Tag: cbs

Magnum, PI (CBS) pilot preview: By the people who already brought back Hawaii 5-0 & MacGyver

I saw the sun rise” written and executive produced by Peter Lenkov (MacGyver, Hawaii 5-0, Salvation, 24) & Eric Guggenheim (Hawaii 5-0, Parenthood). Based on the series by Donald P. Bellisario & Glen A. Larson. Also produced by John Davis (The Blacklist, Shaft, Predator, Waterworld, Paycheck) & John Fox (Timeless, The Blacklist, Joy). Directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Beyond, SWAT, Scorpion). For CBSUniversal TelevisionCBS Television Studios & Davis Entertainment. 60 pages. Revised Network Draft. 12/12/2017.

Description: Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator in Hawaii. With help from fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright, as well as that of disavowed former MI:6 agent Juliet Higgins, Magnum takes on the cases no one else will, helping those who have no one else to turn to…

With Jay Hernandez (Bright, Suicide Squad, Bad Moms, Scandal, Hang Time), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful, The Tudors), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings, FlashForward, Parenthood), Stephen Hill

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Letting you guess.

Likely Timeslot: Monday at 10, wednesday at 9 or friday somewhere.

 

Haven’t we suffered enough? Was rebooting Hawaii 5-0 and more recently MacGyver enough already? Since both worked, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Lazy CBS is ready for another try and this time it’s the classic 1980s Tom Selleck series set in Hawaii that’s getting the remake treatment. And once again, it’s CBS Television Studios’ go-to writer for rebooting iconic procedurals Peter Lenkov who’s behind the wheel. Per Deadline, it is said to be CBS’ most expensive pilot this season. I’m not surprised after reading the script. It looks expensive. But first, let me tell you Magnum could have come back earlier, last season, when ABC developed a new version, which was supposed to follow Magnum’s daughter, Lily “Tommy” Magnum, who returns to Hawaii to take up the mantle of her father’s PI firm. She and her tribe of friends would have mixed tropical beaches with the seedy underbelly of international crime and modern espionage. It fell through. And you know what? It sounded way better and more modern than what CBS is cooking up. More respectful to the original also, not that this one is not respectful.

In case you were wondering, there were discussions about Tom Selleck getting involved in the reboot but he opted not to get formally on board but gave the project his blessing. He’s still the star of Blue Bloods on CBS and unless there’s a surprise cancellation this may, it will be on the air at least one more year, meaning he won’t be able to say hello to the new Magnum. But after that, everything’s possible. And there’s a role for him actually. Like in the original show, Magnum is “sponsored” by the pulp novelist Robin Masters, and lives in the beautiful oceanfront Hawaiian estate owned by the millionaire called “Robin’s Nest”. Only his voice was heard in the show, he never appeared. Though there’s a theory his majordomo Higgins was in fact Masters. Anyway, if he were to appear in the new version, it would be fun if he were played by Tom Selleck himself! Unlikely, but who knows? So, the big difference between the old Magnum and the new one -and probably the only one in terms of story- is Higgins. She’s a female now. Jonathan is now Juliet. She is commanding, confident, tough, uses sarcasm to deflect emotion and hard to get to know. She’s also strict and often in conflict with Magnum and his more easy-going methods. Very much like out old pair! But there’s something else going on there. Yeah, we’re having yet another “will they?won’t they? situation” as they clearly about to become more than just friends who act like they hate each other. Can’t blame CBS for this but I’m not sure this trope can still win the audience, unless there’s something special about it.

