Month: March 2018

For Love (ABC) pilot preview: Cheesy Magic in New Orleans

Written and executive produced by Michael Cooney (Identity, 6 Souls). Also produced by Kim Moses (Gone, Conviction, Ghost Whisperer) & Ian Sander (Ghost Whisperer, Profiler, I’ll Fly Away). Directed by John Dahl (Kill Me Again, The Looming Tower, Ray Donovan, Justified). For ABCABC Studios & Sander Moses Productions. 59 pages. Revised Network Draft. 1/20/2018.

Description: Five years ago, Hope Castille, a journalist, lost the love of her life, Charlie, also a journalist, in a tragic car accident. Now she is finally ready to move on and has found a new love, Gabriel Dumaine, mayoral candidate and member or the Dumaine family, a historically important family in New Orleans. But when Hope gets a call from Charlie, her whole world is shaken as she is drawn into the underground world of magic in New Orleans…

With Lex Scott Davis (Training Day), Luke Arnold (Black Sails, Glitch), Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You), Jon Ecker (Queen of the South, Narcos), Rachel Skarsten (Reign, Lost Girl), Wolé Parks (Devious Maids, The Vampire Diaries), Chloe Wepper (Liv & Maddie), Isabella Russo

 

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Once Upon A Time, Witches of East End, Revenge…

Likely timeslot : Sundays at 8 (but nowhere to be found is even better)

 

This was a great read, people! A really great read. I devoured it like crazy… and laughed so really hard. It’s like the equivalent of a great page-turner, that you know is, in fact, very bad. You can’t help reading it but a voice in your head tells you “bad bad bad” in a loop. Great read, bad pilot. For Love is quite something. To be honest, it’s not like I expected much from it. Since the logline I knew. I knew they ordered it for bad reasons. Those reasons are still mysterious to me, though. Because I can’t even imagine there was not at least one better and more worthy pilot script than For Love in development. What’s with Michael Cooney exactly? It’s his third pilot pick-up at ABC after Runner in 2015 and Spark in 2016. And well, those two were not great either, but way better than For Love. I don’t want to make any assumptions but there is something really bizarre here… They probably saw it as a potential Once Upon A Time successor. But do they really need one for a show that is currently doing horrendous ratings on friday night? I don’t think so. Let it die and don’t even try to replicate its distant success.

Anyway, yes, it’s as cheesy as the title suggests. That’s not the only problem, though a big one that makes most of the early dialogues completely ridiculous. Cheesy can be charming and comfy. Look at The Good Doctor, ABC’s new hit. It can be sometimes, but it’s okay. Because you care about the characters and because the writing is solid. Other example: long-running Once Upon A Time again. What saved it even when it became really bad? The Disney brand. The famous characters. The nostalgia. There is nothing that can save For Love. Most of the characters are bland, one-dimensional, even the heroine. She has nothing special going for her. Except she’s a journalist, and I can’t think of a lot of journalist characters on broadcast networks right now. Her best friend is, for now, just her best friend. And nothing else seems to be going on in her own life. Uninteresting. The men are love interests, not much more. The dead one is a perfectly annoying prince charming kind of guy, while the alive one is flavorless. Both come off as corny, silly. Maybe the actors can make them more charismatic but it’s not like they chose them for their acting skills… The bitch? It’s soapy so of course there’s a bitch! Not even her can do magic! She’s not a “good” bitch. She’s certainly not nice but her bitchiness is not funny in action.

There’s one character though that I’m in love with. For all the bad reasons. She’s named Marie Jojo. Which is already funny in itself. She’s a 90 year-old woman, trapped in the body of a 12 year-old. Well, it’s more complicated than that but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say the Dumaines are actually immortal voodoo practitioners who transfer their souls from body to body so they can live forever. They adopted a poor child so Marie Jojo, the matriarch, can still make their lives a living hell every damn day! And I can’t wait to watch her scenes if the pilot gets picked-up. I mean, a 12 year-old talking like a mean grandma must be a precious thing to witness. It has every chance to look totally ridiculous! That’s where all the fun is. That’s how For Love must be watched, I guess. As a very guilty pleasure that even Lifetime or Freeform -and they know a thing or two about shitty shows- would even be ashamed to air. But really, that’s where it should end up just in case ABC Studios think that this jewel needs to exist for real. I know I’m very mean right now and I’m sorry for this. But when I get the chance to review something as bad as For Love, I do it with all my heart… and bile acid.

