Stalker Series Premiere Review: Run and Hide

Stalker S01E01: "Pilot"


This fall marks my third year of writing episodic television reviews for TV.com. In that time, it seems I've earned a reputation within the TV.com community for approaching the medium in a way that's often identified as "objective." Apparently, that's a hotly desired mentality for TV reviewers to have, as if there were such a thing as an objective review in which a person offers his or her opinion on a piece of culture. After all, it's not like opinions are in any way determined by our personal biases, life experiences, and so on. (And yes, that's just a sarcastic way of stating that there's no such as an objective review/opinion.)

I suspect that one of the reasons my reviews are perceived as objective is that I rarely make black or white declarations regarding an episode's merits; as a result, they're often considered "balanced," which may actually be a more accurate term, since "objective" implies that we've all agreed on some rubric by which to score any given episode of television. I rarely write reviews that are overwhelmingly negative or overwhelmingly positive, a style that sometimes confounds people because it increases the chances that, if two people read the same review, one of them comes away believing I liked the episode and the other comes away thinking I hated it. Still, I think it's always important to address both the good and the bad, and to approach each new TV series or episode—or any piece of art, for that matter—on its own terms. What is it trying to do? What is its purpose? Then, based on my sense of its aims, I can attempt to evaluate it, taking all sorts of parameters into account: Have I seen this premise before? Are the characters believable within the context of the world they inhabit? Did the episode hold my attention? And if I come away feeling disappointed or unimpressed, who's to blame for that—me or the show?


The point is, different people have different opinions, and if my opinion of a TV show doesn't match yours, that doesn't mean either one of us is wrong, or that one of the two opinions is invalid. As I've long maintained in comments sections all around the site, differing opinions are important to any discussion of culture; if we all had the same opinion of every show on television, there wouldn't be much point to getting together and talking about them every week. Collectively, we tend to rely on art to help define ourselves, to provide a sense of our identities, and sometimes it can feel like a personal affront when someone disagrees with us—especially on the internet, where there's so much anonymity shrouding the proceedings. That kind of a situation isn't good for the discussion, and it's not good for culture.

All of which is to say that what I'm about to write is not a judgement on you if you enjoyed Stalker's debut. I think Stalker is bad. Stalker offends me in a way that very few shows ever have, which I suppose is something of an achievement. The pilot was violent for the sake of exploitative shock; it didn't offer commentary on stalking or violence in American culture, televisual or otherwise. I found it to be a vile, seemingly endless stream of trash that almost made me understand the people who like to brag that "Oh, I don't watch television."


So here's the good: Stalker stands out from this season's other pilots in its confidence and in knowing exactly what it wants to be, and as a procedural, Stalker is very finely put together. Episode 1's search for the stalker who liked to set women on fire had three potential suspects, each of whom was questioned, interrogated, and eventually eliminated until only one remained. It chugged along nicely, as if the show had already been solving crimes for years. Stalker is so well-oiled that it even contained some classic (and annoying) procedural tics, including a shoddy justification for why the Threat Assessment Unit would be assigned a homicide case (it involved stalking, that's why!) and the disappearance of the killer's mask once we learned his identity (he was played by Michael Grant Terry, demonstrating that he's more than just an adorable intern on Bones), because the mask was there just to stretch out the mystery, not because it was a motivated part of his murder ritual.

Liz Friedlander's direction in the pilot operated very much in a procedural vein, with the shot coverage mostly there to illustrate what was being said as opposed to adding extra layers. So far, Stalker's few stylistic flourishes draw from standard thriller aesthetics, like Kate being surprised by a jogger during the cold open or the camera acting as a voyeur by filming characters through windows. None of them were particularly innovative, and given how well-worn they are, it would've been odder if Stalker had opted not to use them.

The two supporting detectives, Ben Caldwell (Victor Rasuk) and Janice Lawrence (Mariana Klaveno), had next to nothing to do in the pilot, but that didn't detract from the pace, as the episode was understandably more concerned with setting up its leads—Maggie Q's Beth Davis and Dylan McDermott's Jack Larsen—and their dynamic. Q is giving Stalker her best, imbuing Davis with a TV cop's no-nonsense attitude; Q/Davis's reactions, or rather lack of reaction to McDermott/Larsen's attempts to be the good old boy homicide cop, may've been the best part of the episode, mixing occasional jabs of dry humor and a believable sense of empathy to give Stalker's hideousness a humane core it doesn't deserve.

McDermott continues to excel at choosing terrible projects. He's livelier here than he was on Hostages, but the Larsen character is a borderline parody of a TV homicide detective; I mean, he apologized for staring at Davis's chest, asked her why she wears sexy clothes, and and then dismissed her reasons for doing so. He's an HR disaster waiting to happen that will never ever happen.


One place where Stalker has fundamentally stumble is in giving both Davis and Larsen connections to stalking. Davis is a former victim, though the details of her experience weren't revealed in the pilot. Her house is organized in a way that's designed to make difficult—as was helpfully explained to us via the investigation of a different home in an earlier scene—for someone to stalk or assault her. She lives in fear, having accepted that fear as part of her daily life. When she talked about Lori, the pilot's the second would-be victim, she was also talking about herself. Stalker's intention is clearly to give Davis an additional layer of complexity, but I don't know that the show is equipped to handle that complexity in a meaningful way, at least based on this first episode.

Larsen, of course, represents the opposite side of the stalking equation. He IS a stalker, having transferred to Los Angeles from New York not only to escape the scandal of having sleept with a deputy police commissioner's wife, but because LA is where his estranged and/or ex-wife and son live. If his gentle caressing of the photos on his Stalker Wall are any indication, he's actually stalking his son instead of his wife, so he's a jerk cop and a sad dad who has boundary issues in both instances. I'm not sure if Stalker wants me to feel conflicted about Larsen—"Aw, he just wants to see his son! But he's creepy!"—but it obviously wants to explore the ramifications of stalking from both the stalker and stalkee perspectives, and while that could be interesting, nothing about the pilot suggested the show is capable of pulling that off. In fact, it's oddly tone-deaf about its own goals.


