My wife and I really liked it. It offers some of the feel of "The Killing."
Gruesome? Many "Criminal Minds" episodes and episodes of other shows are just as or more so. Many people are just queasy about getting stabbed in the eye - hence, the focus on Poe's take on the eye. But getting stabbed in the gut is not less gruesome.
Ironically, the LA Times' Carolyn Kellogg writes
about this show incorrectly interpreting Poe. Of course, she is equally wrong about it when she says: "The show's core idea of a serial killer came long after Poe himself. Poe died in 1849, and the term serial killer took hold more than 100 years later, after midcentury murder sprees by the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy.'
The term "serial killer" may be newer but it's definition describes criminal activity that has been recorded in the Western World at least since the 16th Century. We just didn't classify criminal activity using that term until after the science of psychology developed and became accepted in the early 20th Century.
But I digress. Returning to Poe, and the eye, let me quote someone else
The human eye has long been seen as the window to the soul, reflecting truths and secrets the body attempts to hide. Poe was not blind to the this view of the eye and widely used this belief in his tales such as “The Black Cat” and “Ligeia,” emphasizing the eyes powers to reflect unspeakable emotions. Perhaps Poe's most haunting use of the mysterious eye is in his most famous short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It is the the pale blue, vulture eye of the old man that drives the narrator to insanity and causes the narrator to gruesomely murder the old man.
This was a well-written, well-directed, and well-acted pilot. Without becoming heavy-handed we were given a lot of knowledge about the primary characters.
I'm looking forward to future episodes.