Month: April 2019

Deputy (FOX) pilot preview: There’s a new sheriff in town

SERIES TITLE: Deputy

NETWORK: FOX
GENRE: Police Drama

LOGLINE: Deputy Bill Hollister is a career lawman who’s very comfortable kicking down doors and utterly lost in a staff meeting; but when the LA County Sheriff drops dead, Bill becomes acting sheriff of Los Angeles County, in charge of 10,000 sworn deputies policing a modern Wild West…

Pilot Cast: Stephen Dorff (True Detective, Blade, Somewhere), Yara Martinez (True Detective, Bull, Jane The Virgin), Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town), Siena Goines (The Young and the Restless), Shane Paul McGhie (Sacred Lies), Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow, Scream, The Killing US), Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives, Mad Men)…
Series Creator: Will Beall (Aquaman, Castle, Training Day).
Pilot Director: David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Bright, Fast and Furious).
Producers: Will Beall, David Ayer & Chris Long (Condor, Mr Mercedes, Kingdom).

Studios: EOne Television & Cedar Park Entertainment.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

 

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Longmire, Justified… 

Likely Timeslot: Good question! I don’t have an immediate answer for…

 

WRITTEN BY: Will Beall.

PAGECOUNT: 61 pages

 

BACKGROUND: After years of bad movies and forgettable TV appearances, Stephen Dorff is back in the game and on a roll: he obtained a major recurring role on FOX’s musical drama Star and he garnered strong reviews for his starring role opposite Mahershala Ali on the third installment of HBO’s True Detective. A few weeks ago, he signed on to star in Deputy pilot and his agents got him a great deal: according to Deadline, he will be paid north of $200,000 an episode if the pilot goes to series and a big penalty if it doesn’t. If the show goes to a second season, Dorff would become an executive producer on the show. In conjunction with his casting, he closed a feature script development deal with eOne to develop and star in a movie, which would be produced by Ayer and Chris Long’s Cedar Park Entertainment as well. That’s A LOT. Deputy looks like something that will be hard to pass on for FOX. And if they do anyway, it could very well find another platform to live on.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: DEPUTY finds maverick Sheriff’s Deputy BILL HOLLISTER (50s) promoted to LA County Sheriff on a technicality after the sitting Sheriff has a heart attack and dies, despite an ongoing effort on the part of the old Sheriff’s office to have Bill phased out of the service – he’s reckless and doesn’t play by the rules, so he’s at the top of the department’s inevitable-lawsuit list. After being thrust into office, Bill fires the Undersheriff who led the campaign against him and delivers a portion of his introductory speech in Spanish, speaking directly at the camera to LA’s Latino community in an attempt at an olive branch. He also refuses to stop doing hands-on investigations, despite his personal driver/bodyguard BISHOP’s (30s) admonitions, and he personally looks into a potential new collaboration between all the LA gangs and the Mexican cartels. He tries to keep his old partner’s son, JOSEPH (20s), out of harm’s way as Joseph starts at the bottom of the
Sheriff’s Department (mostly out of guilt about Joseph’s father’s death) but fails to stop him from becoming a Deputy or getting injured in a prison riot. He also goes toe-to-toe with his wife, PAULA REYES (50s, Latina), the head trauma
surgeon at LA General, over his new job and her role in treating criminals vs. victims. Also central to the plot is CADE
WALKER (40s), a member of the LASD equivalent of SWAT who adopts two kids orphaned in a gunfight in which he killed
their father as a solution to his and his wife’s fertility issues. The pilot concludes with Bill capturing a lower-tier ringleader
of the NEW WORLD ORDER (the new gang cooperation pact), VILLALOBOS (30s), in a vicious gunfight at a ranch in
Lancaster.