I say it's tone deaf because of B-plot, which centered on one college-aged man, Eric, being stalked by his former roommate, Perry. First off, it felt like a very transparent attempt to anticipate and circumvent criticism of Stalker's treatment of its female victims by including a "males are stalking victims, too!" storyline right off the bat. However, it only managed to highlight those criticisms, not least of all because it saved all the truly violent and horrific stuff for the women. 

More egregiously, it allowed Eric to be assertive by giving him the opportunity to break the cycle of victimhood. Eric went to Davis seeking help, but Davis turned him down because there was no hard evidence of Perry stalking Eric and because she had no jurisdiction in the matter; because they were both college kids, she would've needed the dean's approval to do anything. Contrast this with Davis's assessment of why Lori never asked for help: "Lori is a strong, ambitious professional. Being a victim is a sign of weakness, so she chose to ignore her fears." Society had failed Lori, and the law and Eric's educational institution had failed Eric, but Eric was allowed to be angry at this failure, perhaps all the more so because he was male. Meanwhile, Lori was kidnapped from her home—in which her stalker had installed a trap door under a rug—and then she was duct-taped to a spin bike and doused with gasoline before being saved at the last moment.

It's just more women-in-peril tripe. Stalker seems to think that as long as it addresses the fact that stalking can affect men, it can evade exploitation claims on the grounds of giving "equal time" to both genders. But the pilot failed to realize that merely victimizing both and women doesn't make the representations of those victimizations equal, and that makes all the difference. Of course, it also doesn't help that by episode's end, Perry appeared to have turned his stalking focus to Davis instead of Eric, continuing the episode's cycle of women in danger.

There are people out there who will like Stalker (I honestly would not be surprised if the show becomes a hit for CBS and Warner Bros. TV), or who will dismiss negative reviews of the show as being out of touch (Stalker has an embarrassingly low rating on Metacritic). There are people out there will say that Stalker's detractors should sit back and enjoy it, because it's just a TV show. But when the show's creator insists Stalker is, in part, intended to raise awareness about stalking—and the pilot's speech about stalking statistics was clearly intended to serve, in part, as a crash course in stalking from a crime-fighting perspective—saying "it's just a TV show" is somewhat disingenuous, because it has goals that extend just beyond entertainment. And if the show's idea of "entertainment" is a woman being trapped in a burning SUV as it rolls down a hill, crashes into a utility pole, and then—after a moment's reprieve in which it appears that she might be able to escape—explodes with her in it while her attacker tilts his head in fascination at the fiery wreck, then it's not successful in either of its endeavors. After watching the pilot, I felt neither more aware of stalking nor remotely entertained.

If you did like the show, that's fine; we can and should discuss our differing opinions. Mine is pretty straightforward: Stalker isn't a show I want to watch. It doesn't display any self-awareness of its nature (indeed, it thinks it's something it's not), and it doesn't offer any interesting commentary on stalking as a crime. The pilot hinted that Stalker wants to explore stalking through both Davis and Larsen, but I find it difficult to take that notion seriously because Larsen (who is expected to talk to potentially traumatized stalking victims) and most everything else in the pilot was so tired, cliched, and generally awful. If Stalker evolves into a more nuanced study of stalking as a crime, then I'll be keen to give it another chance, but that's not what Stalker is at the outset, and based on the pilot's confidence in what the show is already doing, it isn't worth watching.

What did you think of Stalker's series premiere? Based on the pilot, do you think the show is better or worse than I made it out to be in the preview I posted earlier this week? Will you be back for Episode 2?


Comments (166)
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Dec 10, 2014
Wow, based on Metacritic's reviews of my favorite shows compared with survivor? I'm not trusting that site. Stalker is decent, not amazing--I think the first episode was actually the worst so far. Nonetheless, your citation, good writer has ruined your credibility in my mind. Sorry.
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Oct 26, 2014
i wonder where r the reviewerz now, they kept whining 'bout misogyny, but now there'z a kid's stalker, cop's stalker and here i thought this show waz only gonna depict girl's stalkers cuz u said so and u gave it a 4-ep test, didn't u
love this show, Maggie q=kick ass cop
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Oct 10, 2014
I think TV.com just accidentally (or was it?) gained Stalker a lot more viewers. Just purely based on all the negativity towards the show, people felt compelled to watch it. And because their expectations were so low (due to those reviews), they actually ended up liking the show.
What I wanna know is: Was this a purposeful marketing strategy??
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Oct 13, 2014
I have to agree with you. I love Maggie Q, so I debated giving it a try, than I heard a lot of bad stuff about it, but nobody could really explain to me why it was bad, until I read this review.
However, after reading this review I sorta convinced myself it couldn't be that bad and decided to watch the first episode, and it was pretty bad, but not as bad as the 2nd episode. It is as though this show is getting worse, and that in itself is an accomplishment, because it did not start strong by any means, the cast was its saving grace and even that is failing them.
I understand shows take liberties when it come to police procedure, but this is just ridiculous, the way the characters interact even with the victims is just mind boggling. The cases have been very stereotypical, and I have to agree with the review there has been no real insight or commentary on stalking. The only good thing about this show has been the music. I don't think I can make it through the 4 episode test, but I might read peoples comments. Perhaps it will improve drastically, it has happened to shows before, but I'm not optimistic.
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Oct 07, 2014
I finally decided to give the show a watch. The show is no where as bad as all the critics(other sites as well as this one) portray it but its nothing spectacular either. Gone are the days of 2 hour pilots so they now have to pick and choose what to cram in that first hour. This makes it a lot harder to setup shows so i tend not to judge by the first episode.

It seems like a decent enough procedural and we will see 10 episodes in or so how this show is doing. I cant see how we can pick this show and condemn its violence but yet celebrate other shows with way more. While it may victimize women in the first episode(which we all know is usually the gender that gets victimized IRL) the show does have a female lead that appears so far to be strong. That is a win for people who complain shows don't have enough strong female leads.

Having watched this episode really only one thing nagged at me. We see Maggie's character twice in her house during the episode going around and securing her home for the night. We obviously can tell and by her mentioning it briefly that at some point she had some sort of incident that has made her become extra cautious. If you notice both times as she is securing her home for the night she locks her windows and you can hear a couple of them click going from unlocked to locked.

