Tag: riverdale

The Haunting of Nancy Drew (The CW) pilot preview: Third time’s the charm!

SERIES TITLE: The Haunting of Nancy Drew
NETWORK: The CW
GENRE: Detective Horror Drama

LOGLINE: Set in the summer after her high school graduation,18-year-old Nancy Drew thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation — and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined. When Nancy ends up a suspect in a murder, it rekindles her love for detective work, even though the clues lead her to believe that a long-dead local girl may be the killer…

Pilot Cast: Kennedy McMaan, Maddison Jaizani (Versailles, Into the Badlands), Tunji Kasim (Nearly Famous), Leah Lewis (Sing it!, Station 19), Alex Saxon (The Fosters, The Fix), Freddie Prinze Jr (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scooby-Doo)…
Series Creator: Noga Landau (The Magicians),Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage (The OC, Gossip Girl, Dynasty, Marvel’s Runaways).
Pilot Director: Larry Teng (Supergirl, Animal Kingdom, Elementary).
Producers: Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu Taylor (Lost, Vampire Diaries, The Gifted), Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage.

Studios: CBS Television Studios & Fake Empire.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Veronica Mars, Charmed

Likely Timeslot: They could definitely use Riverdale as its lead-in. They could also pair it with Charmed.

 

WRITTEN BY: Noga Landau.

PAGECOUNT: 56 pages

DRAFT: 2nd Network draft 1/13/19

BACKGROUND: Launching a Nancy Drew TV series has been a priority for CBS Television Studios, which has the rights to the the classic YA mystery books originally published by Stratemeyer Syndicate and later Simon & Schuster, for quite a while now. Two versions have already been developed over the past three years. First Drew at CBS, starring Sarah Shahi as a 30-year-old version of the cult character (It was not good), which went to pilot and got close to a series order. Its star later confessed : “I’m very happy it didn’t go. It was not good”. She also said it was considered “too female” by the network: “My response was like, ‘I don’t remember us talking about tampons and our, like, placentas and our cycles on the show.’ So I don’t know what was too female about it.” Anyway.

Then Nancy Drew was developed at NBC last year, this time with a Nancy in her 40s, who has written her own adventures as books, and must now team up with her estranged former friends to solve a murder mystery. It didn’t go beyond the script stage. Both incarnations were from writers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater (Grey’s Anatomy, Doubt) and producer Dan Jinks. They left CBS Television Studios since then for Universal.

At the time, I was wondering why CBS Television Studios didn’t turn the property into a nice little CW show, keeping the central character as a teenage girl or a young adult. It apparently took them 4 years to realize that was the best and most logial option… And they asked Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage to write and supervise the project. They know a thing or two about teen dramas, so that made sense. So, third time’s the charm, as they say?

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: After graduating high school, a depressed, secretive and curious NANCY DREW (18) skips out on college and must face life in the wake of her mother’s death, still living with her dad CARSON, as she begins to solve a ghostly mystery. Her friends aren’t as they seem and trust isn’t something that comes easy to her. After discovering TIFFANY HUDSON murdered with her coworkers GEORGE PHAN (18) and ACE (21) from The Claw dinner, Nancy Drew is back in her crime solving ways, along with BESS MARVIN (18), a new girl in town who quickly becomes an ally. Her boyfriend/secret lover NED “NICK” NICKERSON (19) has his own unbecoming past with Tiffany Hudson that makes Nancy question everything. Did Ned kill Tiffany? Nancy must battle her past in order to uncover and solve this murder case, while LUCY SABLE, a long-dead local girl, starts to haunt her…

COMMENTS: Based on the Nancy Drew mystery stories, this CW pilot is a nice surprise since the previous adaptations were failures that questioned the necessity and the relevance of such a character in the 21st century. Turns out a young woman who solves mysteries can still be a thing in 2019, even when Veronica Mars did a great job a few years ago. Remember, she was often described as “Nancy Drew meets Philip Marlowe” when she arrived on our screens. What strikes me the most with this script, which has flaws to be honest, is that it manages to be both classic an modern, predictable and exciting, funny and pretty scary. It’s easy to picture it around shows such as Riverdale or Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It almost feels like it’s part of the same universe, like a secret spin-off. Even though I’m not a big fan of those series myself, I’m convinced there’s an audience for his new addition.