 

COMMENTS: Deputy wants to be “a fresh spin on the classic Western” per the network, which is not entirely true to the script I read. It has elements of western, fo sure, mostly in its main protagonist’s maverick behaviour, especially since Stephen Dorff totally looks like someone who could be time-travelling from the 50-60s. He has this strong all-american, masculine, cowboy vibe that’s perfect for the role. It could become one of its best. But don’t expect deserted landscapes, horses and Wild West “Madams”. It is set in the urban streets of Los Angeles nowadays, with gangs and cartels. Unless there’s a big work done in the directing to make it feel like a western -which is totally doable- they should be careful with the way they promote it. Those who will expect a western TV series could be disappointed big time. So it’s definitely modern but fresh? Not so much. Remember FOX’s Gang Related for example? The characters here are more engaging though. That’s the big plus going for it. But it’s not Justified either…

It’s definitely more classic than it apparently wants to be but it can’t be considered as a straight procedural. There’s no real “case of the week”, at least in the pilot. It’s way more about office politics, power and a bit of personal storylines through the main couple and their little family. The sheriff’s wife is a doctor, of course. She’s more than “the wife” and that’s a good point. There are multiple ongoing stories starting and it should be more of an ensemble, with a leading man. That’s a subtle difference, but one that counts. That will soften something that seemed a little weird to me at first: it doesn’t try to be in sync with what’s trendy these days, which makes it stand out as a consequence. It’s not centered on a woman -but there are important ones in the show nonetheless- it’s not obsessed with diversity, though there is some -the sheriff’s wife is latina, his new partner is a mixed-race lesbian- and it’s rooted in a genre that is not really what people are craving for right now. It’s risky in that sense. And that’s brave. Oh and there’s a lot of action.

I think I told you enough about Bill Hollister, but what about the others? There’s Deputy Cade Walker, played by Brian Van Holt, also perfect for a role in a “western”. The character is a former Marine who served in Afghanistan and is eight years sober. He’s tough, with a highly developed gallows humor. Deputy Breanna Bishop is the smartly dressed, sarcastic, “quietly badass” driver in charge of newly appointed Sheriff Hollister’s security detail. Bex Taylor-Klaus was chosen to replace Jasmine Kaur, who originally was cast in the role. The decision was made after the pilot’s table read when producers decided to take the character in a different direction. Taylor-Klaus identifies as gender non-binary. The character stands out in the script. Then there’s Deputy Joseph Blair, a bright-eyed and buzz-cut young man who’s the son of Hollister’s old partner. Their relationship should be interesting. Finally, our nemesis: Jerry London, an overbearing bureaucrat who’s a “political apex predator”, openly contemptuous of Hollister and itching to drive him off the force. Mark Moses is playing him and he’s good at playing villains. So it’s a strong set of characters and interprets who could sell the show by themselves.

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: It’s hard to know what New FOX gonna look like but if the main goal is to please a more masculine, middle America viewership in an environment where scripted show are surrounded by sports, Deputy could be a strong contender. But there’s a high competition with very few spots available and it’s not the safest bet.

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
[ X ] CONSIDER
 ] RECOMMEND

Carol’s Second Chance, Bob <3 Abishola… CBS 2019 comedy pilots ranked from best to worst

Next year will be crucial for CBS since it will be their first without The Big Bang Theory, which is ending this spring after 12 seasons of success. It’s the end of an era, but the franchise will still be a small part of their slate thanks to Young Sheldon enterings its 3rd season. It’s the only sitcom that really benefited from its lead-in after years of multiple attempts (who remembers The Great Indoors for example?). Other than that, the Eye Network can still count on Mom, which was recently renewed for two more seasons (7th & 8th), which may or may not be the last… and that’s it!

This year’s new entry The Neighborhood did a tad better than expected but calling it a hit would be very generous. Other new comedies didn’t get enough traction, that includes the Murphy Brown sequel series, as well as Nina Dobrev’s Fam & Damon Wayans Jr.’s Happy Together. Probably way too generic to find a large audience these days. And then there’s two pity renewals trying to survive: fully-owned Man With The Plan and now Disney-owned Life In Pieces. If the Matt Le Blanc-starrer still has a chance, the family single-cam seems to be dead. It leaves CBS with only one single-cam: Young Sheldon. The network definitely needs a new hit to fill The Big Bang Theory‘s void. They definitely take out their checkbook to lure some star. We’ll see if that translates into ratings since it’s rarely how it works…

 

 

  1. CAROL’S SECOND CHANCE (CBS Television Studios)

around Carol Chambers (Patricia Heaton), who after raising her two children and retiring from teaching, embarks on a unique second act: she’s going to become a doctor.

