For Love (ABC) pilot preview: Cheesy Magic in New Orleans

Written and executive produced by Michael Cooney (Identity, 6 Souls). Also produced by Kim Moses (Gone, Conviction, Ghost Whisperer) & Ian Sander (Ghost Whisperer, Profiler, I’ll Fly Away). Directed by John Dahl (Kill Me Again, The Looming Tower, Ray Donovan, Justified). For ABCABC Studios & Sander Moses Productions. 59 pages. Revised Network Draft. 1/20/2018.

Description: Five years ago, Hope Castille, a journalist, lost the love of her life, Charlie, also a journalist, in a tragic car accident. Now she is finally ready to move on and has found a new love, Gabriel Dumaine, mayoral candidate and member or the Dumaine family, a historically important family in New Orleans. But when Hope gets a call from Charlie, her whole world is shaken as she is drawn into the underground world of magic in New Orleans…

With Lex Scott Davis (Training Day), Luke Arnold (Black Sails, Glitch), Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You), Jon Ecker (Queen of the South, Narcos), Rachel Skarsten (Reign, Lost Girl), Wolé Parks (Devious Maids, The Vampire Diaries), Chloe Wepper (Liv & Maddie), Isabella Russo

 

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Once Upon A Time, Witches of East End, Revenge…

Likely timeslot : Sundays at 8 (but nowhere to be found is even better)

 

This was a great read, people! A really great read. I devoured it like crazy… and laughed so really hard. It’s like the equivalent of a great page-turner, that you know is, in fact, very bad. You can’t help reading it but a voice in your head tells you “bad bad bad” in a loop. Great read, bad pilot. For Love is quite something. To be honest, it’s not like I expected much from it. Since the logline I knew. I knew they ordered it for bad reasons. Those reasons are still mysterious to me, though. Because I can’t even imagine there was not at least one better and more worthy pilot script than For Love in development. What’s with Michael Cooney exactly? It’s his third pilot pick-up at ABC after Runner in 2015 and Spark in 2016. And well, those two were not great either, but way better than For Love. I don’t want to make any assumptions but there is something really bizarre here… They probably saw it as a potential Once Upon A Time successor. But do they really need one for a show that is currently doing horrendous ratings on friday night? I don’t think so. Let it die and don’t even try to replicate its distant success.

Anyway, yes, it’s as cheesy as the title suggests. That’s not the only problem, though a big one that makes most of the early dialogues completely ridiculous. Cheesy can be charming and comfy. Look at The Good Doctor, ABC’s new hit. It can be sometimes, but it’s okay. Because you care about the characters and because the writing is solid. Other example: long-running Once Upon A Time again. What saved it even when it became really bad? The Disney brand. The famous characters. The nostalgia. There is nothing that can save For Love. Most of the characters are bland, one-dimensional, even the heroine. She has nothing special going for her. Except she’s a journalist, and I can’t think of a lot of journalist characters on broadcast networks right now. Her best friend is, for now, just her best friend. And nothing else seems to be going on in her own life. Uninteresting. The men are love interests, not much more. The dead one is a perfectly annoying prince charming kind of guy, while the alive one is flavorless. Both come off as corny, silly. Maybe the actors can make them more charismatic but it’s not like they chose them for their acting skills… The bitch? It’s soapy so of course there’s a bitch! Not even her can do magic! She’s not a “good” bitch. She’s certainly not nice but her bitchiness is not funny in action.

There’s one character though that I’m in love with. For all the bad reasons. She’s named Marie Jojo. Which is already funny in itself. She’s a 90 year-old woman, trapped in the body of a 12 year-old. Well, it’s more complicated than that but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say the Dumaines are actually immortal voodoo practitioners who transfer their souls from body to body so they can live forever. They adopted a poor child so Marie Jojo, the matriarch, can still make their lives a living hell every damn day! And I can’t wait to watch her scenes if the pilot gets picked-up. I mean, a 12 year-old talking like a mean grandma must be a precious thing to witness. It has every chance to look totally ridiculous! That’s where all the fun is. That’s how For Love must be watched, I guess. As a very guilty pleasure that even Lifetime or Freeform -and they know a thing or two about shitty shows- would even be ashamed to air. But really, that’s where it should end up just in case ABC Studios think that this jewel needs to exist for real. I know I’m very mean right now and I’m sorry for this. But when I get the chance to review something as bad as For Love, I do it with all my heart… and bile acid.

What else can I tell you? There’s a Russian psychic, a weird guy with a skull levitating by his sides, a whole fake circus coming alive with dragons, fire and eveything as part of a magic trick to scare the heroine. Can’t wait for the OUAT special effects team doing their magic! Rival families, a war which is brewing, our little Hope caught in the middle of all this, not knowing what to do and who to believe. But she keeps on moving “FOR LOVE” of course… I give you one thing, only one thing that I like about this script: its setting. New Orleans is not that much used for television shows. The Originals recently, season 3 of American Horror Story… And it’s too bad because there’s a rich history there to delve into. For Love doesn’t even try. There’s a great sense of the geography of the city, the old part of it, the more recent one. But does it say something about it? No. Not yet at least. One character is a candidate for mayor so there could be a political story to tell too. But honestly, will they ever make something out of it? Probably not. That’s not their subject. Their subject is magic. And their love triangle. And a TV show based on a love triangle can’t be good by the way. Love triangles are okay for a few episodes, maybe a few seasons if you’re inspired (Dawson’s Creek dit it, The Vampire Diaries too). But not an entire show.

I took a long hard look at this script. I read it from the first line to the last. I didn’t skip any. And I decided I didn’t want to be a part of it. AT ALL. Even though I shamelessly enjoyed it sometimes. For Love is ridiculous, simply ridiculous. And ABC isn’t that desperate. Nothing would justify a series order. Nothing! I sound very dramatic but I’m appalled by what I just read. If somehow they pick-it up, then it’s dark magic, voodoo dolls, I don’t know, but not the decision made by someone in his right mind. For the love of God, can someone cast a spell to erase it from ABC’s roster? 

One comment

  1. Kayell says:

    wow, talk about a twist.

    “Five years ago, Hope Castille, a journalist, lost the love of her life…” ugh, another mushy love show.

    “…has found a new love, Gabriel Dumaine, mayoral candidate and member or the Dumaine family..” ugh.

    “But when Hope gets a call from Charlie, her whole world is shaken…” ugh, some dangerous romance, girly show”

    …As she is drawn into the underground world of magic in New Orleans…” Oh, wow! Interesting

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