Let’s meet the new versions of those familiar characters first. So, Nancy is 18, she’s in grief since her mother died, she’s living the worst version she could picture of her life: stuck in the small town she grew up in, with very few friends around her, a reputation that she’s not always confortable with and a job as a waitress that really doesn’t fulfill her. This Nancy is sexually active, she’s into hook-ups and we meet her as she’s having sex with Nick, her secret flame that she may be ready to share a real relationship with. Nick is a former high school athlete with a mysterious past, who should be on full scholarship to a top university. Instead, he’s working as a car mechanic. What they have in common is a feeling that their lives are not going into the right direction and that’s something they can escape from when they’re together. If there’s chemistry between the actors, that should work fine.

The new George is a tough, tattooed girl from the wrong side of the tracks who felt personally wronged by Nancy in high school. But now they are both suspects in the killing of Tiffany Hudson, the two nemesis are forced to team up to track the culprit and clear their names… and it just may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. But we’re clearly not there yet! Their current dynamics made of nasty jokes and little humiliations is too good to abandon so quickly. Then there’s the new Bess, a refined young woman whose wealthy background sets her apart from Nancy but here again, the investigation to find the real killer help them connect, while Bess is doing whatever it takes to keep her own dark secrets hidden. Those three women at the center of the show are really the main draw. They form some sort of sorority, created by the circumstances, that is more complex than it was in the books. The other male lead is Ace, a charming dishwasher with a philosophical bent, whose provocative insights on the murder investigation will lead Nancy to conclude that there’s much more to this supposed burnout than meets the eye. I wouldn’t be surprised this turns into a love triangle trope between Nancy, Nick and Ace. That wouldn’t be the most innovative idea…

The Haunting of Nancy Drew has something charming going on for it. It may be the town of Bayport, a fishing village that feels like Riverdale but with the ocean, with its traditions and a melancholia that comes with the views. For now, it’s the main street, the police station, the dinner, Nancy’s house, the bluffs and Bayridge Drive, the part of the town where the rich folks live. It’s enough to get a sense of what life is for Nancy over there. Most of us would love to live in such a place, or at least go there for vacations, for her it’s hell. We’ll see what the director will make of the scenery and for once, Vancouver, where it will be filmed, matches with how it’s supposed to look like. Yay! But what’s interesting is that it becomes progressively scarier. The more the investigation progresses, the more it becomes clear that it’s not exactly the idyllic town we thought it would be. It smells like death, there are ghosts and we end up with a medium in a motorized wheelchair for a spiritism seance! I’m not a big fan of the fantasy/horror part of the show, but at least it’s properly introduced. So it won’t just be about murder mysteries being solved every week. In fact, it seems like the whole first season will revolve around the same story and it’s good news, especially if they’re aiming at shortened seasons of 10-13 episodes. There’s one story about Nancy’s past and her parents’ that’s particularly intriguing. Are they murderers themselves? Maybe that’s the thing that will make me stay around a little bit more.

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: The Haunting of Nancy Drew has found a way to be faithful to the character and its famous adventures, to update her status as a feminist icon who lives in our era, to capture the atmosphere of a strange fishing village and to fall within the framework of the recent teen noir dramas that became worldwide phenomenons such as Riverdale. It’s the best version The CW can get of a detective show, with wit and charm. That’s why they’d better give it a chance. 

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
 ] CONSIDER
X ] RECOMMEND

Riverdale: Meet musical spin-off Katy Keene’s characters [EXCLUSIVE]

EXCLUSIVE. Picked-up by The CW a few days ago with a bunch of other pilots, Riverdale’s second spin-off Katy Keene is a musical drama way different from the mothership and The Chilliing Adventures of Sabrina, but still based on Archie Comics. Here’s a list of the main characters involved.

The offshoot is written by Riverdale creator Robert Aguirre-Sacasa and executive producer Michael Grassi with Greg Berlanti producing for Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions. It follows the lives and loves of four iconic Archie Comics characters as they chase their twenty-something dreams in New York City. This musical dramedy chronicles the origins and struggles of four aspiring artists trying to make it on Broadway, on the runway and in the recording studio, reminiscent of Glee‘s fourth season or such shows as The Carrie Diaries and The Bold Type.

