Tag: homeland

The Brave -aka For God And Country- (NBC) pilot preview: NBC’s National Anthem

Written and produced by Dean Georgaris (Paycheck, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life). Executive produced by Avi Nir (Homeland, Tyrant), Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) and Rachel Kaplan (Manhattan Love Story, Do No Harm). Directed by Brad Anderson (Frequency, Forever, Fringe, The Call). For Universal Television & Keshet Studios. 64 pages. Revised Network Polish. 01/17/17.

Description: An heart pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines. The ISA-Special Operations Group, led by commander Michael Dalton, and a team of surveillance analysts who uncover and interpret threats, supervised by Deputy Director Patricia Campbell, will do whatever it takes to make sure no foreign nation gets away with harming Americans…

With Mike Vogel (Under the Dome, Pan Am, Bates Motel), Anne Heche (Dig, Men In Trees, Hung, Volcano, Six Days Seven Nights), Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Banshee, Justified), Noah Mills, Hadi Tabbal, Sofia Pernas (Jane The Virgin, The Young and the Restless)

  

You’ll like if you already like: Homeland, The Unit, JAG…

Likely timeslot : Tuesday at 10, Midseason sundays…

For God And Country. No, it’s not a joke. That’s really the title of this NBC military drama pilot. It’s unsubtle, overly direct, the more on-the-nose title ever created. It doesn’t leave a room for any possible doubt: this is a patriotic show, specifically designed for a Post-Trump America and blue-collar audiences. But let’s be clear, it’s the huge success of Eastwood’s feature film American Sniper that triggered the ongoing push from the networks to get more programs featuring military heroes. Not the Agent Orange/Bratman/Cinnamon Hitler POTUS. While USA Network’s Shooter launched successfully and will come back next summer, 4 other pilots are sharing a military DNA this season: Behind Enemy Lines at FOX, an Untitled NAVY Seal Drama at CBS, Valor at The CW & comedy Charlie Foxtrot at ABC. Let’s just hope only 1 or 2 get a series pick-up during the upfronts. For God and Country -Man, I will never get used to it!- is already a clear favorite at NBC. And I can see why. And I’ll try to explain.

The truth is, this is an edge-of-your-seat pilot that could be compared to the most successful action-oriented episodes of Homeland. I wanted to hate this script but despite myself, I got hooked quickly and couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Unless the director screws things up, it’s gonna be epic. The 5 characters from the operations group are always in action: moving, hiding, shooting, fighting… They don’t talk a lot. And when they do, it’s not particularly impressive. It’s hard to tell who they really are deep inside. Consequently, it’ll take time to get to know them and possibly appreciate them. So far, they are just like machines. But they have potential. And SPOILER ALERT: you shouldn’t get too attached to them, because it is revealed in a flashforward at the beginning of the episode that one of them will die during one of the 23 missions they’ll complete on their nine months deployment. Smart way to help the viewers’ go through an entire season of the show, which is bound to be highly procedural by the way, with tiny serialized elements about their personal lives.

Michael Dalton (played by Mike Vogel) is your typical team leader, your perfect and stunningly beautiful war hero, meaning he’s a bit boring. Juice is the team’s computer and communications expert and all-around tech badass, “a lethal MacGyver”. I let you draw your own conclusion. Joseph J McGuire is the team’s medic who is the quickest to violence and fond of mixed martial arts and… J.K. Rowling. He’s a bit of an asshole honestly. I guess they needed one, to make it real. But he has a sense of humor. He made me think of Lost‘s Sawyer in a way. Then there’s Amir. Before joining Dalton’s team, he spent nearly six years as a lone wolf penetration agent in ISIS, which makes him the most interesting character so far an he goes through a lot during the pilot. And finally, there’s Jaz, one of the few women in the world to make it through the U.S. Army Ranger School. She’s a sniper now, which makes her the second most interesting character of the show. And as the only woman of the team, the most likely to survive the season.