What else can I tell you? There’s a Russian psychic, a weird guy with a skull levitating by his sides, a whole fake circus coming alive with dragons, fire and eveything as part of a magic trick to scare the heroine. Can’t wait for the OUAT special effects team doing their magic! Rival families, a war which is brewing, our little Hope caught in the middle of all this, not knowing what to do and who to believe. But she keeps on moving “FOR LOVE” of course… I give you one thing, only one thing that I like about this script: its setting. New Orleans is not that much used for television shows. The Originals recently, season 3 of American Horror Story… And it’s too bad because there’s a rich history there to delve into. For Love doesn’t even try. There’s a great sense of the geography of the city, the old part of it, the more recent one. But does it say something about it? No. Not yet at least. One character is a candidate for mayor so there could be a political story to tell too. But honestly, will they ever make something out of it? Probably not. That’s not their subject. Their subject is magic. And their love triangle. And a TV show based on a love triangle can’t be good by the way. Love triangles are okay for a few episodes, maybe a few seasons if you’re inspired (Dawson’s Creek dit it, The Vampire Diaries too). But not an entire show.

I took a long hard look at this script. I read it from the first line to the last. I didn’t skip any. And I decided I didn’t want to be a part of it. AT ALL. Even though I shamelessly enjoyed it sometimes. For Love is ridiculous, simply ridiculous. And ABC isn’t that desperate. Nothing would justify a series order. Nothing! I sound very dramatic but I’m appalled by what I just read. If somehow they pick-it up, then it’s dark magic, voodoo dolls, I don’t know, but not the decision made by someone in his right mind. For the love of God, can someone cast a spell to erase it from ABC’s roster? 

Charmed 2018 (The CW) pilot preview: Is the #STOPCHARMEDREBOOT movement worth the trouble?

Written and executive produced by Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane The Virgin, Emily Owens, MD, 90210, Gilmore Girls), Jessica O’Toole & Amy Rardin (Jane The Virgin, Selfie, The Carrie Diaries, Greek). Based on the 90’s hit series from Aaron Spelling. Also produced by Ben Silverman (Jane The Virgin, No Tomorrow, The Office, Ugly Betty). Directed by Brad Silberling (Jane The Virgin, Dynasty, Reign, Casper, A Series of Unfortunate Events). For The CW & CBS Television Studios. 61 pages. 2nd Revised Network Draft. 2/27/2018.

Description: Three sisters in a college town discover they are witches right after their mother died in mysterious circumstances. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done. Mel, Maggie & Macy will learn it the hard way…

With Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station, The Breaks, Nip/Tuck), Sarah Jaffery (Shades Of Blue, Disney’s The Descendants, Wayward Pines), Madeleine Mantock (Into The Badlands, The Tomorrow People), Rupert Evans (The Man In The High Castle), Ser’Darius Blain (Jane By Design, Jumanji), Charlie Gillepsie, Ellen Tamaki

  

Ever since The CW announced they were working on a Charmed reboot back in january 2017 -we were first to break the news and it was a prequel at the time, which is no longer the case- many outraged fans of the original show expressed their discontent -let’s call it like that- around the globe, while the actresses had some harsh words about it on their respective social media accounts. One year later, the network proceeded with a pilot pick-up anyway, that unleashed hell on earth. Original star Holly Marie Combs unloaded a magical amount of tweets to shade CBS -which owns the rights- like this one:

And she went on and on… In the meantime, a group of hardcore fans launched a Twitter campaign called #StopCharmedReboot, hoping it would discourage The CW but so far it didn’t work, as expected: new actresses were hired to play the three new incarnations of the story and a shooting date has been set (it starts march 19 in Vancouver). The movement is still going strong, with people airing their grievances every day but let’s be honest: unless the network is not happy with the finished product AT ALL, it’s gonna get picked-up to series, it’s gonna air next fall, it will get big streaming deals, it will be successfully sold internationally and even the most infuriated fans will take a look at it no matter what they say. The truth is: in the era of peak TV it’s getting harder and harder for your show to get some attention, that’s why there are so many reboots and sequels, and all this fuss about Charmed is helping it more than anything else; any press is still good press, right? If I had one advice to give to people who don’t want this show to work: STOP. TALKING. ABOUT. IT. Indifference is the strongest force in this universe! Right after The Power of Three, of course.