Our other principal characters are kinda non-existent in the pilot. It includes Rick, a former door gunner with the Marines who now runs Oahu’s coolest nightclub, he’s well-connected – if you want something on the island, Rick is the man to see; Theodore “TC” Calvin, an ex-Marine chopper pilot who’s still a chopper pilot.; and well Sebastian Nuzo, ex-Seal, who’s now… dead! He’s kidnapped, tortured and killed in the pilot, which gives a good reason for Magnum to investigate. There’s also another woman, Hannah Boyle, a former CIA Intel Analyst and Magnum’s ex-girlfriend. She was supposed to be dead, until we learn she’s not. She’s connected to the somber story of a sunken ship full of gold. Yeah, you read right. But it leads to what will probably a very good-looking and impressive scene that takes place underwater, with Magnum catching bad guys on scuba gear. We’ll also find our hero on his surf ski, wearing bord-shorts, paddling. Because he’s cool. And the opening scene includes a next-generation space capsule, a space-suit, a parachute and a water Buffalo. Just sayin’! Magnum wants to be cooler than Hawaii 5-0, Macgyver & Scorpion reunited so they’re going over the top and only a good director can make this look good and not too ridiculous. Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin is probably the right guy for the job. He also gets the chance to film him in a Ferrari, and other cars I’ve never heard of. That’s the spirit! Landscape views are described as impossibly stunning and since they’re really shooting in Hawaii, they will be for sure.

They kept Magnum’s voice-over as part of the storytelling, which is not a good idea if you ask me. It makes it sound old-fashioned. It was not needed but one can argue it’s part of the charm of the original show and it would have been a pity not to use it again. Let’s just hope Jay Hernandez will do it right. Not sure what else I can tell you about this pilot. I didn’t describe Magnum but he’s exactly like you think he is. Exactly like other CBS’s leading men. Nothing new. Well, he’s a latino guy, so there’s that. And about the investigation, it works exactly as in any other CBS procedural. If you like that and if you’re not tired of it, then you should have a ball! Happy you! Something really bugged me: the patriotic message that’s all over the script and in the least subtle form. The end of the episode is a military funeral and OMG the speech of Magnum is just too much, full of clichés about brotherhood, soldiers for life… “As corny as it sounds” he says. Well at least they’re conscious about what they’re doing. And when I think about it, it’s really the perfect show for Republicans. And it’s way way more dangerous than Roseanne, believe me… But that’s what most of the CBS audience wants, right?

Compared to new Macgyver‘s pilot, Magnum P.I. ‘s is way more effective and less ridiculous, though Magnum sometimes acts like he’s MacGyver and there’s not much difference between him and Hawaii 5-O‘s McGarrett either. It’s the same show over and over again and there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work at least a little for CBS. It’s fun to watch if it’s your kind of fun, and if you’re into very patriotic shows, it’s like heaven for you! The great thing for the eye network is that they can put it anywhere. It’ll do the trick!

Cagney & Lacey (CBS) pilot preview: Stuck in the 80s

Pilot “Smile” written and executive produced by Bridget Carpenter (11.22.63, Westworld, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood). Based on the iconic 1980s police procedural by Barbara Avedon & Barbara Corday. Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez (The Good Wife, Jessica Jones). For CBSCBS Television Studios & MGM Television. 62 pages.

Description: LAPD Homicide dectectives Christine Cagney & Monique Lacey are partners and close friends who solve crimes with experience, street smarts, and team work. They investigate a different murder each week hoping to bring victims and survivors closure while keeping the streets of L.A. safe…

With Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy, Everwood, Mad Men), Michelle Hurd (Lethal Weapon, Blindspot, Daredevil), Ving Rhames (Mission: Impossible I, II, III, IV, Pulp Fiction)…

 

You’ll like if you already like: Any CBS cop show.

Likely timeslot: Where there’s a hole in the schedule

 

