chicago.  Interesting that the multi-year Showtime hit Shameless is also located there.  One is in a white low middle class to poor ghetto while the other, The Chi, is in a distinctly tougher black ghetto with the same economic mix.  While called "a pilot", there are nine more episodes coming on Sundays at 10pm.  Guess it could also be called the first episode.

The program is engaging and the setting is realistic.  Like many programs of this type, it appears to be an ensemble cast, and which members are determined to be the one or two main characters is not yet known.  The strange part about this initial show is that one of the most interesting characters was murdered.  Already done.  One can wonder whether it will be like Abby in the past season's Ray Donovan, who died early but showed up in flashbacks and Ray's dreams or nightmares throughout.  Or is that long haired 16 year old Chi character just now gone for good.

This will be watched.

While on a cable network program discussion, here in part of the New York area the Starz programming is off the air.  They apparently could not come to an agreement with the Cablevision network, the near monopoly viewed here.  Starz is running full page ads in the New York Times reminding us that we are missing "Power" and "Outlander".  That is absolutely no issue as Power was viewed as an on the edge of tasteless pornograpy and overly thuggish crime drama, for the most part unwatchable, and Outlander was a mystery whose attraction was never understood.  Of the 17 Starz channels now gone only one  is missed.  That was channel 347 which generally had solid programming, some routine but also some recent foreign films that were unexpected and some creative indie films.  Channel 346 also had some films that shared that vision.  If Starz views its bargaining chip as Power and Outlander, they are not in a strong position.  They are nowhere close to being a match in competition with HBO and Showtime solid original content.  They are not even comparable to the advertisement laden AMC.

Enough on this.

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