Tag: david lyons

“Game Of Silence” (NBC) pilot preview: when NBC goes dark(er)…

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Written & produced by David Hudgins (Everwood, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights). Based on Turkish series Suskunlar. Co-produced by Carol Mendelsohn (CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Cyber, Melrose Place), Julie Weitz, Tariq Jalil & Timur Savci (Suskunlar). Directed by Niels Arden Oplev (Millenium, Dead Man Down, Under The Dome, Unforgettable). For NBC, Sony Pictures Television, Intrigue Entertainment, Carol Mendelsohn Productions & TIMS Productions. 65 pages.

Description: Jackson, Gil, Tony, Scrub… They were just four little boys from Dalton, Georgia. They were bound to each other as brothers. One day, they made a childish mistake. It was an accident that came at a high cost and their lives would never be the same again. They took an oath to never tell a single soul about what happened, they were going to keep this a secret until the end of their days. But keeping this burden was not going to be an easy task. Twenty five years have passed since that unfortunate day. Jackson is now a rising attorney on the brink of success but he could lose his perfectly crafted life when his long lost childhood friends threaten to expose this dark secret from their violent past…

With David Lyons (The Cape, Revolution, ER), Michael Raymond-James (True Blood, Terriers, Once Upon A Time), Bre Blair, Demetrius Grosse (Justified, Banshee), Conor O’Farrell (CSI, Medium), Larenz Tate (House of Lies, Rescue Me), Claire van der Boom (Hawaii 5-0), Deidrie Henry (The Riches)…

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Wow. After three months of pilot scripts reading, I have to say I’m a little fed up with the thriller dramas. Before the pickups started we were all about “it’s the year of medical drama” but in fact, the real tendency is the thriller. I don’t really know where it comes from (The Following?) but here they are, all over every network, especially at NBC & ABC. And all over the place story-wise, sometimes. We can’t say Allegiance or Odyssey did great, just to name a few. But don’t be scared. It didn’t cloud my judgement about Game of Silence. I just had to get it off my chest once and for all. That being said, the problem with the thriller dramas is it’s hard making 22 episodes out of it when it’s the network’s goal or even imagining going beyond one season. And that’s what I fear here: we could have a great first 13-episode season because the concept is strong and the pilot hooks you up, but then? What happens? We’ll have plenty of time to discuss it later if it goes to series but still. You can’t ignore the menacing cloud up there…

What I like about Game of Silence it’s the fact that there’s not a great and mysterious conspiracy behind the events that are happening. Or anything supernatural/sci-fi. The characters brought it upon themselves. They made a mistake a long time ago and now they suffer the consequences. The show tries to unfold on a human scale, with some sort of psychological narration thanks to Jackson’s voice-over, wrapping the story in nostalgia, sorrow and regrets. The numerous flashbacks telling their youth are sweet at first, filled with light and hope, then they become darker and darker, to the point it gets painful. They all spent six months in a refarmatory for teens, that’s when things started to go bad, very bad. Some guys beat the crap out of them, they were even raped! All of them. At the same time. I have to admit I was a little shocked. I didn’t expect that, especially on a network. We don’t really see it. But we realize it. And the reason why they promised to each other they won’t talk about it, ever, to anyone, is because of shame. And it has repercussions in their adult life. One character has an intimacy problem. With his own wife! They’re all very damaged. That’s why even when they do something stupid, out of rage, we can’t really blame them. But it’s not easy loving them either. I’m telling you that after reading the whole script, knowing all the facts. But while reading it, sometimes I just thought these morons were wasting my time.

Game of Silence has a little soapy element, with a love triangle that goes way way back. Jackson was in love with a girl, they were together for a long time before he abandoned her and his friends to live a better life in Atlanta. But now she’s with one of them. And him, he is about to get married. Classical but the show needed just that. Sadly, the writer couldn’t help himself putting big bad guys linked to drug-trafficking and so on right in the middle of the story and it begins to irritate me, after The Affair and Bloodline played that card already. That’s not what we’re interested in. It’s just a way to gain time. I just hope they won’t focus too much on it. There’s a political aspect to the story too, surrounding some of Atlanta’s biggest names. It’s a little bit more exciting and it’s not just gaining time, this time. It’s really important. One of the men who rape them is now an important figure of the city. And they won’t let him get away with it…