The original Cagney & Lacey that ran from 1982 to 1988 and won multiple awards -including 2 “Best Drama” Emmy- never became as iconic as other buddy cop shows from the same time period like Starsky & Hutch, Miami Vice or The Streets of San Francisco, at least on the international market. How come? Maybe because it was not about men. There has not been any successful equivalent since then, apart from Rizzoli & Isles I think. Things are about to change, finally, with a slew of pilots starring female cops. CBS also has Chiefs -and they probably won’t pick-up both- while NBC has the Bad Boys spin-off I already talked you about (HERE). For some reason, they all take place in Los Angeles. Is it because of the blue sky making them look like lighter fares? The original Cagney & Lacey was set in New York. Like ABC’s The Finest, also in the running this year. While reading this script, I thought a lot about ABC’s pilot The Trustee, that was not ordered to series last year. My review (HERE) was called “Cagney & Lacey New Generation”, and it was before we knew a reboot would be in the works. In fact, we learned about it the day they picked up the pilot, never before. Anyway, The Trustee was a superior script despite its flaws because it was really modern, different and also funnier. 2018 Cagney & Lacey‘s is lazy and gives the impression that nothing really changed since the 1980s. And when I look at CBS schedule, sometimes I feel the same…

What CBS could have done -but it was probably too much to ask- was to course correct what happened the first year of the original show. Hear this story: Cagney was originally played by actress Meg Foster but she was fired at the end of the first season because CBS deemed her too aggressive and too likely to be perceived as a lesbian by the viewers. Yeah, they really did that! She was then replaced by Sharon Gless who was asked to play Cagney as a more conventionally “feminine” character and a more “high-class”, snobbish woman from wealthy parents. This is sad. It would have been bold if, 35 years later, the new Cagney reverted back to how she was originally conceived and… what if she were a proud lesbian? I know. Crazy. As soon as she appears in the script, she’s described as stylish, feminine and we’re given the important detail that “She NEVER wears cheap shoes”. She’s also messy, headstrong and single. I’m sorry but it feels like a missed opportunity to me… Anyway, the great news is that Lacey is now a black woman and that’s probably CBS’s way of saying “We’re diverse now”. 10 years after the other networks. Never too late, hum? Monique is polished, cool and married. And also very feminine, don’t worry. When we meet her she wears a dress and stack-heel boots. It’s funny -or a big problem?- but Sarah Drew & Michelle Hurd don’t seem to correspond to their characters’ descriptions. So there are two solutions: either they were forced to reconceive the characters a little bit so they fit better, or the actresses will need to go out of their comfort zone to play them.

For some reasons, there’s no real balance between Cagney & Lacey in terms of screen time and character’s exposition. We don’t learn a lot about Lacey’s personal life though we meet her husband briefly, but on the other hand we already know a ton of things on Cagney, especially since there are several flashbacks from 15 years ago about when her twin brother Clinton died. And we meet her father, an alcoholic retired cop still haunted by the death of his son; while we learn about her mother we haven’t met yet who’s “the rich one” since she remarried. The relationship between our two heroines deviate from the original show for two main reasons. They are not the same age: Cagney is in her thirties, Lacey in her fourties. And they don’t have the same experience at all since Cagney is only a homicide detective for 2 years. She’s still learning. Lacey is her mentor, and that’s her who investigated Cagney’s brother’s murder back then but the case is still unsolved to this day. That gives us hope for a serialized story at some point and it makes their relationship more complex. The rest of the pilot is all about the case of the week, that reminds them both of Clinton: the murder of Kyle, a 19-year old black man. Lacey has a son about the same age, we’re told. And that’s where it’s lazy. Can’t say the investigation is boring but nothing stands out. It’s very classical with no surprise along the way and even though there are some funny dialogues here and there, it’s never really fun. “Expected” is what defines it best. You know… CBS.

The feminist underlying text which was already present in the original show is still there to some extant -and I’m not refering to the fact that Lacey listens to Beyoncé’s Run The World (Girls) in the cold open, though you can’t be more obvious than that- inside the office, Cagney and Lacey battle sexism when the men around them constantly ask each of them to smile. Both detectives refuse and point out that male officers are never asked to smile, empowering the other female cops in the office. It’s not much and I fear the show will never really go further than that but well, not every show with women at the center has to be woke after all. Other than that, the writer tries to make it look cool and modern with desperate moves like putting Coldplay’s Trouble when there’s actually some trouble and Sam Smith’s One Last Song towards the end. No subtlety allowed. Also, there’s a police officer talking about The Crown and later someone’s refering to The Handmaid’s Tale. Like “look how modern and pop we are”. Ugh! That’s not it. My last concern is about the number of secondary characters. We’re introduced to so many Cagney & Lacey’s colleagues… It’s exhausting. You don’t remember any in the end, especially since they come with no description other than if they’re male or female. They’ll have plenty of time to make them exist later, hopefully.

