Tag: karan oberoi

Roswell (The CW) pilot preview: Back In Town

Written and executive produced by Carina Adly MacKenzie (The Originals). Based on 90s hit series & Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. Also produced by Kevin Kelly Brown (Roswell, Flesh and bone, Seven Seconds), Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds) Justin Falvey & Darryl Frank (Bull, The Americans, Falling Skies, Extant, Under The Dome). Directed by Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Kyle XY). For The CWWarner Bros. Television, Amblin Television & Bender Brown Productions. 60 pages. Network Revisions Draft. 1/12/18.

Description: After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, NM, Liz Ortecho, the daughter of undocumented immigrants, discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance…

With Jeanine Mason (Grey’s Anatomy, Bunheads), Nathan Parsons (Once Upon A Time, The Originals, True Blood), Michael Vlamis, Lily Cowles (Braindead), Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries, Cane), Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars, Ravenswood), Heather Hemmens (If Loving You is Wrong, Hellcats), Trevor St John (Containment), Karan Oberoi (Notorious)…

   

As much as I despise this trend of rebooting everything for no good creative reason, some of them make sense and Roswell falls exactly in this category. We don’t NEED a Roswell reboot, per say. Even The CW doesn’t really need it. They’ll already have the Charmed one and we could argue one new reboot a year is already enough. BUT the thing is: Roswell was a good show 15 years ago, that never found the success it deserved. It only lasted 3 seasons and it never became a cult favorite like Dawson’s Creek, Buffy or other contemporaries. Giving the concept a second chance somehow is a desirable idea. And what this script is doing is kinda miraculous: it improves the original show. By making the characters slightly older, they transformed the fantasy teen drama into a more adult property that’s still relevant today. Yeah, we’re not into aliens today like we were in the 90s but among all those vampires and zombies, they’re almost like a breath of fresh air (from space)! And the subject of society feeding on the politics of fear and hatred obviously resonates with post-Trump America.

Kevin Kelly Brown, who was an executive producer on the original series, is the link that connects the two Roswell incarnations. Besides him, it’s a whole new producing team. Meaning no Jason Katims no more. He was the creator of the show and he did Friday Night Lights, Parenthood & Rise since then. It’s sad he’s not part of it, I’m pretty sure he would have been precious there. Even though the show is still based on the “Roswell High” book series, our characters are in their late twenties and don’t go to school anymore, except for the traditional 10 year high school reunion that happens the week-end Liz returns to her Roswell hometown. You want to know the reason why she left? It’s something that’s revealed step by step in the script but I’ll tell you the whole truth anyway since they drag the revelations for too long in my opinion: her sister Rosa died, killing two others in a drunken car accident while she was in high school. And Max was involved in her death -the details are kept under wraps for now- though he never told Liz about it. Pretty quickly after her arrival, people shoot up her father’s diner, fatally hitting her, and that’s when Max uses his alien powers to resurrect her. Now she knows the truth about him, their romance is back full force! When the reboot was ordered, the articles insisted a lot on “the immigration twist” of this version but the fact that Liz has had undocumented parents doesn’t play any role in the pilot. It’s just something that’s said. We’ll see if they plan on delving into it later. The parallel with the aliens’ own trajectory could be illuminating. By the way, I love the scenes between Liz and her father. They’re very emotional.

So Liz is not very different than the one we knew in the 90s, except she became a jaded biomedical researcher. Max is now a dedicated Roswell police officer and a natural born leader. His sister Isobel is married to a man she doesn’t love anymore; she wasn’t meant for small-town life, but she lives it with all the grace and enthusiasm she can muster. Michael is a troubled but brilliant young man, who survived a violent childhood and now is secretly driven to find a way to escape Earth and the humans who have failed him to return to a mysterious home he’s never known. Meanwhile, Maria, Liz’s fun, free-spirited former best friend and social media maven is oblivious to the realities of Roswell. And in this version, she’s not romantically involved with Michael and probably never will be for a very good reason! Michael is gay. And it’s not the only twist… He’s a man of many secrets: he’s in a hidden relationship with… Alex! Yeah, more precisely Sgt. Alex Manes, who returned home from the Middle East after experiencing his fair share of psychological and physical trauma. He aims to adhere to his father’s expectations, abandoning his dreams and the possibility of a future with the man he loves… Well, that’s how you make once a bit weak characters relevant! And let’s not forget Kyle Valentin, Liz’s other ex, the popular son of the town sheriff -a woman this time!- who questions his carefree outlook on life after learning the terrifying truth of his family’s legacy. Those are strong characters all around. They’re all in this period of life when you’re starting to understand who you really are but you’re not accomplished yet and it can be painful. Young adults will relate. And there’s this cliffhanger with a new UFO crashing in the desert, that’s exciting!

The new Roswell is actually a better Roswell; a promising pilot that manages to introduce strong characters while setting an atmosphere and launching multiple storylines without getting messy in the process. It’s probably one of the best things, if not THE best, that The CW will offer us next year. 

