Category: Script Previews

Mission Control (CBS) pilot preview: Too big a challenge

Written and executive produced by Andy Weir (The Martian, The Egg). Executive produced by Simon Kinberg (X-Men, Legion, Designated Survivor, Mr & Mrs Smith), Charles H. Eglee (Hemlock Grove, Dexter, The Shield, The Walking Dead), Aditya Sood (Deadpool, The Martian, Designated Survivor), Brian Buckner (True Blood), Courtney Conte & Quan Phung (Whitney). Directed by Jeremy Podeswa (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Tudors). For CBS Television Studios, Genre Films & Slingshot Global Media. 63 pages. 10/18/16.

Description: The next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists juggle both their personal and professional lives during a critical mission with no margin for error…

With Poppy Montgomery (Unforgettable, Without a Trace, Glory Days), David Giuntoli (Grimm, Privileged), Peyton List (Frequency, The Tomorrow People, FlashForward, Mad Men), Levi Fiehler (The Fosters), Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives, Santa Clarita Diet, Scandal), Wunmi Mosaku (Guerilla, Fearless, Jo, In The Flesh), Vinny Chhibber (No Tomorrow)…

 

You’ll like it if you already like: Quantico, Grey’s Anatomy, Extant The Martian

Likely timeslot: Summer-bound?

Last year, CBS was heavily criticized on their lack of diversity in almost every every new series they picked up, all prominently featuring white males (Bull, MacGyver, Pure Genius, The Great Indoors, Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan) with only Doubt and to some extent Training Day going on another direction but considered as second thoughts on the schedule. They promised to do better next year. And here we are. We’ll have to wait for the orders to see if they improved but by the look of things right now, apart from SWAT starring Shemar Moore, Higher Ground which is a long shot and sitcom pilot Brothered Up, it’s once again very male and very white. Mission Control is the perfect example of what’s going wrong at the Eye: the two leads were supposed to be a bilingual Latina and an African-American man, they chose Poppy Montgomery and David Giuntoli. Mindfuck.

You think it’s a detail? It’s not. This pilot tries hard to be in the vein of the Shonda Rhimes bona fide hits -after they already failed with Doubt– and they’re not even capable of having a diverse cast for starters. Oh, there are Ricardo Chavira and Nigerian-born actress Wunmi Mosaku in secondary roles though. In October, CBS launched a Drama Diversity Casting Initiative to find African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ actors and performers with disabilities to join current series and pilots. None were cast in any pilot. Just one of the participants, Alexa Adderly, has been cast in an episode of Bull… Seems like it’s just their way of saying “we care” but when decisions time come, they don’t anymore. Anyway, the characters in Mission Control are not properly fleshed out so the loss is not on the actors but on the network. The writer Andy Weir doesn’t seem like someone who watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal and it shows when he’s asked to mimic them. I’m even thinking he may not like them at all. The characters ARE the key in this type of projects. They can’t be one-dimensional. Especially when the world they live in is quite complicated to connect with for the audience. Sometimes, the show goes very technical and I was totally lost. The same way as a medical show can throw a lot of specific terms we don’t understand and we’re still fine because we care. Here, the problem is we don’t really care.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what this show is about ultimately, what’s the story, what’s the purpose of it all. One thing I know, there’s a sex scandal -as in 2 or 3 other pilots this year- with public affairs officer Rayna trying to clean up a nude pics leak from one of their astronauts, Deke, a rich heiress. She’s not too bummed out about it by the way. It’s a little bit overwhelming to offer this particular story in a pilot. It sounds more like a plot B in episode 4. And it’s used to introduce two of the most important female characters of the show, which doesn’t sound very flattering to reduce them to this. Did I say sexist? I guess it’s their way to insist on “we’re light, we’re cool, we’re timely”. Anyway the case is resolved by the end of the episode so everyone at CBS is happy. As long as the women are sexy and the men are funny nerds… It’s a bummer because those people are supposed to be brilliant, amazing, but we’re stuck with a sex scandal instead of them doing incredible things.