Mostly female-driven, it’s centered around fashion legend-to-be KATY KEENE, a friend of Veronica Lodge, who got her own comics in 1949 during 12 years before a revival in the 80s. She’s a young woman in her 20s, ambitious and talented. She has a boyfriend, KO KELLY, a semi-pro boxer with an incredible body in his 20s too. She works at Lacy’s Department Store with her arch-rival AMANDA and her boss GLORIA GRANDBILT, an impeccable and glamourous diva in her 40s, a world-class Personal Shopper. One of their clients is ALEXANDRA CABOT, heiress to the Media Cabot Empire, a powerful twentysomething with a white streak in her air, like in the comics.

Katy lives in an apartment with two roomates, one of which is the direct link between the show and Riverdale. It’s JOSIE MCCOY, the Pussycat singer who’s leaving her hometown to pursue a solo career in New York City. Her fellow friends Melody & Valerie are not in the pilot, but they’ll probably pop up at some point. She’s played by Ashleigh Murray, who should be back in the iconic role. She meets Katie through their common friendship with Veronica. The other roomate is JORGE LOPEZ aka GINGER LOPEZ. His parents own the building. He’s 20, cute, gay and performs as a drag queen in a ballroom (think Ryan Murphy’s Pose) . Finally, there’s PEPPER SMITH, a young journalist and a feminist, who’s well connected: she knows everyone in the biz.

Casting for the roles is underway. The pilot will shoot in New York this march.

 

The CW Projects for 2018/2019 Pilot Season


THE 4400 REBOOT 
(CBS Television Studios)

Sci-fi drama by Craig Sweeny (Limitless, Medium) & Taylor Elmore (Justified).

Over the course of recent history, four thousand four hundred young adults in their reproductive prime have gone missing all over the world—some disappearances happened as recently as a few weeks ago, while others date as far back as the infamous day the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957. One day in 2019, all 4,400 show up at the sites of their original abductions. None of them have aged a day; none have any memory of where they’ve been. The so called “4400” must grapple with their return to a changed and hostile world… and also contend with the reality that they’ve come back altered in ways that none of them yet understand.

BATWOMAN (Warner Bros. Television)

Superhero drama from the Arrow-verse by Greg Berlanti & Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville)…

Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.

Starring Ruby Rose

CITY OF GHOSTS (Warner Bros. Television)

Fantasy drama by I. Marlene King (Pretty Little Liars), Karen Wyscarver (Private Practice) & Sanford Golden (Bones, Taken).

After a near-death experience, college grad Cassidy moves to Scotland to study paranormal psychology at the University of Edinburgh in hopes of learning more about her strange connection to the afterlife. There she meets the enigmatic Dr. Barrow and discovers that her gift is more powerful that she ever thought possible.

THE COVE (Warner Bros. Television)

Family adventure by Chad Fiveash (Kyle XY, Rise, Krypton), James Stoteraux (Switched at Birth, Legend of the Seeker) & Robert Zemeckis (Manifest).

Follows estranged sisters in the aftermath of their father’s death as they return to the Caribbean resort island they frequented as a family, only to discover the sun-drenched paradise is hiding many secrets, including the missing treasure that was their father’s obsession and may ultimately hold the key to eternal life.

DORIAN (Warner Bros. Television)

Fantasy dramedy by Marisa Coughlan & Len Goldstein (The Carrie Diaries, Cult).

It centers on a woman who made a deal with the devil 50 years ago to remain young has spent the subsequent decades living selfishly and without consequences. As the downsides of eternal youth finally land on her, Dorian is ready to grow up and age gracefully, but, to do so, she’ll have to make amends for half a century of bad behavior.

DR MIRAGE (CBS Television Studios)

Fantasy drama by Laurie McCarth (Reign). Based on the Valiant graphic novel.

About a female paranormal investigator who can communicate with dead souls except the one she wants to reach – the love of her life.

FINLEY & JUNE (CBS Television Studios)

Dramedy by Anna Fricke (Men In Trees, Being Human US) & Rina Mimoun (Everwood, Mistresses, Privileged).

When a tightly-wound aspiring children’s book author meets an actual fairy with rage issues in a Griffith Park restroom, the magic of female friendship takes on literal new meaning as the two millennials help each other navigate hipster LA in the quest to fulfill their destinies.

GLAMOROUS (CBS Television Studios)

Dramedy by Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together) & Jordon Nardino (Star Trek Discovery, Quantico, GCB).