Cagney & Lacey’s reboot could have been a stepping stone for CBS in the way they portray women characters in their shows, with more complexity and diversity, embracing modernity, but instead they decided to stay stuck in the 20th century with the same old tropes. They want to make you believe it’s different but it’s not. Who are they kidding exactly? It’s just another cop show, a smooth production with no ambition. 

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. 

God Friended Me (CBS) pilot preview: God Whisperer

Written and executive produced by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt (Gotham, Hawaii 5-0, Gotham). Also produced by Greg Berlanti (Eli Stone, The Flash, Supergirl, Brothers & Sisters), Sarah Schechter (Blindspot, Riverdale, Black LIghtning) & Marcos Siega. Directed by Marcos Siega (The Following, The Vampire Diaries, Time After Time). For CBS, Warner Bros. Television & Berlanti Productions. 60 pages. Revised Network Draft. 1/8/2018

Description: an outspoken atheist’s life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on Facebook. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him…

With Brandon Michael Hall (The Mayor, Search Party), Javicia Leslie, Suraj Sharma (Homeland), Joe Morton (Scandal, Eureka, Speed, Paycheck), Violett Beane (The Flash, The Resident, The Leftovers)…

  

Gosh. Does anyone know at CBS that ABC carried a show called Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (also known as The Gospel of Kevin) that flopped hard all season long? Because God Friended Me is pretty similar to it, in a more traditional CBS fashion, and there’s very little chance it works either, unless a miracle happens. Kudos to CBS for having at least one pilot that is not a cop/detective drama, though. The “funny” thing is the lead role has been given to Brandon Michael Hall, who just comes off another ABC flop, the comedy The Mayor (which is not officially canceled by the way, wink wink). It’s weird. I thought Greg Berlanti, who’s producing, knew better. It’s not a bad pilot, and it’s not a bad actor, it’s just a bad omen in every way possible.

God Friended Me sounds like a good concept that shouldn’t have become an actual TV show. Yeah, the very idea that an outspoken atheist gets “friended” by God on Facebook is fun and original, and oh so ironic. But where do you go from there? The writers chose the boring, easy path: they made it a procedural -CBS likes to call it a light one-hour moral procedural- where our hero helps people by becoming some kind of God whisperer. And yeah, sometimes you think of Ghost Whisperer. They kinda work the same way, though police is not involved here. There’s no investigation, per say. “God” instantly sends Miles a friend suggestion for a complete stranger named John Dove (you got it? John Doe/John Dove – so fun!) Miles immediately bumps in to John, who is chasing after his ex-girlfriend who just broke up with him. Devastated by the break up, John tries to kill himself, but Miles saves him. Then Miles gets a new friend suggestion for another stranger named Cara Weiss… Long story short: the purpose was to reunite and reconcile a daughter -Cara- with her long-lost mother, who abandoned her when she was little. And when Cara is hit by a car, it’s John Dove who saves her, he happens to be a doctor. It’s all about coincidences, which are not because you know: God.

I get how they can create new stories every week but I doubt there’s a big enough audience that will eagerly wait for the next episode. The cliffhanger is a bit weak, though it points toward a more serialized storyline involving a successful high school friend of Miles’ that is working on a top secret project called “Faith Initiative”. He may or may not be behind the God account. There are also some romantic comedy vibes with Miles and Cara probably having a love relationship sooner or later. She’s determined to stay by his sides and help him in his adventures. She’s not just the case of the week, she’s also the leading lady of God Friended Me. And there’s the family side of things, since Miles is the son of an accomplished reverend who hates that he’s an atheist and that he has a podcast to talk about it every damn week. So their relationship is dead, despite his sister’s best efforts to patch things up between them. Ali is a bright, compassionate and opinionated young woman who’s working on her PhD in psychology. She’s always in Miles’ corner to provide encouragement and honest insight. Miles also has a best pal, Rakesh, who’s also his co-worker and video game enthusiast, coder and sometimes hacker. Because every CBS shows requires a hacker now!