Without any further ado, I’m gonna tell you what I think of this pilot script. But first, just know I wasn’t a huge fan of the original show, I didn’t watch the entire thing, I never considered it as a must-see and I never understood why it was so popular and why it still is. But I have nothing but respect for a show that was able to please such a devoted and vibrant fanbase all around the world. It’s rare and precious. Also, what will follow is MY opinion only, from a business perspective more than anything else. Is it a promising script? Does it have the potential to become a hit for The CW? That’s what I’m interested in. Feel free to comment but please be respectful!

Back when the pilot was picked up in january, the network described it as “a fierce, funny, feminist reboot”, which was understood by many people as a provocation implying that the original show was not fierce, funny and feminist. Well, things have change, time has passed. What was feminist in the early 2000s -“girl power” and everything- looks a bit soft and cheesy nowadays. It was a first step. An important one. Charmed was a good example of female empowerment for little girls but it was no Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I don’t mean to belittle what was accomplished but let’s not rewrite history either. It was not groundbreaking. More than a decade later, in a world with the #MeToo movement -Rose McGowan is a huge part of it and it’s no coincidence- and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, a straight follow-up wouldn’t have made a lot of sense. We can’t blame the new writers and producers for wanting to be timely. Their goal is to appeal to a new generation -with younger characters- and address the most pressing issues women face nowadays (the “case of the week” part is about a professor who’s a predator). So let me rephrase it: the Charmed reboot is fiercier, funnier and more feminist than the original show. I’m not sure it sounds better but you’ll have to deal with it! That being said, the script tries way too hard to look “woke”. More subtlety wouldn’t have hurt anyone. They’re clearly making a statement here, let’s just hope they relax a little after the pilot, not making it too heavy all the time.

The whole Mel character, the middle sister who’s a passionate feminist and an outspoken activist -with the ability to freeze time- sounds a little too cliché, especially when you add the fact that she’s a lesbian. Hear me out: it’s great there’s a lesbian sister in the show, that’s one of the reasons why this version is modern. BUT it might have been more interesting to give the feminist attribute to another character, so we don’t fall into the usual “feminists are homosexuals (who hate men)” trap. Still, she’s probably the most interesting character here; after the family tragedy, she becomes angry and violent, she loses her way, she loses her girlfriend too -Nico, who’s a detective in Hilltowne- so she adds darkness to a show that’s not light-hearted. Maybe that’s the biggest difference with the original Charmed: it can be funny because the dialogues are sometimes great and inspired -and we recognize the Jane The Virgin team here- but it’s pretty gloomy overall. The family manor is right in the middle of frightening woods, not in a sunny street of San Francisco. The opening sequence leans towards the horrific genre, with jump scares, fog, crows, murder of crows even… Same goes for the end with a Ouija board in the attic, and whisperings… A totally different atmosphere that is closer to Buffy, Riverdale or American Horror Story than good ol’ Charmed.

The younger sister, Maggie, is the complete opposite of Mel. She’s 18, your typical millenial girl who’s worried about her social identity -too bad for her, she can hear other people’s thoughts- and she’s not happy at all to discover that she’s a witch. She has a wry sense of humor and she’s part of a sorority that will probably play a major role in the subsequent episodes, between the mean girls she wants to be friends with and the weird guys that are lurking around her. She will probably become a fan favorite. Last but not least, the older sister who didn’t know she had sisters until recently: Macy, a “science nerd” in her late 20s with a Ph.D. in quantum physics. She’s moving with her boyfriend named Galvin to Hilltowne to do lab work. She possesses the power of telekinesis. Her love story is already totally boring and I’m not sure Gavin will stick around much longer. Finally, there’s Harry, the girls’ “devilishly handsome” advisor, refered to as a “whitelighter” like Leo was, who adds a lot of humor and eccentricity whenever he appears. Think Eliot in The Magicians. But he’s not exactly who he says he is…

