When it comes to comedies, many never get it right in the pilot. In fact it’s pretty rare, and most take a few episodes if not longer to finally click into place and feel genuinely engaging and funny. That’s why it’s hard to judge the entire show by the first episode…but if what we got is an indication of anything for LA To Vegas, then it could be a turbulent flight ahead.
Let’s start with our lead: Ronnie. Ronnie, played by Kim Matula, is a flight attendant looking for a little more in her life. Having only worked the one route from LA To Vegas—on an airline that specializes in that route alone—her desires for traveling across the world are left unfulfilled. Performance wise, Matula does a fine job. Leading a comedy, and a show in general, is well within her abilities. However the problem here is the material she is given. It’s simply not funny, not creative, or simply too much. It leads to her having to awkwardly deliver lines/bits (the coffee gag at the TSA), or needing to speed through her lines to deliver content given to her by the writers.
Ronnie’s co-worker Bernard, played by Nathan Lee Graham, is another leading character on the show. I can easily say that Bernard is the weakest aspect of the show. Every line, pointed monologue, and punchline that comes out of the character falls flat. Need exposition? Here’s your character. Need to make a moment “funny” by having someone go on continuous tangents? Here’s your character. Maybe in the future he will have more to offer than stale punchlines.
Captain Dave, played by Dylan McDermott, rounds out the main cast as the ladies man—borderline sexist—pilot. It’s yet another case of the actor having plenty of chops, but being failed by the material that they are given. There are also quite a few supporting characters that the show seems to be setting up as regular flyers. None were very memorable, and all seemed very much like one off episode personas and stories. Peter Stormare’s Artem and Olivia Macklin’s Nicole were the two strongest, while Nathan Kress’s Ryan was by far the weakest and carried the biggest failed gag of the episode.
If you haven’t caught on, there’s an issue the show has that is never a good one to have when you are a comedy: the humor. It’s not funny or clever, many times seems awkward or out of place, and it’s annoyingly predictable. In fact I made it through the runtime without so much as cracking a smile. It isn’t all drab though, and there are glimmers of hope. The talent is there—the cast is fully capable of delivering jokes and handling comedic moments. All of the glaring issues come straight from the material, something that will hopefully be improved and smooth itself out.
One of my biggest worries for the show is it’s potential longevity—or lack thereof. I don’t see how you could squeeze a season out of this idea/location/scenario, let alone multiple seasons. On top of improving the writing, characters, and humor across the board, the creative team will need to be consistently reinventing the show and expectations if they want to remain fresh for longer than a few episodes.
Sure, maybe I’m a little harsh. In this landscape of Peak TV, it’s hard not to be. I mean, It is just a pilot after all, and the show isn’t doomed to fail. Their first impression simply was not a very good one. There are good ideas in place, ideas that simply need better execution. Hopefully the show will find its footing and improve upon itself. If it doesn’t, then LA to Vegas may be a shorter flight than they hoped for.
What did you guys think of the pilot? Be sure to share your thoughts down below, and be sure to catch LA To Vegas, Tuesdays at 9pm EST.