PILOT EPISODE REVIEW
When Jeremy begins receiving messages from the grave he finds himself caught in a "mobius trip" while participating in an experimental form of psychedelic therapy.
Sign me up! As far as I've ever understood it, the purpose of a TV series pilot episode is to show the promise and potential of what can be done with the story and to generate some genuine interest right from the very first moments. I can say wholeheartedly that "DOSE" has accomplished all that and more within its initial episode – I need a lot more of this show, and as quickly as I can get it, tyvm!
RIGHT FROM THE GET-GO ON EPISODE 1 YOU CAN TELL THIS IS CERTAINLY MUCH MORE THAN A PASSION PROJECT.
This warped moment in television is brought to you by writer/director Peter P Clark, who has done an exceptional job in bringing this story to the screen in a way that will excite viewers immediately. As to the reasons, that is? There are many. You could cite the impressive writing and idea at the core of it all; you could point towards the exceptional casting and acting you'll find; you could also thank the reliable way "DOSE" is shot and shown to us onscreen as well. But, in a nutshell, it's truly got everything it needs to succeed straight outta the gate and will exceed your impressions of what a pilot can be like to watch in the majority of cases out there. Even in the best of the best from your primetime lineup, it can often feel like you have to slug it out and stick with a great idea until the end of season one is finished - so that the show you think you like will actually get itself a budget and find its true potential, but that doesn't seem to be the case with "DOSE" at all. Right from the get-go on Episode 1 Psilocybin "Ghost In The Mushroom," you can tell this is certainly much more than a passion project. The quality is present everywhere you look and accounted for within every scene, from the script to the execution all-around.
I am, to say the least, incredibly interested in where this story goes from here. I love the concept of 'the journey room' where our main character Jeremy (Dominic Bogart), goes for his experimental psychedelic therapy treatment, and I think there's a ton that can be done with that aspect of this show's storyline. Overall, the character of Jeremy is a big win for this show as is Dominic - the actor who plays him. You'll see an intense scene with him breaking down/raging in a hot tub within this first episode that will easily have you convinced he's got what it takes to be the leading role for this show. A lot of what he's railing against in that particular scene has a technological thread to it, which continues to play a curious part in this story as it carries on while also making valid social commentary about our increasing addiction to it. Revealed to us largely through the use of phones and our zombie-esque way of using them, you'll really dig how Clark has written them into the fabric of the storyline.
THEY'VE GOT A REAL ASSET IN HOW CLARK WRITES AND DIRECTS AND IF ANYONE CAN PULL IT OFF, I'D IMAGINE THAT HE COULD DO IT.
From the messages that seem to come from beyond the grave, to the way that Jeremy pukes phones straight outta his mouth on a night where he's completely out of control…again, there's a whole lot more than can be done with this conceptually as the show carries on from here.
I like the aspects of how Jeremy takes the highest dosage that has ever been administered to a patient of this experimental clinic inside 'the journey room' – and I love the fact that, while we have this notion that the doctors found within it are there to help our main character recover and heal from an excruciating past trauma, we also get the sense they have their own agenda too.
Where I think "DOSE" has a major choice to make surrounds the character of Emily and what can be done with her going forward from here. I don't want to give too much away, so I won't lay out too many details about her storyline other than to say that what we experience in DOSE is technically post-Emily. And I want to be crystal-clear about just how crucial she is to this show's success – I felt like she might have stolen nearly every scene that she was in; she's an essential part of what made this all work as incredibly well as it does. So, in my opinion, "DOSE" needs Emily (Christine Jones) like we need water. There is plenty of room to keep her storyline a part of the show's future, though it's definitely going to prove to be a challenge and will make the writing of this series a whole lot trickier for sure. That being said, when you've got gold, you don't just throw it away – Christine's take on Emily was true perfection. Whatever has to be done in order for her to become not just a piece of this story, but somehow remain one of the show's most active characters, should definitely be explored. That's not gonna be easy to do, but if there's one thing that Episode 1 Psilocybin "Ghost In The Mushroom" makes clear, it's that they've got a real asset in how Clark writes and directs, and if anyone can pull it off, I'd imagine that he can do it.
I'M GOING TO GIVE "DOSE" A FULL GREEN LIGHT FROM ME, AND A STRONG FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE.
Like I was saying at the start, with what my impression of what a pilot should be like to experience, this show checked all the right boxes for sure, and like everything we watch, we assume things will always get even better than where they began. If that's the case for "DOSE" and the clever way this show blurs the lines between the past and present, the potential for it going from great to greater is certainly likely. I'm going to give "DOSE" a full green light from me, and a strong four stars out of five – I already like where it's at for sure. I can see the potential for where it can go from here, and I'm stoked to see more.
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