God Friended Me is quite a funny show, crazy but not too crazy and a bit cheesy; but it’s mostly predictable, which makes it boring sometimes though it always finds a way to become interesting again. It’s uplifting, or at least it wants me, and that’s certainly the reason why CBS ordered it in the first place since that’s the trend these days. Sadly for them, it’s not gonna be their Good Doctor. But their Kevin Probably, for sure!

History Of Them (CBS) pilot preview: How My Parents Met

Written and executive produced by Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time, How I Met Your Mother, Devious Maids). Also produced by Marc Provissiero. Directed by Pamela Fryman (One Day at a Time, How I Met Your Mother, Frasier). For Sony Pictures Television, CBS Television Studios, Glo Nation & Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment. 56 pages. Network Draft 12/29/17.

Description: how two friends, Luna and Adam, fell in love, narrated by their future daughter, using the couple’s social media from present-day (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook) as a guide. Smart and spunky Luna runs a successful Latinx food truck business with her parents. Despite this, she struggles with what she wants and doesn’t feel like a fully-fledged grown up yet. She wants to find love and figure out who she is separate from her very tight-knit family, and her journey will be full of bumps and bruises as she navigates the rest of her twenties…

With Ana Villafañe (South Beach), Brett Dier (Jane The Virgin, The LA Complex), Caitlin McGee, Lisa Vidal (Being Mary Jane, Rosewood, The Event), Felix Solis (Ten Days in the Valley), Amit Shah (Crashing UK, The Smoke), Christopher Powell (Empire)…

 

   

You’ll like it if you already like: How I Met Your Mother, One Day at a Time, Jane The Virgin

Likely timeslot: monday or thursday paired with The Big Bang Theory or Young Sheldon at 8.30.

Just in case you didn’t notice, there’s still no How I Met Your Dad/Father series in sight, on CBS or anywhere else. Last time we heard of the project -August ’17- a new writer was hired by 20th Century FOX Television for a brand-new take after the first two failed stabs and apparently nothing good came out of it since no pilot pick up happened. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing is debatable but Sony & CBS found a solution: they cooked their own unofficial HIMYM spin-off! It wouldn’t be fair to reduce History Of Them to this though, but we’re clearly in the same romcom-with-a-twist territory, and both the writer and the director worked on the show. It’s no coincidence. CBS seems to be very high on it. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t find a sweet spot on next fall schedule!

So yeah, it’s once again a complicated and often thwarted love story except it’s not narrated by one of the protagonists but by their daughter from the future. To whom? Maybe to her own children, who knows? Or maybe it doesn’t even matter. For what? Maybe because the grand parents died and it’s her way to tell them who they were? But then again, maybe it doesn’t even matter. Maybe it’s just about telling the story to us, viewers, for no particular reason but to entertain and move us. Television, you know. I feel like -but it’s too soon to tell- that the plan with History Of Them is to keep it simpler than How I Met Your Mother, with less detours and twists and turns. Unless it’s a huge success and they need to find a way to make it last 9 years. Probably because of the backlash the series finale had to endure. Also because things have changed and people are looking for straightforward tales, so it seems. Also, it’s very diverse which is, on CBS, a revolution!