It centers on a recent gender non-conforming high school graduate who lands the gig of a lifetime interning at the Manhattan cosmetics company whose products he panned on YouTube. But not everyone is happy to have him there, and they are doing everything they can to take him down.

GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES (CBS Television Studios/ABC Studios)

Soap drama by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Awkward.), Darren Star (Melrose Place, Sex & The City, Younger) & Aaron Kaplan. Inspired by Kim Gatlin’s book of the same name.

Follows the clergy and parishioners of Flock, a hip church plant in Austin where prayers and worship music cover up a multitude of sins and secrets.

THE L.A. COMPLEX REBOOT (Warner Bros. Television)

Dramedy by Martin Gero (Blindspot) & Brendan Gall.

Revolve around a new crop of tenants who move into the Luxe hotel in the heart of Hollywood – a ragtag commune of twentysomethings all hustling to make it as actors, dancers, producers or comedians

LEAN ON ME (Warner Bros. Television)

Inspired by the 1989 film that starred Morgan Freeman. Highschool drama by Wendy Calhoun (Nashville, Empire, Revenge) & Lebron James.

When a spirited young black teacher Amarie Baldwin scores the principal job at an Akron, Ohio, public high school, she must dig deep to transform a failing campus into an urban oasis. In a time when education and school safety have life-or-death stakes, Amarie will take on a broken system that tests her mettle, love life and family. But can she keep her moxie in check in order to embody the aspirational educator that motivates and uplifts an entire community.

LIFEBOAT CLIQUE (CBS Television Studios)

Drama by Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI, Cold Case, Lucifer), Jonathan Littman, KristieAnn Reed & Katie Wech (Star, Rizzoli & Isles).

About when a freak tsunami hits a Malibu house party, a group of teenagers from diverse social circles are swept out to sea; the place where they wind up is new, but the high school politics and social hierarchies that emerge are not

NANCY DREW (CBS Television Studios)

Mystery Drama by Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, Dynasty, Chuck, The OC).

Centered on 18-year-old Nancy Drew in the summer after her high school graduation. Nancy thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation — and along the way, she uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.

NOBODY’S PRINCESS (Warner Bros. Television)

Musical dramedy by James Corden (Carpool Karaoke), Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith (Life Sentence, Significant Mother).

Reimagines the stories of four classic fairy tale princesses for today’s generation. Instead of being set “once upon a time, in a land far away” where princesses were waiting around for true love to find them, the time is now, the setting is New York City, and the princesses are a group of friends in their twenties who are setting out to change the world and create their happily-ever-afters on their own terms.

NO HARD FEELINGS (CBS Television Studios)

Dark comedy by Brad Silberling (Charmed, Dynasty), Gus Hickey (Suburgatory) & Jordan Reddout (Man with a Plan).

About a group of friends who conspire to exact revenge on an old rival who assaulted one of their own and got away with it back in college.

THE PROGENY (CBS Television Studios)

Thriller drama by Chris Roberts (Orphan Black), based on Tosca Lee’s bestselling book.

Centers on a young amnesiac who discovers she’s a descendant of history’s greatest murderess, plunging her into a deadly underground war as she fights to stop a secret society that has preyed on her kind for centuries.

RUTHLESS (CBS Television Studios)

Thriller drama by George Olson & Michael Weatherly (NCIS, Bull).

About an ex-CIA operative, desperate for a normal life after a decade spent as a government killing machine, and a slightly unhinged teenage girl craving an escape from the mundane, who are forced into an unlikely alliance

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST DAUGHTER (CBS Television Studios)

Thriller drama by Glenn Geller & AJ Marechal (The First). Small screen take on the novels by fantasy author Theodora Goss.

Set in Victorian London where two radically different young women – one the daughter of Dr. Jekyll; the other, Mr. Hyde – discover they’re half-sisters when a series of gruesome murders appear connected to their deceased father. They unite with other unsung but remarkable daughters of famous literary figures to rise above societal norms and unearth the mystery of their origins.

STRONG GIRL (CBS Television Studios)

Superhero drama by Melissa Scrivner-Love (Person Of Interest, Fear the Walking Dead), Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Ronda Rousey & Ben Silverman (Jane the Virgin, No Tomorrow).