There are two factions of people in Mission Control: the folks down in NASA’s control unit, lead by whip-smart Julie Towne as the flight director, and the people up on a next-generation space station called Durga, lead by Stevenson, a cocky astronaut. Those two have indeniable chemistry but right now it’s impossible for them to act on it for obvious reasons. Though cam sex should be on the table if you want my opinion. And so the critical mission is to move Durga from low-orbit to high-orbit, where it will eventually fly to Mars. And 14 months in the future, there is a giant explosion above earth. Is it Durga? Is it the Russians’ shuttle (‘cos of course the Russians are involved and they are not supposed to be the enemies this time)? That’s the only hook Andy Weir has found to give us a reason to stay a little bit longer since it’s not the characters obviously. Unless they reworked the damn thing extensively, there are too many problems here to warrant a series order and it’s a shame. It was a great pitch idea.

Mission Control is the waste of a good idea. CBS turned the once promising project into of one those half-baked summer fares they’re now renowned for like Extant, Under The Dome or Zoo. It’s a creative mess that wants to be both Grey’s Anatomy or Quantico but doesn’t know how to, and The Martian, banking on the author’s name. But those two genres -soap and science- just don’t mesh well, especially with an unexperienced writer who never worked for television before. It was too big a challenge.

The Doomsday Project (ABC) pilot preview: Think Scorpion, but bigger and smarter

Created and produced by Mark Bianculli & VJ Boyd. Executive produced by Carol Mendelsohn (CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Melrose Place, Providence) & Julie Weitz (Game of Silence). Directed by Joachim Roaning (Marco Polo, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales). For Sony Pictures Television, Carol Mendelsohn Productions, Pernomium Pictures & Signal Hill Productions. 61 pages. Draft 01/20/17.

Description: In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government institutes a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions. Because the hypothetical ideas are deemed extremely dangerous, the list is sealed and the program shut down. But when a catastrophe occurs that’s ripped from the pages of the missing doomsday book, the team is brought back years later to prevent the disasters of their own making…

With Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries, Aquarius, H2O), Rachelle Lefevre (Under The Dome, What About Brian, Twilight), Taye Diggs (Private Practice, Murder in the First, Empire), Jack Davenport (Smash, FlashForward, Pirates of the Caribbean), Dan Byrd (Cougar Town, Aliens in America, Easy A), Rochelle Aytes (Mistresses, Criminal Minds, The Forgotten), Justin Chatwin (Shameless US, American Gothic, Dragonball Evolution)…

   

You’ll like it if you already like: Quantico, The Blacklist, Scorpion, Designated Survivor

Likely timeslot: Monday at 10, Tuesday at 10.

Remember last year when I entitled my review of MacGyver “And you thought Scorpion was stupid?“. This time it’s the opposite. The Doomsday Project shares a bit of DNA with both the CBS shows -it’s about preventing disasters from happening- but the stakes are higher than ever and all is done with an incredible sense of build-up and efficiency, with characters that you can only care about. Doomsday falls in the big-idea original drama concepts category that the broadcast networks were heavily pursuing this season but have been in short supply. ABC got the project in a three-network bidding by giving it a pilot production commitment that has a series penalty behind it. Meaning: there’s a big chance it gets ordered in may. It was compared to Designated Survivor in some articles, which is the only new ABC drama that looks like a hit this year, but they don’t have so many things in common. For starters, The Doomsday Project is a heavily-serialized procedural.