You’re probably wondering if the Book of Shadows is still part of the story and the answer is yes. The Power of Three? Yes, of course. Are the Halliwell sisters part of the story or even refered to? Not at all. I don’t think they will ever exist in this version. It’s not a sequel. If the overall tone is darker, they kept most of the original show’s premice. They’re still the most powerful witches ever known, destined to protect both innocents and the world at large from demons and other devil creatures. They didn’t lie: it really is an update of the same concept with characters that are more diverse. It’s not just using the show’s name and popularity to do something totally different. It’s fast-paced, with transitions throughout that consist of three quick cuts which are in fact small slices of each women’s stories. Think How To Get Away Murder. They do something similar. I find it irritating on paper here and it doesn’t add much but why the hell not after all… We’re promised monsters of the week cases as well as ongoing stories about the witches’ love lives while the bigger picture is probably kept for later, once they will be familiar with their powers.

The Charmed fans will be pissed to read this but this pilot script is pretty decent. It’s not an insult to the original though they’re doing like The Halliwells never existed (and some might find that insulting, I get it). It’s modern and as feminist as they claimed, though subtlety is not their strong suit. The characters have things to say and stories to tell that should be heard in those troubled times. In other words, it’s not revolutionary in any way but it’s not the trainwreck haters would like it to be and there’s really nothing to rally against. Ignore it, don’t watch it, just let it be. There are more important battles worth fighting for. 

#2018PilotSeason By the Calendar

 

February 27

Guess Who Died (NBC)

 

March 7

The Rookie (ABC) – Los Angeles

The Village (NBC) – New York

 

March 8

Dead Inside (The CW) – Vancouver

Manifest (NBC) – New York

 

March 12

A Million Little Things (ABC) – Vancouver

F.B.I. (CBS) – New York

For Love (ABC) – New Orleans

Get Christie Love (ABC) – New York

God Friended Me (CBS)

In Between Lives (NBC)

In The Dark (The CW) – Toronto

Staties (ABC) – Portland

The Finest (ABC) – New York

The Fix (ABC) – Los Angeles

Playing Dead (The CW) – Toronto

Murder (CBS) – New York

Roswell (The CW) – New Mexico

 

March 13

The Mission (ABC) – Vancouver

The Passage (FOX) – Atlanta

Untitled Bad Boys Spin-Off (NBC) – Los Angeles

 

March 14

Bellevue (NBC) – New York

Main Justice (CBS) – New York

Red Line (CBS) – Chicago

Salvage (ABC) – Charleston

 

March 15

Grand Hotel (ABC) – Miami

The Greatest American Hero (ABC) – Los Angeles

 

March 17

Single Parents (ABC) – Los Angeles

Whiskey Cavalier (ABC) – Prague

 

March 18

The End of the World As We Know It (The CW) – Vancouver

 

March 19

Charmed (The CW) – Vancouver

False Profits (ABC) – Dallas

Four Rivers (ABC) – Los Angeles

Gone Baby Gone (FOX) – Chicago

Infamy (FOX) – Chicago

L.A. Confidential (CBS) – Los Angeles

Mixtape (FOX) – Los Angeles

I Feel Bad (NBC) – Los Angeles

Suspicion (NBC) – Boston

The Code (CBS) – New York

The Enemy Within (NBC) – New York

 

March 20

Bright Futures (NBC) – Los Angeles

How May We Hate You (ABC) – Los Angeles

Magnum, P.I. (CBS) – Honolulu

Our People (FOX) – Los Angeles

Spencer (The CW) – Los Angeles

Untitled Bowman Comedy (ABC) – Los Angeles

 

March 21

Skinny Dip (The CW) – New Orleans

Steps (ABC) – Los Angeles

Untitled Tim Doyle Comedy (ABC) – Los Angeles

 

March 22

Mrs Otis Regrets (FOX) – Chicago

 

March 25

Chiefs (CBS) – Atlanta

 

March 26

Abby’s (NBC) – Los Angeles

Cagney & Lacey (CBS) – Los Angeles

Friends-In-Law (NBC) – Los Angeles

 

March 27

Like Family (NBC) – Los Angeles

 

March 28

Dan The Weatherman (FOX) – Los Angeles

 

April 2

So Close (NBC) – Los Angeles

 