I find it very hard to believe that being a cop who is probably never home and ultra paranoid ever even opening her windows in the short time between when she comes home and sleeps. When she walked up to the windows they were closed but not locked. I know if i had those windows open at some point they would have been locked as soon as they were shut and not come back later to do it.

I would doubt this type of person ever even considering opening them at all and even have gone so far as putting pieces of wood that allow them to not be opened at all.

I didn't care for Dylan's character being portrayed as a stalker right out the gate. It makes me cringe a little the same way when you watch a TV show and the B plot of the show (usually in one of the main characters personal life) mirrors the main plot in some way.
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Oct 07, 2014
Everyone chooses what to watch - Stalker is kinda perfect companion for Criminal Minds that can get very gory at times as well. I'd rather watch this kind of scenes in a TV show than on the news.. and if someone does not like watching what people can do to other people, they should just not try to watch shows that are advertising that they are planning to do exactly this... It is a show - not a study in what stalking is. And if given a chance, it can turn into a second Criminal Minds, with a different main object for the crimes.
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Oct 05, 2014
I dont get this statement
"And if the show's idea of "entertainment" is a woman being trapped in a burning SUV as it rolls down a hill, crashes into a utility pole, and then—after a moment's reprieve in which it appears that she might be able to escape—explodes with her in it while her attacker tilts his head in fascination at the fiery wreck,"

GoT red wedding was shocking, but GoT is considered 'entertainment' so how is seeing a pregnant girl being stabbed in the stomach (with unborn child) any different to what happened in Stalker?

why does everybody take tv shows so seriously?? strange....
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Oct 05, 2014
BTW that was not me trying to compare the success and originality of GoT with Stalker, or saying Stalker is better than GoT, but i don't get how someone can feel uncomfortable and offended by Stalker when they watch GoT... one of the most violent, offensive shows on TV
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Oct 05, 2014
I WILL be watching episode 2, because my son is in it haha
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Oct 05, 2014
I watched this piece of crap because everyone seemed to keep repeating Maggie Q over and over. Having never seen her before, I tuned into Stalker Sorry folks, but she SUCKS as an actress. If this is wha tpasses as good acting today, no wonder people have stopped watching TV
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Oct 05, 2014
I watched the last 25 minutes. I thought it was horrible. Every week a stalker? No, I'm not watching.
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Oct 05, 2014
Maggie Q kicks ass! Would love to see her in something better but I thought this was fine. Nowhere near as bad as the review.
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Oct 05, 2014
wow, I thought she was below average, nothing special
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Oct 04, 2014
Well, I didn't dislike it. Best thing since sliced bread? Hardly. But pilot was good enough to abide by three strikes rule.

If hints of story arch deliver and this doesn't develop into stalker-of-the-week type of thing with main characters' stories in background it may develop into something at least interesting, if not good.
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Oct 04, 2014
Wow! Lots of comments...which is exactly what "Stalker" wants. To be talked about. Kevin Williamson also gave us the ultra-violent "The Following" so he's clearly targeting his TV "entertainment" shows at an audience that loves to see others tortured and humans being abused.

What's really sad is that Maggie Q (who I've met several times at Comic Con, and respect) has agreed to participate in this show. Yes, it's well-done from a technical viewpoint, and is on a major network (unlike her previous show, "Nikita", that was on the CW) and therefore, it a good career and financial move. But, at the end of the day, if this show is indeed a hit, I'd like to think that Maggie would follow the example of Mandy Patinkin when he was on "Criminal Minds" and quit.
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Oct 04, 2014
I actually liked the Pilot very much. I can't possibly keep up with all the TV series that are out there. But I make an effort to watch the pilot of most TV shows. Based on that, I make a decision whether I pursue the affair or not. And Stalker IS a very good pilot and I'll explain why (though others have pointed it out before me).

A) Stalker is violent but I have a hunch they went for that particular opening sequence mainly as a captatio benevolentiae technique 1) for trailer reasons, to spark the interest of the main target here: men who dig this violent stuff a la Criminal Minds 2) for pilot reasons, to inform the viewer that stalking is serious stuff and not just a crazy yet benevolent lady fan breaking into Letterman's house. I honestly doubt they will keep up with the same level of intense violence but who knows? We need to let time decide it.

B) Stalker is very sexist and i don't think it's a coincidence. I assume Kevin Williamson deliberately chose key aspects of its world on purpose. He based the show on his personal stalking experience but was aware that such a world would inadvertenly become sexist so instead of hiding that pink elephant he goes for the transparent. He sets the Stalker world in Los Angeles, not just because of the industry (and consequently the higher number of stalking cases) but because of how superficial that city is.
He invents Dylan McDermott's character to be the arrogant asshole with a "healthy Ego" (as his character puts it), always making women uncomfortable with his "i'm not even going to bother pretending I wasn't staring at your breasts" approach. So whenever the show's plot becomes sexist (inevitably), Kevin Williamson will always have Dylan's character to go the extra mile and make things more sexist to the point of caricature, thus partially dismantling that tension. He also has Maggie Q's character to always bring the audience back to real life, with her grounded approach to her job.
Furthermore, the producers made the perfect casting choice by going for Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q, respectively. We all know she is bad ass but, unlike Nikita's super spy skills, her abilities make more sense here. Likewise, Dylan showed his libidinous side before in American Horror Story's first season and he "shines" here in this type of character. This actor just yells lecherous... and trying to make him a respectable hero would be laughable.

C) Stalker is extremely well put together. Noel said it before, this shows seems like it had been on the air for some time, it knows what it is and what it isn't. It is completely honest and transparent: when Dylan's character tries to impress Maggie Q's at the crime scene, he admits the stalker is "a man - let's face it - the violence of burning someone alive has us, men, written all over it".

I am also aware that the show's premise is hurtful to some viewers BUT observing these passionate, almost visceral hate reviews blows my mind.... Criticise those aspects of the show but don't call it "rubbish", "execrable" or whatever heinous term you can think of. Be a grown up about it.
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Oct 04, 2014
To be fair to Noel, this is probably the only show he had been negative about. He has written very good reviews for The Good Wife, Arrow and Hannibal. These are the ones I can remember.