I’m in awe of the writers’ capacity to deliver so many informations and establishing so many characters in only a few pages. It reminded me of Quantico‘s pilot script in that way. It’s not an easy story to tell and easy concept to sell -the pitch is a bit of a headscratcher- and somehow they did it smoothly. It starts in the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta that some of you may remember from the season 1 of The Walking Dead. The first disaster is about a deadly disease called Marburg that is stolen by four men in tailor made hazmat suits. We’ll discover later that they are planning to unleash it at the MET through the ventilating system during a private opera played for the biggest American Pharma companies. There’s a lot of action going on through the pilot, it’s always fast-paced, but the best part is happening in the last act with our characters being on the spot. It’s a great reward after watching them talking and arguing on and on in The Hub, a high-tech three level room with giant plasma screens everywhere, described as “a war-room from the future”. At some point, it makes you a little bit claustrophobic being there all the time, even when you’re not (claustrophobic).

I know what you may think right now: it sounds heavy and not funny at all. Well yes, it’s heavy -I mean, the whole world could collapse because of the disease- BUT it’s funny! You won’t laugh out loud like a crazy person, but you’ll appreciate the humor, skillfully exuded through the characters’ conversations. They all know each other very well, they have a common past, so they never hesitate to poke fun at each other and most of the time that’s how we learn more about every one of them. That’s a smart way to promise backstories, kept for later. Of course, they all have secrets. Some of them are already exposed. Others will have to wait. And as you can guess with this type of story, there’s a huge conspiracy behind. I’m always very cautious about that: it rarely works for the long haul. At least, this one sounds it could, if the writers are as brilliant as the characters and gave it a lot of thinking before jumping into the project.

What big concept shows lack of in general is strong characters. The Doomsday Project doesn’t have this problem. They’re all intriguing. Some are likable, others are not, but it’s okay. They don’t have to be as long as they’re interesting. And they are. And they really work as a group. ABC managed to assemble a solid cast with familiar faces. Kayla (Claire Holt) is the newest member of the Doomsday project. Considered the best cyber security analyst in the country, she’s efficient, irreverent, and not particularly interested in making friends. I love her already. And you’ll see, she even more important than expected. Faye (Rachelle Lefevre) is the whip-smart and shrewd Deputy Director of Homeland Security who is at the helm when the Doomsday team reassembled. Coldly pragmatic, she initially has little reverence for her assemblage of geniuses but during the course of the first mission, she develops a growing respect for the team. She’s an enigma. We have three very strong women at the center if you add Dr. Elle (Rochelle Aytes), a renowned physicist, MD and author, notable for her ability to popularize science, “making complex ideas disgestible for the masses”. It will help when things will get too complicated for us.

She was married once with the handsome and confident Dr. Davis (Taye Diggs), an engineer and architect, formerly the youngest-ever head of disaster prevention for FEMA. Fastidious, with expensive taste in clothes, he’s not fond of forays into the field. Warren (Jack Davenport) is a well-known intellectual playwright turned middle-brow action screenwriter. He is imaginative and creative and sees the world like a story which helps him think like (and even empathize with) the enemy. You remember his character in Smash? Same kind of asshole. Then there’s Nate Hensley (Dan Byrd), the younger one. He became rich as a professional analyst and is the founder of The New Oracle, a website that is devoted to predicting politics, sports and stock trading. He can hedge any bet and predict any outcome. Also, he’s gay. Finally, there’s Chris Wyatt, a Navy SEAL instructor. He’s the muscles of the team but also a brilliant mind: he’s specialized in military strategy. And yes, women and men are all very sexy in this show and there’s no reason to complain about it.

The Doomsday Project is one of the most ambitious project of this pilot season, but we all know high-concept shows are always those that burst into flames first. ABC needs to be careful here, especially since Quantico proved that their viewers may not be interested in this type of stories. How could they resist though? If the finished pilot is as solid as the script is, it has to be tried… 

Redliners (NBC) pilot preview: Spy Teachers

Written and produced by Shaun Cassidy (Blue Bloods, Cover Me, Invasion) & Kelly Sue DeConnick (Emerald City). Executive produced by David Janollari (Midnight Texas, Six Feet Under). Based on “Small Kingdoms” by Charlaine Harris (True BloodMidnight Texas). For Universal Television & David Janollari Entertainment. Directed by Jason Ensler (Red Band Society, Hart of Dixie, Franklin & Bash, Cult). 61 pages. Network Draft. 01/14/17.