It follows a former war photographer named Rayna who discovers she is indestructible and potentially the strongest woman in the world. Ghosted by her Spec Ops fiance when she reveals her newfound power to him, Rayna is hired as a bodyguard by a billionaire named Oliver, who sees her true potential.

SUPER CLEAN (CBS Television Studios)

Superhero dramedy by Sascha Rothchild (GLOW, The Carrie Diaries). Based on the upcoming graphic novel by Heath Amodio and Cullen Bunn.

Explores the superhero genre from the human side. Becky Masters, an uber-organized and brilliant human, and her ragtag team of non-powered cohorts navigate the danger and drama of “cleaning up” after superheroes and villains, all while Becky works to prove her superhero boyfriend is innocent of a dastardly crime.

SURVIVOR’S CLUB (Warner Bros. Television)

Fantasy drama based on the comics from DC’s Vertigo, by Jared Frieder (Sweet/Vicious) & Len Golstein (The Carrie Diaries, Cult).

In a world where horror franchise monsters are real, twins Jason and Jennifer barely survived a demonic childhood possession that claimed their mother’s life and fractured their bond. Ten years later, when a new evil force awakens, the siblings join forces with other teen survivors to combat the literal and metaphorical monsters that haunt them.

UNTITLED JANE THE VIRGIN SPIN-OFF (CBS Television Studios)

Soapy Dramedy by Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane The Virgin, Charmed), Valentina Garza, Gina Rodriguez, Ben Silverman & Brad Silberling.

The spinoff is envisioned as a soapy, telenovela-inspired anthology series in the tradition of Jane the Virgin, where each season is based on a different fictional novel “written by” Jane Villanueva and narrated by her.

UNTITLED RIVERDALE SPIN-OFF (Warner Bros. Television)

Drama by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).

Spin-off series that “will be very different” from “Riverdale”

The CW 2016/2017 Schedule / TRAILERS & THOUGHTS

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No Tomorrow -- "Pilot" -- Image Number: NOT101c_0139.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Joshua Sasse as Xavier and Tori Anderson as Evie -- Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

MONDAYS

8- SUPERGIRL

9- JANE THE VIRGIN

TUESDAYS

8- THE FLASH

9- NO TOMORROW

WEDNESDAYS

8- ARROW

9- FREQUENCY

THURSDAYS

8- LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

9- SUPERNATURAL

FRIDAYS

8- THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

9- CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND

MIDSEASON

REIGN

THE ORIGINALS

THE 100

RIVERDALE

iZOMBIE

THOUGHTS

What’s good:

  • Keeping tentpoles The Flash & Arrow in the same timeslots. But the contrary was highly unlikely anyway. And adding Supergirl to the mix on mondays, paired with Jane The Virgin for a “girl night”.
  • Arrow & Frequency put together makes sense in term of viewership. They’re both more adult than other shows.
  • The 100 & iZombie are good midseason options.

What’s bad:

  • Keeping Riverdale in the bench for a midseason launch is both a shocker and a weird decision. This show will be noisy… The only acceptable explanation would be if they don’t want to do 22-episode season. Then they would premiere it in the spring, possibly in Legends of Tomorrow timeslot.
  • The Vampire Diaries + Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pair means only one thing: The CW doesn’t believe the Rachel Bloom show will be a success one day but wants it on the fall schedule because of possible nominations and Emmy wins…
  • No Tomorrow paired with The Flash. I’m not totally sold on the idea. But it shows the network is very high on the series. Good to know.

Riverdale (The CW) pilot preview: THE teen soap of the late 2010s?

riverdale

Pilot “Chapter One: The River’s Edge” written and executive produced by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Looking, Glee, Big Love). Based on characters appearing in Archie Comics publications. Directed by Lee Toland Krieger (The Age of Adaline, Celeste & Jesse Forever). Also executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Blindspot, Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, Dawson’s Creek), Jon Goldwater (Sabrina: secrets of a teenage witch) & Sarah Schechter (Blindspot, Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow). For The CW, Warner Bros. Television & Berlanti Productions. 60 pages.

