Miranda’s Rights (NBC) pilot preview: Grey’s Anatomy, legal edition

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Created and executive produced by Katie Lovejoy. Directed by Jennifer Getzinger (Mad Men, The Big C, Agent Carter). Also executive produced by John Glenn (Eagle Eye, The Lazarus Project, Allegiance). For NBC & Universal Television. 65 pages.

Description: Six years after a sex scandal with a politician upended her life, 28-year-old Miranda Coale finally gets a shot at redemption when she’s hired by a group of millennials living and lawyering together in a start-up law firm, The Young Law Group. That’s where her ex-boyfriend Tanner works, with Lana, his fiancée…

With Rebecca Breeds (Home and Away, The Originals, Pretty Little Liars), Parker Sawyers (Zero Dark Thirty, Southside With You), Jamie Chung (Once Upon A Time), John Gabriel, Monique Coleman (High School Musical, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody), Noel Fisher (Shameless US, The Riches), Ruffin Prentiss (Power), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage, The Mentalist), Gail O’Grady (American Dreams, NYPD Blue, Revenge)…

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Think what you want about NBC’s strategy to climb to the top again but it worked. They are back as the number one network amongst the Big Four. They did it with a mix of Sunday Night Football, The Voice, live events, the Chicago franchise –that keeps on extanding with another spin-off in the works, Chicago Law– the immortal Law & Order:SVU, actions dramas like The Blacklist –which will get a spin-off too– & Blindspot and lighter fares like The Night ShiftThe Mysteries Of Laura Shades of Blue. But no comedy. And with a certain lack of creativity. And obviously, no shame. They’re doing it CBS-style, when CBS was still relevant. Miranda’s Rights is a legal drama right in their new alley. I feel like they may have found another decent player to add to the game. And for once, one that I’d be happy to watch every week if the subsequent episodes are as good as the pilot promise to be. It’s light, it’s soapy, it’s shinny, it’s funny, it’s easy. It’s a job well-done, my friends!

You can easily compare Miranda’s Rights to Grey’s Anatomy when it began 12 years ago. Even the title and its pun suggests is. It’s more or less the same thing with lawyers –except they are not students anymore– which can’t be a bad news if you’re a Grey’s fan like me. ABC already tried something like this a long time ago, it was called The Deep End and it didn’t work, even though it was an honorable product. My biggest fear before reading the script was that it turned out to be just one more lazy copy, coming too late. But it’s way better than that. Writer Katie Lovejoy did it cleverly, with all her youth and modernity. So yes, you probably won’t like it if you’re not into Shondaland and serialized shows. And beautiful people. And shirtless scenes. And hook-ups. And heartbreaks. And voice-over –but one which is conscious it can’t make a Meredith’s impression. And cases which mirror the characters’ own demons. And no, it’s not something that you can bill as bold and original. But not everything has to be, as long as it entertains you efficiently and keeps you coming back.

Apart from the heroine, instantly endearing -I can’t wait to discover Rebecca Breeds, the actress they chose to play Miranda- what I love the most about the show is probably the fact they don’t just work together. They all live together in the same beautiful house in L.A., in front of the ocean in Manhattan Beach (Hello, Private Practice). They sleep together. They breath together. And they reinvent the rules together. They are tired of the big firms where it’s hard to get a job and even harder to stay on the job, where attorneys are unhappy because they are overworked, always milking their clients for every last penny… So they came up with this idea of “The Young Law Group”, where you can actually like your job, where you can offer a better service at a better price… It’s totally unrealistic, of course. But it’s a TV show and being a bit idealistic and dreamy never killed anybody. It can make us happy and hopeful for an hour. That’s quite an achievement.

As I wrote earlier, it’s modern. Like a Scandal can be. In the way those people think, the way Miranda became a pariah, nicknamed “Millenial Monica” –for Monica Lewinsky– the way they brand their company to get new clients, the way Twitter and other social medias are used. And even the cases they are working on resonates with the world we live in. Some are very earthy, human. Others are more sparkly. For example, one storyline is about fighting to get to represent Xara, a famous pop star. Plus, they embrace diversity. Miranda is a white girl but her ex is black, his new fiancée is asian; and there’s her buddy Shaun, who describes himself as “a half-black, half-Mexican bisexual from small-town Texas“. We also have Jacob, the crazy eccentric one, who does what he has to in order to rein in his rage. They all form a very interesting melting-pot of characters. Another good reason to be very satisfied with the script: a right amount of seeds are planted for future storylines, like a competition with another law firm, or the return of the man who killed Miranda’s reputation and career…

It’s not hard to envision Miranda’s Rights as a long-running show for NBC. It’s a fresh, smart and fun hour of television, very feminine and demo-friendly, that can sell worldwide. Legal dramas are definitely back in the game!

 

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