Description: Anne DeWitt &  Holt Halsey, a pair of former operatives, get reactivated and drawn into a larger conspiracy while attempting to maintain their undercover lives as teachers in a high-school…

With Hannah Ware (Betrayal, Boss, Hitman: Agent 47, Shame), Jerod Haynes (First Date, Empire), Greg Germann (Ally McBeal, Once Upon a Time), Alan Powell, Jenny Wade (Hand of God, Reaper), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), Rodney To (Rosewood, Wilfred, Parks And Recreation), Quinn Shephard (Hostages)…

You’ll like if you already like: The Americans, Undercovers, Allegiance…

Likely timeslot: Monday at 10


While reading Redliners, I couldn’t help wondering how the producers managed to sell to NBC the concept of this show, which is an improbable mashup between a high-school drama and an espionage series. I mean… I’m totally open to fresh takes, new approaches on old genre, but those two just don’t work together. Imagine The Americans  & Glee were the same series… It sounds wrong, right? Well then imagine Undercovers, an NBC espionage show produced by J.J. Abrams a few years ago, mixed with Chicago School, the 5th Dick Wolf series of the Chicago Franchise that doesn’t exist yet. It’s just terrible. That’s what’s Redliners is. I did some digging to understand what was behind this and here’s what I found:
David Janollari, who produces the project, is NBC President Bob Greenblatt ex-partner (professionally!). Say no more…

If I’m being totally honest, this pilot script is not that bad overall and the mashup may have worked well with a better writing. It feels like it was rushed. The official description sent to the medias billed it as “in the tone of Mr & Mrs Smith, Redliners mixes humor, romance and espionage”. It’s not a lie. That’s the intention. But it’s never really funny, the romance part is very light and the espionage story, which is the main genre the show belongs to, is wobbly, foggy and ultimately boring once you don’t care anymore (which happens pretty quickly). It’s adapted from a short story written by Charlaine Harris and that’s how it feels: short. Of course, they did their best to expand the original material so it could become a series but it’s hard to imagine a future for the show. By the way, what is it with Charlaine Harris’ work? True Blood was a strange and addictive series I give you that; Texas, Midnight, which is coming this summer to NBC, is a lighter True Blood that leaves you puzzled at best; and now they’re digging into her short stories… Not everything should be adapted!

But let’s go back to those Redliners who spend half their time running from or against bad guys and the time they’re left by educating teenagers. Our heroine is Anne DeWitt, a fiercely intelligent, formidably lethal, charmingly mysterious force of nature. One of Anne’s many secrets is that she is an ex-teacher/trainer in the fine art of assassination for a security firm known as The Service. Holt Halsey is an FBI agent posing as a basketball coach at Anne’s college. Holt initially was sent in to monitor and “protect” Anne, with the Bureau hoping she might be a lure to draw out a shared enemy. But over time, he has come to care deeply for the players on his team. And as you can guess, he cares deeply about her too. These descriptions make them sound like more interesting than they really are on paper. Maybe the actors can give them more depth but let’s just say they weren’t top choices. And they don’t look like teachers, or spies. There’s a larger conspiracy behind all of this of course, the kind that will probably get way too complicated after a few episodes.

Redliners tries its best to turn a weird idea into a good one, but they should have tried harder or just forget it. NBC doesn’t need this, we don’t need this, can we just act like it never happened? If somehow it’s on the air next year, expect a flop. They won’t be able to market such a concept effectively. It just doesn’t work.

Black Lightning (The CW) pilot preview: The most political DC Comics show?

