Tag: shonda rhimes

UPDATE: Why the f**k “Quantico” is at 10pm on Sundays? Here are some theories

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UPDATE: Now we have two weeks of ratings DATA, it’s time to say it LOUD and CLEAR. Quantico is on the verge of success and ABC has to do something to make sure it happens. And there’s only one way to do that now: moving the show into a more fitting timeslot. First, here’s a reminder.

  • First airing of Quantico‘s pilot had 7,1 million viewers and a 1.9 (18/49) at 10pm. It was a rare 0.5 improvement from its lead-in, Blood and oil series premiere (6,4 millions, 1.4).
  • ABC re-aired the pilot the following Tuesday, again at 10 after Agents of SHIELD. It gained 4,2 millions, 1.0. Which is quite good for a repeat.
  • On L+3, the pilot added a strong 4 million viewers, the biggest percentage gain among all programs -new and returning- during premiere week: 56%!
  • Quantico‘s episode 2 had 6,9 million viewers, matching the previous 1.9 number. No loss on a second week almost never happens (especially with a weaker lead-in: Blood and Oil scores a 1.2). It’s a very good sign for the show and ABC shouldn’t wait long to order a back-nine.

So now, what ABC should do? In fact, it’s a matter of save the newbie or save Sunday nights! If Quantico stays on Sundays at 10, it will probably go down sooner or later, especially if Blood and oil keeps on falling. If they switch them, Quantico will have to face a higher competition (including ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead). If ABC moves it to another night, then Sunday night is DEAD! Once Upon A Time is dying slowly (but will certainly have its 6th and maybe last season) and Blood and oil will be cancelled. Can ABC afford to wait midseason for launching new shows like The Family and Kings and Prophets or returning Secrets & Lies and American Crime?

Here are the solutions:

  • Switching Quantico & Blood and oil‘s timeslots
  • Switching Quantico & Nashville‘s timeslots (wednesday at 10). It will have to face Code Black & Chicago PD.
  • Putting Quantico on Tuesday at 10, moving Wicked City to midseason. But it will have to face Limitless & Chicago Fire.
  • Keeping it on Sunday at 10 and giving it a better lead-in ASAP.

What’s your opinion?

 

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First published september 11th

 

During the upfronts last may, the scheduling of Quantico came as a surprise. What seemed to be ABC’s biggest asset for fall, apart from The Muppets on the comedy side, was meant to be wasted in the uneventful -and even death slot- Tuesday at 10, right after Agents of SHIELD, replacing very modest Forever. But a few weeks later, ABC decided to move Quantico to Sundays at 10 (mostly because the spot was vacant when they decided to rework Kings And Prophets heavily – and pairing Kings with Blood and Oil made no sense). It looked like a better option but certainly not the best one they could have come up with. So, what happened? Does ABC really have faith in Quantico to throw it to the wolves this way? I scratched my head all summer long and here are the theories that might explain this weird and dangerous choice.

 

Theory #1 – Agents of DEATH

The most logical choice was to put the show right after The Muppets and Fresh Off The Boat, on Tuesdays at 9, and move Agents of SHIELD at 10. But Marvel was certainly not OK with it. The show needs at least 4 seasons for syndication purposes and moving it later in the evening was sending it to a quicker death. ABC would not have been allowed to do that. Marvel business remains a priority for Disney (as the order for a second season as a second chance for Agent Carter proves it too).

Theory #2 – Quantico’s Anatomy

Quantico looks like a Shonda Rhimes show but IS NOT a Shondaland-produced show. If it were they probably would have treated it better. Maybe they would have waited midseason to launch it after Scandal inside #TGIT when How To Get Away With Murder sophomore season had come to an end but they already had Shondaland’s The Catch to do that. And let’s not forget Grey’s Anatomy started on Sundays at 10. Quantico shares some DNA with it. So… Yeah but Desperate Housewives was the lead-in at the time and it was at its peak. It’s a very different story now…

Theory #3 – Blood and whaaat?!