If you compare to Tim or Katlin who almost hate every thing they review, Noel is a saint.
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Oct 04, 2014
It´s the first time in a procedural I'm more interested in the procedural aspect of the show than in the characters.
1st : it is sexist. I look at your breasts because you wanted me to look at them ? Sexist.
2nd : the actors have as much charisma as oysters. Where is the Dylan Mc Dermott from The Practice ? Magpie Q is the less worse of the two.
3rd : the characters are not interesting at all. The woman scared of being stalked ? The father stalking his own son ? Seriously ? If show runners don't have any idea they can ask me. And whynot the man being stalked ?
Bye bye stalker.
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Oct 04, 2014
I found the pilot quite good. I think the review was way too harsh. For a 42 minute show we got to learn a good deal about the main chatacters. I liked that Larsen was a stalker but he wasn't staling the woman as we where led to belive. But his son. I am from Norway and here fathers have the same right as the mother. I just don't get how one parent can keep the child away from the other parent. That's just punishing the child. Unless there has been violence or childendangerment of any kind of course. But it just seemd like the mother didn't want Larsen in her life so she told him to stay away from their son too.
As for Beth, I think it was her plan to agrevate that college kid so he would turn his obsession too her so she could deal with him and save that other college kid. Makes me wonder if that's why she acts like a stalking victim. She may have done this many times before.
I will watch more episodes before I decide what to make of this show. I found the pilot promising.
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Oct 04, 2014
First: I'll watch anything with Maggie Q in it. She is a good actress and I like seeing her.
This show could be something, but I think the writers need a little time to get the hang of it. As usual they tried to put to many story-lines in the pilot. That usually makes a pilot bad but promises something better in the following episodes.
One thing I didn't understand was the evening ritual by Davis.
She is home all evening, with the lights on and the curtains open. So she was visible from the street all evening. Then she goes to bed, ok she checks the locks, thats normal, but then she closes all the curtains and switches off the lights to go to bed. I don't get that. Personally I close the curtains the moment I put on the lights.
I liked the bits of humor in the episode. The part about watching the breasts and then trying to explain it was funny. As well Davis saying "Now it got worse".
I probably will watch every episode because Maggie Q is in it, but for the rest I'll need to watch a few more episodes to see if I like it or not.
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Oct 04, 2014
This show isn't that terrible. The writer stating the show is violent. I'm sorry but if people can watch Criminal Minds lol this show is like spongebob compared to that!
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Oct 04, 2014
Criminal Minds is good imo but it doesn't scare me or gross me out…at least not often. I guess I watch a lot of horror movies so now my expectations, based off the reviews and comments, where much higher then they should be.
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Oct 04, 2014
I LOVE THIS SHOW
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Oct 03, 2014
I still don't know how i feel about this one.. I will keep watching though
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Oct 03, 2014
I hope this is like POI in that this show is procedural only to the point that CBS would order it and that it mainly a serial show in nature and becomes more serial over time. Because stalking often take place over weeks and months and years and not just days. I don't think this show will work if it mainly procedural.
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Oct 06, 2014
If this will be mentalist-que formula then it might have a procedural with a bigger arc at the back. Same with elementary. I could already see the student stalker as the background arch. If they go with darker themes then ill be watching. plus maggie and her button downs being buttoned down. LOL
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Oct 06, 2014
Considering this is CBS, do not expect it to be too far down :-) Incase you are interested, Maggie Q did a Hong Kong movie before where she did strip for camera.
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Oct 08, 2014
yup i did watched that movie, 2 of it with her and other girls which are sexy action stories and I've followed her ever since. I want this show to be great at least above the Following.
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Oct 04, 2014
I prefer it too have some serial elements or I will get bored very soon.
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Oct 03, 2014
My biggest problem with the ridiculous war TV.com has waged against this show is that you guys are acting like you're the defenders of women in the media or something and going on about how horribly offensive this show is to women but in order for it to be offensive, people have to be surprised by what they're seeing or care about the messages this show is sending and I don't think either ring true. Is anyone surprised that a horror show written by Kevin Williamson features pretty young girls perpetually in distress? Did anyone tune into Stalker expecting thoughtful commentary or insight on the workings of a stalker? I found this show exploitative, hollow, stupid and lazy but it's not offensive because I wasn't seeing anything that Criminal Minds hasn't done on a weekly basis.
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Oct 04, 2014
many violent crimes are perpetrated against woman and I think this show may be reflecting this fact. The Wire had young black men killing other young black men. I guess we can have a show about men getting raped in prison…
Yeah, I'm a female who likes Criminal Minds. I didn't plan on watching this show but now I plan to check it out. If that was the aim of the reviewers 2 articles then he was successful in his goal
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Oct 03, 2014
I thought it was ok. Pretty standard procedural with Maggie Q's performance the only real stand out for me. I usually really like Dylan McDermott but I don't know what it is with him. He was terrible on Hostages and not really good so far here. Maybe it's the character but something feels off with McDermott. I miss his performances from The Practice and Dark Blue. That's when he was awesome. But back to the show, I didn't hate it and I didn't love it. It just filled up 44 minutes of my life. I will probably keep watching, at least give it the 4 episode test and then will decide whether to drop it or keep tuning in.
But it was great to see Elizabeth Rohm back on TV. She is still so beautiful...
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Oct 03, 2014
It was pretty good.

There are a lot worse shows out there, its a run of the mill procedural but its probably better than most because it at least has interesting main characters.

This guy should probably stop reviewing TV shows, because if he truly belives that this show is that bad then he must not watch enough TV to judge things.
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Oct 03, 2014
I like it very much. Maybe I will write my points of view...
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Oct 03, 2014
Maggie Q NEEDS to be on TV. Simple. With that said, i'm afraid this won't be her next big hit. She is awesome as always, but the show itself, while entertaining because of Q, won't have a long lifeline.
And Dylan needs to make better decisions in choosing his future roles aswell. I'm still seeing Bobby Donnel and want him in something equally great. Just imagine Q and him in True Detective!
Anyway, I'll still tune in next week.
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Oct 03, 2014
Agreed. There can never be too much Maggie Q on TV. I'll even watch a show about Maggie Q reading a phone book :D. But, seriously, she really needs another show like Nikita. I liked Stalker fine enough (call me crazy, I don't give a shit) but she deserves so much more...
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Oct 03, 2014
Bloody hell but McDermott is the creepiest dude to ever put on a pair of shoes. His whole face makes me uncomfortable in a way I cannot explain... also he runs oddly.
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Oct 03, 2014
I normally just read, I didn't make an account until today because this comment thread was interesting to me.