Written and produced by Mara Brock Ali & Salim Akil (Being Mary Jane, The Game, Girlfriends, Moesha). Executive produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl, Riverdale, Brothers & Sisters) & Sarah Schechter ((Arrow, Blindspot, Legends of Tomorrow). Based on the characters created by Tony Isabella & Trevor Von Eeden. Directed by Salim Akil. For Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions, Akil Productions & DC Comics. 60 pages. Writer’s 2nd Draft. 01/05/2017. (Based on the script written for FOX)

Description: Jefferson Pierce hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he is pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning…

With Cress Williams (Heart of Dixie, Code Black, Friday Night Lights, Prison Break), Nafessa Wiliams (Twin Peaks 2017, Code Black, One Life to Live), China Anne McClain (Descendants, House of Payne), Christine Adams (Feed the Beast, Agents of SHIELD, Terra Nova)…

  

You’ll like if you already: Shows of the DC Universe

Likely Timeslot: Monday at 9, Tuesday at 9, Thursday at 8.


A lot of you were waiting for this preview to come. The devil in me wanted it to be the last The CW pilot I give a look at. Just to build the tension. And also because I’m not a big DC fan so it’s not really my priority. Before delving into it, let me tell you the young-skewing network has a bit of a situation here. Their CBS produced-pilot are weak, especially Valor and Dynasty, while Insatiable is kinda good but a wild card. In the meantime, the Warner Bros. pilots are all strong possibilities, with family dramedy Life Sentence an exciting one (and a personal favorite), Searchers an ambitious option and Black Lightning looking like a no-brainer for obvious reasons. The problem is the network won’t be able –in theory though- to pick-up only WB pilots since it is co-own by CBS. So which one will have to go? The suspense is already killing me.

Before reading Black Lightning, I had the feeling it may not live up to the expectations, explaining why FOX decided to not proceed with a pilot order. Some of you may not know the project first landed at FOX in September following a multiple-network bidding war but had to move when they realized –a little too late- that they were already the home of two DC Comics shows (Gotham and Lucifer), with Marvel’s X-Men drama Gifted looking good for a series order. That was too many superheroes and mutants for them, apparently. The CW saved Black Lightning last minute like they did with the second season of Supergirl and Riverdale, which was also set up at FOX initially. Now that I have read the pilot script, I can say FOX made a very bad decision (especially when you look at what they ordered instead) and The CW made the right call by saving it. It’s not the best thing I’ve read this year but it’s a good one for sure.

Black Lightning would have looked good on FOX surrounded by Empire or Lethal Weapon. The three of them deal with family. Differently. But still. It’s not a show about Jefferson Pierce, it’s a show about the Pierce’s family. The daughters characters are featured prominently in this first hour. They are the most interesting ones and without them, the show would hardly fit with The CW line-up. Jennifer, the youngest, is an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own, who defines herself as a feminist and has a tendency to get into trouble; while Anissa is a passionate and quick-witted lesbian twenty-something who balances the demands of medical school with her job teaching part-time at her father’s school. Oh yeah, it’s a bit of a school drama too since Jefferson is the principal of the Garfield high-school in a poor neighbourhood of Los Angeles and most of the action happens there. And for those, like me, who are not familiar with the DC Universe, those two are meant to become superheroes as their father: respectively Thunder and Lightning. There’s already a hint of it in the pilot.

Jennifer and Anissa have a mother; Jefferson and her are separated, she has another man in her life for quite some time but he still believes she’ll come back. She’s the main reason why he stopped being Black Lightning. She knows his secret identity. As does his mentor, an old man named Gambi who creates his new costume (of course, there’s the inevitable scene of every superhero show where he put it for the first time). Depending on the chemistry between the actors, there’s a big potential with these two strong relationships. The pilot has its own villain, who’s part of a larger story, the one of a local gang called the One Hundred who wants to recruit Jennifer. And yeah, Jefferson will do everything in his power to stop them. Expect this part of the show to be serialized with the gang coming back from time to time.