April 4

Untitled McAuliffe Comedy (CBS) – Los Angeles

 

April 9

25 (CBS) – Los Angeles

 

April 11

Man of the House (ABC) – Los Angeles

Pandas in New York (CBS) – Los Angeles

 

April 19

Most Likely To… (ABC) – Los Angeles

 

April 24

Fam (CBS) – Los Angeles

 

June

Bless This Mess (FOX) – Los Angeles

 

Whiskey Cavalier (ABC) pilot preview: Sexy for the ride

Written and executive produced by Dave Hemingson (How I Met Your Mother, Don’t Trust the B****, The Catch). Also produced by Scott Foley, Bill Lawrence (Life SentenceCougar Town, Scrubs, Spin City) & Jeff Ingold (Rush Hour, Ground Floor, Undateable). Directed by Peter Atencio (Jean-Claude Van Johnson, Key & Peele). For ABC, Warner Bros. Television & Doozer Productions. 60 pages. 3rd Network Draft. 1/12/2018.

Description: the adventures of FBI agent Will Chase (codename: Whiskey Cavalier) who, following an emotional break-up, is assigned to work with CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: Fiery Tribune). Together, they lead an inter-agency team of spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics…

With Scott Foley (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood, The Unit, Scrubs, Felicity), Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Chuck, Supernatural), Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids, Hung, Ugly Betty), Tyler James Williams (Criminal Minds, The Walking Dead, Everybody Hates Chris), Vir Das

   

You’ll like it if you already like: Mr & Mrs Smith, Castle

Likely timeslot: Monday at 10, Tuesday at 10, Wednesday at 10.

 

Whiskey Cavalier is entering the pilot race with a big advantage: its cast. And these days, when most of the biggest names are more tempted to work for a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon instead of a good ol’ broadcast network, it’s already a victory! And not a small one. Hottie and goodie Scott Foley became some sort of household name thanks to his roles on Grey’s Anatomy and then Scandal and he’s worth a shot as a leading man. The whole project was built around him by the way, he was attached to star from the get go. Lauren Cohan was one of the most sought-after actresses of this pilot season, being a fan favorite from the most watched TV show out there -you probably recognized The Walking Dead– and from the dozen of projects she received, that’s the one she chose. It’s quite telling. Together, they make an attractive pair. Let’s just hope they have chemistry. The cast also includes Tyler James Williams. Even though his appearance on The Walking Dead was shorter than Cohan’s, it’s still someone people can identify and he’s here for his comedic skills. Last but not least: Ana Ortiz, who’s a sweet addition; the kind of actress you’re always happy to have back on your screen, even in a small part. And not a small part it is here. Now, the question is: does the script live up to the cast?

I’d like to give you a simple answer but sorry, it will be a bit more complicated than that. The thing is, Whiskey Cavalier is far from inventing or even re-inventing the wheel. It could have been made 5, 10, 15 and even 30 years ago. But it will probably look better today. You won’t see there anything you haven’t already seen before, probably more on the big screen than on television though. It’s more movies that come to mind when you think about light action fare. But there’s also a dynamic that TV knows by heart, and its viewers too: the “will they? won’t they” situation created when two sexy people who hate each other at first sight are asked to work together against their will and slowly fall in love. I don’t see how Whiskey Cavalier could escape this trope and I don’t even think that’s something they’d want. They know it’s gonna happen sooner or later. We know it too. That’s part of the fun. But maybe there will be a love triangle to spice things up a little bit. Yes, another trope where two women are fighting for the same guy… I don’t want to to sound too cynical: ratings have proven time and time again that that’s what the audience want, as long as it’s well-made. And I have a feeling this one will be.

The pilot’s most obvious strength is that it never takes itself too seriously. The writer knows he’s not doing The Bourne Identity. He’s not trying to. He makes his own little thing that could become something big if lightning strikes. The script is as efficient as a script can be on a broadcast network. The action scenes are promising, it’s always going fast, constantly moving from one place to another. It starts in Paris, it goes to Moscow and New York, and it ends up in Reims (a little city in France). It’s constantly funny, playful, exciting. Maybe a little exhausting too. All the characters have a great sense of humor but not the same kind. I mean, it starts with Will Chase (Foley) singing Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in his pajamas. It sets the tone. Will & Francesca tease each other all the time; and Tyler James Williams’ character Edgar Standish -who’s one of the bad guys when we meet him, or so we think- is simply hilarious as the jittery genius who has enough super-secret informations to get him bought off, imprisoned or killed by a dozen governments. While we’re here for the fun and we get plenty, the main plot stays interesting all along, with enough twists and turns -not too predictable or complicated- to keep us happy.

