Tag: stephanie sigman

S.W.A.T. (CBS) pilot preview: The Shemar Moore Show

Written and produced by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (CSI: New York, SouthLAnd, Sleepy Hollow). Based on the 1975 TV series. Executive produced by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Scorpion, Star Trek Beyond), Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit, Timeless, The Get Down), Marney Hochman (Mad Dogs, Terriers, The Shield), Pavun Shetty (New Girl), Danielle Woodrow (Scorpion) Neal H. Moritz (Prison Break, Fast & Furious, I Am Legend, S.W.A.T.) & Shemar Moore. Directed by Justin Lin. For Sony Pictures Television, CBS Television Studios, MiddKid Prods, Original Films & Perfect Storm Entertainment. 53 pages. Final Shooting Draft. 04/17/17.

Description: Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson, a locally born and bred S.W.A.T. lieutenant, is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a highly-trained unit that is the last stop for solving crimes in Los Angeles…

With Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds, The Young and the Restless), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted, Desperate Housewives, The Inside), Lina Esco (Kingdom, Flaked), Kenny Johnson (The Shield, Bates Motel, Secrets & Lies, Sons of Anarchy), Stephanie Sigman (Narcos, American Crime, The Bridge US), Peter Onorati (The Goodfellas, Civil Wars), Alex Russell (Chronicle)…


You’ll like it if you already like: Hawaii 5-0, Scorpion, Criminal Minds, Lethal Weapon

Likely timeslot: Wednesday at 9 or 10


In comparison to the previous pilot season, reboots didn’t score this many pilot pick-ups. Cheers to that! You can count them on one hand: Behind Enemy Lines at FOX, Dynasty at The CW and S.W.A.T. at CBS. S.W.A.T. is even the reboot of a (failed) reboot since it’s inspired by the 2003 Sony movie of the same name -which starred starred Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez & LL Cool J. and grossed $207 million at the worldwide box office, which isn’t that great- that was based on the short-lived 1975 TV series produced by Aaron Spelling! The theme song of the show was probably more famous than the show itself: it only lasted 2 seasons (37 episodes) on ABC. The project with 100 executive producers received a pilot production commitment from CBS with series penalty behind it. Meaning it would have to really stink not to land on the schedule in less than two weeks now. And it doesn’t stink on paper, though it smells like sweat and male hormones. Oh and if you’re wondering before we start, S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons And Tactics.

CBS may have found a smart strategy to attract their viewers towards shows they may not have been attracted to in the first place: they use one of the stars of one of their long-running drama series to topline a new one. That’s what happened with Bull last year, a legal show tailor-made for Michael Weatherly when he decided to left NCIS. And it worked. Bull is not a huge success but it would have had less of a chance of success without Weatherly in the starring role and the NCIS lead-in. They’re doing it again with S.W.A.T. which is toplined by Shemar Moore, who starred in Criminal Minds for 11 years. It has yet to be seen if CBS will slot it around his previous show though but his Criminal Minds fans will check this out, that’s for sure. He will be perfectly fine in this and CBS is the right home for it.

Harrelson is a character who exudes calmness -and sexiness- but who’s always ready for action and has all the ability to become a leader: he’s just not happy with the political reason he just became one. His mentor has been fired after a burr and he’s chosen to replace him, partly because he’s black and knows better than his colleagues the people who live in the streets where they operate, while the “Black Lives Matter” movement is in full force in Los Angeles and the whole country. S.W.A.T. wants to be timely and seems to have found the best way to be. The writing is not particularly sharp and subtle but at least it’s not just about big guns and action, though in the end it mostly is. It’s not described as an intense, action-packed, procedural for no reason.

It starts with a high-octane chase of about 8 pages; there’s a car chase later of course; and some other chases until the end. It’s exhausting honestly but if you came for it, you’ll definitely be happy. The moments when they’re not running somewhere and catching bad guys are to be cherished. That’s when they talk -not only one-liners to make us laugh a little right in the middle of the action, because you know, they’re cool too- and become more than muscles. Though those talks often happen when they’re training, boxing or… making love. Women and gay men should get their weekly shirtless scenes so they’re not watching the show for nothing. They will even get a bit of soapy storylines thanks to one of the few female characters in there who happens to both Harrelson’s boss and… lover! And it’s against the rules… Drama!

S.W.A.T. is very much about Moore’s character -he’s in every scene- but other members of the team still manage to emerge, especially the new guy, Jim Street. He’s cocky, living on the edge and has earned himself a reputation as a loose cannon in his previous job (think Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon). I think it’s the 56th character who fits that description this season, but he’s still the most interesting one in there. There’s also David “Deacon” Kay, the second in command, who I like only because he’s played by Jay Harrington and I like Jay Harrington a lot. And let’s talk about Chris, who’s the only woman of the team. Well… I’d like to describe her to you in details but we don’t know much about her yet, sadly. I think they should have focused on her a little bit more. It would have lessen this impression that S.W.A.T is all about the men. I forgot to tell you about the case of the week. But… it’s just a case of the week, who really cares?

S.W.A.T. is not as light and fun as Lethal Weapon –of the rare stands out of this past season- and can’t be considered as ballsy but it’s doing the job it’s asked for, which is being very actiony, trying to be timely and most of all being the best vehicle possible for Shemar Moore’s skills. It’s a slam dunk for CBS. 