There is no mystery left around Jefferson Pierce when the pilot ends. We get to know through flashbacks, Arrow-style, how he got his powers in the first place, what he did with them –mostly good things- and why he hung up the suit. It’s never boring, but never very surprising either. His story is more or less the same as every other superheroes of this earth. What makes it different and timely is the fact that it’s the first black superhero on network television (the other one being Luke Cage on Netflix). And of course, it’s not a little detail. The pilot deals with police brutality –Jefferson is checked by the police twice and it’s not a walk in the park- and the message the writers –who are black and husband and wife- want to send to the new generation of African-american is that it’s time to harness and release their power by becoming their own superheroes. It’s an important thing to do in those troubled times.

Black Lightning is probably the most family friendly and political DC Comics show so far. It follows very closely, even too closely, the usual steps of a superhero series and adds some substance to the mix. An entertaining hour of television that is not just one more DC Comics show on The CW.

The Get (CBS) pilot preview: This is not fake News!

Written and produced by Bridget Carpenter (11.22.63, Westworld, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood). Directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who). For CBS Television Studios. 60 pages. Clean Draft.

Description: A team of tireless Internet journalists from the website The Get pursue and expose stories of injustice using their unconventional investigative techniques in today’s anything-goes world of reporting…

With Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers, Reign, Private Practice, Amy), Brad Garrett (Fargo, ‘Til Death, Everybody Loves Raymond), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Hand of God, Roots), Jeananne Goossen (The Night Shift, The Following), Alex Fitzalan, Michael Rady (UnREAL, Jane The Virgin, Swingtown), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black, Rock, Camelot)…

   

You’ll like it if you already like: The Newsroom, The Good Wife…

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9, Wednesday at 10


When CBS picked-up The Get a few weeks ago, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’m hoping for a network drama about journalism for years. There were a few projects in the past–among them two produced by Shonda Rhimes, Correspondents & Inside the Box– but none of them ever went to series. And of course there was HBO’s The Newsroom written by Aaron Sorkin, which was half-baked but mostly good. It’s a head-scratcher quite frankly. It’s such a perfect workplace to make a great drama (or a great soap)! What are the producers waiting for exactly? Since journalism is in danger these days (a serious study said recently that newspaper reporter is the “worst job”), more than ever in this new political environment, it’d be important to have such a show on the air. The Get may not be the ideal version of it, it’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s definitely something I’d watch on a weekly basis, though obviously a series order looks like a long shot.

The Get is the title of the show, but it also refers to the website inside the show. Three of the most important journalists of the team are women, which looks like a real statement from the writer, Bridget Carpenter. Meet first the steeled and determined Ellen (played by the excellent Amy Brenneman), who has been known to push boundaries in order to find the truth. She has a backstory about her father, who works for the LAPD. Then there’s Noelle, a fearless journalist who never backs down from a story she cares about. In the pilot, she works on a case of a woman who fakes pregnancies in order to get money from desperate couples who are looking to adopt a baby. Finally, there’s Isa, the senior producer at The Get and a tech-savvy researcher. They are joined by a fresh face, Alex, a young man who was a discreet and observant intern until he found THE story that got him a regular job; and their boss, Bill (played by Brad Garrett), a hardworking reporter who has spent his life working up to the position of executive producer.

It’s a really promising and functional group on paper. They are instantly likable without playing it nice all the time. Plus, they have more than their The Get’s stories to tell, things more personal that will help serialize the show a little bit if it’s ordered to series. Until then, the pilot is mostly procedural, with two cases tackled with energy and fearlessness. It’s efficient, captivating and inspirational. They often operate undercover with hidden cameras, which could give a different atmosphere to the series visually. Think Person of Interest for example. But let’s be real: in the end, it works exactly like a cop show with detectives replaced by journalists. They help solve a case AND make a great story of their own. I feel like they could become more ambitious later, add layers, maybe with more serialized cases over multiple episodes, but in order to convince CBS, they’d better start straight and simple. They clearly have more cards to play over time. 

The Get is not exactly an innovative offer from CBS since it works like many of their cop shows but without cops. That being said it’s different and timely enough to warrant a series order. It gives a little bit of hope and a sense of justice that we desperately need. Plus, it shows that journalism can be important, IS important when it’s more than rumors, gossips and fake news. 