You probably got it now, Whiskey Cavalier is a procedural action dramedy and the pilot’s main goal is to assemble the inter-agency team. Will & Francesca will be helped permanently by Edgar, Ana Ortiz’ Susan Sampson, who’s the FBI’s top behavioral scientist and also Will’s best friend; and Rutger, CIA’s quartermaster and Francesca’s friend. They work from an apartment since their missions are top-secret, even for the others at the FBI & the CIA. Expect a bit of workplace comedy in there. Their missions can send them anywhere on the planet. I didn’t tell you much about our two heroes but all there is to know so far is in the logline. We’re not given a lot of details about their past, just a few hints. And that’s all we need for now. I have one concern about them: their cat and mouse game in the pilot works very well, since they’re enemies and they’re not exactly looking for the same thing, but will it be as fun when they’ll have to work side by side, not against each other but together? I really hope so! Towards the end, Rutger asks Susan: “You think it’ll always be like that?” and she answers: “I hope so!“. We all do!

Take Castle, change the “police” part by an “espionage” part, bet on the jokes, step on the gas, improve the budget, put on sexy clothes and you get Whiskey Cavalier! With a strong script, an attractive cast and an upbeat tone, this is a very serious contender at ABC, a damn fun ride. I don’t know if this is what people want but it certainly what the alphabet network thinks people want right now. They may be onto something…

The End of the World as We Know It (The CW) pilot preview: Extraterrestrial

Written and executive produced by Justin Halpern (Powerless, iZombie, Shit My Dad Says) & Patrick Schumacker (Cougar Town, iZombie). Based on the 2012 Alloy book by Iva-Marie Palmer. Also produced by Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, iZombie, 90210), Danielle Stokdyk, Dan Etheridge,  Leslie Morgenstein (The 100, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries) & Gina Girolamo. Directed by Glen Winter (Smallville, Arrow, Supergirl). For The CW, Warner Bros. Television, Alloy Entertainment, Ehsugadee Productions & Spondoolie Productions. 60 pages. Network 2nd Draft. 1/27/2018.

Description: when a prison spaceship carrying the universe’s most deadly aliens crashes in Southern California, two millennial women, Kate & Ruby, with bigger dreams than working at a kids’ pizza place in The Valley are recruited by Quinn, a space cop to hunt down the escaped criminals, who have camouflaged themselves as eccentric Angelenos…

With Gage Golighty (Teen Wolf, Red Oaks), Quinta Brunson (Broke, Up For Adoption), Josh Helman (Wayward Pines, Flesh and Bone, The Pacific)…

    

You’ll like if you already like: Supernatural, iZombie, The X-Files

Likely timeslot: paired with Supernatural, wherever it ends up next year!

 

Did you read the description of this pilot up there? Hope you did. Here’s now the description of the book it’s based on: “When Queen Bee Teena locks UFO conspirator Leo, extreme virgin Evan, and straight-A student Sarabeth in the basement during her biggest party of the year, she doesn’t plan on getting trapped in the Loser Dungeon (as she so names it) herself. She can barely imagine a night with these dweebs—let alone a lifetime. But when an alien invasion destroys their entire Midwestern suburb, it looks like these unlikely friends are the last people on earth. Now, it’s up to them to save the world…” Very different, hum? While the show seems kinda fun -and spoiler alert: it is!- the book seems even funnier and more importantly: edgier. It’s a bummer because I really liked this script but I can’t help thinking about what could have been if they did a straight adaptation of the novel. And the question is: why adapting it in the first place if it’s to make it so different? Nobody cares anyway. It’s not like it had a huge fanbase already. But let’s focus on The CW’s The End Of the World As We Know It, which is totally different from Netflix’s The End of the F****** World by the way.

