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Cinescape: Underneath Too Painful To Air?

Underneath Too Painful To Air?
Daniel Wood

For those who have been following the upcoming episodes calendar closely, you will have noticed something curious about the forthcoming episode Underneath. It was originally slated to air in December (before 4-D, and then it was pushed back to air before Lord Of The Flies before being pulled altogether). It was rescheduled to January, then to February, then it was pulled from the calendar again and it is now set to air in the final week of March.

An anonymous source has seen a rough cut of the episode and has this to say of it:

“[Underneath] was pulled from the schedule because FOX had a lot of problems with it — quality problems. It was bad. I mean B-A-D, really bad, like Lord Of The Flies bad. This was a solo John Shiban script and word is that he was pretty much left to his own devices for it. He directed it too. But it was written at the time in between season nine preparations and Chris Carter’s re-arrival, so Carter wasn’t on the scene when it was written and even though he did a rough re-write it was pretty much left of the scrap heap. The first cut was reportedly incomprehensible. I think I saw the second or third cut, and it was a little better. Not really insulting or bad — just boring. It was like a season one Millennium episode, except for the fact that that show was comparatively Oscar material. Underneath is just plain silly. Parts of it reminded me of your basic run of the mill B-grade slasher horror flick. Like Valentine or Urban Legends, minus the mask. They try to give us some insight into Doggett’s past as a NYC cop but it just falls flat — there’s no real meat there. It’s all just facts and figures and no emotional involvement. The killer is boring, we’ve seen the “escaped killer goes after his captor” routine before. But aside from Shiban’s typically poor writing (he did have some good eps like SR 819 and yeah I liked Badlaa — but the bad far outweigh the good) his directing is shocking. I mean really bad. They had to order more re-shoot time than is usually allocated because there were a lot of shots and set-ups that Shiban just didn’t get. Like I said, the cut that I saw was hard to follow…you’d see poorly set-up shots of Doggett walking around a corner and then he’d walk around again…you know, really bad continuity between shots. The lighting was very good, though, except for the confrontation with the killer where it lost something. But I will tell you that it was so hard to follow and so badly directed that the network ordered for it to be re-worked into something a little different, more ‘basic’ and streamlined. We’ll see how it turns out. But that might give you some idea as to why there have been so many scheduling problems with it.”

You’ll have to judge for yourself when the episode airs on March 31.


One Response to “Cinescape: Underneath Too Painful To Air?”

  1. […] Most (in)famously, anonymous sources emerged from the woodwork to lambast the episode, with Cinescape offering one such inside account of difficulties behind the scenes: […]