Homepage > Joss Whedon Off Topic > Ask Matt Roush Room Monday, September 15, 2003 - Tru Calling
« Previous : Ask Matt Roush Room Monday, September 15, 2003 (firefly mention)
     Next : AICN - Herc’s Strong Box ANGEL - 5x07 Spoilers »

From Tvguide.com

Ask Matt Roush Room Monday, September 15, 2003 - Tru Calling

Monday 15 September 2003, by Webmaster

Question: When you judge the first episode of a new show, do you ever think about the longevity of a certain premise? For example: Tru Calling. How long can it go on before it becomes repetitive? I remember that other time-travel show on UPN, Seven Days, which was absolutely horrendous although their scope was bigger, and usually they tried to change things on a global level. After a while that became extremely repetitive, so doesn’t that bode poorly for Tru, who’s just going back one day in time with the same mission every time? I have to put the cancelled John Doe also in that department. As interesting as I found the first season I kept thinking, "How are the writers going to keep this interesting for several years?" I still don’t understand how Law & Order could have survived for all these years. Aren’t all the episodes basically the same? - Tekin

Matt: You’re talking apples and oranges here. Law & Order, being a rigidly formula procedural crime drama, is like a machine. People watch the episodes over and over, and embrace new ones, precisely because they’re basically the same week in and week out. It’s an appeal that goes back all the way to Perry Mason (which I still enjoy checking out from time to time on the Hallmark Channel). But when it comes to high-concept series, like Seven Days and Tru Calling as well as John Doe, you’re really on to something. The premise has to be engaging to begin with, but flexible enough to allow for enough variation to keep it surprising and compelling. I admit I didn’t stay with Seven Days to see if it lived up to its pilot episode (which I remember liking), but the continuing mystery of John Doe seemed to satisfy many of its fans, who continue writing in with disbelief that it was cancelled. (I thought the show was uneven, but I understand why people got hooked.) As for Tru Calling, I’ll confess I’m not sold yet. I like Eliza Dushku and think some elements of the high concept are intriguing, but like you, I’m skeptical that it’s much more than a gimmick. When reviewing a pilot, you go with your gut, and with Tru Calling, my gut hasn’t yet made up its mind (to mix a metaphor). I just keep remembering being less than blown away by the pilot of The X-Files, but within a month I was a complete convert. So anything is possible.