Tag: josh schwartz

Dynasty (The CW) pilot preview: Another Lazy Reboot No One Asked For

Written and produced by Josh Schwartz (The OC, Gossip Girl, Chuck, Hart of Dixie), Stephanie Savage (Fastlane, Gossip Girl, The OC, The Carrie Diaries) & Sallie Patrick (Revenge, Limitless, Life Unexpected). Based on the show created by Richard & Esther Shapiro. Directed by Brad Silberling (Jane The Virgin, No Tomorrow). For CBS Television Studios & Fake Empire. 59 pages. Studio Draft. 12/18/16.

Description: Two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, feud for control over their fortune and their children, starting with Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington, and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal, a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family, exposing the dark underbelly that is a corrupt world built on backroom deals, betrayal, and, in some cases, murder…

With Nathalie Kelley (The Vampire Diaries, UnReal, Body of Proof), Elizabeth Gillies (Victorious, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), Grant Show (Melrose Place, Devious Maids), Sam Adegoke (Switched at Birth, Murder in the first), Alan Dale (Ugly Betty, Lost, Once Upon a Time), Rafael de la Fuente (Empire, When We Rise), Robert Christopher Riley (Hit the Floor)…

 

You’ll like if you already like: Revenge, Gossip Girl, Empire

Likely timeslot: Monday at 9 or Friday at 8 or 9

 

When Dynasty started in 1981 I wasn’t born yet, not even conceived. Maybe my parents haven’t even met yet. Growing up, I watched a lot of television and a lot of soap operas in particular, but never this one despite the multiple reruns. I came across some of Dallas –and was a fan of the recent follow-up- have fond memories of Knots Landing and loved Melrose Place more than anything. Why am I telling you this about my life? To make a point. I feel like we, millenials, couldn’t care less about Dynasty, even though it was a huge hit in the 80s and is considered as cult. It’s too old. Really. For us, it’s just shiny earrings, sparkly outfits, incredible haircuts and crazy catfight scenes. But not something that we’re really curious about and certainly not a show we would watch in a heartbeat. Unless I missed something, The CW isn’t targeting people over 40. So I don’t understand why this pilot has been picked-up…

Okay, I’m not stupid. Deep down I know. It’s about milking CBS Television Studios’ library at all costs (same reason why Hawaii Five-0MacGyver came back to life and why Charmed is poised to be next on the list). But seriously? No one asked for this and no one will watch it. Even if you promote it like crazy. If Dallas didn’t last long on TNT, then Dynasty is doomed on The CW. It doesn’t fit. It’s as simple as that. Plus, I feel like it’s coming at the worst time possible. Most networks decided it was time to make more shows that reflect the “real” America, the middle-America that voted for Trump. The people who watch This Is UsDynasty is the opposite of that. It’s about the 1% of American who are rich. There was a time -especially in the 80s, “The Reagan Era”- when it was all people cared about. They were fascinated by wealth. Today? Not so much anymore. Dynasties still appear everywhere, from reality TV -hello dear Kardashians!- to the polling booths. But they don’t fascinate anymore. Not in the same way at least. And straight soap operas like Dynasty, without anything that makes them special like Empire, are just dead.

It’s not that Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage didn’t try to modernize Dynasty. They just didn’t try hard enough. What they did was adding diversity to the exact same concept and script. Or should I say: adding colours. Sorry but it is what it is. So our heroine is no longer called Krystle but Cristal and she’s hispanic, something that is not even vaguely adressed in the pilot. She just is. Which is defensible. The Carringtons are still white but the Colbys are black now. Finally, to spice things up, Steven Carrington is still gay but he’s totally out of the closet and it doesn’t seem to be a problem -he’s still a trainwreck though, the black sheep of the family, but it’s not because of his sexuality apparently- while his principal love interest Sammy Jo is no longer a woman (played by Heather Locklear at the time) but a young gay man, who’s still looking for easy money and troubles. Don’t get me wrong: it’s all okay! It makes sense, those are good moves and not making them would have been heavily criticized. BUT it’s all there is. That’s where the modernization begins and ends.