Las Reinas (ABC) pilot preview: Not soapy enough

Positively Miami“. Written and produced by Dean Georgaris  (Paycheck, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life). Executive produced by Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Quantico, Designated Survivor), Chris Brancato (Narcos) & Nick Pepper. Directed by Liz Friedlander (Conviction, Stalker, 90210). For ABC Studios, EOne & The Mark Gordon Company. 59 pages. Network Draft 5. 1.25.17.

Description: Detective Sonya De La Reina is forced to confront her past when a case compels her to reconnect with her estranged family, especially her grandmother Gabriella, the head of the most powerful criminal outfit in Miami. Thrust back into the world she thought she had left behind, Sonya must walk the murky line between the law and her family, and question her true destiny as a De La Reina…

With Daniella Alonso (Animal Kingdom, Being Mary Jane, Revolution, Friday Night Lights), John Corbett (Northern Exposure, Sex & The City, Parenthood, United States of Tara), Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries, Cult, Damages, What About Brian), Sonia Braga (Aquarius, Luke Cage, Alias), Amanda Warren (The Leftovers), Eric Winter (Days of Our Lives, Brothers & Sisters, Witches of East End), Shalim Ortiz (Heroes, Magic City)…

  

You’ll like if you already like: Queen of the South.

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9, Monday at 10, Wednesday at 10

 

Writer Dean Georgaris is a lucky and supposedly talented guy. The two scripts he wrote this year got a pilot order: the military drama For God and Country at NBC and Las Reinas at ABC, two very different beasts. Years ago, he created Clementine, already for ABC, an intriguing show centered on a girl who discovers she has psychic powers. It was good and this close to get a series order. Maybe he’s about to get his revenge, though I feel like the alphabet has way better and more fitting options than this crime drama set in Miami –which is kind of exotic- originally developed in 2015-2015 when they were not looking for any procedural. Now they are, but Deception or The Trustee are stronger.

Even though the pitch indicates Las Reinas may be a soap –the classic story of a girl who abandoned her wealthy family a long time ago (six years precisely) but who has no other choice but to reconnect with them- it’s not. There are elements, yes. Like the grandmother who’s evil. I’d be glad to watch the incredible Sonia Braga playing this part. Think Madeleine Stowe in Revenge as Victoria Grayson. Gabriella de la Reina is the same kind of cruel queen. She looks lovely and stunning for her age (she’s 66), everybody in the community thinks she’s the most generous woman on earth, but in fact she’s a ruthless bitch and a murderer. I would want her funnier, so at least the show gives us a good guilty laugh, but she’s just mean and that’s it for now. Every time the show has the opportunity to go full soap, it just looks the other way. No OMG moments or edge of your seat scenes. No emotional stuff either. It’s a pity. ABC viewers would be more likely to give it a chance if it were soapier.

It’s mostly about the investigation –a missing girl, of course- and establishing our heroine as a no-nonsense badass cop who doesn’t follow the rules because she has a great instinct and people around her who are ready to forgive her behaviour as long as she saves the day. Exactly as the other ABC pilot The Trustee, but at least this one’s fun. And she has a partner, a new one, she’s not fond of. How surprising. He basically follows her everywhere but doesn’t add much to the mix. He’s bland. There was no time to give him something interesting to play it seems. There are other cops we don’t care about and Sonia’s ex-partner, who’s now her boss. There’s a nice potential there. But it’s a procedural so we’ll have to wait before they find the time to make something out of it.

There’s nothing even remotely fresh in Las Reinas, nothing that really makes you want to come back, unless you’re craving for one another crime procedural about a formidable detective with a difficult past. The criminal family angle is the only thing that could have made the difference but it’s not convincing and important enough in the pilot. It’s a CBS show lost in the ABC development slate. It was not good enough in 2014. It’s still not good enough in 2017. Adiós.