TV Review: “The Rebels” – Just Slightly Off The Edge

Written by Emily Stewart March 11, 2014

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“The Rebels” is another one of Amazon’s original series pilots. Overall, I think the idea of Amazon pitching pilots is brilliant. Shows are being developed specifically HBO and Netflix. There’s stars on YouTube who have made a following from their weekly videos. It only makes sense that a large retailer like Amazon started producing their own stuff. “The Rebels” has a bit of promise, and there are some daring moves here and there. It can be vague at times, however, and the cliff hanger is either a hit or miss, depending on your take on it.

Testing out new skill sets

For a comedy, “The Rebels” begins with a funeral scene for the football coach of the team with the same name. While it’s not the most uplifiting way to start a comedy, “The Rebels” took a risk. Getting an uneasy scene like that out of the way is effective comedy. “Bridesmaids” did it with opening with a sex scene, so I really admire comedy that does that. The humour in the show is very punchy and offensive. Granted, it’s catering to an online network, so they’re going to get away with the constant coarse language and sarcasm. It works quite well with “The Rebels”, which is barely touchy feely. The only exception was when  player Lamont Slice (Affion Croffet) called the team his family. It worked with this pilot, but any more wouldn’t fit in with “The Rebels”, and it would look quite corny.

 Josh Peck confronting Alan Ritchson in "The Rebels"

The strength of the bitter humour was especially seen with Josh Peck’s performance as Danny Norwood later on in “The Rebels”. Basically, the pilot surrounds him trying to kick off the worst members of the team. The Rebels are the worst football team, and they’re trying to make room for all-star Hurricane Jesus (Alan Ritchson) to save them. Of course, the egotistical young man says no, and Danny tells him off. Peck got his big break on “The Amanda Show”, and even though it’s been about a decade since the last episode aired, I still remember him from that. It was great to see Peck stand up for himself and his teammates. If “The Rebels” doesn’t take off, he still has a promising career ahead of him.

Just a bit ambiguous

“The Rebels” has a simple concept. It’s another show about underdogs trying to make it big. However, the only time we see the team screw up is when Lamont throws a wild party, involving snorting cocaine, and a shooting monkey. There weren’t enough, if any, scenes of The Rebels actually performing badly. If this show does get picked up, however, we can hopefully see their terrible performance. The pilot ends on a cliff hanger, where we see the new coach (and widow) Julie (Natalie Zea) and Rick Massella (Hayes MacArthur), whose car she backed into, find out in the locker room that will be on the same team. On one hand, it builds up anticipation for the potential next episode. That is, if it gets picked up.

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Only time will tell if “The Rebels” becomes Amazon’s new original series. With daring moves here and there, punchy humour, and a decent cast, it could work. There are some instances that hint the show could continue on. The use of the cliffhanger is a smart marketing move as well, because it builds anticipation for future episodes. However, it leaves no closure if it doesn’t pick up. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens once “The Rebels” are drafted.

 

My Rating: 7/10

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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