First, that title is insanely long. Obviously, the title sets the snarky and fun tone of the premise, but honestly, that’s kind of the best part of The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window’s pilot episode. To be clear, this is not a bad start for the 30-minute series but given the incredible depth of shows currently on the market, I wasn’t enticed to watch the next episode following my venture into this world. The first few minutes of The Woman In The House (I’m not typing the whole title) was actually intriguing and funny: the haunting song, the visions of something dark and disturbing, the waste of chicken casserole! The open gives a great insight into Anna’s mind and what could be expected over the course of the full season. The gag of Anna randomly speaking in a British voice was fun too, showcasing Kristen Bell’s charm and wit.
However, The Woman In The House doesn’t sustain its momentum once you get past the introduction stage. There are plenty of interesting moments throughout the pilot. One of the more compelling is the death of her daughter. The pilot tries to get too clever by hiding the fact that Anna’s daughter is dead. Why didn’t Carol question Anna’s appearance at the school? Obviously, the mothers know Anna’s situation based on the stares beforehand, but it’s strange that it’s ignored that Anna is at a school with children. The revelation that Anna’s daughter is dead was great, though the clunky, “How do I keep forgetting that”, was unnecessary. We get that there’s something wrong with Anna mentally. It isn’t just the fact that she lost both her daughter and husband, but the constant drinking and random visions gave that away. Another issue is that the show loses its snark following the opening narration. We get some fun one-liners here and there, but nothing clever that the fun (but still too long) title might suggest. The Woman In The House seems like the type of show that will turn its genre on its head, but there’s nothing new or bold that makes me truly want to hit play for the next episode.
Focusing on Anna’s character is great. In fact, it’s extremely important to give attention to the protagonist of the series. We need to understand Anna and what’s going on in her world. We also need to showcase the supporting players in Anna’s life. On one hand, Kristen Bell’s character keeps the show from drowning into boredom. She’s actually very interesting, and the mystery surrounding her past does make you want to know more about Anna. If anything, more information about Anna’s past will have you checking out the next episode. The supernatural events tease more fun down the line, but there just isn’t enough of those moments to make up for the lackluster premiere. The stuff that takes center stage is Anna’s developing relationship with Neil, and the story is flat because the direction goes exactly where you expect it to. Granted, Anna fainting in the rain was a surprise, but it was predictable that she wasn’t going to make it the moment she promised Neil’s daughter a casserole.
You also expect their growing romance to happen. In fact, I was stunned that they didn’t have full blow sex after the successful dinner date. The actors are doing a fine job in their roles, so that’s not the issue. It’s just that the snarky and cheeky fun displayed in the opening doesn’t spread across Neil. His dialogue is surprisingly bland, and their meet-cutes are no different than your typical romance story. The thing that may be truly holding back The Woman In The House seems to be its 30-minute runtime. It doesn’t allow us to truly dig deep into Anna’s world, meaning that the supernatural elements should’ve been exposed in the pilot. Also, more backstory on Anna’s past could’ve resulted in some dark fun teased in the opening. I know that this review feels overly negative, but the pilot for The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window is by no means terrible. It’s watchable and the time flew by quickly. There’s ripe potential for this series and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got better in later episodes. But, it didn’t make the impact that pilots should in order to keep me going past episode one. In a sea full of streaming and network shows, being just average isn’t good enough these days.