In this first episode, it’s more about meeting the group than planting seeds for the future storylines. We’re just told it was not easy for those two to make it happen and we get a good picture why: friends and family got in the way; also our damn connected world where everything is always more complicated than it should be (the use of social media is probably less gadgety than it looks). The biggest difference with HIMYM is that the heroine’s family -and maybe the others’ later on- is a big part of the show. By the way, the title “History of Them” refers to the couple, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it referred to latin immigrants too. From the co-creator of the excellent One Day At A Time, it wouldn’t come as a shock. It’s a story of love and integration, and it’s universal. You can find here the same kindness, the same benevolence as in the Netflix sitcom. The parents are incredibly cute and nice. But don’t worry, it’s also very funny, especially thanks to the friends’ characters, like Luna’s nerdy male best friend Vikram or her crazy female best friend Skylar. Also, there’s Isaac, the Barney of the show, described as an “impossibly handsome millionaire with confidente to match”. Not the best part, if you ask me. But you need a character like that, I guess. He makes the others go out of their comfort zone. We all need a friend like that.

History Of Them definitely has a How I Met Your Mother vibe, but it brings something more to the table -authenticity? simplicity?- and hopefully people will go beyond the initial rejection reaction to give it a chance. Plus, it’s exactly the type of comedy CBS needs right now, that will appeal to the millenials. They can’t avoid the fact that The Big Bang Theory is gone soon…

CBS’s 15 most exciting projects for 2018/2019 pilot season

The following article is based on descriptions mixed wih talents attached ONLY. None of the scripts have been read at this point. 

I’m getting tired of saying the same things about CBS every year and I could do a simple copy-paste: the Eye network is losing more and more viewers every season, especially the younger ones, and do nothing about it. They repeat the same mistakes over and over again and it shows now. Once the best network at the scheduling game, they became the worst. NCIS on the drama side, The Big Bang Theory on the comedy side and Survivor on the unscripted side can’t hide all the flops or semi-flops all around.

Their comedy line-up on monday is horrendous, both creatively and ratings-wise. It looks so old-fashioned. Kevin Can Wait holds the fort the best he can but it’s not enough: Man With a Plan and Superior Donuts are already dead in their second seasons while new entries Me, Myself and I & 9JKL are already cancelled in everyone’s mind. Sunday is not the prestige night it once was when The Good Wife was still around: NCIS Los Angeles is doing okay business, but Madam Secretary is dying while Wisdom of the crowd, the worst series of the year, is leaving soon. It’s becoming a syndication farm like friday. Isn’t CBS a giant syndication farm anyway?

It wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were able to create strong new shows, here to stay on the air for a long time. But Bull, Navy SEAL, MacGyver or SWAT are young shows that are already very weak and they’ll soon become a burden, unless CBS accepts the fact that’s the best they can do right now and drag them for years to come with abysmal numbers. Older shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS New Orleans, Blue Bloods or Hawaii 5-0 still have some life in them but at some point not so far away, they will have to go. Thursday is looking better this year thanks to Young Sheldon, which is a really big success, and it helps Mom and Life In Pieces stay at decent levels.

My best advice to them is still the same as least year and the year before: they need to rejuvenate their dramas and comedies by bringing more diversity. In their casts with more people of colour, more women at the center, more gay/bi/transgender characters with stories of their own. Avoid the same old white man temptation they’re always falling for. That’s the best way to be relevant again and attract the millenials before old people die and no one watch the network anymore.  In other words: they need to stop playing it safe and embrace modernity once and for all like the others do. Their development slate looks once again very weak but let’s see what they have:

 

DRAMAS

CHIEFS (Sony Pictures Televsion / CBS Television Studios)

What? about the professional and personal lives of three driven, successful, but very different women who are each Chiefs of Police of their own precincts in L.A. County; they band together to create a task force to catch a dangerous serial killer…

Why? Is it a dream or is this project exactly what CBS avoids to do usually? There is not one, not two but three women at the center AND a pitch that suggets that it would not -only- be a procedural but a serialized cop show! Sorry for the ironic tone but all of those things make it hard to believe they’d give it a chance. Let’s cross our fingers and pray! It has a pilot production commitment so it makes it a real serious candidate for a pick-up…

 

FAMILY BUSINESS (CBS Television Studios)

What? a multi-generational CIA spy family show told through the eyes of its youngest generation: three adult siblings – who all struggle with rivalry, secrets, and making their mark in the Intelligence Community…

Why? What’s the best way for CBS to bank on the family trend without losing its identity? This! This kind of pitch comes back every year and I remember vivdly the Boomerang one at FOX a few years ago, starring Felicity Huffman, it was unique and great. It was rejected for reasons unknown. If they can do something in the same vein, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a bit of comedy, that’d be great! You know, something more modern and entertaining than Blue Bloods… Barbara Hall (Madam Secretary, Judging Amy) is the creator.

