Tag: bill lawrence

Life Sentence (The CW) pilot preview: Pretty Little Cutie Pies

Written and produced by Erin Cardillo & Rich Keith (Significant Mother, Fuller House). Executive produced by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Undateable) & Jeff Ingold (Ground Floor, Undateable). Directed by Lee Toland Krieger (Riverdale, Beyond, Adaline, Celeste & Jesse Forever). 61 pages. Network Draft Revised 01/11/2017. For Warner Bros. Television & Doozer Entertainment.

Description: When Stella, a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.” She then discover her family has been lying to her for the past ten years so she doesn’t worry. Now, she has every reason to worry…

With Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Privileged), Jayson Blair (Whiplash, Young & Hungy, The New Normal), Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck, Unforgettable), Gillian Vigman (New Girl, Suburgatory), Brooke Lyons (The Affair, iZombie, 2 Broke Girls), Elliot Knight (American Gothic, Sinbad, Once Upon a Time)…

   

You’ll like it if you already like: Jane The Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Life Unexpected…

First there was Jane The Virgin. Then came Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Now there’s No Tomorrow (which doesn’t have much of a future ironically). Despite underwhelming ratings -but rave reviews and rare prizes for the network- those hour-long dramedies are very much alive, as if The CW wanted to apologize for all their superhero shows -there will be 5 next year if Black Lightning is ordered to series!- by balancing them with lighter fares targeting millenial women. Before reading the script, I expected Life Sentence to be yet another romantic comedy with charming and colorful leads. It turned out the leads are charming and sometimes colorful but it is not that romantic. Though it can be. There are clichés about Paris and Amsterdam after all. But it’s mostly about a quirky, messy, relatable, instantly appealing family from Portland that we could enjoy spending a few years with.

First of all, let me introduce you to all of them. Stella, our heroine and narrator, is a 25 year-old decisive, strong woman, with a wry, sometimes morbid, sense of humor. She’s a cutie pie. I’m not a Pretty Little Liars fan but I feel like casting Lucy Hale in the starring role is the best thing that could have happenned to the project. She’s certainly capable and she does have fans that will sample the show. Wes is Stella’s husband, a cool guy’s guy. Paul is Stella’s father, a solid rock who rarely shows his feelings. Ida is Stella’s mother, a kind and emotional 55 year-old woman who owns a cheese shop called… Brie Yourself. Elizabeth is Stella’s older sister, an aspiring writer with a family of her own to take care of. Aiden is Stella’s older brother, an immature womanizer who still lives with his parents at 28. There’s also Dr Helena Chang, Stella’s awkward oncologist and the closest she has to a best friend; and Poppy, Ida’s best friend who has become an aunt for Stella and her brother and sister. We get to meet all of them through the pilot and have a pretty good idea of who they are… or more precisely: who they want Stella to believe they are and who they really are. And it’s already a hell of a ride! And they’re never irritating, which is kind of a miracle.

Life Sentence is funny. But discreetly. Without a red light warning sign saying “Be ready, we’re gonna be funny in 3,2,1…”. It’s funny because the characters are -and hopefully the actors too- because the dialogues are sharp and smart, and probably because the writers and the producers wrote for comedies before. It shows. It’s touching without being cheesy, especially thanks to the heroine’s voice-over that could be compared to the narrator’s in Jane The Virgin, though she’s not breaking the fourth wall. And it has potential to go on for years. As long as the characters are good, and I don’t want to repeat myself but they are, everything’s gonna be fine. You want to know their secrets? Here’s one [SPOILER ALERT!]: Ida wants to divorce Paul for years. And you know why? Because she doesn’t love him anymore, yes. But mostly because she’s in love with a woman. And this woman is… Poppy! It is this type of show. The situations can be far-fetched, there’s too much going on, but the emotions feel real.