It's weird how the reception of the review (not the show, the review) sort of ended up highlighting the review's first few paragraphs about opinions and taste. It's been called "defensive" and "patronizing" but also "great, and very detailed" and someone "[e]njoyed [his] discourse on the nature and purpose of critiquing television."

Meanwhile, the same person who said the first bit was defensive said that the reviewer backed up his arguments against the show with examples while someone else said he just made up excuses to justify his hatred.

It's almost as if the reviewer was right about the fact that everyone approaches things with their own biases and perceptions and then uses that to discuss things, even a review of a TV show. How meta.
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Oct 04, 2014
your last paragraph sums up live itself ("everyone approaches things with their own biases and perceptions"…but I do wish people tried more often to be open-minded and try to look at stuff from different perceptions [I will spare you my tangential thoughts veering towards physics]….and how we perceive and interact….

I was the one who said the 1st 3rd was defensive imo and then the last 2/3rds he seemed to back up his opinions with examples (so why the need for the first 1/3rd). I just read his "should I watch Stalker" article and now understand where the negatives comments are coming from. Noel usually writes well (insert good adjectives) but that other article was not his best. It was hyperbolic (I think that is the word I am looking for) and..well just check it out:
http://www.tv.com/shows/stalker/community/post/stalker-preview-cbs-maggie-q-dylan-mcdermott-141100491349/

FYI: I wrote my comment late last night before falling asleep so it may not of made much sense.

I was surprised since he has well written insightful Hannibal reviews and back when I watched Arrow he gave that show a fair shake imo.
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Oct 03, 2014
very good start refreshing..good actors and characters...has potential to be great...fingers crossed...not a huge dylan fan but will give this ago as it not just a typical cop show..
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Oct 03, 2014
DM as a lead character makes this show a pass for me. I've liked him in one TV series (AHS S1), and a few movies, but only because he was a support character. I like Maggie Q., but not enough to override my feelings about DM. Thanks Noel for a good review.
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Oct 03, 2014
Whilst it wasn't the best show in the world, I will be tuning in as I think the show does have potential to grow. I'll give it the four episode test and see what happens.
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Oct 03, 2014
I don't get why people are furious at this review. I've read many reviews here which I don't agree, and I never took it personal. I love shows many people don't give a damn about. We all have things we like and things we dislike. So it's alright when reviewers bash universally disliked shows like Under The Dome, but it's not alright when it's your favorite show? ;)
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Oct 03, 2014
aside from all the negativity that its been receiving from almost all the critics on this site i found it to be a very good episode, the storylines were pretty sweet Beth Davis ( Maggie Q) had a likable character and it had just enough thrill to keep the attention in just the right way, though it did give me a few wtf moments.
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Oct 03, 2014
I was followed by the twitter account of Stalker a few days ago. It took me a few moments to realise that it was the name for the TV show. Think I'm going to avoid this one though based on the reviews.
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Oct 04, 2014
you can't decide for yourself and just go off of reviews? I doubt this show qualifies (I still haven't seen it) but you will likely miss out on lots of good shows if you go off of just 1 or 2 reviews. However you said "reviews" so hopefully you read a bunch however there are tons of tv shows and movies I love that had crappy reviews.
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Oct 04, 2014
Well I don't know. I've seen about five and they all seem to be pretty much saying the same thing as well as the general conseus from the people who I interact with on twitter. However, that said, I may check it out at somepoint regardless just to see for myself though, it just depends when I have the time as I'm watching a lot of shows at the moment.
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Oct 04, 2014
I have no idea if we have the same tastes but I watched it last night and thought it was 5/10--very average and I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Not great and not horrible. I only watched it because I had to decide for myself what all the fuss was about and frankly I did not find it remarkable enough for Noel's hate (no shocking violence or misogyny imo).

I see that you decide after reading multiple reviews and also see what the general consensus is from people with similar interests so I (not that I matter) think you have a great method of deciding what shows to watch (premise of show, multiple reviews, and general consensus of peers). What bugs me is the fanboys/fangirls of a single reviewers who base what they what on what one reviewer says (which is not what you do).

Agree--& so many other better shows to watch and/or catch up on.
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Oct 03, 2014
Ugh. Interesting how many people liked the episode in the polls. Almost twice as many as disliked it.

Going to have to watch now despite reservations. I had some thoughts that this review was overly knee-jerk and hostile, but now I'm thinking it is even more so.
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Oct 03, 2014
for missing his son he sure had a lot of pictures of his wife on the stalker-wall(TM). although, he did emotionally poke the one with the son on it, so I'm guessing, he's just really bad at photography?

everything about this show was horrendous. I loved it! :D
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Oct 03, 2014
I have to say I'm disappointed. After all I've read about the show I was expecting an absolute trainwreck à la Under the Dome. What I ended up watching was far from good, but perfectly serviceable. I probably won't watch it again, but that's because it was mostly boring and run-of-the-mill, not because it's awful or offensive.

I didn't find the violence any worse than in other shows. Dexter had a guy who set ten people on fire, including a mother and her child. Bones had a mom blow up in her car. Hannibal burned a woman alive in an oxygen tank. This isn't new. Stalker victims are predominantly female, and the pilot reflected that. If all episodes feature women victims, then we'll talk, but I really don't see this as problematic.