 

MURDER (Warner Bros. Television)

What?  takes the audience inside the emotional journey of an investigation, allowing them to discern the truth and judge the suspects’ guilt or innocence for themselves; each episode serves as a standalone story and describes the events leading to and immediately after a murder has taken place…

Why? This drama is based on a BBC true crime anthology series that I never heard of before. It would be a good complement to the other CBS cop or action shows, that have a tendency to care very little for the victims’ and suspects’ journey and are all about the investigation and the detectives. Here, the focus is different. It could become boring after a few episodes though and since they don’t produce it in-house it will be treated like shit. Maybe it would be best taken care of somewhere else…

 

TRIDENT (CBS Television Studios)

What? centers on a mysterious death aboard an American nuclear submarine that tests the mettle of the crew, the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA and causes a crisis that threatens to expose a conspiracy that could trigger World War III

Why? Probably the only ambitious project CBS has in store this year. It sounds more like one of their summer treats (Zoo, Salvation) and maybe that’s where it will end up -and it would be the sign that it’s not very good- but for the time being, let’s be optimistic. It’s a thrilling idea from people who worked on Fringe, Star Trek Discovery and well… Scorpion and Limitless too.

 

UNTITLED CARRIE GOLDBERG PROJECT (Sony Pictures Television / CBS Television Studios)

What? based on the life of attorney Carrie Goldberg, a young lawyer in Brooklyn who, after enduring vicious online and offline attacks herself, opens her own firm to place herself and her team on the front lines of defending victims of crimes in the age of the Internet where the law hasn’t yet caught up with technology

Why? The word “technology” in a pitch makes me afraid these days. Pure Genius, APB & Wisdom of the Crowd (two of them were on CBS…) all flopped with similar ideas. The difference here is that it’s not about using new technology to solve crimes but defending people who were victims of technology, and it sounds way more interesting. But won’t the case look all the same at some point? That’s my main concern. It will need to rely on the charm of the main character and her collaborators, and not just cases, a little soap too, which is not CBS’s strongest suit.

 

UNTITLED GALL & GERO PROJECT (Warner Bros. Television)

What?  revolves around five multi-racial adopted siblings who fight for justice in the courtroom amid wildly different legal careers as they delve into the mystery of a family tragedy that exposes the sins of their father

Why? In what world would 5 brothers & sisters, even adopted, all make a career in the law? I mean… at least one would be the black sheep and do something else entirely, right? It starts as something totally unbelievable BUT the fact that they are not all lawyers could fuel interesting interactions and battles. Plus, it’s produced by Greg Berlanti and he knows how to make a good family drama (Brothers & Sisters, Everwood) so I want to believe in it no matter what.

 

WHISTLEBLOWER (CBS Television Studios)

What? about a former whistleblower who lost everything – career, family, reputation – when he stood up against a conglomerate to expose wrongdoing; he now runs a firm dedicated to exposing wrongdoers while protecting those who have the courage to stand up for what’s right

Why? Last year, CBS passed on a similar pilot, Perfect Citizen starring Noah Wyle, and it was a good one. They prefered Widsom of the crowd and Navy SEAL to it, well… This time, it’s not written by someone from The Good Wife, but it’s produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It’s worrying when you look at what he worked on recently, but the idea is still interesting and I hope they manage to make something good out of it.