Now, Quantico‘s lead-in is another newcomer: Blood and oil. And it’s the weakest drama entry of the season for ABC, in my opinion. So what was their thinking? It’s pretty obvious in fact: after the huge success of Empire, they were the only network to have a soap ready for fall. They took the opportunity to be the first to pull the trigger. They are hoping for an audience’s sudden craving for the genre. I think they are mistaken. Empire didn’t work because it’s a soap. It worked because it’s Empire. And Blood and oil doesn’t share a lot with Empire. First: it’s not funny. Second, it doesn’t have a Cookie. Neither OMG moments, at least in the pilot. It’s not good enough. And as much as I know, they didn’t reshoot the pilot, just a few scenes because they changed some part of the cast. So the first impression will basically seal its fate. The show is doomed and could damage Quantico… Giving up on Quantico just to give a better chance to Blood and oil makes no sense. It’s plain stupid. How to get away with a hit!

Theory #4 – Fear The Walking Dead… and Homeland

If ABC had decided to put Quantico on Sundays at 9, then the show would have had to fight against The Walking Dead, a ratings juggernaut, most of the year, plus Homeland, with which it shares a terrorist context. Since Blood and oil is more of a feminine show and Quantico can attract men a little bit more (even if there is the traditional Sunday Night Football on NBC), it was the safest choice. And let’s not forget Game of Thrones will be back on HBO in the same timeslot in 2016. Plus, those shows are strong on social medias, Quantico has everything to be too. On Sundays at 10, there is a place for it. Quantico could do on Sundays what How To Get Away With murder did on Thursdays, with a more compatible and stronger lead-in, though.

Prediction

Here is what’s gonna happen in my opinion. Blood and oil will start okay. Quantico will do slightly better at 10. After a few weeks, ABC will switch both shows. Quantico will grow, earn its “back nine” order whereas Blood and oil will die slowly. Come midseason, they will replace it with The Family the week following the Oscars ceremony, that will do much better. Quantico will be renewed for season 2 and became the hit it was always supposed to be.

 

READ QUANTICO PILOT PREVIEW

Shonda Rhimes: her shows you will never get the chance to watch!

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Who thought one day the writer behind Disney’s The Princess Diaries and Britney Spears’ movie Crossroads would become THE producer everyone in Hollywood talks about, dreams to work with, dies to be? Shonda Rhimes, the queen of her own empire modestly called Shondaland, the queen of Thursday nights (#TGIT!), the queen of ABC, the queen of television, well THE QUEEN, has had a lot of success since she launched medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in 2004, still on the air 12 years later and probably for at least a couple more. Spin-off Private Practice quietly lived 6 years after a rocky start; Scandal got bigger and bigger; How To Get Away With Murder started strong right out of the gate last year. The Catch, coming this midseason, is a question mark for now, but the cast is just great (Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Sonya Walger…). The only disappointment so far was another medical drama Off The Map, cancelled after 13 episodes in 2011. But Shonda Rhimes knows failures too. She also developed many projets and pilots that were not picked up to series over the years, like every other producer out there. Here’s your guide to the dark side of Shondaland: the shows you will never see (except if they are revisited some day)…

 

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PILOTS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT

INSIDE THE BOX – ABC (2009)

Description: Welcome to the fast-paced, cutthroat world of network news. CNS is a hotbed of professional backstabbing and personal betrayals. The only way to survive here is through strength, talent and friendship. When the DC Bureau Chief retires, everyone assumes that Catherine Powell is a shoe-in for his job. She’s dedicated and savvy and she practically runs the newsroom already. So no one is more shocked than Catherine when the board passes her over in favor of the charismatic, but shallow Englishman, Kenneth Donnegan. Kenneth welcomes Catherine to stay onboard as part of his team but he makes it clear that it’s his team. There’s no way Catherine’s going to take this lying down. She quickly pulls together an investigative team of her own, including her loyal, right-hand man Jake Fisher and talented, but brutally ambitious reporter, Samantha Hathaway…