The characters from the Defense Intelligence Agency are less mobile, stuck in their bureau, but they talk a lot instead. They are the ones who make difficult decisions, who strategize. Their leader Patricia Campbell has not much to do with Carrie Matheson sadly, and there’s no Saul Berenson either, but their scenes are intense nonetheless, and I’m convinced Anne Heche is capable of adding extra-life to her too calm and always in control role. There’s an overall lack of emotion, which is a shame for that kind of show who wants to go straight to the viewers’ hearts, but the rescue mission of the pilot is the most emotional thing in there. It’s about a surgeon kidnapped in Syria and her husband waiting for some reassuring news in DC. In fact, I think we get to know more about them than any other characters. And I don’t see it as a good thing. But we’re invested in their story at least.

So is it this patriotic? Yes. But it’s easy to go with the flow and enjoy the show for what it is first and foremost: a military thriller. If you’re not fond of arms, you might get irritated from time to time. They loooove their weapons. And the writer makes sure we get it. But different point of views about war are represented, especially through Juice, who’s a muslim, and McGuire, who’s clearly a Trump soldier. They talk about it. It’s furtive and not really deep, but at least it means the show tries to lauch a conversation. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m still laughing from the ridiculous opening sequence. Dalton yells to a bomb maker: “It doesn’t matter where you hide. If you hurt us, we will find you“. Cut to black and the title appears on the screen. TOO MUCH.

For God and Country is an intense military series that has every chance to resonate with americans right now by playing an ambiguous game that consists of pleasing the republicans without infuriating democrats. Unless people want something more radical. It seems to belong more to CBS than to NBC but there’s definitely an audience looking for this and they’ll find it wherever. There’s a real potential to make something powerful out of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC puts it behind This Is Us next year, though they’re very different tonally. 

UPDATE: Why the f**k “Quantico” is at 10pm on Sundays? Here are some theories

QUA

UPDATE: Now we have two weeks of ratings DATA, it’s time to say it LOUD and CLEAR. Quantico is on the verge of success and ABC has to do something to make sure it happens. And there’s only one way to do that now: moving the show into a more fitting timeslot. First, here’s a reminder.

  • First airing of Quantico‘s pilot had 7,1 million viewers and a 1.9 (18/49) at 10pm. It was a rare 0.5 improvement from its lead-in, Blood and oil series premiere (6,4 millions, 1.4).
  • ABC re-aired the pilot the following Tuesday, again at 10 after Agents of SHIELD. It gained 4,2 millions, 1.0. Which is quite good for a repeat.
  • On L+3, the pilot added a strong 4 million viewers, the biggest percentage gain among all programs -new and returning- during premiere week: 56%!
  • Quantico‘s episode 2 had 6,9 million viewers, matching the previous 1.9 number. No loss on a second week almost never happens (especially with a weaker lead-in: Blood and Oil scores a 1.2). It’s a very good sign for the show and ABC shouldn’t wait long to order a back-nine.

So now, what ABC should do? In fact, it’s a matter of save the newbie or save Sunday nights! If Quantico stays on Sundays at 10, it will probably go down sooner or later, especially if Blood and oil keeps on falling. If they switch them, Quantico will have to face a higher competition (including ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead). If ABC moves it to another night, then Sunday night is DEAD! Once Upon A Time is dying slowly (but will certainly have its 6th and maybe last season) and Blood and oil will be cancelled. Can ABC afford to wait midseason for launching new shows like The Family and Kings and Prophets or returning Secrets & Lies and American Crime?

Here are the solutions:

  • Switching Quantico & Blood and oil‘s timeslots
  • Switching Quantico & Nashville‘s timeslots (wednesday at 10). It will have to face Code Black & Chicago PD.
  • Putting Quantico on Tuesday at 10, moving Wicked City to midseason. But it will have to face Limitless & Chicago Fire.
  • Keeping it on Sunday at 10 and giving it a better lead-in ASAP.