What you think you’ll get is exactly what you get with Carol’s Second Chance. It’s funny and comfy, and yet a little different since it’s set in a hospital and no comedy since Scrubs got that right. Patricia Heaton is playing the same kind of mom character you loved in Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle; she’s just older and ready to leave home to go back to work. Every scene is at the hospital, by the way. It’s a workplace comedy, but the medical cases are not at the center. It’s very much about how annoying and yet adorable she can be surrounded by younger people, at the exception of Kyle MacLachlan. Yeah! I still don’t know how CBS managed to convince him to join the sitcom but here he is. Of course, he will be great, even if it’s a waste of his talent. There’s no way it doesn’t get picked up. I can totally see it paired with Mom, or sandwiched between Young Sheldon & Mom. No other project has the strength that this one has.

 

2. OUR HOUSE (Sony Pictures Television & CBS Television Studios)

a devoted mom and dad (Katherine Heigl & Malcolm Barrett), who are committed to raising their children with the love and support the mom never got as a kid but discover how difficult that is with her insane parents (Nancy Lenehan & Phil Hendrie) and siblings back in the picture.

So now, Katherine “movie star” Heigl is doing comedy… multicamera comedy! I mean, there’s no shame in this but it’s quite surprising. After two drama flops and a short stint in dying Suits, perhaps it was the only way to go. I’m really curious to see if she would be a draw for the audience and if she can be good at it. I have a feeling she has found the right fit. And also that it could be paired with The Neighborhood and doing okay. Anyway, it’s a good sitcom, that doesn’t really feel new, or inventive, it’s the same story over and over again (ABC & NBC have similar projects), but there’s heart in there. The “house” of the title really is the central character and the heart of the show. And somehow that’s the refreshing element. The pairing of Heigl and Malcolm Barrett seems odd on paper but I’m confident they didn’t put them together for no reason. There must be chemistry. To my own surprise, Our House is one project I’m betting on!

 

3. THE UNICORN (CBS Television Studios)

A widower (Walton Goggins) is eager to move on from the most difficult year of his life, only to realize he’s utterly unprepared to raise his two daughters on his own and equally unprepared for the dating world — where, to his shock, he’s suddenly a hot commodity.

Didn’t expect to like this one as much either. By the way, it’s the only straight single-cam CBS has in its roster. That may help its chances somehow. Again, it’s pretty generic and NBC also has a show based on a widower’s experience (The Kenan Show) but I feel like this one is less manipulative and funny enough. The central character is quite interesting and charming but not in a obvious, easy way. Yes he’s a widower, and yes it’s hard but that’s not really the point and they’re not even trying to make us cry a little between two laughs. The writing is sharper than you would expect in a CBS sitcom. And yet it’s not tonally different from their other shows. Plus, they have Walton Goggins in the lead role. Not sure how they convinced him, but that’s a very good news for the project. He may transcend the material.

 

4. THE EMPEROR OF MALIBU (Warner Bros. Television)

When the son (Max Willems) of a Chinese billionaire (Ken Jeong) announces his engagement to an American woman, his outrageous family descends upon the couple to win their son back and test drive the American dream.

Let’s adress the elephant in the room first: yes, it’s a rip-off of mega hit Crazy Rich Asians. There’s the similar East-meets-West theme as in Kevin Kwan’s popular book and its movie adaptation. And Kwan is the writer as well, while Ken Jeong is back in the father role. They found a cheaper version of Henry Golding in Max Willems, and he seems just as good-looking. And maybe he’s funnier, which wouldn’t be that hard. I prefer ABC’s attempt (Untitled Jessica Gao Project) ‘cos at least they tried to re-arrange it so it doesn’t sound exactly the same, plus it’s female-focused, but The Emperor of Malibu works too. It’s predictable as fuck -even if you haven’t seen the movie, which was predictable as well, and quite boring if you ask me- and that’s a pity because other than that, the characters are engaging and they tone down the romantic aspect to focus on the family and more importantly on the funny.