Let me introduce you to our heroines first. Kate (Gage Golightly) is a struggling actress who’s unable to catch a break. She is looking for a role with a “hero line” but all she can get is dumb parts in dumb TV shows. It’s not that she’s not talented. It’s more about her mouth. She can’t help being annoying, and saying everything that comes to mind. She’s her own worst enemy and a lot of fun for us to follow, but she’s a nightmare for virtually everyone else. Except maybe -and that’s debatable- her best friend Ruby (Quinta Brunson). This one is a hyper-intelligent, upbeat graduate from MIT, who hasn’t been able to hold down an engineering job due to her interests shifting a mile a minute. Therefore, she currently works at her parents’ business, a birthday party place/pizza restaurant for kids. She’s nerdy and anxious, but also very sweet and sharp when needed. Those two make a great pair and the casting seems spot on! Did you know that Brunson’s an internet superstar? In 2014, her clip The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date became the first to go viral on Instagram. Since then she created webseries and worked for Buzzfeed. In other words: she’s a great catch for The CW.

With the arrival of the crashed spaceship, Kate & Ruby have finally found their mission in life. We could consider the show as a coming-of-age dramedy about two young adults, who are dealing with the juggling act between running a business, saving the earth, and finding purpose on a more personal level. It’s a rich program and it’s handled perfectly in the pilot script since it manages to be both funny and touching. Let’s not forget about the sci-fi side of it, which is mostly quirky and where most of the fun comes from, partly thanks to the character of Quinn (Josh Helman). He’s a galactic police officer -both charming and irritating- who hates humans and hates working with the girls -as much as they hate working with him- but he quickly realizes that they are capable of providing much-needed aid to him, ‘cos they know way lot more about humans than he does. And also because they’re badass and courageous. I love the interactions between those three, it totally works on paper, but I have to say I couldn’t care less about their first mission in itself, which is about catching a monster. And that’s what it is: a procedural show with a monster of the week, disguised as a comedic drama. This might make it less appealing for some people -me included- but it doesn’t mean it won’t work. And maybe a more serialized storyline is hiding somewhere… That’d be cool!

The recipee for The End of the World as We Know It worked for The X-Files for years -their comedic episodes were often the best- and it’s still working for Supernatural too… for 13 seasons! So I’m pretty confident about this one. Those hunters have more than a fighting chance and it’s nice to have girls doing the dirty job this time! If The CW feels the need to go more procedural, it’s a great candidate. What might doom it? Roswell! Even if the tone is vastly different, they both deal with the same subjects and the reboot has the advantage of being already well-known…

L.A.’s Finest (NBC) pilot preview: Lethal Weapon Female Edition

Written and executive produced by Brandon Margolis (The Blacklist) & Brandon Sonnier (The Blacklist). Based on Bad Boys movie. Also produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI, Lucifer, Cold Case, Without a Trace), Doug Belgrad, Gabrielle Union, Jeff GaspinJonathan Littman and KristieAnne ReedJeff Morrone. For NBC, Sony Pictures Television, Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, 2.0 Entertainment & Primary Wave. 65 pages. 1/12/2018 draft.

Description: free-spirited former DEA agent Syd Burnett has a fresh start in her new job as an LAPD detective. She’s partnered with Nancy McKenna, a working mom who can’t help but look at Syd’s freedom with some grass-is-greener envy. These two have totally different lifestyles and approaches, but they both are at the top of their fields. But Nancy soon learns that Syd’s unapologetic lifestyle may be masking a greater personal secret…

With Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys II, Being Mary Jane, 10 Things I Hate About You), Jessica Alba (Sin City, The Fantastic Four, Dark Angel, Flipper) Ernie Hudson (Grace and Frankie, APB), Zach Gilford (The Family, Friday Night Lights), Duane Martin (Scream 2, All Of Us), Ryan McPartlin (Chuck, Devious Maids, Passions)…

  

You’ll like it if you already like: Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon

Likely timeslots: monday at 10 after The Voice, wednesday at 8.