Cast: Indira Varma, Kim Raver, Jennifer Finnigan, Jason George, Martin Henderson, Sarah Drew…

I will tell you later in the article how Shonda Rhimes attempted to create a show revolving around journalists twice. But she finally made it the third time. Well. Almost. ABC ordered Inside the Box pilot the same year as The Deep End (basically Grey’s Anatomy with lawyers), The Forgotten (that we’ve all… yeah… forgotten, just one of those Christian Slater’s cancelled shows), Eastwick, V and high-concept and much talked-about Flash Forward. Despite quite an interesting cast (with an Indian lead! We had to wait for Quantico, starting this year, to get another one in a drama!) and a result that was said to be “great” from insiders, Inside The Box was not picked-up to series and it was announced that it would be redeveloped at a later time. Which it never was. Shonda used the cast for her other shows though. For having read the pilot script, I have to say I’m very surprised ABC didn’t even try. Yes, it was a bit generic, yet another soap not that different from the others, but it explored a new world and it had a real potential! That was a weird decision quite frankly. I would even call it a mistake.

 

THE GILDED LILYS – ABC (2012)

Description: After a year away in Paris in 1895, Violet Langton Lily – a beautiful young socialite from the renowned Lily family – gets blindsided by love on a New York-bound luxury liner. His name is John Kidd, a handsome working-class man whom Violet’s family definitely wouldn’t approve of. This sudden yet profound encounter makes her question everything including her future. Ultimately, Violet will have to choose between what her heart wants, and what her family expects. Back in New York, Violet returns to discover her father, Edwin Lily, has sunk the family fortune into the construction of the City’s first Luxury Hotel, The Lillian. Eager to get in on the action and attention, Edwin’s brother, Julius, offers to become equal partner and financier. Through years of reckless behavior, Julius has earned a reputation for being a playboy and lout. He’s the Black Sheep, and this is his chance at familial redemption. And he’s willing to get it no matter the cost…

Cast: Sarah Bolger, Matt Long, John Barrowman, Matt Lauria, Blythe Danner, Brian F. O’Byrne, Madeline Zima…

When the world fell in love with the English show Downton Abbey in 2010, Shonda Rhimes was among the early fans. So when The Nine writer K.J. Steinberg came to her with an idea of a similar show located in the US she couldn’t resist and accepted to produce it. The script was convincing enough for ABC to order a big-budgeted pilot. But it was not good enough to order it to series, so it seems. It’s hard to know what went wrong but one thing’s for sure: period dramas are always a tough sell, especially on a network, and it might be what doomed it in the end. And according to The Daily Mail at the time, John Barrowman as the lead was not considered a big enough star in the US to carry the show. The pilot had to compete that year with Nasvhille, Last Resort, Zero Hour, 666 Park Avenue and Devious Maids (first developed for ABC, then sold to Lifetime). Even though most of them came quickly to an end, they had very decent pilots… One year later, K.J. Steinberg created Mistresses for ABC, but without Shonda.

 

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PROJECTS THAT WEREN’T ORDERED TO PILOT

CORRESPONDENTS – ABC (2006)

Description: drama about four female journalists from different media who travel the country…

Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan…

In 2003, Shonda Rhimes sells her first script deal for a TV series to ABC, about four female war correspondents who strive to maintain some semblance of normal life despite their demanding careers. She’s virtually no one at the time and the project doesn’t pass the script stage but Disney is impressed and wants her to write something else. One year later, it becomes a little show called Grey’s Anatomy. But the woman is obsessed with the idea of a journalist-centric TV show so she comes back with a similar idea, this time without the “war” part, with Pete Horton, Grey’s Anatomy‘s pilot director, on board. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is meant to be part of the cast after his highly-praised recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Denny Duquette. Again, the script was never ordered to pilot. Probably because she is already very busy working on two different shows at the same time and not experienced enough to be able to add another one. Yet.