 

 

4. BROKE IN RESEDA (CBS Television Studios)

Two siblings (Pauley Perrette & Nathasha Leggero) are forced to reconnect when an outrageously wealthy trust fund baby (Jaime Camil) is cut off by his father, and he and his wife move into her estranged sister’s Reseda condo.

It’s hard to picture CBS giving a greenlight to both Our House and Broke In Reseda, which are very similar offers. Here, the star is not Heigl but NCIS’ Pauley Perrette. It would be her first project since she left the long-running show, and that’s a draw in itself for a lot of CBS’ viewers. Would it be enough though? There’s also a tiny Jane The Virgin vibe, thanks to Jaime Camil playing exactly the same role as in The CW series and Jennie Snyder Urman producing it as well. But Jane is not exactly a huge hit, even by The CW standarts, so I don’t think CBS should bet on Broke In Reseda for that reason. There are other ones, like the fact that it’s funny sometimes and pretty much on-brand. It may be too generic but playing the “we’re broke” card might resonate with viewers these days so…

 

5. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN (CBS Television Studios)

Evan (Michael Angarano) sets out with his group of 20-something friends to accomplish a list of challenges he wrote for himself years ago in an effort to turn around his banal life.

Like every year since How I Met Your Mother went off the air, CBS tries to find the perfect formula for another romantic hybrid comedy around a group of friends which would be different enough to warrant a series order. And it never happens because one way or another, they are the same, but less original. They could have tried last year with History Of Them from One Day at a Time creator Gloria Calderon Kellett which had that special thing going for it. But the pilot wasn’t picked up to series for some reason and they’re back at it with new propostions. To Whom It May Concern is okay, and the concept of the “list of challenges”, though not entirely new, is working. It’s the characters who are not totally working. They’re not special. They’re expected. How I Met Your Mother worked because they had Barney, and Robin, and Marshall, and even Ted. Where are they here? Nowhere, I’m afraid. Performances could change everything but I’m not convinced.

 

5. SUPER SIMPLE LOVE STORY (Sony Pictures Television & CBS Television Studios)

a story told through interviews and vignettes spanning 10 years, about how an unlikely couple (David Walton & Elizabeth Alderfer) becomes an unlikely family.

Well. Here’s another candidate in the never-ending How I Met Your Mother‘s replacement race, from One Day at A Time executive producer Mike Royce. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it either. I found it messy on the page, and what’s messy on the page is messy on the screen too, in general. As the title suggests, it’s a super simple love story. Is it ironic? I’m not sure. My take on it is that it is indeed a super simple love story but told in a way that makes it way more complicated than it really is. It’s irritating sometimes, frustrating also, and the only real thing that differentiates it from HIMYM in the end is that there are those interview scenes and it’s not something groundbreaking as you know. So, neh. Let’s keep it even more simple CBS: don’t order it!

 

6. BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA (Warner Bros. Television)

after having a heart attack (Billy Gardell), a man falls in love with his Nigerian nurse (Christine Ebersole) and sets his sights on getting her to give him a chance…

After an unconvicing trip to Netflix with pot comedy Disjointed -I’m pretty sure the network version of this with the same cast could have worked- and critical darling The Kominsky Method -that nobody I know watches- hit-maker Chuck Lorre is back at CBS with Bob <3 Abishola, which is somewhat original because of its title but that’s about it. It’s a romantic comedy that turns into a family comedy, like he did before with Dharma & Greg and Mike & Molly. He even called back Billy Gardell! It’s not bad – CBS doesn’t really have any bad comedy pilot this year- but its potential for a long run seems quite low and he have had way better ideas in the past. They needed to be four to write this? Damn! It should be funnier… Also, maybe that’s just me, but I found the way the hero tries to seduce his nurse very pre-#MeToo. He’s a little too insistant. He’s not creepy or anything and there’s nothing to be furious about in his behaviour but I don’t know, it made me a bit uncomfortable for a little while. Let’s just say CBS has better options. But I’m not stupid: they will want to make Lorre happy and order it anyway!

