Tag: jerod haynes

The Village (NBC) pilot preview: This Is All Of Them

Written and executive produced by Mike Daniels (Shades Of Blue, Taken, Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries). Directed by Minkle Spiro (Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, Genius). For NBCUniversal Television. 63 pages. Second Network Draft. 12/19/17.

Description: Despite a difference in age, race, culture and lifestyle, the residents of a Manhattan apartment building find that the more their lives intertwine, the more complex and compelling their connections become, thus proving life’s challenges are better faced alongside family, even if it’s the one you make wherever you find it. All under one roof, we will meet a recovering war vet, a pregnant teenage girl and her single mom, a cop with an unexpected love interest, a woman hiding a terrifying secret from her husband and a millennial lawyer who might find his grandfather is the best and worst roommate he ever could have hoped for…

With Warren Christie (The Resident, Alphas, October Road), Michaela McManus (SEAL Team, Aquarius, The Vampire Diaries), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black, Selma, Saving Grace, Any Day Now), Dominic Chianese (Damages, The Sopranos, The Goldfather II), Grace Van Dien (Greenhouse Academy), Moran Atias (24: Legacy, Tyrant, Crash), Jerod Haynes (Empire, Sense8), Frankie Faison (Grey’s Anatomy, Banshee, The Wire), Daren Kagasoff (Red Band Society, The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Amber Skye Noyes (Quantico, The Deuce), Will Chase (Nashville, Smash), Luke Slattery


You’ll Like It If You Already Like: This Is Us, Parenthood

Likely timeslot: Right behind This Is Us, whether it stays on tuesdays or it moves


Remember Melrose Place? At least the first version of Melrose Place before Amanda Woodward/Heather Locklear came in, which was more a relationship drama with young people living in the same residence than a super crazy soap? It was not very good and it didn’t work, that’s why it changed so much, but we can say The Village is more in this vein, with a similar concept, though the characters are from different age, race, culture and lifestyle. For this reason, you can’t mistake it with a show from the 90s! It’s diverse and very rooted in our modern world. I don’t think it’s plausible in any way. I don’t think there are buildings where neighbours are so friendly with each other. That’s certainly not what I’m experiencing. I don’t live in New York but I went there and as in every big city in the world, neighbours don’t interact that much. The Village plays more like an utopia. That’s how things should work. People should talk, and help each other, and be kind and patient and open and generous. In a way, The Village wants to send the same message as This Is Us: we’re stronger when we’re all together, as a family, as a team. It’s a bit naïve and cliché, and so what? Cynicism is gone for good.

This sprawling ensemble drama has more serialized storylines going on in this pilot than in an entire season of a procedural. There are like 12 main characters and as many secondary ones. And yet, you’re never lost, probably because the writing is good enough to make them all distinctive. Plus, they’re all smartly connected so you never feel like it’s a compilation of stories. They all have their own apartment in this Brooklyn residence, but not all of the action is happening inside. There’s also a nursing home nearby, where they deal with troublemaking elders, for example. Plus, they have places where they can all be together: the iconic basement bar “The Crook and Croney” and the rooftop where they make parties and stare at the stars while confessing secrets. Two of our central characters, Ron and Patricia, a cute and loving couple in their sixties, own the building and make it their mission to create a family out of their residents, many of whom are longtime tenants. They truly are the glue that holds this place together. But Patricia has a secret that could threaten it all… She’s dying. She doesn’t want to tell anyone, including her husband. Of course, when you make such a show, you know the strenghth of the concept can also be its weakness: some stories will work better than others, some characters will be fan favorites, some others will live in their shadows, but hopefully everyone will find what they’re looking for in the show. I can’t say I loved it all, I can’t say everything is working but the pilot gave me enough reasons to stay.

One of the most emotional story is Katie’s & her mom Sarah. The sixteen year-old girl is a budding street artist and she’s forced to tell her mom she is pregnant after getting in trouble at school. Sarah is a young and single mother herself who works hard as a nurse and who wanted another life for her daughter. There’s a twist about the father but I’m not gonna tell anything. It’s one of those soapy moments that makes the show even more exciting. And then there’s Gabe, a busy and broke law student who has very little time to deal with his pill-pushing grandpa, who resides at the nursing home where Sarah works. So they’re gonna have to live together now and Gabe is less enthusiastic than his grandfather about it. Plus, Gabe will have to add something else to his plate: when Edda, an Irani woman, is detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), he’s asked to help her win her case so she can stay in America. Her cop boyfriend and downstairs neighbor Ben is left looking after her son, Sami, who’s only eight and absolutely not Ben’s biggest fan! While all of this is going on, Ron welcomes Nick, a discharged war vet, into the building, who’s a bit tired of the “Thank you for you service” sentence he’s being told at every moment. That’s just a glimpse of the stories I’m giving you here but I guess you have a better picture of what it’s all about. And again, it may seem messy and too rich but it’s working mostly. And it says a lot about today’s America.

The Village is a high-concept yet simple relationship drama like no other right now, that’s totally in sync with the “feel good” trend television is experiencing with shows such as This Is Us & The Good Doctor. The residents of this Brooklyn building are the epitome of a chosen family and I have a feeling viewers will choose to be a part of it as well. This is all of them and this is us, all together now.

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.