Amazon made a terrible decision when it came to the pilot for Dark Minions. I assume it was Amazon, anyway.
In the beginning of the show it is explained that Dark Minions is meant to be displayed in claymation and will be should it ever make it to series. However, only selected bits of the pilot are in said claymation (and they look great), and the rest is shown as a collection of drawings with voices in the background. Imagine someone flipping through a notebook with a bunch of drawings giving the illusion of movement while the artist makes funny voices.
It’s a shame because the potential here is great. Dark Minions is about two failures that take jobs on an evil spaceship that is attempting the enslave and/or destroy the majority of the universe. They don’t exactly agree with the politics, but one has alimony and the other never went to college.
The pilot for Dark Minions follows our two lovable heroes as they get chosen to recon a planet that will be destroyed. They must foil the plan once one of them falls in love with a local. Further complications arise because of their jobs and their understandably unliked employers. They lie and say they are antique dealers.
It’s a great concept, and there’s plenty of room to flesh out funny stories for an entire series. It’s like the Star Wars spoof about the two storm troopers just trying to make it through the day and not get yelled at that never got made.
The pilot shines when it is in its proper claymation form. There are some wonderful scenes like when the evil ship’s captain (voiced by the great Clancy Brown) is brainstorming for a new name for his world destroying weapon.
But, alas, 80 percent of the pilot is unfinished, and this really halts the kinetic energy and makes scenes that have the potential to be lively and original just seem tired. The pilot should feel like you’re watching some new, original accomplishment by a group of talented people. Instead some parts feel like you’re being forced to watch the latest cheap crap your college roommate slapped together.
This doesn’t mean the pilot is a complete failure. The concept is great, the writing is sharp and the characters are fun to watch. In other words, it’s a pilot that would be worth recommending. However, the way it is shown makes it feel half assed. A viewer shouldn’t need to work so hard to like something, especially when the product is good deep down.
Overall, Dark Minions is a neat concept that could make for a fun show. Too bad Amazon gave it such a poor pilot. Hopefully viewers look passed that fact and Amazon learns from its mistake.