 

The Lost Boys (The CW) pilot preview: Yet Another Vampire Show

SERIES TITLE: The Lost Boys

NETWORK: The CW
GENRE: Fantasy Drama

LOGLINE: Welcome to sunny seaside Santa Carla, home to a beautiful boardwalk, all the cotton candy you can eat…and a secret underworld of vampires. After the sudden death of their father, two brothers move to Santa Carla with their mother, who hopes to start anew in the town where she grew up. But the brothers find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the seductive world of Santa Carla’s eternally beautiful and youthful undead…

Pilot Cast: Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf, Now Apocalypse, Jane the Virgin), Rio Mangini (Everything Sucks!), Kiele Sanchez (Lost, Kingdom), Medalion Rahimi (Still Star-Crossed, NCIS Los Angeles), Sarah Hay (Flesh and bone), Dakota Shapiro (Valley of the Boom), Haley Tju, Cheyenne Haynes (Camping, Just Add Magic), Del Zamora (Sneaky Pete)…
Series Creator: Heather Mitchell (Still Star-Crossed, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy).
Pilot Director: Catherine Hardwick (Twilight, Thirteen, Lords of Dogtwon).
Producers: Heather Mitchell, Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, iZombie, Party Down), Dan Etheridge, Mike Karz & Bill Bindley.

Studios: Warner Bros. Television, Spondoolie Productions & Gulfstream Television.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

 

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Teen Wolf...

Likely Timeslot: Summer fare if The CW is finally ready to spend some money for this period.

 

WRITTEN BY: Heather Mitchell.

PAGECOUNT: 61 pages

DRAFT: Network draft 1/2/19

BACKGROUND: The CW originally developed a series adaptation of the iconic 1987 Warner Bros horror comedy movie The Lost Boys with Rob Thomas writing during the 2016-17 development season. While the project didn’t go to pilot, the network brass remained very high on the title and had been looking to redevelop it. While Thomas has been busy with his Veronica Mars reboot for Hulu, a take by writer Heather Mitchell (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) got everyone excited, and the new incarnation picked up steam this development season.

Envisioned for a seven-season, anthology-style run, The Lost Boys series was originally supposed to tell a story spanning 70 years, each season chronicling a decade. Season 1 would have been set in San Francisco during the Summer of Love, 1967. Each season, the humans, the setting, the antagonist and the story would have all changed — only the vampires, the famous Lost Boys, who like the Peter Pan characters never grow up, would have remained the same. It has not been said if the new version was also envisioned as an anthology, but it doesn’t seem like it.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: After the sudden death of their father, diametrically opposite brothers MICHAEL (21) and SAM (15) move with their mother LUCY (40s), who caused a scandal 27 years ago when she ditched her boyfriend to run off with another man, to her seaside hometown of Santa Carla, a covert home for vampires. On the beautiful boardwalk, Michael experiences an undeniable spark with STELLA (20s), enraging her vampire boyfriend, DAVID, while Sam meets sisters CASSIE AND LIZA FROG (16), who confirm that there’s something peculiar about Santa Carla. Things escalate when David reveals Stella is the Queen of all vampires and Michael discovers he has the same heart condition that killed his father. Concluding on a suspenseful note, both Sam and Michael uncover the town’s secret inhabitantsSam and the Frog sisters witness David break the vampire law by murdering humans, and Michael walks in on Stella and David having vampire intercourse, all fangs out…

COMMENTS: I’m not sure why this is even a thing. Was it so crucial for The CW to have yet another show about vampires on the air, after The Vampire Diaries and The Originals ended, with Legacies still breathing life into the franchise? I wouldn’t mind that much if The Lost Boys had something very special and different going on for it. But it doesn’t. I mean, it’s very much the same as The Vampire Diaries, centered on two brothers arriving in a new town which is apparently populated by vampires for decades. Why did they choose such a sunny one, in California? It doesn’t make much sense but there may be a reason… The main difference is the brothers are not vampires… yet. But for how long? It’s more adult than the Kevin Williamson’s show, but it’s not True Blood either. It’s more like a weak, lifeless mix, with the younger brother offering an innocent, romantic vibe to the show and the older one introducing a little bit of sex and danger, while the vampires give it a soft debauchery style (we’re not on HBO, they can’t go very far). It wants to have it all and ends with nothing much. There’s an undeniable 80s movies vibe, that comes from the source material and that is preserved because it’s trendy since Stranger Things but it’s less cooler; it takes itself too seriously.

