Monday, March 7, 2016

Lab Rats Elite Force Review: S1E1 (Pilot; The Rise of Five)

Oh, and here we are in the basement again

What is it? multi-cam kidcom, half-hour (24 minute) format. Additionally it's a dual-spinoff of two shows "Sam & Cat" style, of Lab Rats and Mighty Med.
Where did it air? Disney XD, more or less exclusively so far (bizarrely no second-runs on Disney Channel which still does LR: Bionic Island for the time being)
Who stars in it? Half the cast of Lab Rats more or less, reprising their roles, specifically William Brent (formerly Billy Unger, now using his full first name and middle name to distance himself from his father with whom he's having money and managerial disputes - yeah I'm going to admit at first I was thinking "who's this William Brent guy and why won't they credit Billy Unger even though Chase is back?") and Kelli Berglund, and yeah I'll just admit right here she's just so downright pretty, moving on. On the Mighty Med reprisals we have Jake Short (of ANT Farm fame) and Bradley Steven Perry (of Good Luck Charlie fame and also the Disney XD Original Movie Pants on Fire, also a pretty decent flick) along with Mighty Med carryover Paris Berelc (again, apparently pronounced Burr-ells) and yeah we can also admit she's downright pretty too.
Why are we reviewing this? Well it's Disney XD, also because it's a combined spinoff of what was Disney XD's two biggest live-action shows of the time.

Remember in my Stuck in the Middle review where I talk about how pilots can be incredibly wonky, especially for multi-cam sitcoms since there's a lot of pressure to put out a formula incredibly quickly that can endure for several seasons and not so much care for actual plot? Yeah there was a whole lotta that going on.

Which is weird because there's really no excuse for that in Elite Force's case, since it's just continuing where two series had left off. The characters and even the necessary formulas are already established, so they should just hit the ground running with everything already in working order. Really it should be nothing more than getting a new set introduction out of the way and pounding baddies to the tune of a laugh track. 

Instead we got...an incredibly limp and listless start. 

The show begins right where both Lab Rats and Mighty Med left off (more or less) - at the end of Lab Rats Donald Davenport dissolves the Bionic Academy in order to assign all the students into actual bionic hero teams lead by Adam and Leo, while Chase and Brie are set aside for a special project - which we find out in this series (and even prior to that from just the title alone, duh) is an "Elite Force." That elite force consists of them along with Kaz, Oliver and Skyler from Mighty Med, and we find out some villains ended up demolishing the eponymous hospital and taking out a number of superheroes in the process. That's...pretty much all the setup necessary, right there, absolutely in those sentences I just wrote. The show doesn't spend much more time dwelling on it either - these people have already met and fought in the trenches together, they already know what's going on, and whatever setup is needed is delivered just as quickly with Kaz explaining just as much in about as many sentences along with a photoshop of whatever rubble they GIS'd with the Mighty Med logo slapped on. And almost immediately the episode starts spinning its wheels. Kaz is angsty about getting revenge, Chase and Brie want to take a cautious approach, and the bad guys (as it turns out, the sons of a former superhero Kaz and Oliver "cured" but turned into a "normo" in the process, played by Booboo Stewart and Ryan Potter) shape-shift into a big swirling cloud that doesn't really do anything? I don't know. Compared to the first few episodes of Lab Rats: Bionic Island and the Mighty Med pilot especially, it's rather mundane, sloth-like in plot development and more prone to stalling than a car dating back to the Carter administration. 

Final Grade: C-. This is exactly what the "C-" grade was invented for. Not good enough to be remarkable - hell, not even good enough to be average - but still good enough such that I don't actively regret watching it. Congratulations, you barely passed.
Episode MVP: I dunno, uhhh...Kelli Berglund by default because she's hot I guess? Also because she does that kinda cute wink thing in the credits still? Seriously, all the players acted with all the enthusiasm of uuughh, I can't believe we're still on Disney XD after HOW many years? (in Bradley Steven Perry's case, six - longer than his former costar Bridgit Mendler and almost up there with her longtime stuck-on-Disney pal Debby).

I'll save stray observations for Mike's takeover. Speaking of which, take it away!

1 comment:

  1. I would give it a B, roughly. While it wasn't the most exciting,it had plenty of enjoyment with the stakes and action i enjoy from these series. It's a good start, with some promosing elements, including an interesting villain,

    We shall see where this goes. No MBP since everyone is equally okay. I'd say Bradley cuz Kaz is less annoying...and Spencer Boldman for not being in it. I like him but Adam was...dragging things down near the end of Lab Rats.

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