CBC Pilot Burn-Off Time | Tangled

When I published an article about Tangled (CBC: CBC/Shaftesbury Films/Colossal Entertainment/Salient Point Productions Ltd., 2010) last week, I figured it would get a slightly above-average number of readers for a day, then flatline.  Pilot news and reviews generally don’t do well on URBMN, with the exception of B Team.

Tangled is by far the most-searched-for program this month on URBMN.  The article promoting Tangled has 13 comments (not including mine) so far.  Think about it – thirteen comments for a pilot aired in the dead of summer.  I’m usually lucky if one person gives a tinker’s piss about an unsold pilot on CBC, never mind thirteen.

Tangled is the sort of show that fits with CBC’s desired female demographic, yet can also attract a decent male audience.  Aside from the budgetary restrictions that can hobble a show like Tangled, I have no idea why CBC would reject this.  Foreign references are copious, but The Tudors gets away with worse.

Sarah Wayne Callies is Sally or Chloe – it depends on which part of her life one follows.  A sham marriage is planned around Sally/Chloe and Nick Hobbes (Bill Ward.)  Hobbes is seen as a rogue freelancer/former CIA golden boy stealing intel from Sally/Chloe’s employer, the North Atlantic Intelligence Agency (NAIA.)  NAIA is also trying to nail down main antagonist Oleg Gasparian.

Needless to say, there are the twists and turns common to an espionage show.  It’s all familiar stuff, but Tangled at least couches the espionage in proper human drama.  As a pilot, Tangled gives viewers a reason to care about Sally/Chloe’s life, convoluted as it is.

Callies is a bit stiff and monotonous as Sally/Chloe, but serviceable enough as a lead.  Ward plays Hobbes almost effortlessly.  Leslie Hope plays Sally/Chloe’s sister Marlene rather well, understandably miffed that Sally/Chloe has been playing dead for twelve years.  Hope doesn’t have a big part in the pilot, but she makes the most of her role.

I’m not exactly fond of the acting in Tangled.  The acting is a bit underplayed in general, aside from Ward’s character and a few minor characters I can’t name.  At the same time, the balance of action and drama sells Tangled.  Had Tangled made series, I’m sure it would have found its own level.

This isn’t the best pilot I’ve seen on CBC in 2010.  The Cult ranks highest on my list, for its excellent acting and choice of subject matter.  Tangled is still very good, better than the bet-hedging of the concept would suggest.  I sincerely hope Shaftesbury Films sells the series to another network or cable channel.