So Michael, the elder brother, plans to attend Columbia Medical school but he is thrown off by the diagnosis that he shares the same genetic weakness that killed his father. The only thing that consoles him is the friendship he strikes up with Stella, a young woman who runs a concession stand on the Santa Carla boardwalk. And who may not be human, after all… He didn’t plan to stay for long, but now that he could die whenever, why spending so much time studying when he could help his family and fall in love? The immediate spark between Stella and Michael seems a little fake on paper, it’s really way too quick, but chemistry between the actors could help it make it believable, or at least enjoyable enough to close our eyes on this. Her boyfriend is the sexy, dangerous and immortal vampire David, who is sometimes scary and always intense. The leader of a vampire gang, he’s wildly in love with Stella, and she’s the only one who can control him, if you see what I mean. It’s nice to have a switch in the usual formula that way but it doesn’t make the show original.

Sam, Michael’s younger brother, has a high level of literacy, matched by an equally high level of snark. He seems to be the only one not enchanted by Santa Carla — a sentiment he shares with a pair of local girls, the Frog Sisters. Since a wild threesome is not in the cards, he may have to choose only one at some point. In the meantime, he will have to go to school and help the show going the same route as many others on The CW before: high-school dramas and the same stories that go with it over and over again. There’s the (young) mother Lucy, who’s a nice gal who did bad things in yer youth, but now she’s a widow, she’s looking for redemption. And of course, she bumps into her old flame who’s now… the sherif! Classic. Last but not least, there’s Frank Garcia, Lucy’s father, a cantankerous old hippie who owns a beloved local bed and breakfast. In spite of his laid-back appearance, he’s a strict disciplinarian who probably knows more about the dark side of town than he cares to tell. And he’s probably the most unexpected character in this, though he stays in the background. He’s way too old to be at the center. And I woudn’t be surprised if they kill him after a few episodes. I give him one season tops.

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Unless The CW unexpectedly decides to order all of its pilots to series -which would be a first in its history- The Lost Boys seems to be the weakest contender of them all. If you want to tell another vampire tale in 2019, you have to make sure it will be vastly different from the previous offers and this one is not original at all, in any way. 

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[ X ] PASS
 ] CONSIDER
[  ] RECOMMEND

Until The Wedding (ABC) pilot preview: Not worth a longtime commitment

SERIES TITLE: Until The Wedding
NETWORK: ABC
GENRE: Soap Drama

LOGLINE: The story of how one couple’s decision to get married can affect everyone in their lives. The show explores the intimate relationships of a group of friends and family as they are forced to reckon with their own romantic lives and come to terms with the realities of love and marriage.

Pilot Cast: Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Dredd, Goliath), E.J. Bonilla (Bull, Revenge, The Long Road Home), Britt Lower (Man Seeking Woman, Unforgettable), Michael Stahl-David (Narcos, Chambers, Cloverfield), Trent Garrett (Splitting Up Together, All My Children), Christian Coulson (Mozart in the Jungle, Nashville), Christian Borle (Smash, The Good Wife), Juani Feliz, Michael Benjamin Washington, Liza Colon-Zayas, Vered Blonstein…
Series Creator: Becky Mode (Smash, Feed the Beast).
Pilot Director: Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovitch, In Her Shoes, Confirmation, The 5th Wave).
Producers: Becky Mode, Susannah Grant, Alon Aranya, Avi Zvi, Ami Amir, Carl Beverly & Sarah Timberman (SEAL Team, Masters of Sex, Elementary).

Studios: ABC Studios, Matar Productions, Reshet 13 & Paper Plane Productions.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

 

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: A Million Little Things, What About Brian, October Road

Likely Timeslot: Midseason replacement for A Million Little Things right after Grey’s Anatomy on thursday 9pm; or The Bachelor’s companion if they ever want to give it one.