 

THE CIRCLE – ABC (2012)

Description: drama about 10 friends, adopted as children by a billionaire philanthropist, who begin to question their past when one of their own is murdered

Created by Richard Robbins, like Inside The Box, The Circle was developed the same year as The Gilded Lilys. Maybe ABC didn’t want to order two Shondaland pilots at the same time, especially since Shonda already worked on two shows. Or maybe the script was just not good enough. We’ll never know. But even if the premise is exciting, it’s hard to imagine something really good coming out of it for the long haul.

 

WILDWOOD – FOX (2012)

Description: period drama about a wise-beyond-her-years teenager who poses as an adult in order to land a job at a popular bar on the jersey shore in 1985

The first time Shonda developed a show for another network than ABC -but it was still ABC Studios-produced of course- it sounded a lot different than what she’s used to make. The coming of age 80s dramedy was written by Diane Ruggiero, whom she never worked with before, a prominent Veronica Mars‘ writers, who later created iZombie for The CW. It sounded cool, and reminds me now of The Carrie Diaries. Retrospectively, FOX may have missed a great opportunity to get a hit but it may have been considered too teenage-y for the network.

 

UNDER THE GUN – NBC (2013)

Description: drama about a woman who goes to work for the FBI as she struggles to make sense of a terrible event in her past that ruined her life and tore her family apart. While her young and fragile appearance doesn’t typically suggest that she’s best suited to work as a field agent, her dark past helps her get inside the head of criminals who were normal one day and cracked the next…

Two years before Pete Nowalk created How To Get Away With Murder -after writing mostly for Grey’s Anatomy- he came to Shonda Rhimes with the idea of Under The Gun. The script was sold to NBC and not to the Alphabet network. Not ABC enough? Not good enough for NBC either? Anyway, it sounded like a procedural we’ve already seen.

 

MILA 20 – ABC (2013)

Description: sci-fi thriller about a young woman who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, Mila, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions…

This Bionic Woman-like story, based on a book for teenagers, was written by David DiGilio, who created the really good but cancelled too soon Traveler for ABC in 2007. It didn’t sound good and I’m not sure Shonda Rhimes and her fellow associate Betsy Beers were the right persons to work on it… But the idea of a sci-fi show produced by Shondaland is appealing in the future!

 

THE MIX – ABC (2013)

Description: drama about the public and not-so-private lives of five very different women who sit in the hot seats as hosts of an influential morning talk show

I’m still not over the fact that this very promising idea never came to fruition. Inspired by ABC’s incredibly popular morning show The View, it was created by screenwriter John Hoffman, who co-produced HBO’s Looking later on. I was already picturing it as the new Desperate Housewives! Going too far?

 

COOKING UP FOR NEXT PILOT SEASON…

WARMTH OF THE OTHER SUNS – FX (2016)

Description: llimited series based on Isabel Wilkerson’s book which chronicles the movement of some 6 million African-Americans from the south into the north and western regions of the country from the period of 1915 to 1970

Shonda Rhimes is working for the first time for a cable network! And it’s a historic drama, another first for her. It might never see the light of day but the high-profile project is in development right now, written by Dee Rees, who made recently HBO movie Bessie.

 

UNTITLED CONVENT DRAMA – ABC (2016)

Description: It revolves around a group of Catholic nuns fighting the closure of their Bronx-based convent who must suddenly deal with three young novices whose arrival unearths long-buried secrets.

This is SO EXCITING, good lord! It’s original –Sister Act is long gone- and it exactly sounds like what Shonda Rhimes does best, with the right amount of soapy elements and feminism, in a very different environment than before. It’s too soon to tell if ABC will give it the thumb up for shooting a pilot but as of now it’s one of the best things that ABC has in store, at least on paper. And creator Alison Schapker has written for AliasBrothers & Sisters, Lost, Fringe and The Flash. Impressing. That can’t be bad, right?