Presence (ABC) pilot preview: Meet Olivia Pope’s long-lost thug sister!


Created and directed by John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave, Third Watch). Produced by Michael MacDonald (American Crime, Xena: Warrior Princess). For ABC, ABC Studios & Stearn Castle. 53 pages.

Description: Presence Foster, a former Army veteran, finds herself interacting with a widely divergent and highly colorful cross-section of Los Angeles as she unintentionally begins a career as an unlicensed (unlic) Private Investigator…

With Stephanie Sigman (Spectre, Narcos, American Crime), Rick Gonzales (Rush, Reaper), Marcus Anderson

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ABC is doing something really right and very smart with talented writer, director and producer John Ridley through the deal they signed with him at ABC Studios. First, they gave him the greatest freedom to do exactly the series he wanted to. It became American Crime, one of the best, if not the best, network show on the air right now, low rated but impressive at every level. Against all odds, they even gave it a second season, which is even better than the first one by the way, a tour de force. And that is called keeping someone happy. Then, they challenged him with creating a detective drama, a genre ABC is not renowned for (at the notable exception of Castle, which is close to the end). But one he can be proud of. One that makes a difference. It is Presence. His next task? Developing a Marvel show. We still don’t have a clue about the character he’s writing for -some chatter say it’s Miss Marvel, ABC won’t confirm- and readers, that is called squeezing someone dry. They paid a shitload of money to get him and they won’t let it go to waste, obviously. And we’re all winners in this. Because like American Crime, Presence looks like something that requires all of our attention – and praise.

I know what you’re thinking, especially since I had the exact same thought when the project was announced: “yet another cop show *yawn*”. Well, no. There is just one cop in this show and it’s not our heroin. It’s Mike McKay, an officer from the LAPD, described as “a guy who knows where the gym is located‘. And that’s it! The other characters are not cops. This isn’t about catching bad guys. In fact, the people who hire Presence for an investigation are the bad guys. Because even bad guys need help, right? And she has no problem helping them, as long as money is involved. Presence is not your typical detective. First, she’s not licensed. Which makes a real difference. Second, she’s a bad ass. She fights like no other. She drives like crazy. She’s not afraid of anything anymore, or so it seems. She knows what is war, what is death, what is suffering. She lost family and friends. She’s fierce, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s sexy, she knows how to stay classy in any circumstances. And she has a complicated past that will be interesting to explore in due time. She was a bit of a thug. She was this close to go prison. To be honest, Presence Foster makes me think of Olivia Pope from Scandal, if Olivia Pope had been raised on the streets and then had military training. She certainly fits with ABC’s wide range of heroins, from Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy) to Alex Parrish (Quantico). She also drinks wine alone at night. There is no other way but to love her at first sight.

So yes, there’s an investigation and there will be one in every episode. Deal with it! But the whole fun -‘cos this pilot is really fun- lays on the way she investigates, the way she moves, the way she kicks ass and irritates and charms everyone, both at the same time. But she’s not the only reason why Presence is a cool show. The characters who surround her are all pretty convincing too. There’s Tre, her gay brother from another mother she only met 4 months ago and with whom she tries to have a real relationship based on trust. Which is not easy for him, trusting her. Their dynamic is engaging. Then there’s Manny, an ex-con who tries to be good and keeps Presence on the right path. Here again, that’s not an easy thing to do. You also have Jas, a near-Eastern woman that has history with Presence, and not a good one. Last but not least: Duchess Avedon. Yes, this is her name. She’s a very rich woman who lives in a big mansion and she happens to be Presence’s ex-mother in law. She does make an impression. Oh and let’s not forget Presence’s car. A black Marauder. She’s part of her story. A character in itself. As his her apartment. And music. Music is so important in the pilot. The plan is to hear some Sade, some Nina Simone… Good vibes. Classy stuff.

What I love about this script is how much John Ridley knows what he’s doing and what he wants. He has a real vision. He’s an author. He may be on a mission -finding a successor for Castle– but he’s not just here for the paycheck. It feels like he contemplated what’s been done before in the detective genre on TV to find what new he could bring to the table. And the answer is diversity (most of the characters are not white), some sort of feminism (think about it: most of cop shows are led by a male character or a duet of a man and a woman but not by a woman alone), a mix of a glamourous Los Angeles we’re used to see and another one, more dangerous and dirty, that networks tend to forget it even exists. And that’s exactly what Presence is: a stylish mix between elements from classical detective dramas and more serious cable shows like The Shield. Now that I think about it, it’s a bit like Jennifer Lopez’ Shades of Blue on NBC, but more sophisticated, sharper and definitely funnier

Presence is a cable show ingeniously disguised as a network show. And that’s how you try to fill the gap between those two types of television. It’s riskier than doing yet another reimagining of MacGyver or Nancy Drew, and we can only hope it pays off. It’s exactly the show FOX would have dreamed of to pair with Empire. They share some DNA. Instead, they got Rosewood. Which is the exact opposite of Presence. I’m not sure it can be billed as “the new Castle” for ABC but it has definitely what it takes to make an impression.