While Amazon’s synopsis may intrigue you, Ricci doesn’t bring the oomph.
It’s 1918 and World War I has yet to end and one rich southern girl named Zelda (Christina Ricci) has become so bored of life in Montgomery, Alabama. All the boys are the same, the men similar but with more responsibilities, and no one seems stimulating at all. Thus leaving Zelda to talk to boys, be passed around like a basketball on a dance floor, and maybe kiss a few frogs in hopes he maybe a prince. All to the ire of her father Judge (David Strathairn) who sees her actions as the makings of a hussy. But when in the pursuit of love and quality companionship, nothing is accomplished if you just sit around and move about the same old circles right?
Things To Note
I should note this about more than romance, but while the war effort is a wallflower there isn’t much else talked about besides Zelda’s pursuit of fun and romance.
If First Impressions Are Everything, This One Doesn’t Make A Good One
Call it fatigue, perhaps even low tolerance for average or mediocre programming but honestly, Ricci doesn’t present Zelda in such a way where you desire to care. Nevermind my own personal loathing for following rich people problems, which usually deal with boredom despite so much at their fingertips, Ricci just honestly doesn’t have that oomph to justify being a leading actress. Not to imply she is a bad actress, in any way, it is just she blends so well into the background that often times it is like she isn’t there. She doesn’t have that energy, that allure, per se, which leads you to have an attachment to Zelda.
She isn’t alone, though. In general, with this being a southern period piece, naturally all the main players are white and strangely telling one apart from another is difficult. Leading me to wonder if it may even be Ricci that brought a dullness to the pilot and perhaps just the writing in general. For while the set is beautiful, the clothing quite interesting, you will be hard pressed to say one character in the whole entire pilot really caught your attention.
Overall: Negative (Don’t Watch)
I maintain the opinion that Amazon still is struggling to find a steady stream of original content so that it is truly capable of competing with Netflix, Hulu, and other online video services. Part of the reason is because it seems like they don’t want to take a real risk, they want to mostly produce the same type of shows that you can find on cable or network TV, hopefully at the same cost, and have a cheap hit. Now, while you do have to applaud them to not rely on sex in their shows, for the most part, unfortunately, Amazon exhibits why other platforms rely on sex selling their program so heavily. For once you strip that away, what is left?
Well, Z: The Beginning of Everything, shows you what. You have dull, almost monotone characters. The kind no more interesting than an extra and yet they somehow are right in front of the camera. Add in that Ricci, despite her years of experience, doesn’t have that Nicholas Hoult, Omari Hardwick, or Viola Davis type persona  to hook you and want you to get to know this world she has likely been drowning herself in, and you are left with a time waster. Though, thankfully, Amazon shows are only a half hour so while this pilot is such a bore it’ll feel longer than that, imagine how tedious an hour in Zelda’s world would have been.
Things to Note
- To elaborate, the names mentioned, despite having a show in which they are the only recognizable name, they bring something to it so that you want to know who these characters are that are played by unfamiliar actors. They lead you to desire to know what happens next to this person and Ricci, alongside the writers of the pilot, just don’t succeed in making you want to experience Zelda’s world no matter how interesting she supposedly is on paper.