 

SPLITSVILLE – ABC (2016)

Description: in the wake of a wave of divorces, the single residents of a suburban cul-de-sac join forces to raise their kids and get through it together…

Shonda Rhimes has yet to produce a comedy series. She develops a few projects but this one seems to have a better chance to land a pilot order next cycle. Emily Halpern (Private Practice) & Sarah Haskins, the women behind great and cancelled too soon Trophy Wife, are writing it right now…

 

“The Catch” (ABC) pilot preview: After Meredith, Addison, Olivia, Annalise… now please welcome Alice!

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Also known as “Smoke and Mirrors“. Written & produced by Jennifer Schuur (Hannibal Big Love, Crash). Co-produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder), Betsy Beers, Helen Gregory & Kate Atkinson. Directed by Julie Anne Robinson (Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, The Middle, One for the Money). For ABC, ABC Studios & Shondaland Productions. 63 pages.

Description: Alice Martin, a fraud investigator, fighting crime by the numbers and exposing embezzlers, money launderers and even cartels, is a partner in a Los Angeles firm and attracts top clients, which affords her a nice lifestyle she shares with her fiancé, Kieran. They are about to get married but one day he disappears with two million dollars from her bank account. Now, Alice is determined to find Kieran and the truth. Even worse, if her clients and colleagues find out that this fraud investigator was a fraud victim herself, it could mean the end of her career. The game of cat and mouse has just begin…

With Mireille Enos (The Killing US, Big Love, World War Z), Damon Dayoub, Jay HaydenElvy Yost, Rose Rollins (The L Word, Bosch), Jacky Ido (Taxi Brooklyn), Bethany Joy Lenz (One Tree Hill, Dexter), Alimi Ballard (CSI, Sabrina)…

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When you read a Shonda Rhimes-produced pilot, you can’t help comparing it to what she brought to television before. It’s a natural reaction. With How to Get Away With Murder, it was obvious: the perfect mix between Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, while still managing to be its own thing. With The Catch (or whatever it is called in the end), the most unstartling element is Jennifer Schuur, the writer who created it, has never worked for or with her in any of her previous shows and she didn’t even try to imitate her style of storytelling here. So, the question is: why did shonda Rhimes feel this idea, this pitch, fits in the Shondaland brand? As different as it may sound, it’s in the same vein as Scandal and entirely devoted to Alice Martin, a strong leading woman, brilliant at her job but who can also prove to be fragile when it comes to her messy personal life, in the same fashion as Meredith Grey, Addison Montgomery, Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating. Ultimately, like the Kerry Washington-starrer, it’s about about people hiding secrets and others finding the truth whatever it takes, while they have secrets of their own, though I have to admit a firm specialized in fraud is less sexy and catchy than Washington’s political scene. It still gives a wide playing field for the writers. The Catch comes off as a thrilling ride, but I can’t say it blew my mind… yet.

Remember when the idea of Scandal came to our attention back in 2011 and was called Damage Control at the time? A lot of people were  suspicious about it and very few people felt excited. ABC picked it up anyway but decided to launch it only in the last few weeks of the season, with 7 episodes to prove it was worth a chance. Didn’t look like a vote of confidence from the network. Everybody burried it before it even started. And when it finally did, with very little promotion, the pilot was not widely liked, neither watched. Even I -known to be a Shonda lover- thought it was not exactly what I wanted it to be -I had time to fantasize about it, nearly a year- but the following episodes were better and better, the cliffhangers were breathtaking, ratings started to take off and Scandal finally found its footing by season’s end. You know what happened after that. It became a huge success and four years later, the show is still one of the highest watched on television and the number one drama on ABC. The story could repeat itself with The Catch except now a lot of people want Shonda Rhimes to fall from grace. Badly. Because successful people are always hated at some point, because Scandal is hitting a rough patch story-wise and because she can’t stop killing characters on Grey’s Anatomy. She’s still the queen, haters!