 

WRITTEN BY: Becky Mode

PAGECOUNT: 62 pages

DRAFT: 2nd Revised Network Draft. 1/17/19

 

BACKGROUND: This year, ABC’s high on remakes of israeli shows. They have The Baker and the Beauty (read the preview here), and Until The Wedding, known in hebrew as Ad Hahatuna. It was not a huge hit but it ran for two seasons on Reshet beginning in 2008.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: DANNY and ADRIENNE (30s) have a seemingly great relationship. Adrienne is caught off guard when her exboyfriend, WILL, a philanthropic doctor who unexpectedly left her for the Congo, shows up at the wedding. Will claims he is friends with the groom, but his intentions of getting Adrienne back are later revealed. NAOMI is the constant third wheel in Danny and Adrienne’s relationship. She spends the wedding flirting with a British boy looking for US citizenship JAMES, only to find him entangled with another woman at the end o f the night. Adrienne’s brother, MILES, and his husband, SAM, bicker about their daughter. Danny’s sister, LAURA, has autism and makes a special connection with BEN, a wedding guest who also has autism. Danny’s ready to take the next step in his relationship but recognizes that Adrienne isn’t. However, he interrupts the wedding reception toast to propose her in front of everyone. The look on her face is unreadable, leaving us with the cliffhanger of the pilot…

COMMENTS: What motivated ABC to develop and pick-up a show based on a 11 year-old israeli moderated hit is not clear, but this surely isn’t groundbreaking. And that’s probably why no other network tried it before. Sure, it fits with the Alphabet’s mandate to lure back women but like with The Hypnotist’s Love Story, I want to believe women are worth better than that. It’s less stupid though, it just doesn’t have much of a hook and it doesn’t give enough good reasons to stay, unless you’re instantly drawn towards those characters but they don’t come out as special or anything. Some may even be quite irritating. This plus the messy soapy cliché storylines is a lot to accept. Good actors and a lot of chemistry could at least make it somewhat entertaining, especially since of course they’re all very easy on the eye. But today’s TV landscape probably doesn’t allow such a show to bloom.

Also, I have to say I was quite surprised by the fact that the married couple is almost nowhere to be seen. It’s set at their wedding but they are treated like secondary characters, especially the man. I read the script a few hours ago and I can’t even remember their names. That’s quite telling. It’s a choice -‘cos I guess it can only be- that I’m not a fan of. How can you be invested in a pilot set at a wedding if you don’t care about those who should be at the center of the attention in the first place? It gives the feeling that the guests are not even remotely interested in their friends’ big day, like they’re all deep in their own dramas. It doesn’t make them very sympathetic. One thing’s for sure: a wedding is a terrible place to be at, especially when you’re single and not happy about it. But that’s not really what it’s about. It’s mostly about couples in crises. The soon-to-become-a-thing pairing of autistic people Laura & Ben is the cute story that I liked the most. But I’m not sure where they can go from there…

Let’s meet the three leads, just in case you’re still interested in them after what I said: Adrienne is the one all her friends go to first for advice. She’s super empathic and warm with a biting sense of humor. Idealistic, ambitious and really smart, Adrienne has an especially high EQ. She’s a highly skilled psychologist who’s sometimes better at taking care of other people than she is of herself. Naomi is Adrienne’s roommate and best friend. Defiantly single, defiant in general — there’s nothing Naomi loves more than a good fight. Uncensored and funny, she’s an up- and-coming writer with a new book of essays that’s getting serious traction. Though Naomi would say anything to anyone, there are very few people she truly lets in. A fiercely loyal friend, Naomi would go to the end of Earth for the people she loves. Danny Garcia is a serious mensch, warm, who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks or express emotion. He’s the kind of guy who was born 40, and then had to shoulder a lot of responsibility growing up. Danny came from nothing. He built an online fraud detection company that’s about to go public, but he’s a family guy first. He’s a romantic, and madly in love with his girlfriend, Adrienne. Things get complicated when Adrienne’s ex-boyfriend shows up on the weekend Danny plans to propose. See: they’re good people after all. And it could be nice to spend some time with them but do we really want it?

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: With ABC already having A Million Little Things for its quota of friendship drama about relatable, complicated and attractive human beings, Until The Wedding doesn’t seem like something they need or worth a longtime commitment. And since it’s pretty forgettable on the page, though entertaining, perhaps it’d be best left at the altar.

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

X ] PASS
 ] CONSIDER
 ] RECOMMEND