Description: Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends and enemies and parents, explore the surreality of small-town life – the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade. The whole town is shaken when the mysterious disappearance of a teenager turns into a murder case…

With KJ Apa as Archie, Lili Reinhart (Surviving Jack, The Kings of Summer) as Betty, Camila Mendes as Veronica, Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zach & Cody) as Jughead Jones, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller, Madelaine Petsch as Cherry, Ashleigh Murray as Josy, Luke Perry (90210, Oz, Jeremiah) as Fred, Madchen Amick (Twin Peaks, Damages, Witches of East End) as Alice, Marisol Nichols (Teen Wolf, GCB, 24, Resurrection Blvd.) as Hermione, Sarah Habel (Rush, Underemployed) as Geraldine, Ross Butler as Reggie…

rate rate rate rate

The early 90s had Beverly Hills, 90210, the first teen soap, the late 90s had Dawson’s Creek, the early 2000s had One Tree HillThe OC, the late 2000s had Gossip Girl. The early 2010s had Pretty Little Liars & Glee. And what about the late 2010s? Where is THE teen soap for the new generation? If everything goes as planned, it will be Riverdale and if there is one project this pilot season that is a 100% sure thing, this is it. Because it’s a very popular, really powerful, beloved property (I know a lot of you were waiting for this preview in particular for a long time). Archie Comics exist since 1941. It never went out of style and a new version is published since 2015. 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the series! Because it’s produced by Greg Berlanti and he has an incredible track record at The CW. Because they did an extensive search to find the right incarnations for the characters. Because the promotion has already started with sexy pictures of KJ Apa playing Archie Andrews on the set flooding the internet. So now the whole process has been set into motion. Riverdale, 8pm on Mondays starting next fall?

The first thing that came to my mind while reading the pilot script was: gosh, it looks an awful lot like Dawson’s Creek. Apart from the fact that this is my reference, the teen soap of my teenage years, the love triangle at the center of the story -‘cos of course there is one- is exactly the same. The only difference is Dawson was not popular at all. Archie is. He’s a football player and an artist, he writes music. Sweet and smart Betty is in love with him for a longtime and he doesn’t want to see it even though it’s obvious for everyone else. Dawson & Joey all over again. Confident and silver-tongued Veronica, determined to become a good person, arrives in Riverdale from New York, like Jen, and shakes things up a little bit. But let’s be honest: Kevin Williamson, Dawson’s Creek‘s creator, probably read Archie comics and it inspired him the idea of the show, mixed with his own life story. And I’m discovering it almost 20 years later…

The other show that I thought of instantly is Desperate Housewives. Because of the atmosphere, the use of the voice-over (performed by the character of philosophically bent heartthrob Jughead Jones), this idea of a town where nothing is like what it seems on the surface, and the murder mystery that starts in the opening sequence and that will probably be used as the common thread of the season. The Blossom Twins, Jason and Cheryl, hated by the whole town because of their manipulative and pretentious attitude, had a boat accident on the 4th of July. Except it was not an accident. And weeks later, while Cherry is alive and well, Jason’s decomposed corpse is found on the edge of the river. There is a ton of possible culprits. And Archie knows some things. He was there when it all happened… The tone of the show is very similar to Marc Cherry’s. It’s fun, colorful, full of twists and turns, punchlines, bigger than life characters, but also dark and twisted stories, involving the teenagers but also their parents and teachers, who went to school together many years ago and share their own secrets and rancors.

Riverdale is said to be “subversive”, that’s how The CW presents it, and I don’t really agree with that. And they should not insist on it or people will get disappointed. The pilot is really efficient, exciting, promising, but subsersive? I mean… It would have been in the 90s and it certainly was when it came out in the 1940s! But in the 2010s? Okay, Archie fucks his teacher. Sorry but Pacey already did in Dawson’s Creek. Kevin Keller is a popular openly gay student. He meets boys/men on Grindr. It’s very modern, but not revolutionnary. Plus, at least in the pilot, he says he does but we don’t see him doing it. So that doesn’t really count for me. Sorry. Honestly, I don’t see what else can be billed as “subversive” in there. Riverdale is full of references (to Hunger Games, Beyoncé…) and can be irreverent sometimes but that’s all and it’s okay. Glee amateurs should be happy to know that there is music in the show, thanks to Archie, who sings, but also Josie and the Pussycats, the girls band of the school. You’ll also find the usual codes and clichés of teen soaps with the cheerleaders (Betty & Veronica are on the team), the giant bitch who’s the captain (Cheryl), the football team and their testosteroned locker room…

Riverdale is timeless. This modernized, energized, darkened and respectful version has everything it needs to become another success for The CW & Greg Berlanti, hoping it won’t just be critical. The absence of vampires, zombies or superheroes is a real breath of fresh air. Teen soaps are not dead after all, and coming back to the roots of the genre is the right way to go. Teens and millenials should be hooked. Welcome to Riverdale, bitches!

