I am a huge fan of Bryan Fuller. Hell, I went back and watched episodes of Star Trek: Voyager because his name was on them. I loved Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. My heart broke a little every time his shows would be cancelled. The man is truly talented. That’s partly why I can wrap my head around his involvement in Mockingbird Lane and Hannibal.
Mockingbird Lane is a new updated version of The Munsters. And who didn’t love The Munsters growing up. Even Rob Zombie owns their car. They were weird and funny and just plain lovable. The new version focuses more on the weird and forgets about the rest. Sure, there’s funny moments but it’s an hour long dramatic series more than a comedy this time around. It’s like the version of The Bradys from the 80’s where it was an hour long series and Mike was running for office. It just didn’t feel right.
Mockingbird Lane hasn’t been picked up as a series yet. NBC most likely was trying it out before they committed by putting the pilot on as a Halloween special directed by Bryan Singer. The show had a lot going for it – a good cast with Jerry O’Connell, Portia DiRossi, Eddie Izzard and others playing Munsters or neighbors. The problem wasn’t with the cast. It was the tone. It’s a tall order to take a beloved sitcom family of yesteryear and turn them into a dark, edgy modern monster family. The show would have been fine had it changed the names.
This time around O’Connell plays Herman who looks less like the Frankenstein monster and more like a suburban dad with a few scars. DiRossi plays Lily who still looks like a hot vampire but oozes with more sexuality than her previous incarnation. Izzard’s Grampa is the biggest departure. He is changed from the lovable version of the old show to something more akin to Gary Oldman in Dracula. Marilyn is nearly the same in every way. Eddie looks like a normal kid but still changes to a Werewolf on full moons.
The episode centered around Herman needing a new heart because his was breaking from loving too hard. Grampa was going to go back to drinking human blood while making his neighbors into blood slaves. Grampa gets the idea of killing Eddie’s scout leader, drinking his blood and giving Herman the heart. But rather than play this ridiculous premise for laughs there was a dark, almost cynical, edge to it that made the show not work.
Fuller and Singer both tried their hardest. The cast was all very good but it just didn’t come together as it should have. If the show goes to series there may be potential there but I think NBC is going to pass on it. Granted, it isn’t the mess Wonder Woman was last year and can be saved but it needs work for sure.
I’m finding it very difficult to say this about anything Fuller is involved with but I’m going to have to give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. All the other projects he’s worked on are solid 4’s or better.