It's a bad show, and Jack Larsen is probably the worst new protagonist in years, but all that vitriol is pointless.
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Oct 03, 2014
This is frustrating, I love love love Maggie Q but then there's Dylan McDermott and his face makes me wanna vomit
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Oct 04, 2014
My sentiments exactly! Even my 10 yr old, who happened to walk into the room while I was watching it, made a remark about McDermott's "creepy, messed up face" haha!
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Oct 03, 2014
While Stalker certainly did not offend me in any way, as it did the reviewer, this show is a procedural, which I don't generally care for because I rarely find them entertaining. However, the pilot wasn't bad at all and I will watch a few more episodes to see if I can get into the show, especially because I like the two lead actors. It's wait and see for me.
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Oct 03, 2014
Not a great show by any measures, but I still look to either Mysteries of Laura or Scorpion to take the "worst new show" price. Especially Scorpion makes me want to slap the main character, how that show thinks I can ever feel anything for a main character is beyond me. At least Stalker has Maggie Q, who oozes charisma.
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Oct 03, 2014
Scorpion has me disappointed for so many reasons, this could have been a interesting show a team that goes around solving problems but instead it just turn into another show about a specialist crime solving unit of the US government. Personally I have no problem with shows having characters I want to slap, by the end of House I could have spent a whole year slapping him and it still wouldn't have been enough.
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Oct 03, 2014
This review makes me want to watch the pilot just to see how offensively horrible it is.

But I did that last season with a few shows and I watched them just because I was bored.

even though I was torturing myself.
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Oct 03, 2014
Oh my word, Mr Noel Kirkpatrick is still at it! I am sure there is some deeper issue here that he is not sharing with the rest of us. Maybe Dylan McDermott or Kevin Williamson snubbed him when asking for an autograph, unleashing Noel's hell fire on us poor readers :P All I can say is I hope this show is given a fair chance by viewers and in the end proves itself and proves Mr Kirkpatrick wrong.
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Oct 03, 2014
i think its just the case for a lot of shows in todays world. they get written off before they get on tv. imo most shows should see somewhere around 4-6 seasons just for closure reasons. but networks will broadcast a show and if its not hitting the numbers they expect/want they throw it out the window and try again next year and probably do the exact same thing.

this site does these 4 episode tests articles. i think it takes more than that to get into the average show. cos if a show does 8 seasons with 24 episodes each. them first 4 may not be as good as the following 188.

i remember ppl hating on the first half of agents of shield 1st season. now they're loving season 2 start. hate impatience.
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Oct 03, 2014
im interested so far,have to watch a few episodes to be sure but so far its ok :)
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Oct 03, 2014
think most people that become cops or work in crime in some way have had some sort of history with crime in some fashion. and since crime pretty much happens to everyone. i felt the characters ties to stalking logical and "normal.

atm its safe to assume beth doesnt know of jack's son, first marriage, divorce troubles. that sets up a future episode's story when his ex wife makes accusations and beth finds out.

i dont get the whole sexist/misogynistic claims simply for the following reason crimes will either be committed by men or women. theres no third option unless you want to include transgenders and hermaphrodites. quite similarly crimes will also be committed against men or women. statistics can be interpreted in different ways concerning the factors included but anyway stalker may have something like 22-24 episodes in its first season. if that is the case id imagine women being victims, males being criminals will be the case somewhere between 60%-80% of the time over the course of the season. theres an obvious problem there if you make misogynistic claims about the show.

what you have to remember is the writers of any show have a story they are trying to tell. if the writer of stalker (williamson) decides to include something about a male or a female that typifies the character's gender then thats not sexist. thats just common sense. and since crime shows do tend (csi did/do, criminal minds did/do at least) to get their info from someone that worked in crime in some fashion. i believe most television shows/films do include some sort of message like "the characters or storylines within the show dont represent any actual person or actual event. if there is similarities with such an individual or event then its merely coincidental". but that may well be a little lie they're telling people and covers shows/networks if accusations are thrown their way. writers write about what they know for a reason.
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Oct 03, 2014
this particular reviewer has some serious mental issues, u see violence in every police procedural show, stalker is not the one example
i didn't even bother reading this crap again- waz already pissed at the last one. (mr. asshole didn't u learn something from the commentary on ur last bs review)
i'm done with this fucking site and it's stupid reviews good riddance

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Oct 10, 2014
Noel is actually a really good reviewer. And it's totally natural to disagree with a review but don't start calling someone who you don't know an asshole.
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Oct 06, 2014
He has "mental issues" because he doesn't enjoy exploitative violence?
OK.
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Oct 03, 2014
Whoah buddy... Calm down. You're perfectly ok to disagree, but don't fly off the handle. Perhaps express WHY the review is problematic, so the reviewer might make corrections? As someone who was critical of his preview, I found this review much better at explaining his issues and what the show did okay.


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Oct 03, 2014
everyone is explaining to him that he's wrong to just blindly hate this show his main points are misogyny and violence which as i said already is in every other show but he can't seem to get this through his thick head
didn't u read his last review on stalker which made show look horrendous which it wasn't, his totally biased review with no solid reason is driving me nuts
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Oct 03, 2014
This may come as a surprise to you, but reviews are opinion pieces. The reviewer is not here to echo your opinion. He or she is here to voice his or her own opinion.

Actually this particular review is well reasoned - something your comments are not.
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Oct 03, 2014
yeah u r entitled to ur own opinion but it totally seemed like he had some personal agenda against this show
he doesn't give much reasons and those he does give makes it look like he hates every crime show
did u read his last review before official onairing of the pilot, he practically mentioned "don't watch this show" at end of every para, and he said instead of wasting time on watching show, cut ur nails, stare on the ceiling etc, if u read other reviews, can clearly find the difference
fyi, this is the first time, my comments were abusive, normally i don't do this, but he really pissed me off
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Oct 03, 2014
His review is reasoned because he explains why he feels the way he does. Your comments are not because you are abusive towards him.

I don't agree with Mr. Kirkpatrick that violence against women depicted in tv procedurals is overdone. Fact is, women are most often the victims of the type of crimes depicted. But it is his opinion, and he is entitled to it.

I haven't seen the episode, so I can't pass any judgements on this particular show.

As for his review being biased - well, that is the point of reviews. It is a very silly thing to complain about.
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Oct 03, 2014
I don't agree on the tone BelalHocane1 used, but I totally agree with his point. Those reviews/previews of the Stalker looked like there was a pact to thrash this show.
And people are so pissed right now because the pilot was pretty good. Not a masterpiece, but def not atrocious.

