Tag: daniella alonso

The Fix (ABC) pilot preview: American Crime Story – The People Vs OJ Simpson, a sequel

Written and executive produced by Marcia ClarkElizabeth Craft & Sara Fain (The Shield, Lie To Me, The Vampire Diaries, Dollhouse). Also produced by David Hoberman (Monk, Fighter), Todd Lieberman (The Family, Detroit 1-8-7) & Laurie Zaks (The Family, Castle). Directed by Larysa Kondracki (Rogue, Copper, Legion). For ABCABC Studios & Mandeville Television. 61 pages. 4th Revised Network Draft. 1/23/2018.

Description: After losing the biggest case of her career and being shredded by the media, former prosecutor Maya Travis has left Los Angeles for a quiet life in rural Oregon. Eight years after her devastating defeat, the murderer – a famous movie star- strikes again, forcing Maya to return to Los Angeles to confront him one more time. Will she play by the rules or will she do whatever it takes to get him behind bars?

With Robin Tunney (The Mentalist, Prison Break, The Craft, Empire Records), Adam Rayner (Tyrant, Hunted), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Oz, Suicide SquadBreckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash, Clueless), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies, The Resident, Alias, The King of Queens), Mouzam Makkar (The Exorcist, The Vampire Diaries), Scott Cohen (Necessary Roughness, The Carrie Diaries), Marc Blucas (Buffy, Underground), Alex Saxon (The Fosters, Finding Carter), Daniella Alonso (Animal Kingdom, Revolution, Friday Night Lights)…


You’ll Like It If You Already Like: American Crime Story, The Good Wife, Murder One, Law & Order True Crime…

Likely timeslot: Thursday at 10 joining the TGIT?


Does the name Marcia Clark mean anything to you? For those who watched the excellent American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson, she was the lead prosecutor in the OJ Simpson case, played by Sarah Paulson. She resigned from the District Attorney’s office after the debacle and left trial practice behind. She became a “special correspondent” for news show providing coverage of high-profile trials and she wrote several novels based on her experience, as well as pilot scripts that were never produced. She’s one of the executive producer of The Fix and her story is obviously a big inspiration for the show. ABC insists on the fact that the drama is fictional. Still, its starting point draws a lot of parallels to what was called at the time “the trial of the century” and Maya Travis is also finding herself in the eye of a media storm like Clark did. The ambition is to examine the case from all sides of the law, going home with the characters and exploring how it is affecting their personal lives. And I have to admit the writers really captured something here. Unfortunately for them, they will be compared a lot to Ryan Murphy’s brilliant piece and they can’t compete. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try!

Part legal thriller, part confessional, part revenge fantasy, The Fix is as riveting as ABC promises but it’s never a good omen to be so many things at the same time. I’d leave the “revenge fantasy” part out of the equation. It gives the wrong impression. There’s the idea of redemption, that’s for sure, but Maya Travis is not Amanda Clarke from Revenge. She’s a far more interesting character, it seems. More mature. A legal thriller? That’s what describes it the best. And of course, because we’re on ABC, it’s soapy. Not the dirty kind. It stays classy, at least from Maya’s side. From the OJ-like murderer’s side, it’s another story. But can they beat the real OJ?! Not really. It’s very much the same man, or the idea we have of him at least. Steven “Sevvy” Johnson is a narcissistic, perhaps sociopathic, famous Oscar-winning actor that most people actually love because he’s charismatic and charming, and a very good liar too probably. He’s also black, which is a subject in itself like it was with OJ since he’s well-loved by the black community, or at least was. Well, the more I write about it, the more this show feels like a OJ Simpson vs The People‘s fictional follow-up! And I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or bad thing in terms of potential. It could bring more eyeballs than this kind of show usually does but there’s a downside to it: again, the comparison is not in The Fix‘s favor, as good as it is.

Also, they don’t have Sarah Paulson. From what I’ve heard, they were aiming for a big name to play the lead and sent a lot of offers. But the best they could get in the end was Robin Tunney from The Mentalist. I don’t mean to be disrespectful and it’s not like she’s an unknow actress either nor that she’s bad, but sadly she’s not much of a draw on paper. And these days, for a role like this one on a show like this one, it’s a big disadvantage. That being said, the cast looks strong overall, especially with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Sevvy. He’s an excellent actor, much more skilled and charismatic than Cuba Gooding Jr. if you ask me, and easily scarier. OJ was shown as a bit dumb and immature. Sevvy seems like a far more manipulative person. There’s no real doubt about what he has done. What they need is actual proofs and that’s where the fun begins for us. He’s not an easy one to catch. And his defense team is nasty. And they hate Maya, as much as she hates them. We have all the ingredients for a thrilling legal drama. It could have been less Manichaean, it’s really the good guys vs. the bad guys, but that’s probably the price to pay if you want this show to be on a network and not on cable. It needs to stay easily readable and pretty straight-forward. I’m not sure how many episodes they can squeeze out of it, though. Problaby no more than 10 if they want to keep it as efficient and fast-paced.