What’s your opinion?

 

————————————————–

First published september 11th

 

During the upfronts last may, the scheduling of Quantico came as a surprise. What seemed to be ABC’s biggest asset for fall, apart from The Muppets on the comedy side, was meant to be wasted in the uneventful -and even death slot- Tuesday at 10, right after Agents of SHIELD, replacing very modest Forever. But a few weeks later, ABC decided to move Quantico to Sundays at 10 (mostly because the spot was vacant when they decided to rework Kings And Prophets heavily – and pairing Kings with Blood and Oil made no sense). It looked like a better option but certainly not the best one they could have come up with. So, what happened? Does ABC really have faith in Quantico to throw it to the wolves this way? I scratched my head all summer long and here are the theories that might explain this weird and dangerous choice.

 

Theory #1 – Agents of DEATH

The most logical choice was to put the show right after The Muppets and Fresh Off The Boat, on Tuesdays at 9, and move Agents of SHIELD at 10. But Marvel was certainly not OK with it. The show needs at least 4 seasons for syndication purposes and moving it later in the evening was sending it to a quicker death. ABC would not have been allowed to do that. Marvel business remains a priority for Disney (as the order for a second season as a second chance for Agent Carter proves it too).

Theory #2 – Quantico’s Anatomy

Quantico looks like a Shonda Rhimes show but IS NOT a Shondaland-produced show. If it were they probably would have treated it better. Maybe they would have waited midseason to launch it after Scandal inside #TGIT when How To Get Away With Murder sophomore season had come to an end but they already had Shondaland’s The Catch to do that. And let’s not forget Grey’s Anatomy started on Sundays at 10. Quantico shares some DNA with it. So… Yeah but Desperate Housewives was the lead-in at the time and it was at its peak. It’s a very different story now…

Theory #3 – Blood and whaaat?!

Now, Quantico‘s lead-in is another newcomer: Blood and oil. And it’s the weakest drama entry of the season for ABC, in my opinion. So what was their thinking? It’s pretty obvious in fact: after the huge success of Empire, they were the only network to have a soap ready for fall. They took the opportunity to be the first to pull the trigger. They are hoping for an audience’s sudden craving for the genre. I think they are mistaken. Empire didn’t work because it’s a soap. It worked because it’s Empire. And Blood and oil doesn’t share a lot with Empire. First: it’s not funny. Second, it doesn’t have a Cookie. Neither OMG moments, at least in the pilot. It’s not good enough. And as much as I know, they didn’t reshoot the pilot, just a few scenes because they changed some part of the cast. So the first impression will basically seal its fate. The show is doomed and could damage Quantico… Giving up on Quantico just to give a better chance to Blood and oil makes no sense. It’s plain stupid. How to get away with a hit!

Theory #4 – Fear The Walking Dead… and Homeland

If ABC had decided to put Quantico on Sundays at 9, then the show would have had to fight against The Walking Dead, a ratings juggernaut, most of the year, plus Homeland, with which it shares a terrorist context. Since Blood and oil is more of a feminine show and Quantico can attract men a little bit more (even if there is the traditional Sunday Night Football on NBC), it was the safest choice. And let’s not forget Game of Thrones will be back on HBO in the same timeslot in 2016. Plus, those shows are strong on social medias, Quantico has everything to be too. On Sundays at 10, there is a place for it. Quantico could do on Sundays what How To Get Away With murder did on Thursdays, with a more compatible and stronger lead-in, though.

Prediction

Here is what’s gonna happen in my opinion. Blood and oil will start okay. Quantico will do slightly better at 10. After a few weeks, ABC will switch both shows. Quantico will grow, earn its “back nine” order whereas Blood and oil will die slowly. Come midseason, they will replace it with The Family the week following the Oscars ceremony, that will do much better. Quantico will be renewed for season 2 and became the hit it was always supposed to be.

 

READ QUANTICO PILOT PREVIEW