Whether ABC Family’s viewer base will gobble it up remains to be seen, but Stitchers seems a serious cut below the network’s other programming, even guilty-pleasure trash like Pretty Little Liars. Series like The Fosters, Chasing Life and especially Switched at Birth have delighted in their ability to tackle serious issues with unusual deftness, but the problem with Stitchers is that it does not seem to possess a drop of that subtlety or basic intelligence.
In the two hours provided, it not once comes up with an unexpected line, a clever twist or even an interesting visual trick (that’s a whole other issue – the actual “stitching” looks shockingly cheap, which makes one wonder where execs spent the show’s budget). The show is resolutely ho-hum from start to finish, clinging to standard procedural procedure like it’s terrified of losing its grip and stumbling into any territory that could be considered new or inventive. Don’t worry – there’s little danger of that.
And no one in the cast, with the minor exception of the energetic, underused Scagliotti (why wasn’t the Warehouse 13 alum, great at playing brilliant eccentrics, considered for the lead role?), has the talent to inject any color into the lifeless story. When a lengthy sequence involves the team infiltrating a strobing, crowded rave still turns out to be deadly dull, something’s not right in the show’s basic DNA. In an age where MTV is airing some of TV’s smartest comedies, Bravo is introducing genuinely funny sitcoms and Lifetime is getting sentient enough to skewer reality television, it’s painfully clear that ABC Family is still lagging behind the competition.
Nothing in Stitchers is ever engaging or remotely novel, which maybe should have been expected given that the series is the network’s first stab at a police procedural, one of the most exhausted and exhausting of genres. Stitchers‘ title is actually appropriate, just not in the way its creators intended – when you consider the show in its entirety, the title can double as an apt descriptor of the writing staff, which has tenaciously stitched together elements of better, brighter, ballsier series in order to create something that’s extraordinarily derivative.