Other characters are: Andre, who was Maya’s second chair during the high-profile trial (think the equivalent of Sterling K. Brown’s character) and there’s an undeniable connection between them; CJ, a DA investigator who was one of Maya’s closest friends and confidantes but they lost touch when she went away; Charlie Wiest, a spineless opportunist who doesn’t have enough power within the office to control its inner workings, despite his grave efforts, another pain in the ass for Maya; Loni Cho, a Deputy District Attorney and the lead attorney on the new murder case, with a secret; and finally Ezra, an extremely confident defense lawyer -an arrogant pitbull- who won the trail against Maya years ago and who defends Sevvy once again. Those are all strong characters who really exist within the story, who all play an important part.
The Fix is a bit of a dark horse in this pilot season for ABC since it doesn’t correspond at all to what they’re supposed to be looking for. It’s heavily serialized, soapy and pretty dark, and this type of shows did poorly those past few years when they were not from Shonda Rhimes. It would work better as a limited series. Being that different from the other competitors might be an advantage for a series order though. It won’t fix ABC’s drama problems but it could be a good low-profile addition.

Animal Kingdom (TNT) pilot preview: Sexy shirtless men doing very bad things shamelessly

Animal Kingdom

Created by Jonathan Lisco (SoutLAnd, Halt and Catch Fire, Jack & Bobby). Based on the australian movie Animal Kingdom. Directed by John Wells (ER, Shameless US, The West Wing, Third Watch, August: Osage County). Produced by John Wells, Liz Watts, David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, The Rover), Andrew Stearn & Jonathan Lisco. For Warner Horizon Television & John Wells Productions. 58 pages.

Description: When 17-year-old Josh moves in with his wild, free-wheeling relatives in their Southern California beach town after his mother ODs, he is pulled into their life of indulgence and excess. But after Josh discovers that it’s all being funded by criminal activities, it suddenly becomes clear to him that joining the Cody family comes with more danger and excitement than he might be ready to handle…

With Ellen Barkin (The New Normal, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, This Boy’s Life, Sea of Love), Scott Speedman (Felicity, The Last Resort, Underworld), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders), Shawn Hatosy (SouthLAnd, Fear the Walking Dead), Devon Sawa (Nikita), Jack Weary (Pretty Little Liars, It Follows), Daniella Alonso (One Three Hill, Friday Night Lights, The Night Shift), Ben Robson (Vikings), Ryan Dorsey (Justified), Anna Belknap (CSI: New York)…


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With Animal Kingdom, TNT is definitely trying to move on and leave their glorious past behind. Forget bad popcorn series like Falling Skies or worse : The Last Ship (even if technically, this one’s still on the air). Forget the Dallas reboot misstep, which was creatively a winner but lost too many viewers in a very short period of time to become anything else but a loser. Forget uninteresting copshows like Perception. Forget Legends & Agent X. Oh, maybe you never heard of them in the first place… And you can already start to say goodbye to Rizzoli & Isles, which is ending at the end of season 7. Major Crimes shouldn’t stay long either if TNT finds what they’re looking for with their new shows: the larger crowd possible with finer products. It’s a big challenge for the most network-y of all the cable channels. They want to be AMC. They want to be FX. Except they broadcast all day long Bones, Castle, Grimm, Charmed, Hawaii 5-0, Law & Order repeats. The transition’s gonna be hard. Is Animal Kingdom, likely coming next summer, is their Mad Men, the show that will change the face of TNT forever?

Undoubtedly, Animal Kingdom is edgier than what they are used to broadcast. It’s packed with antiheroes doing bad things like you know… swearing, stealing, fighting, selling drugs… and probably killing at some point if they need to. They’re not afraid of it, or of anything quite frankly.They’re bad asses you don’t wanna mess with. Everybody know them in town. They’re “respected” because they are so much feared. Even the police is careful with them. They’d love to put them all in prisons, they’re watching them as much as they can but the Codys also happen to be very clever, at least most of them, so trying to catch them is more like wasting time and energy. But as much as they are dangerous, they’re also filled with humor, joy, coolness, sexy ways -they love to throw parties around the pool and forget to put shirts and/or pants on- and they have a certain sense of family values. They’re always hitting each others but it’s clear they love living together. The ciment of the whole family is the mother, nicknamed Smurf. She’s cheery, colorful, funny, she cooks a lot, but let’s not be fooled: she’s even more dangerous than her children! She’s the mastermind and she never rests. Whether she’s a good person in the inside has yet to be proven. But she might be. And watching Ellen Barkin in this role will be delightful, that’s for sure.

So the thing with Animal Kingdom is that it’s dark and gritty, as many cable shows are, but lighter than let’s say… Mr Robot on USA Network. Or True Detective on HBO. Or Ray Donovan on Showtime. Or Sons of Anarchy on FX. Or Breaking Bad on AMC. You get the idea? And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, don’t get me wrong: making something very entertaining with a dark content is not that easy. I can think of only one show to compare Animal Kingdom with, in terms of rhythm, content and enjoyment: Shameless.  And it’s not a surprise: both are produced by John Wells. It also made me think of another show and don’t laugh please: The OC! If Ryan had arrived in the trash version of the Coen family! Because basically, Josh is like Ryan: an intelligent teenage boy that never got the chance to succeed in life because of his drug-addict of a mother. Except the Codys, unlike the Coen, won’t help him. They’re gonna drag him to the darkside until (very bad) shit happens. It’s predictable but it should be a hell of a ride for him to live and for us to witness.

Animal Kindgom‘s pilot script successfully balances the fun and the dark, the light and the twisty, the sexy and the gritty, and is definitely a show to look forward to. That being said, I don’t think it has what it takes to become a breakout hit and turn TNT upside down but it’s a first step towards the right direction. Many more are to be taken…