It seemed a little odd early in the pilot of Mad Dogs, a new Amazon original series, when the four main characters received handheld video cameras as gifts in their limo ride from the airport. Smartphones have made them obsolete to all but the biggest traveling dorks so you could guess at some point there had to have been a reason for not only giving one to each of them, but for featuring them. Sure enough, there was.
That’s kind of how the Mad Dogs pilot went. Four college buddies reunite in Belize at the sprawling mansion of the fifth friend, the one who chased the dream and struck it rich. You see the set up and you know exactly what’s coming:
- They will party;
- One will have an attack of conscience;
- One is a sleaze ball;
- One is a screw up;
- One missed his chance to cash in;
- The rich one is a prick and everyone gets mad;
- Someone will appear wearing an animal head.
There were times during the 60 minutes when I would think Okay, Steve Zahn isn’t going to do something a Steve Zahn character would do. Then he would. It was disappointing when the premiere got to the point where I realized all it would do is go down the checklist and dutifully mark the story points as it passes them by. By the time the bizarre animal head appeared, it had no impact. Of course someone walked into this completely open Central American mansion wearing a giant animal head.
I wasn’t a fan of Amazon’s adaption of The Man In The High Castle, but at least that had ambition. Bosch, which I sped through but haven’t written about, was formulaic but at least based on a book. Needless to say, Amazon’s original content hasn’t struck with me yet.
Mad Dogs is adapted from a UK show of the same name, by the same creator. Based on its pilot, it’s going to be more Gracepoint than it is House of Cards.