The pilot for Chris Carter's potential new series for Amazon's online service is out there, so let's discuss how bad it was.

The After [spoilers]

The After will feel familiar to anyone who watched Flash Forward, The Event, Heroes, or any of those "high concept" shows that networks spun out like so much plastic patio furniture in the wake of Lost's initial critical/ratings success, but falls far short of delivering the same sense of impending epicness.

The show has eight primary characters but we're really only given a glimpse of Gigi's life prior to... whatever it is that happens ten minutes into the episode. Gigi is a so-so French actress, married to a hunk, mother to a cute a kid. The rest of the cast gets tossed into an elevator with her, or run into her in the parking garage. There's a fussy older woman who has diabetes and/or early onset senility, Nathan Petrelli, the scummy lawyer stereotype, his stairwell consort (personality traits: breasts and a working knowledge of the Book of Relevation), "Dee", the hardened prison escapee with a soft spot for heroics, The Clown, a guy in a clown costume (twist: the clown getup comes off), Irish Loudmouth, a loudmouth who's Irish, and Officer Not Michelle Rodriguez, a clone of Michelle Rodriguez.

After several hours struggling with the security fence, Gig and Dee escape the parking garage and go their separate ways. Gigi promises to get help for the rest, but her first concern is getting back to her hotel. Along the way she finds nothing but a confusing indistinct apopcalypse transpiring: phones are down now (but there have been no "communications" since the day before, whatever), helicopters are flying into each other, there are random booming explosions, everyone has forgotten how to drive, etc.

In short, nothing as memorable as Oceanic 815 burning on the beach, the entire population blacking out, a plane-turned-missle vanishing into thin air, or characters discovering their super powers. A missed opportunity.

Gigi and Dee return separately to the parking lot to help the other characters. A bunch of boring stuff happens, then they all realize they have the same birthday. Some Hispanic stereotypes show up and try to rob them, sending them fleeing into the woods.

Where they come face to face with a demon, I guess? Are we going with demon? It's covered in Michael Scofield's hand-me-down ink, some of which matches tattoos sported by Irish Loudmouth and Stairwell Girl. The demon is shot, then goes all Linda Blair and scampers off into the woods.

The After [spoilers]

It's hard to believe Chris Carter, who gave us The X-Files and Millennium, The Lone Gunmen and Harsh Realm (note to self: check Netflix for Harsh Realm), had anything to do with this forgettable, unfocused dreck. The characters waffle between undefined and unlikeable, half the episode is spent on minor non-life-threatening obstacles like locked doors and malfunctioning phones, and the only real threat to the characters is in the form of a Latino gang, which they run from.

Grade: D

What did you think?