THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: CBS DRAMAS

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Instinct

(fka Killer Instinct; fka Dr. Death)

Logline: A former CIA operative who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose. Based on James Patterson’s upcoming book.
Cast: Alan Cumming, Bojana Novakovic, Naveen Andrews, Daniel Ings, Khandi Alexander
Creators: Michael Rauch (W / EP), Alan Cumming (EP), Alex Kurtzman (EP), Heather Kadin (EP), James Patterson (EP), Bill Robinson (EP), Leopoldo Gout (EP), Marc Webb (D / EP)
Studios: CBS TV Studios

Lizzie, an investigator, teams up with Dylan, a behavioral psychology professor, to investigate a serial killer. Does this sound a bit like Hannibal? That’s because it is.

Frankly, I was completely taken aback by how subpar this pilot is, considering the talent involved. There isn’t anything that every other serial killer show hasn’t already done before. The writing is bland, and relationships are completely lacking in conflict. While Lizzie and David spar, this appears to be on entirely superficial issues rather some fundamental differences in personality.

It doesn’t help that the dialogue and plotting are laughably bad. This is the sort of show where a serial killer leaves a “King of Clubs” playing card as a clue to the murder of a young man who frequents, and is adored by, a lot of clubs (get it?). It also doesn’t help that Instinct takes itself seriously, and lacks self-awareness.

Finally, just about everybody (notably the writer) seems very surprised by the fact that Dylan is gay. There’s much misdirection involved in getting the reader to think that Dylan is engaged to a woman named Tracy, and then a major Tada! moment when Tracy is revealed to be — wait for it — a man.

Good going, CBS. You’ve reached the late 1980s.

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