Game Of Silence is one of the three thriller dramas NBC ordered to pilot this year, with Blindspot and The Player. They are all very different and they could all go to series but this one is probably the hardest to sell on this network. Not only because it’s the darkest, with less action and more psychology -which is definitely a good thing- but because it’s heavily serialized with just one little procedural element since the hero is a lawyer and he has a case in the pilot, as he will probably deal with other ones in subsequent episodes. Game of Silence is cable-y and finding the audience it deserves won’t be easy. Hoping it won’t be silenced after four or five episodes, I wish it good luck!

Catches of the Week: it’ all about diversity! Vanessa Williams, Laverne Cox, Natalie Martinez…

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While the directors’ jobs are filled quickly, casting is tough this pilot season. Because of the increasing competition from cable and most importantly digital platforms like Netflix & Amazon, the talent pool of experienced actors is almost empty. The pressure over channels and talent agencies is higher than ever. So far, catches are not impressive. But most of them have something in common: diversity! 

NBC is very high on diversity, something they made pretty clear since their pick-ups of series Telenovela (Eva Longoria) and Shades Of Blue (Jennifer Lopez) and pilots Go, Jerrod Go!, The Curse of the Fuentes women, martial arts Warrior, and Love is a Four Letter Word. They all requires latinos, afro-americans and asian americans in lead roles.

This is how Nadine Velasquez and Cynthia McWilliams have been cast this week in the marriage drama Love is a Four Letter Word which chronicles the collision of race, sexuality and gender roles when three diverse couples put modern marriage to the test. The My Name is Earl alumna will play play Rebecca, a Cuban American who is deeply in love with Julie and very happy with their marriage, but doesn’t realize her wife is actively considering getting back together with her ex, Nick. McWilliams will play Tandi, one half of a happy couple with a young son who is experiencing difficulties fulfilling her dream of having another child. Hot Adan Canto, seen in The Following and Mixology, got the part of the mysterious man who brings the Curse to the Fuentes women in the pilot from Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta. Natalie Martinez, most recently seen in Under The Dome, will star in Warrior as Kai Forrester, a damaged heroine who works undercover with physical and spiritual guidance from a mysterious martial arts master to bring down an international crime lord. Finally veteran S. Epatha Merkerson from Law & Order is reuniting with producer Dick Wolfe with a lead role in the Chicago Fire and Chicago PD planted spin-off Chicago Med. She will be the head of the hopistal.

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In other diversity casting news, Vanessa Williams from Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives will play the bold and unapologetic new boss of Kevin Connolly (Entourage) in comedy pilot Fantasy Life for FOX, where Mitch (Connolly) lands his ultimate dream job hosting a fantasy football show, he’s forced to navigate office politics while becoming the star he never thought he could be. Asian American actor Daniel Henney has joined the Untitled Criminal Minds spin-off with Gary Sinise & Anna Gunn. Last but really not least, Laverne Cox, discovered in Orange is the new black, got the part of a transgender attorney in Reasonable Doubt for CBS. If the show is ordered to series, then she’ll become the first transgender regular character on broadcast TV, which is exciting and groundbreaking.

In other non-diversity news (!), cancelled Perception‘s star Eric McCormack, pursued for different roles, will star in musical drama pilot Studio City for FOX, where he’ll play the songwriter father of a young singer who’s trying to make it big in Hollywood, but the man turns out to be a drug dealer to the stars! Ex-Breaking Bad actress Betsy Brandt wants to prove she can be funny after the Michael J. Fox Show demise, so she accepted one of the female leads in CBS’ Life In Pieces comedy pilot, with Colin Hanks playing one of her siblings. David Lyons (Revolution, The Cape) toplines drama pilot Game Of Silence, which NBC is very high on. Sweet Zach Gildford (Friday Night Lights, Off The Map), coming off Stanistan‘s pilot USA Network sadly just decided not to pick-up to series, lands on ABC in soap pilot Flesh & Blood. Finally, excellent Annie Potts & John Carroll Lynch will play the heroine’s parents in comedy pilot Family Fortune for ABC, where the central character comes out to her family.