Reviews

Pitch (2016) TV Pilot Review

Pitch chronicles the journey of a young pitcher who becomes the first woman to play in the major leagues.

Warning, there may be spoilers ahead.

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You only have to look at the comments below the Pitch promo video on YouTube to see why we need a show like this.  No matter how ridiculous the outrage at a woman being the lead character in a sports drama is, there is still outrage and that is a problem. A problem Pitch is hoping to address and maybe solve. Advertised with the tag “A story on the verge of happening”, if Fox does this show right it has the potential to be inspiring to both women and men. And surely inspiring people can’t be a bad thing?

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There is an air of “girl power” to Pitch and that’s okay. What I love is that although it tackles the gender issues at play it does so in a way where it doesn’t seem to isolate men. Yes, there is the classic douchebag guy who gives her a tough time because she’s a woman, and most of her teammates don’t believe in her at first. But this show doesn’t paint men as the enemy and that’s important. For every classic douchebag guy there’s a man wanting her to succeed like the news commentators or Eliot, the social media manager. And it feels more realistic as a result. It makes the show about her journey rather than an us versus them battle.

And Ginny’s journey is brilliant to watch. The pilot really gets to grip with the pressure she faces and is not afraid to have her fail before she succeeds. Ginny is an interesting character to watch, quiet and introverted, not your traditional lead. But she’s hard working and determined, and thus easy to root for. Kylie Bunbury does an excellent job with the role and I think she’ll only get better as the season goes on. She also has great chemistry with those around her including her father Bill (Michael Beach), captain Mike (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), teammate Blip (Mo McRae) and agent Amelia (Ali Larter).

Let’s first talk about how fantastic Ali Larter is in the pilot. Amelia is a powerhouse and with Larter in the role she steals the show. Her interactions with everyone are hilarious and I think she’ll bring a lot of comedy and sass to the show. Mike is also a source of comic relief but I expected nothing less from Gosselaar. He plays the Captain well and even though he can come across as cocky, he’s charming as ever. The sparks between Mike and Ginny are evident and it wouldn’t surprise me if the writers decided to explore a romantic relationship with them in the future.  Blip is the main guy in her corner, they went through the system together and he always seems to have her back. It’s been hinted that their relationship may have been more than platonic in the past and I’m excited for this to be elaborated on more, especially since Ginny is friends with his wife. The most complicated relationship Ginny has though is with her father. Bill is definitely not the most likeable character but Beach is used to playing this given his last role as Pike on The 100. And he does it so well, bringing a lot of intensity. There are moments in the pilot where I genuinely hate his character (see: the scene with Ginny’s brother) but you always get the sense that he’s doing all of this for a reason, that he’s working towards the bigger picture. Still, it would be nice to see a softer side of him in future episodes, if not just to make him a more well rounded character.

Three characters involved in an intriguing subplot are Padres manager Al (Dan Lauria), Padres owner Frank (Bob Balaban) and general manager Oscar (Mark Consuelos). There is a power struggle and Oscar is caught in the middle. It’s interesting to see the politics behind the game and whatever the outcome it’ll no doubt bleed into the main story (and rightfully so).

Of all of the pilots I’ve seen this season, Pitch is definitely one of the better ones in terms of character development. And yet it doesn’t sacrifice plot. The episode still fits a hell of a lot in and delivers a satisfying story. It also avoids cheesy dialogue. When Mike makes an inspirational speech he makes fun of it for being so, and that makes the whole thing feel more natural.

Natural is what this pilot does right. Nothing feels forced. And with a great cast, great writing and a great premise; Fox looks to be on a winner!

Pilot Rating: 4.5/5

Categories: Reviews, TV

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