The only explanation for the critics' revies I have - it's a new marketing policy/ To create all this hate-hype and thus make everyone curious.
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Oct 03, 2014
would u care to explain how is it well reasoned, stop chewing the same bone and plz don't say misogyny and violence, i'm done saying it over and over again that its in every crime' police procedural show
why railroading this particular show??
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Oct 03, 2014
"The point is, different people have different opinions, and if my opinion of a TV show doesn't match yours, that doesn't mean either one of us is wrong, or that one of the two opinions is invalid."

You can't "explain to someone that he's wrong" on a matter of opinion. People are allowed to have different opinions.

The preview was a little harsh yes, but reviews without opinons would be boring and basically recaps. And if you read this review from the beginning to the end, there's no way you can say he's "blindly" hating the show, because he's actually explaining why he doesn't like it and giving arguments.
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Oct 03, 2014
Bh1601, in case u noticed this show was about stalking and violence was depicting the seriousness of that situation, it's funny u don't find Hannibal sickening, those mushroomz growing on dead bodies was more disgusting than some stalking murder
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Oct 03, 2014
u r saying the same thing again, what else is the basis of his so called opinions except violence and misogyny, and every one knows that every crime show has this in it, would somebody please just tell him that
what i can't figure out is why against only this show??? checkout out fb, u won't find haters there
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Oct 03, 2014
I guess ever since I saw Stephen Lang strapped to a wheelchair, set on fire, and rolled flaming down a parking lot in "Manhunter", seeing people set on fire on tv doesn't bother me. What bothered me was that Dylan McDermott's character had zero redeeming qualities. Arrogant, smug, condescending, and he's the hero? I don't mind heroes having flaws, but if I'm going to watch a show on a regular basis, they have to be people I want to invite into my living room once a week. Not only was he a creepy stalker, he was patronizing and insulting to his female partner. Staring at her breasts? Constantly referencing her sexuality in the workplace? Suggesting that because she wore clothing that made her attractive she deserves to be leered at? He actually turned me off to the show in a way the violence didn't.
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Oct 03, 2014
Yeah, for the first time in history of television one of the main characters is not a goody-goody. Shocking.
NOT.
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Oct 03, 2014
Main characters don't have to be goody goody but they need to be complex and compelling. Tony Soprano, Jax, Dexter, were/are not goody goody, but they were/are riveting, powerful, conflicted characters who were fascinating to watch. This guy's just a one-note creep.
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Oct 05, 2014
As Judge Lessner would say "In your opinion".
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Oct 03, 2014
but it was clear hes not the hero
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Oct 03, 2014
I assume he is the recurring male lead, unless they plan to kill him off soon. Which actually would be ok by me. Don't want him visiting my living room on a weekly basis.
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Oct 03, 2014
I got distracted by the 1st 3rd of the "review" which wasn't a review but an essay unrelated to the show. By distracted, I mean it made me think thoughts, which is good because I enjoy thinking, unrelated to the show this article is supposed to be about.

Anyway, I haven't seen the show and didn't plan to watch it but who knows now since you mentioned (after the first third of the "review") violence for the sake of violence…lol, j/k (maybe)

Anyway, I don't think reviews are objective (which is different from open-minded) but I do think people should try to back up opinions with examples. It's still subjective but at least the subjective statement is back up with examples. That is just my preference and apparently reviewers can do whatever they want including bash the entire series of 24 on each review of each episode of the last season of 24, even if it didn't tie in to the episode itself. Or getting tons of facts wrong (most of Tim's reviews have at least one critical fact wrong--like the SoA member who died in the last episode or most of Cory's unsubstantiated whining on one of the earlier (maybe E2) reviews of Dominion when I almost did a line by line refutable but then realized my OCD traits where getting the best of me.

Anyway this is all off-topic, kind of like the first 1/3 of your review. The first 1/3 of the article/review sounds really defensive (example, the entire 1st 1/3 of the article which isn't directly related to the show). My personal advice, take it or leave it, is to defend yourself but don't battle on behalf of friends*. It makes your colleagues/friends look mentally weak and like they aren't able to write a defense of themselves. I'm all for defending friends but sometimes it is best for them to defend themselves*. I haven't been on this site much lately so if you have been attacked for being negative and not supporting your negative critics with examples then my apologies for you having to read all this.

*Situations occurring in a work vs non-work setting are different. If a friend/colleague at work is attacked nonphysically then let them defend themselves if that person isn't mentally challenged. Also it depends on your job/career, employer, customer service, etc…multifactorial. When in a social situation then, for me, the "rules" (they aren't rules but I can't think of the word…I'm not a writer) are more lax

Lol, this comment will likely disappear due to all the glitches occurring lately.

I just skimmed the 2/3rd of the article and you seem to back up your opinions. Without seeing the show and just skimming the review, please take the following with a grain of salt (or whatever the cliche is): you poop pooped on them including men as stalking victims since they weren't handled/treated/represented the same as woman but at least men where victims (I think) so that is a step forward. At the same time I think (too lazy to research) more women then men are stalked with violent outcomes.

Personally, as a "customer" (am I a customer) of the site, I prefer your Hannibal style reviews. I wonder if it is because they are more positive/favorable reviews. I didn't watch stalkers so that is not affecting my opinion. I am often realistic (aka cynical) so I can be negative yet I prefer your Hannibal reviews which are more positive. Important: I don't think all reviews ON THIS SITE should be positive (and they shouldn't all be negative…they should be honest yet open-minded without preformed opinions and should be supported with examples). I think they should be fair. This could be a fair review but IDK since I didn't see the show but you backed up your opinions. I also don't like fanboy/fangirl reviews (sometimes a reviewer here can sometimes sound like a fanboy one some shows---rave about Helix---then sound hypocritical for whining about the same things on The Strain. Neither shows are perfect (helix is horrible yet I like The Strain) but this comment is not a review (and it is way to long) so I will spare you the examples to back up my opinion. I love The Intruders but it was too complicated for the reviewer so they had a negative review since they didn't get the exposition to explain everything and wanted instant gratification---I guess they hated Twin Peaks since it didn't give answers right away…no art house films or complex films* for most of the staff here. I'm eclectic and like movies like "A Field in England" and movies like Judge Dredd…shows like Strike Back and shows like Utopia (UK show) or The Intruders (or Banshee & Rectify)

…I'll stop rambling
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Oct 10, 2014
Did you get a chance to watch Stalker Vicky? Just interested in your opinion.