On the plus side, it’s mostly efficient, like the original pilot was. Except the beginning of the opening sequence. It’s just two minutes long tops but two minutes that are really not engaging, with people talking about the solar system, green energies… Please cut this. Many viewers will change the channel immediately! You can’t just start with this. Most of the plots are tired, cliché. That’s what happens when you decide to copy/paste a 35 years-old pilot script. We know the tricks. Dynasty must have been one of the first soap operas to perform them, but time has past and other shows that came and went used them in the meantime. So it’s predictable. Even if the end has been changed. There’s a death. Won’t say who. But damn, adding a murder mystery is not what I would call a wild and original idea…

About the tone, it can be funny sometimes. Especially with Joseph Anders, the estate manager of the Carrington family, who’s a really amusing guy who clearly hates Cristal and isn’t afraid to show her everytime he has the chance. And the catfights between Fallon and Cristal are quite enjoyable on paper, as they should be. I wouldn’t say there’s anything really daring in this version of the show, unless if you still consider that showing two men kissing and making love is daring, as well as suggesting that Fallon’s pussy is being eaten out by her african-american chauffeur in one scene. How shocking!

This Dynasty reboot feels lazy. It’s like putting makeup on a tired old lady. She looks better with the makeup on but it doesn’t really hide the fact that she’s old and tired. It doesn’t have the freshness, the cleverness and the relevance of a Jane the Virgin, neither the nostalgic vibe of a Riverdale. it’s more like Revenge, without much of a concept and new ideas. A hot and charismatic cast would certainly help but it’d still be a mistake for The CW to bet on it next year, unless they really have nothing better to offer…

“The Broad Squad” (ABC) pilot preview: the cop show you didn’t even know you wanted!

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Written & produced by Bess Wohl. Executive Produced by Josh Schwartz (The OC, Chuck) & Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries, Hart Of Dixie), Len Goldstein, Aaron Kaplan (The Mysteries Of Laura, GCB) & Alexandra Lydon. Directed by Coky Giedroyc. For ABC, ABC Studios, Fake Empire & Kapital Entertainment. 58 pages.

Description: In 1978, the graduating class of Boston’s first female patrol officers was dubbed “The Broad Squad” by the local press. Eileen, Molly, Joanne & Lisa arrived at a tumultuous time in Boston’s history, marked by corruption within the police force and a heightened organized crime presence in the city. Navigating rival neighborhoods as well as the conflicting attitudes toward them from everyone, they find themselves tested both on and off duty.

With Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under, Torchwood), Rutina Wesley (True Blood), Charlotte Spencer (Glue), Cody Horn (Magic Mike), Michael Gaston (The Leftovers, The Mentalist, Unforgettable), Kenneth Mitchell (Jericho), Alberto Frezza

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The police department in the 1970s was the ultimate boys club… Until four women showed up and changed everything. They were only looking for equality. What they found was themselves.” This is how The Broad Squad pilot script starts, with these words and I think it’s the moment when I realize to my own surprise it might not be the little project I overlooked because it was a period detective drama and I hate both detective and period dramas and there are way too many on television. There is definitely something more. In fact, the detective part doesn’t even really matter. Yes, these women are police officers but they don’t investigate or interrogate. They patrol and they make people abide by the law, with force if needed. The Broad Squad is really a female character-driven drama which wants to show you how it was like being a woman in the 70s-80s, how much courage and pride it took for these four to drive and walk around the city everyday to make it safer for everyone. This pilot manages to be both entertaining and intelligent, even important I might add.

Between Rookie Blue -because of course, the show starts on their very first day on duty- and SouthLAnd -because they spend most of their days and nights patrolling and facing domestic violence, bar fights, young offenders making graffitis on the walls… no big drug lords and shootings on the streets- The Broad Squad is trying to be realistic, staying in the everyday life of people, not going into those exceptionnal moments when there is murder and death. Surely, if picked up, it will happen sometimes. It will need those. But the goal is to stay close to the characters, feeling what they feel. And it totally works. I’ve just met these women but I really wanna get to know them better, and also the people around, their families, their friends. There is already a lot to explore. My only doubts so far would be about the anger they are all experiencing, which is a little too heavy to take sometimes -fortunately there’s humour- and about the male characters, who are a little bit too… manly so far.

