Wednesday, June 03, 2015

'Stitchers': Solving Crimes, 1 Catsuit at a Time

In Stitchers, a woman is enlisted in a secret government program that inserts her consciousness into dead bodies to glean information that will help to solve crimes. It’s like they’ve figured out how Criminal Minds has stayed on TV for so long!

In this case, however, Stitchers is a new ABC Family series premiering on Tuesday night, scheduled after the season premiere of Pretty Little Liars. Stitchers features a pretty, tall liar, Kirsten Clark (Emma Ishta), who’s good at masking her feelings behind a blank affect. A cold, chilly blond young woman whom the show can’t wait to dress in a rubber-looking catsuit, this poker-faced brainiac is kind of the ideal fantasy object for young Max in Parenthood.

The opening hour spends its time explaining to Kirsten — and therefore us — how the Stitcher program works. It’s “as clandestine as they come” and vaguely associated with the National Security Agency (in ABC Family-speak, it’s referred to as “NSA-ish”), the program is, naturally, run by a handsome young dude (Kyle Harris’s Cameron) who’s there to flirt with Kirsten as well as to recite all the science gobbledygook about stuff like “applied holographics.”

Upon arriving at Stitcher HQ via a secret elevator straight out of the old 1960s sitcom Get Smart, Kirsten soon begins her career immersed in a bed of electrified water straight out of Fringe, which in turn had been taken straight out of the movie Altered States.

The initial mystery Kirsten solves — about the location of a bomb — seems like something a good team of FBI agents could have cracked with less water and no catsuits. (Stitchers is the kind of show that thinks that by having Kirsten make a sarcastically knowing reference to Catwoman, it’s immunized itself from charges of silly sex-objectivism; it hasn’t.)

I don’t see sci-fi fans putting Stitchers on their radar, or fans of Pretty Little Liars sticking around very long after the PLL premiere. But I could be wrong. Stitchers does have its educational value. Set in the Los Angeles area, the pilot has numerous characters say “Sepulveda Boulevard” so often, it will finally teach the rest of America how to pronounce that street name. (It’s “sep-PUL-vada,” people.)

Stitchers airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.


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