 

After ABC last year, CBS is now developing a Magnum, PI reboot from their expert Peter Lenkov, who’s already responsible for Hawaii 5-0‘s and MacGyver‘s, but of course this one won’t be female centric; a small screen take on James Ellroy’s noir L.A. Confidential that is not a good fit at all with prude CBS, plus it’s a period drama set in the 1950s; and F.B.I, already ordered to series, about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, produced by… Dick Wolf, for the first time in years not on NBC.

 

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COMEDIES

CLASS ACTION (CBS Television Studios)

What? about a law student looking for the easy way out who gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself in a class where he and an eclectic group of fellow law students are required to argue actual cases in court

Why? It sounds a bit like a comedic version of How To Get Away With Murder, without the actual murders. And I kinda like it. A workplace comedy with aspiring lawyers sounds like something that could attract millenials, if there is no battle between the old generation and the new one (like there was in the terrible The Great Indoors).

 

DADS & DAUGHTERS ((CBS Television Studios)

What? about a reserved math teacher with Midwestern values and an outgoing personal trainer who must bite the bullet and move in together rather than splitting their daughters up when their common ex-wife heads to prison for credit card fraud

Why? Is it me or does it sound a lot like Two and half-men? The premise is totally different but it should end up exactly the same: two straight men raising kids together while the mother is away. Oh and Jon Cryer is attached to star! What a coincidence… Why did I pick it up then? Because it looks like a multicam that could work for them and they badly need one.

 

HISTORY OF THEM (Sony Pictures Television / CBS Television Studios)

What? a multi-cultural romantic comedy about how two friends fell in love, narrated by their future daughter, using the couple’s social media from present-day as a guide

Why? This project is CBS trying to modernize How I Met Your Mother (could have been named How My Parents Met) and we can’t blame them. Apart from The Big Bang Theory, it’s their last big success in the genre. I’m very optimistic about the outcome since it’s written by Netflix’s One Day at a Time creator Gloria Calderon Kellet and produced and directed by Pam Fryman, who did every HIMYM episodes.

 

I MOM SO HARD (Warner Bros. Television)

What? follows two moms who show how their friendship gets them through being wives and mothers

Why? This one is written by three women! Yeah, you read it right. It’s a rarity. One of them is Michelle Nader, who was an executive producer on gone-too-soon 2 Broke Girls. It’s based on the popular web series of the same name with creators/stars Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley reprising their roles. CBS desperately needs something like this on their lineup: fresh feminine faces.

 

LADDER 54 (CBS Television Studios)

What?  about a big-city firehouse: stuck there for long shifts, a crew of firefighters eat, sleep, live, laugh and fight with each other, their relationships made more intense by the fact that at any moment, they’ll be risking their lives for one another

Why? Between Chicago Fire, 911 and the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, there may be enough firefighters on TV but none of them are a straight comedies so maybe there’s a place for it anyway. The popular Cedric the Entertainer -who looks nothing like a firefighter- is attached to star.

 

PERFECT 10 (Warner Bros. Television)

What?  about a group of former high school classmates who become indispensable parts of each other’s lives after reconnecting at their 10-year reunion

Why? Some of you may remember CBS sitcom The Class from 10 years ago. The network cancelled it after one season because of poor performances but it was really good and even getting better and better. I hope this Perfect 10 with the same idea will be some kind of revenge!

 

QUALITY OF LIFE (CBS Television Studios)

What? set at a family-run funeral home, tackling life through the unique perspective that growing up in a funeral home gives you

Why? Jamie Lee Curtis is attached to star in this comedic Six Feet Under that sounds like something different, both funny and touching, that could do well around Young Sheldon & Mom. Those three could save monday paired all together!

 

WELCOME TO MAINE (CBS Television Studios)

What?  about a ninth-generation Maine family and a recent immigrant – believed to be a Syrian refugee – and his daughter who all must learn to embrace change when they share the same workplace in a tiny rural town

Why? Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl, Raising Hope, Yes Dear) is behind this project, which is a good reason to give it a chance. It would help bring some diversity to the network on a timely subject in the Trump Era, with a more liberated voice.

 

What projects are you the most interested in among these? Take your picks!