Tag: jerod haynes

Redliners (NBC) pilot preview: Spy Teachers

Written and produced by Shaun Cassidy (Blue Bloods, Cover Me, Invasion) & Kelly Sue DeConnick (Emerald City). Executive produced by David Janollari (Midnight Texas, Six Feet Under). Based on “Small Kingdoms” by Charlaine Harris (True BloodMidnight Texas). For Universal Television & David Janollari Entertainment. Directed by Jason Ensler (Red Band Society, Hart of Dixie, Franklin & Bash, Cult). 61 pages. Network Draft. 01/14/17.

Description: Anne DeWitt &  Holt Halsey, a pair of former operatives, get reactivated and drawn into a larger conspiracy while attempting to maintain their undercover lives as teachers in a high-school…

With Hannah Ware (Betrayal, Boss, Hitman: Agent 47, Shame), Jerod Haynes (First Date, Empire), Greg Germann (Ally McBeal, Once Upon a Time), Alan Powell, Jenny Wade (Hand of God, Reaper), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), Rodney To (Rosewood, Wilfred, Parks And Recreation), Quinn Shephard (Hostages)…

You’ll like if you already like: The Americans, Undercovers, Allegiance…

Likely timeslot: Monday at 10


While reading Redliners, I couldn’t help wondering how the producers managed to sell to NBC the concept of this show, which is an improbable mashup between a high-school drama and an espionage series. I mean… I’m totally open to fresh takes, new approaches on old genre, but those two just don’t work together. Imagine The Americans  & Glee were the same series… It sounds wrong, right? Well then imagine Undercovers, an NBC espionage show produced by J.J. Abrams a few years ago, mixed with Chicago School, the 5th Dick Wolf series of the Chicago Franchise that doesn’t exist yet. It’s just terrible. That’s what’s Redliners is. I did some digging to understand what was behind this and here’s what I found:
David Janollari, who produces the project, is NBC President Bob Greenblatt ex-partner (professionally!). Say no more…

If I’m being totally honest, this pilot script is not that bad overall and the mashup may have worked well with a better writing. It feels like it was rushed. The official description sent to the medias billed it as “in the tone of Mr & Mrs Smith, Redliners mixes humor, romance and espionage”. It’s not a lie. That’s the intention. But it’s never really funny, the romance part is very light and the espionage story, which is the main genre the show belongs to, is wobbly, foggy and ultimately boring once you don’t care anymore (which happens pretty quickly). It’s adapted from a short story written by Charlaine Harris and that’s how it feels: short. Of course, they did their best to expand the original material so it could become a series but it’s hard to imagine a future for the show. By the way, what is it with Charlaine Harris’ work? True Blood was a strange and addictive series I give you that; Texas, Midnight, which is coming this summer to NBC, is a lighter True Blood that leaves you puzzled at best; and now they’re digging into her short stories… Not everything should be adapted!

But let’s go back to those Redliners who spend half their time running from or against bad guys and the time they’re left by educating teenagers. Our heroine is Anne DeWitt, a fiercely intelligent, formidably lethal, charmingly mysterious force of nature. One of Anne’s many secrets is that she is an ex-teacher/trainer in the fine art of assassination for a security firm known as The Service. Holt Halsey is an FBI agent posing as a basketball coach at Anne’s college. Holt initially was sent in to monitor and “protect” Anne, with the Bureau hoping she might be a lure to draw out a shared enemy. But over time, he has come to care deeply for the players on his team. And as you can guess, he cares deeply about her too. These descriptions make them sound like more interesting than they really are on paper. Maybe the actors can give them more depth but let’s just say they weren’t top choices. And they don’t look like teachers, or spies. There’s a larger conspiracy behind all of this of course, the kind that will probably get way too complicated after a few episodes.

Redliners tries its best to turn a weird idea into a good one, but they should have tried harder or just forget it. NBC doesn’t need this, we don’t need this, can we just act like it never happened? If somehow it’s on the air next year, expect a flop. They won’t be able to market such a concept effectively. It just doesn’t work.