Joanne (Rutina Wesley) is probably the character that stands out the most because she’s the most struggling one. She’s not just a female cop. She’s an African-American female cop, who also happens to be a lesbian -but her colleagues don’t know it yet. And I have to remind you it’s the 70s! I mean: it’s a lot! She has one foot in the precinct and the other one in the poor neighbourhood where she grew up. She can be seen as a traitor by her own family. Then there is Eileen (Lauren Ambrose). She’s from an Irish family, her father was a cop, her husband is a cop and she always dreamt to be a cop. Now she has two children to raise and a lot to prove to everyone. She’s kind, maybe a little too much so far to be really interesting. But it’s a promising character, that’s for sure. Molly (Charlotte Spencer) is the famous one because she comes from a family that has a reputation in Boston, and not a good one actually. Her father disappeared when she was 15 and her brothers are delinquents. And finally, we have Lisa (Cody Horn), the gorgeous one. Her beauty doesn’t help her when it comes to be respected by men. She has a very dark secret that still haunts her everyday -and makes her an alchoholic- and the person who is responsible for her trauma happens to be a cop in the same precinct. They all have a good reason to be there. They all have something to prove, and something to find. They are beautifully written characters.

The Broad Squad is not your usual cop show, not only because it’s a period drama but because it aims to be different, not a crime-solving straight procedural but a heavy serialized and character-driven one, with no strong emphasis on romantic storylines. It’s hard to tell whether or not it can be successful on ABC. They have nothing like it right now. It’s not Castle. It’s not Scandal either. But it’s good and broad, with a strong cast. And I want to believe good shows always find a way…

Latest ABC drama pilot orders, first comedy ones (Shonda is involved!)

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ABC finally starts ordering comedy pilots when their drama plate is already almost full! Here comes Shonda Rhimes again…

A pilot season without a Shonda Rhimes show in competition is definitely not worth living. Last year, How To Get Away With Murder was ordered first and it became quicky a sure bet for a series order. We had to wait a little bit more this time around but here it is: The Catch, a new thriller drama produced by Shondaland, is in the works. Written by Jennifer Schurr (Hannibal), it follows a woman who’s about to get married and also about to get conned. Unbeknownst to her slippery fiancé, our heroine — who investigates fraud for a living — is not all she claims to be. And when the fiancé’s expertly planned con collides with her perfectly constructed lies, they plunge into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. This doesn’t sound as exciting as a Shonda Rhimes show should, but we’ll learn more soon enough…

The other drama pilot order, the 7th, goes to Broad Squad a period detective drama produced by Josh Schwartz (The OC, Gossip Girl, Chuck) set in 1978. It is a fictionalized account of the graduating class of Boston’s first female patrol officers. Dubbed “The Broad Squad” by the local press, they arrived at a tumultuous time in Boston’s history, marked by corruption within the police force and a heightened organized crime presence in the city. Navigating rival neighborhoods as well as the conflicting attitudes toward them from everyone, they find themselves tested both on and off duty. A tough sell, but an interesting one…

On the comedy side, first two pilots orders are family ones, as expected. After his controversial exit from Community, Chevy Chase is back at a network with a project he co-produces and stars in with Beverly d’Angelo, his co-star in classical movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Chev & Bev tells the adventures of two baby boomers who are fun, relevant and living a selfish retirement when their world is turned upside down and they are suddenly left to raise their grandchildren. Both funny and emotional? Second one is a single-camera comedy too, written by famous LGBT activist Dan Savage. It centers on a picture-perfect family that is turned upside down when the youngest son comes out of the closet. What seems like the end of their idyllic life turns out to be the beginning of a bright new chapter when everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.

Expect ABC to order anytime soon around 8 comedy pilots and at least 3 drama ones.

SEE ALL PILOTS ORDERED BY ABC SO FAR