A few pages in, one character from Alice’s team -Maria, a brilliant newbie- asks another -James, a 30 year old who just came out of the closet- “How do you explain your job to people?“. His answer is: “I tell them it’s solving crime, but with numbers“. It’s exactly what it is, but it’s still hard to understand how. Don’t be afraid, Jennifer Schuur did a great job making it easy to follow. The case they’re investigating in the pilot is okay, with a fair amount of twists and turns, but it’s the way Alice kicks ass all along to find the truth that is the most fun to watch. And she doesn’t mind spreading her legs if she needs to. Or hurting someone in the process. Of course, the most interesting part is the cat and mouse game between our heroin and her slippery fiancé. To put the puzzle together, we are helped through flashbacks from the time they were happy and full of hope for the future. Or so it seems. They were already lying to each other. A lot. Still, many pieces are missing. Alice remains a mystery in the end of the pilot. Who is she? Not the woman she pretends to be, that’s for sure. When the FBI gets involved, she’s the mouth caught in her own trap. And Kieran is not ready to let her go this easily either… It’s a great role for Mireille Enos. I’m a huge fan of her work in Big Love and The Killing US and Alice is very different from what she has already played. Can’t wait watching her nailing it!

ABC has a lot of exciting stuff coming out of this pilot season. The Catch is not their pilot script I liked the most. Quantico & Original Sin have stronger hooks and feel more exciting for the long haul. If it was not produced by Shonda Rhimes, I’m not sure ABC would have picked it up to series (I assume they will whatever happens). That being said, it would match pretty well with Scandal on Thursday night and I’m all for it joining “TGIT” when How To Get Away With Murder‘s second season is done by February. It’s simply where it belongs and where it has the biggest chance to spark with the audience. Doing only 8-10 episodes to begin with couldn’t hurt it from a creative point of view. The Catch is a no-brainer. Let the game begins!

“The Family” (ABC) pilot preview: the family soap you won’t even feel guilty about loving!

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Previously entitled Flesh & Blood and Original Sin. Written & produced by Jenna Bans (Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Scandal, Private Practice, Off the Map). Co-produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (Monk, Fighter, Warm Bodies, The Proposal) & Laurie Zaks (Castle). Directed by Paul McGuigan (Sherlock, Monroe, Devious Maids). For ABC, ABC Studios & Mandeville Prods. 63 pages.

Description: It’s been ten years since 9-year-old Adam Warren disappeared from Red Pines, Maine and the world has changed a lot in his absence. His mother, Claire, who was then just starting her first City Council campaign, has been elected mayor. His father, John, is now the bestselling author of “Grieving with Grace” a book series on coping with loss. Adam’s siblings, Danny and Willa, who were supposed to be watching Adam at the time, have each dealt with their guilt in their own way. So, when a young man appears in Red Pines claiming to be Adam, it throws everyone into a tailspin. The man sitting in jail for Adam’s supposed death is released as Nina Meyer, the cop responsible of the investigation, is forced to reexamine what truly happened so many years ago….

With Joan Allen (The Killing US, Luck, Face/Off, Hatchi, The Bourne Identity), Rupert Graves (Sherlock Last Tango in Hallifax, The White Queen, V for Vendetta), Margot Bingham (Boarwalk Empire, Matador), Alison Pill (The Newsroom, In Treatment, The Pillars of the Earth, Harvey Milk), Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights, Off the Map, The Mob Doctor, The Purge: Anarchy), Liam James (The Killing US, Psych), , Andrew McCarthy (St Elmo’s Fire, Lipstick Jungle), Florianna Lima (Allegiance, The Mob Doctor), Madeleine Arthur (Big Eyes), Alex Steele (Degrassi: the next generation), Rarmian Newton