Life Sentence is a delightful, funny, soapy, certainly not preachy, breath of fresh air, that may not be as inventive as Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are, but there’s a lot to like in there, especially for those who want more family dramedies on TV. Can it be a huge success for The CW? Probably not. Can it win awards? I doubt it. Can it charm the hell out of the audience? Oh yeah, it will!

“Rush Hour” (CBS) pilot preview: Run the other way!

RUSHHOUR

Written & produced by Bill Lawrence (Spin City, Scrubs, Cougar Town, Undateable) & Black McCormick (King of the Hill, Cougar Town). Co-produced by Jeff Ingold (Undateable, Ground Floor), Brett Ratner (Rush HourHorrible BossesPrison Break) & Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour) Directed by John Turteltaub (Ninja Kids, Rasta Rockett, National Treasure, Jericho). For CBS, Warner Bros. Television & Doozer.

Description: Lee, a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer is assigned to a case in Los Angeles, where he’s forced to work with James Carter, a cocky black LAPD officer who has no interest in a partner…

With Justin Hires (21 Jump Street), Jon Foo (Tekken, Extraction, Bjankok Renaissance), Aimee Garcia (Dexter, Trauma), Page Kennedy (Weeds, Backstrom, Desperate Housewives, Blue Mountain State), Jessika Van (Awkward, The Messengers)…

rate

Initially, I held my nose while reading the first pages of Rush Hour‘s pilot script, ‘cos the whole idea of a reboot smelled bad from the get go. But then I couldn’t do it anymore ‘cos my eyes were closing as my brain was instinctively looking for a safer place. I won’t bullshit you: I had a very hard time finishing it and I may have jumped a few pages in the process. Rush Hour as a movie was not my thing. It was safe to assume it still wouldn’t be my thing as a TV series. I wanted to take a look at it anyway, ‘cos you never know. I can promise you now that if CBS orders it to series, I won’t watch a minute of it. Not because it’s bad. It’s not. Not really. Okay, it is. I think. But what do I know? Because IT’S NOT MY FUCKING THING. It’s the same for you: if the movies made you laugh, even just a little bit, try it: you never know. But if it didn’t, don’t even bother. It’s a waste of time.

Honestly, I have no desire to write a long article about it. I don’t even know what to say. There’s no need to tell you what it is about -the pitch up above says it all- or to give you further details. It’s exactly what you think it is. What you expect is what you get. It’s funny, for those who like that kind of humor (and I’m not judging you in any way when writing this). Me? I hated it. I thought the character of detective James Carter was a pain in the ass. He never stops talking. He always has a joke to crack. He’s a big joke himself. He couldn’t care less about his job. Or so it seems. He got on my nerves pretty quickly and I felt the same way about him until the end. But I’m pretty sure a lot of people will like him very much. His partner, Lee, is boring for half the pilot. The fact that he pretends that he can’t speak english doesn’t help. Once he stops hiding it, he gets a little bit more interesting. He can be funny too, cynical. That’s the kind of humor I enjoy more. But it’s sooo conventional. It doesn’t sound fresh at all. Of course, you get a lot of action: choppers, explosions, gun-fires, a little bit of fighting ninja style… I don’t know what we can expect from the cast, but they don’t seem very charismatic. CBS wanted Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings, New Girl) for the lead. It turned out he prefered to be jobless than accepting the offer. He would have made a great pair with John Cho. I don’t know if he was approached. With them, I think I would have been able to give it a fair chance.

The first Rush Hour movie came out in 1998! You can’t make the same shit as a TV series almost 20 years later and expect the same result and the same welcome from the audience. As entertaining as it may be, and as tempting as it is for CBS to pick it up to series -and prove for once they can also have minorities for their leads, after every other networks did- I don’t think it’s a good move for them. And they don’t even produce it themselves so they won’t make that much money out of it even if it does well internationally. Scorpion & Hawaii 5-0 are enough in this department. Hopefully, like the Beverly Hills Cop reboot they made two years ago, they’ll stop in time.