Recon (FOX) pilot preview: here’s how Quantico season 2 should look like…

RECON

Created and executive procuced by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Melrose Place 2009). Directed by Adam Davidson (Community, Parenthood, Big Love, Grey’s Anatomy). Also executive produced by Julie Plec (The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY) & Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, The Following, Dawson’s Creek, Scream). For FOX & Warner Bros. Television. 63 pages.

Description: Alexa Reikowski, a rookie FBI agent, embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family, the Mazaris, four months after a terrible attack on the american soil killed the Vice President and a dozen other people. Hired as an assistant to Farrah, the mother, she’s warmly welcomed and gets attached to them but she quickly discovers that they are not who they seem to be on the surface…

With Tracy Spiridakos (Revolution, Bates Motel), Nick Weschler (Revenge, Roswell), Alexander Siddig (Game Of Thrones, 24, Star Trek Deep Space Nine), Sarita Choudhury (Homeland, Kings, Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Amanda Warren (The Leftovers), Yasmin Kaur BarnKaran Oberoi (NCIS), Leonidas Castrounis

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O-M-G! Finally something 100% original at FOX! I’m exaggerating, okay. There’s also Pitch & Star, which are. But Prison Break, Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist, 24:Legacy, The X-Files… it’s a lot. Needless to say, Recon has lesser chance to get picked up, especially since it’s about terrorism: Homeland is still a thing; 24:Legacy will be a thing –of course, they will order it whether it’s good or not– & Quantico is… something –not the hit it was supposed to become, partly because of bad scheduling, but not a flop either. So I’m very confused about this pilot. I definitely enjoyed the ride but in the end I’m not sure the show it’s supposed to be is needed right here right now. I totally get why FOX ordered it to pilot though: it’s efficient and it has potential over the course of 3-4 13-episode seasons. In fact I think it would have been a formidable idea for Quantico, season 2: Alex Parrish sent undercover inside a suspected terrorist family. Hey Quantico team, if Recon is not ordered, just steal the idea and it’ll be perfect!

Kevin Williamson is producing. This man knows how to make hits and entertaining television. Or knew. His last attempt, Stalker, was more of a disaster. But weaker shows worked at CBS. Ordering it made sense. Creating it too. Sometimes, you just need to eat! This year, he’s on two other pilots: Time After Time for ABC & Ghost for The CW. Did you know every pilot he did got ordered to series since the beginning of his career? So either he will have three new shows on the air next year (+ The Vampire Diaries & The Originals) or he will fail at this stage for the first time. Does Recon look like a loser? Not on the page at least. But I agree: The Vampire Diaries‘ team dealing with terrorism is a frightening thought. And choosing Tracy Spiridakos & Nick Weschler as leads is kind of a stupid idea. I guess they had no other choice. I’m not saying they’re not good –they are good-looking– but… charisma, anyone? I fear they won’t be able to do justice to this smart script and bring it to another level.

I loved the opening sequence of Recon and I will spoil it to you like crazy. Anyway, the trailer will, sooner or later… So we’re inside a funeral home, following an embalmer working on the dead body of a 70 year-old-woman. There’s flesh and blood. A scalpel. A drain tube. Ankles twisted. Bones cracking. It’s precise. It’s gore. It’s like one of those disgusting scenes in Nip/Tuck when you’re about to vomit just by watching it. And soon we discover he’s… hiding a ticking bomb inside of the body! And it’s not anyone’s body. It’s the Vice President’s wife’s body! A few hours later, it explodes inside Washington National Cathedral, killing the Vice President and sixteen other souls. Cut to black! That’s what I call an opening sequence, my friends. And good news: it’s not a “6 six months before” just right after. But a much more enoyable and original these days “Four months later”.

The rest of the pilot is less exciting but it’s a job well done anyway. Mostly. There’s action and suspense, and this family is a mistery we’re amazed to delve into. They are so ambiguous… And yes, it’s way too easy and cliché sometimes, like those flashbacks showing that the heroine’s dad was killed during 9/11 and that explains why she entered the FBI, so it never happens again. But Alexa is no Carrie Mathison. Not even a tiny Carrie. And the whole set up is just not realistic and doesn’t always take the right direction in my opinion. Making our heroine probably falling in love with one of the terrorist is 1/ already done 2/ kind of ridiculous in this context. But that’s what happens when you create young and beautiful characters and cast models to play them: you want them to fuck with each other at some point. But we’re not in Grey’s Anatomy! Or in Mystic Falls. It’s pretty serious stuff. Come on!

Because of the cast and the inevitable comparisons that will be drawn between the show and Homeland, Recon seems to be doomed from the get go. And honestly, people want to have fun. They don’t want another show about terrorism. They already have plenty to choose from. If FOX can attract people with the pilot -which I doubt of- they won’t be able to keep them interested much longer, unless they assume to make something completely dumb, only based on twists, but it’s not exactly what we’re promised here and we can’t blame them for that. Not smart enough, not dumb enough…