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He’s not dead! The kid’s not dead! Just realize Original Sin (aka Flesh & Blood) is the first drama in at least 2 years that doesn’t start with a dead kid. Gracepoint, Secrets & Lies, American Crime, The Missing, Bloodline… Do you need more proofs of this morbid tendency that started with the great and acclaimed Broadchurch? What was once a taboo subject matter on television fascinated the whole world in the past few months as if suddenly writers were allowed to deal with such a dark, traumatic event and jumped on the opportunity all at once. Here, on the contrary, the kid is coming back from the dead -not as in The Returned or Resurrection- figuratively! Everybody thought he died 10 years ago. They were all wrong. Well, in fact, we’re not sure yet if it’s the real Adam who’s back in Red Pines or someone who’s trying to take its place in the Warren family. But that’s one of the many hooks and chills this well-crafted pilot gives you.

From a writer who worked on all Shondaland’s series -she even created one!- it doesn’t come as a surprise. She learned from the best! But this time, Shonda is not involved. Jenna Bans did it by herself. And Shonda can be proud. Last year, she wrote the Sea Of Fire pilot script, which was in my opinion really really good and was worth a try at ABC. They didn’t order it to series, because it was too dark and too sexually charged for network television, I suspect. I see Original Sin as their way of making amends and a proof they believe she is able to bring them their next hit. It was reported on Deadline it is “getting a strong buzz heading into the home stretch“, the same way as How to Get Away With Murder last year. Nothing’s ever a sure thing, but it looks good. To be totally honest with you, I think I liked Sea Of Fire better. I’d say it was more unpredictable. Original Sin possesses a lot of twists and most of them work but once or twice I said to myself: “this is going to happen“. And it happened. But people appreciate being right, so it won’t hurt if they guess one or two things in advance. They’ll feel smart and there are still plenty of surprises to get excited about anyway.

At its core, Original Sin is a family drama, a very human one, more than a mystery or a detective show, or even a soap. It’s the story of a family which was detroyed the day the youngest child disappeared and could never recover from the pain and anger they felt and still feels. Even if most of them had no choice but to get on with their lives. Even if the culprit was found. Or so they thought. It’s essentially character driven, from every point of view, not only the family’s but also the detective’s, a journalist’s and the man who was not guilty after all but may be guilty of something else soon… You can feel their pain and their guilt, even now. It’s devastating on the page. I hope the cast can live up to it. I’m not too worried. Joan Allen, Alison Pill, Rupert Graves and Zach Gilford are brilliant. As we follow Adam’s return -the scene when they see him for the first time is upsetting- we witness the day they lost him through numerous flashbacks. Where they were. What they could have done. And then what they did. ‘Cos they all did things they’re not proud of in the wake of the tragedy. One of them did something even the Lord himself can’t forgive, and he/she won’t be able to keep the secret any longer. And you want to be there the moment it’s gonna happen. Midway through the script, I already knew I wanted Original Sin to go to series badly. Add to that the feel of a small town, the pressure of a political campaign, an affair -‘cos there’s always an affair-, this weird and mysterious child, who was abused, lonely for so long, you want to hug and tell him it’s all gonna be okay except he creeps you out at the same time… Everything’s in place to make a great show out of the already great pilot.

Original Sin could totally take the actual spot of Secrets & Lies -and precedently Resurrection– on Sundays at 9 on ABC, and would mesh well with Nashville if the musical soap were on the move to Sundays at 10 as most predict, including me. I don’t know if the show has more than one or two seasons to give, but it definitely has what it takes to offer us one or two great seasons, of 13-15 episodes preferably. And if they find the right twist, I’m sure they can go on a few more years. People can relate to this family and its members, they can feel for the detective, they can get excited by the investigation and the secrets that will be found along the way… And it won’t even feel like a sin to love it. 

Photo courtesy of YVRShoots

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