I am torn about how to judge this show. On the one hand, it has a strong empowerment vibe. If you have watched any of the American Ninja Warrior show in the last 3 seasons, part of the storyline they promote is that the “girls can do it too, keep up with the guys, etc.”. Girl power in athletics. Same course, same challenges, and competitors like Kacy Catanzaro, Michelle Warnky, Meaghan Martin and Jessie Graff have been star athletes making history as the first females to make it past certain stages. It is a strong empowerment theme, and it carries to the little girls who can see a woman competing and think, “Hey, I can do it too.” Just like any profession, it helps to see stars that look like you modeling the behaviour you want to emulate. So the first part of the episode is very heavy into that theme, with the main character being a young female ballplayer drafted by the San Diego Padres to be a starting pitcher in the majors. All the young girls are out, and one of the really solid side scenes is a little girl in the crowd with a sign that says “I’m next!”. It’s a good theme, but it’s not a show.
Another angle I could try is the show me the money spiel, as her agent / promoter / whatever she is runs along side her and talks about how she’s the most powerful woman on the planet right then. Ever since shows like Arli$$ or Jerry Maguire aired, and people saw agents in a different light, there are four tropes that tend to stand out. First and foremost is the soulless money grubbing agent who will do anything for the deal. Second, there is the cheerleader agent who believes in the client and promotes the crap out of them. Heart of gold, pure admiration. Third, there is the lovable bumbling schlub who has been the ballplayer’s agent since before they were big and is along for the ride but, aw shucks, they aren’t used to the big time deals. Often they also serve as father figure, or friend, the old saw who reminds the player of their roots when the bright lights start to dazzle their sensibilities. Or, they’re incompetent. The agent in this one? She tries to be all of the first three simultaneously. Separate from the flirting that is going on with the general manager, she’s all over the map. Played by Ali Larter, my previous exposure to her was when she was on Heroes. And I confess I didn’t like her there much either. She just seems, I don’t know, incomplete. Of course, in Heroes, she was also multiple personalities at once; here, theoretically, she’s only one. Meh.
I could also review it as a simple baseball show. But there wasn’t enough baseball drama in the first episode to really gauge that, other than two games that Ginny pitches.
However, the last view is simply as a drama starring a young woman of some skill going through a major life change. Not really the demographic they tried to pitch, perhaps, with sometimes it seeming like they were going for Wild Thing or something, maybe a lighter version of Bull Durham. But there is one saving grace for the show. Kylie Bunbury as the pitcher has gravitas. Flashbacks to younger versions of herself are almost mindless at times, only a couple really tell much of a story, but in the present? When she’s playing “confident”, she’s awesome. I confess to not having seen her in Under the Dome or Twisted, not shows I watched, but she was pretty solid at certain times. She can’t cover the crying scenes but that’s not that uncommon for actors…some do it horribly. Hopefully there won’t be that many crying scenes. 🙂
Originally I said I wouldn’t give it a try, but the baseball premise got the better of me, along with the empowerment theme from ANW shows. I still expect it to get early cancellation. I’ll watch until then.