 

Among the trends in this year’s pilot season, there’s the female partnering. Our Bad Boys spin-off fits perfectly in this category, as well as Cagney & Lacey‘s reboot for CBS, ABC comedies Most Likely To & Man of the House, CBS’s I Mom So Hard & Chiefs, and The CW’s big bet on Charmed, The End of the World as We Know It and Supernatural‘s offshoot Wayward Sisters. Whether it’s a #MeToo consequence or something that was bound to happen no matter what, it’s a great year for actresses on broadcast networks, especially those on the diversity spectrum, and the casting war is in full force. NBC definitely has with Gabrielle Union & back-from-the-dead Jessica Alba the strongest pairing out there! A series pick-up is looming on the horizon. But is this pilot worth their talent and worth our time?

First things first: who’s this Syd Burnett in the Bad Boys‘ universe we’re not all familiar with? ‘cos let’s be honest: this franchise that started in 1995 is not exactly fresh and there are talks about a third movie for ages but they can’t get it off the ground for some reason. I guess a lot of relatively young people never heard of it, and that might be a problem. Special Agent Sydney “Syd” Burnett, introduced in the sequel Bad Boys II in 2003, is the sister of Detective Lieutenant Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) who was romantically involved with Marcus’ partner, Detective Lieutenant Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). At the time, she was an undercover operative with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Clearly, there was no urge or any demand to make something around this character and from what we know, the idea of this TV series comes from Primary Wave Entertainment, which manages Gabrielle Union. I could get cynical here but I won’t. She’s great, we need more shows with black empowered women at the center, especially now Scandal is soon-to-be gone. And yes, it’s another spin-off/ reboot and we’re fed up with them but that’s the way it works now, networks are desperate and bla bla bla. It’ll change someday…

Bad Girls -that’s the tentative title but NBC also has Good Girls so unless it gets canceled, they’ll have to change it- is exactly the female buddy cop show you’d expect from the logline. If you’re looking for something in the vein of Lethal Weapon, well they’re your girls! There’s a lot of action, funny dialogues right in the middle of a life-and-death situations, a dose of family scenes when it comes to McKenna’s intimacy with her husband and step-kids where Syd is invited to join but don’t feel capable of because she has issues, and of course a distracting case of the week. The writers chose to deal with the kidnapping of a young boy with his mother and our investigators looking for him, betting on the maternal instinct of both the heroines and the viewers. They know exactly what they’re doing, obviously aiming at a female audience pushing all the right buttons, when Lethal Weapon is more male-friendly. It’s not manipulative. I’d say it’s fair game. But it’s also a bit too easy and expected. With actresses that are so beautiful and sexy -and characters that are written not to be threatening to other women- it’s not leaving a male audience behind, on the contrary. The potential is big.

The show is less effective when it comes to the emotional ongoing story about Syd’s past, that almost doesn’t feel needed and more like the writers’ saying “we’re not just a procedural!” To sum it up in a few words: Syd was tortured and left for dead. What happened to her back then? She wants to find the man who wanted to kill her and that’s the reason why she came to Los Angeles in the first place. Honestly, this part of the pilot is the least interesting, it’s not subtle at all and the cliffhanger is somehow disturbing, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, it depends a lot on how they’ll handle it in the future. In my opinion, it would have been more interesting as a mid-season or end-of-the-season cliffhanger. It throws a dark shadow over the Burnett/McKenna duo that is unnecessary so early in the show’s life, especially since they really work well together on paper. It adds layers to the characters from an individual perspective but they could have done it differently.

If you’re asking about the men characters in the show, let’s just say they are mostly used as a comic relief for now. LAPD homicide detective Ben Walker (Zach Gilford) is a smart man with a smarter mouth who comes from money, while LAPD homicide detective Ben Baines (Duane Martin) is also described as smart and competitive. They’re both referred to as “the Bens.” And don’t be afraid, they’re not here to rescue the girls and save the day. By the way, a door is left open for Martin Lawrence’s Marcus to return if the actor feels like to at some point (and doesn’t ask for too much money). We’re said he’s in Cuba and always ready to help Syd if she asks for it… Having him for a few episodes would certainly translate into a ratings’ surge. It’s even more true with Mike’s Will Smith, but he’s barely mentioned.

Bad Girls is an action-packed, humoristic, character-driven procedural that hits the right spot at the right time and comes off as a no-brainer pick-up for NBC. It’s very much Lethal Weapon Female Edition, though it might be a little darker; it rarely surprises you but it’s doing the job with wit and efficiency, embarking you quite easily on this journey. You almost forget it’s a spin-off!