A Little Background
This TV pilot was developed off of the hype surrounding Smallville‘s episode “Aqua”. In that episode, Alan Ritchson played Arthur Curry who was trying to prevent the development of a Luthor Corp weapon. The character was enormously popular with the creators of Smallville seeing the feedback and the potential. They decided to develop a new series for the man from Atlantis, but not a spin-off of Smallville. Hence the reasoning behind having a different actor (Justin Hartley) than Alan Ritchson. This pilot is referred by some as Mercy Reef.
Let me go ahead and tell you what I thought now. I did not appreciate this pilot. I think it’s because I’ve seen Smallville, and Hartley is the billionaire Oliver Queen in that show, as this pilot was never expanded upon when The CW chose not to buy the series. To me, Arthur Curry seems more of a replica of Smallville‘s Oliver Queen, than its own instantiation of the water man.
The effects were all there, I was genuinely impressed with the storyline of the pilot. It has spun a huge following, and many people were surprised when it did not get picked up by the newly formed The CW. I could see the show progressing, as it had extraordinary potential. It was an interesting take on Aquaman, one that could have drawn a lot of people in. As I said, if I hadn’t seen Smallville, I could totally have liked this pilot. Just seems like Arthur Curry here is Oliver Queen in Smallville. Doesn’t line up to me.
Ultimately I believe the pilot’s biggest issue is in the fact that it didn’t have much potential outside of the show. While one of the creators, Alfred Gough expressed interest in having a potential crossover with Smallville, it doesn’t make much sense because of Aquaman (Ritchson) being on Smallville already. You could have the supporting cast crossover, but ultimately viewers want continuity. Seeing two different Aquaman/A.C.’s on the same channel could cause confusion, and annoyance. The continuity between all of the Arrowverse shows currently on The CW has been the biggest part of the Arrowverse’s success in my opinion. The CW probably could have achieved that success much earlier, had they chosen to use Ritchson, and not Justin Hartley in the pilot.
This has been another one-shot pilot review from your host Katie. Tune in next time to see what other weird movie, show or TV pilot I review next.