P.S. I think Noel was trying to say that he has a reputation for being too objective/positive in his reviews and not the other way around.
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Oct 10, 2014
I watched it and didn't get why such a big fuss was made of the show. It was mediocre and not offensive, disturbing, scary, gory, unique or misogynistic imo. I like many procedurals and so I don't have a bias against procedural shows. I found it to be average in pretty much everything (5/10 score). Everything seemed fairly mediocre--the story, dialogue, acting, characters, cinematography, etc. It is one of those shows that I put in the category "if I run out of shows to watch, things to do, etc then I will catch up on it" (which means I quit the show but haven't "officially quit" it). If I start hearing good things about the show from people with similar taste to me (with movies and tv shows) then I may watch more sooner.
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Oct 10, 2014
Yeah, I thought the exact same thing. It almost makes me wonder if the bad reviews shouting "MISOGYNY" were some kind of a marketing strategy in favour of the show.
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Oct 10, 2014
I've wondered the same thing---if the negative hype was a marketing tool…lol. I fell for it;-)
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Oct 03, 2014
Ok, you HATE this show. I have no problem with that, but please stop emphasizing violence. Have you ever seen an episode of Criminal Minds, Bones, etc...? I'm sorry but from your review I don't understand why violence in this show is fulsome when in the other shows is acceptable!
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Oct 03, 2014
That is an awesome point. Mandy Patinkin was so appalled on the level violence (and HOMELAND is no wilting flower when it comes to that) on Criminal Minds, he left a hit show early on. But it was a point emphasized in the "Should I watch" bash job so at least you can say the site is consistent.
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Oct 03, 2014
Interesting point about Mandy. I am wondering why he left.
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Oct 03, 2014
It was the level of sadistic violence written into the show. Some of the plots are extremely brutal. HE believed it was too much. At least that is what he said to the press.
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Oct 03, 2014
But didn't he know the job was dirty when he took it? Wonder when it got to be too much.
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Oct 03, 2014
It was one of the very negative review of the show on TV.com that got me curious enough to watch the pilot. I think I willl watch a few more to decide but I liked the pilot. I really enjoyed Maggie Q's acting. She is amazing. Hopefully, other characters in the team will find their place in the next few episodes.
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Oct 03, 2014
And of course since there is STILL no EDIt button, I had to delete and retype this.

I guess what I do not understand is you spend half your review patronizing those of us who point out the constant negativity and tell you to stop bashing everything and celebrate TV a little more. Then you go on to try to tell us you are giving a fair review - yet put in the headline "Just Change the Channel" and tell us to not watch.

Stop with saying "It is awful and I hate it'. Don't tell us what to do as viewers. Some people enjoy things you don't. I could never imagine enjoying The Following or Under the Dome. Some can't believe my love for Sleepy Hollow.

I don't know where your high horses have come from lately, but I am done writing and reading on this site.

Good riddance.

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Oct 03, 2014
There is a certain need to say "don't go!", but also I know what's bothering you. I'm unsure about the negativity, there is a lot crap out there, but fairness was never a strong suit of this site and now it's ridiculously unfair - pure poison for a tv site IMO. Maybe a timeout is the best thing and if you decide to come back I'm happy you did.
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Oct 03, 2014
I like that. A time out. But not te kind where I have to stand in the corner, right?
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Oct 04, 2014
lol, no, of course not. As long as the blair witch doesn't say otherwise...

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Oct 03, 2014
You should probably get angry at Kevin Williamson for telling people what to do as viewers, by the way. He said if people don't like the show, they should, and I quote, "Change the channel." How dare he.
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Oct 03, 2014
That sheds light on the headline and I thank you, eblinus, for putting some method to that madness. I stand corrected on that gripe.

I would say "maybe it's just me" but it appears there are many others who are growing tired of tone. I realize there hasn't been a ton to get get excited about with new shows, but it just feels like the writers are just trying to one up each other on who can be nastier. And on shows that I didn't think deserved it. Maybe I remember it wrong, but there seemed to be a time when this site was fun to read because, good or not so good, there was a cheerful excitement over new TV. That doesn't really exist here anymore.

Maybe it IS just me.
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Oct 03, 2014
And, I'll add, presenting that negative opinion in a way that emphasizes the negative, since your main concern is one of tone, not content.
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Oct 03, 2014
The key phrase for that is "And on shows that I didn't think deserved it." Difference of opinion is what the reviewer is talking about. You can argue about tone, but why should someone moderate their response to a show to suit your sensibilities? Why should someone pretend excitement about "not so good" TV? You don't want the reviewer to "tell you what to do as viewers" but it's okay for you to tell a reviewer what to do, to expect them to follow your ideas what and how something should be presented? For this reviewer, there's nothing to "celebrate" in Stalker (and, FWIW, I completely agree with the review; Stalker is not something to celebrate). He acknowledged that people like different things and is happy that people do, and yet you're angry that he hated a show, and provided you with his opinion in a way that you don't find acceptable. You may have considered it patronizing, but it seems like a good idea to open a negative review up this way since there's a fair amount of hostility to the idea of even having a negative opinion on this site. Ironic.
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Oct 03, 2014
To be clear, what I mean by "And on shows that I didn't think deserved it" is that there were plenty of things in those particular shows that were entertaining and fun and could have been pointed out. The reviews I am discussing essentially told us the shows were not worth watching and we'd be wasting our time giving them a chance. I am not going to make a list of all the shows this has occurred with - folks know what I am talking about.

I never said a reviewer had to like what I like. But there was a time when this site would give us reasons to try shows - not tell us we shouldn't watch.
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Oct 03, 2014
NO, don't leave! You always post interesting questions and start the best discussions. Just maybe steer clear of the reviews for a while. :)

I usually read the reviews out of curiosity but I am rarely swayed by one person's opinion. This site does tend to get pretty negative which is why we need people like you posting about their favourite shows and favourite tv moments too.

P.S. Sleepy Hollow is just really good but I agree people tend to look at me funny with that one. I also enjoy The Following but I am with you on Under The Dome.
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