The CW’s 7 most exciting projects for 2016/2017 pilot season

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The following article is based on descriptions mixed wih talents attached ONLY. None of the scripts have been read at this point. 

What are The CW’s needs for next season?

  • Not much, quite frankly. I would have said comedies, but they didn’t develop any. They didn’t cancel a lot last year and they probably won’t cancel much this year either. Meaning no space for new shows.
  • A new show able to keep the “ancient” CW viewers happy when The Vampire Diaries will be gone, sooner or later.

NUMBERS

Drama Scripts ordered: around 20

Drama pilots ordered last year: 6


OBSERVATIONS

The CW is healthier than ever with its combination of old shows that still deliver (Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries), recent hits (Arrow, The Flash), critical acclaim (The 100, Jane The Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and new promising shows (Legends of Tomorrow, Containment). They have the right balance of CBS Television Studios-produced series and Warner Bros. Television-produced series. They’re happy, but you can always be happier. That’s what they’re gonna aim with their new shows, some of them are really ambitious. Here are the most promising:

 

THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT (CBS Television Studios)

What? when a young woman gets a data entry job at a mysterious corporation, she discovers that the information she is logging is building a database that has the power to affect fate – including her own

Why? Talking about ambition… It’s based on a recently published book and it seems to be a different offer from what they already have. Science-fiction, but not the same kind as The 100.

 

CRY (CBS Television Studios)

What? the story of a doctor who makes the astonishing medical breakthrough to bring cryogenically preserved people back to life, starting with the unfreezing of his own father – but he never expects that restoring life will have both glorious and devastating consequences…

Why? I doubt this one goes to pilot stage. Too ambitious and really not CW-esque. But one can hope for a miracle!

 

LITTLE WOMEN (CBS Television Studios)

What? hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, in which disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined – all while trying not to kill each other in the process

Why? There is one Little Women adaptation project every year. ABC had their own in 2015. It’s CW’s turn (and it’s not their first attempt). I’m deeply in love with this book since I’m a child so I’m not sure a Hunger-Gamesque version is the most respectful idea they could come up with. But it’s exciting at the same time. A dystopy about four sisters fighting evil together? I’m genuinely intruigued. Michal Weatherly is producing. Not that it matters…

 

NO TOMORROW (CBS Television Studios)

What? about Sarah, a risk-averse quality-control assessor who falls for free-spirited thrill seeker Xavier only to find out he lives his life that way because he believes the apocalypse is coming…

Why? This show is based on Brazilian series How to Enjoy the End of the World and is envisioned as a good companion for Jane The Virgin. It’s a romantic dramedy with an apocalypse twist. Resembles a bit NBC’s You, Me and the Apocalypse though.

 

THE DROP (CBS Television Studios)

What? about a Miami DJ teetering on the edge of ruin who finds hope (and more) in a gifted protégé who is female and African-American, both rarities in the EDM world…

Why? Here’s what The CW doesn’t have: a musical show! And in terms of revenues, it would be a very good operation for them to finally have one. Even if it’s not a big hit. The world of DJs have not been explored on television yet. But the huge flop at the box office of Zac Efron’s movie We are your friends about a young DJ last summer doesn’t bode well and may have an impact on their pilot pick-up decision. Is there an audience for it?

 

RIVERDALE (Warner Bros. Television)

What? a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends from the comics, exploring the surreality of small-town life – the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.

Why? First developed at FOX in 2015, this show based on the Archie comics series seem to be a way better fit with The CW. Especially if it’s as “bold” and “subversise” as they say. And it needs to be! Greg Berlanti is producing, meaning it has almost zero chance no to go to series.

 

TEMPEST (Warner Bros. Television)

What? about a young woman living in a utopian spaceship; when she finds out the ship is secretly powered by slaves, she becomes enmeshed romantically and politically in the dangerous rebellion brewing below the decks

Why? Too close to The 100? Maybe. But The 100 is so good I wouldn’t mind having another one in the same spirit… Give it a chance, please!

 

What projects are you the most interested in among these? Take your picks!