You’ll like it if you already like: The Unit, Quantico.
Likely timeslot: None.
Every year, there are two or three pilots that I have a really hard time reading until the last page because they’re so boring (and a hard time writing on it subsequently…). And my little experience proved me that a boring script always turns into a boring pilot, no matter what the director or the actors do. The only fact that The CW picked-up Valor to pilot is a mystery. It doesn’t fit with their line-up, it doesn’t correspond to what the majority of their viewers are looking for and well, it’s just not good enough to be granted one in my opinion, especially when you only pick six! So what happened? Still trying to figure this one out.
No big names are attached, unless Beauty & The Beast producer Bill Hader is considered as one at the young-skewing network. And no big The CW star used to make it more appealing. Here’s the only reason I found: the network president Mark Pedowitz has been looking to launch a military-themed series for a long time. Three years ago, he picked up Navy base pilot Company Town (which was slightly better) and he’s the one who launched Army Wives back when he ran ABC Studios. It still doesn’t explain why he thinks it’s a good idea, but at least there’s that. I don’t feel like there are so many military drama amateurs out there but we found one.
Valor is not a soap hidden behind a military drama, in case you were wondering or even hoping. It really is a military drama, heavily serialized, with some unconvincing soap elements and a conspiracy at the center. If you replace the military part with the FBI or the CIA, you get Quantico. Except Quantico‘s pilot script was a thing of beauty in terms of efficiency. Valor‘s can’t compare. Like Quantico, the drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks, which is not a good sign since that’s what killed the ABC show (though it’s not really dead as of now). Honestly, it’s already hard to care about the events happening in the present, so caring about the past is like a suicide mission. Add to the mix a season-long plan about the rescue of a group of MIA soldiers and you get a way too complicated show for an audience who’s not even remotely interested in the first place. No OMG moments to wake you up. No sexy scenes to distract you. Unless you’re really fond of action scenes -there are plenty of it- and a chopper lover, you’re in for a snoozefest.
Valor only has one good thing going for it in fact: its female perspective on a world mostly dominated by men. It centers on Nora, an intense and driven junior Army pilot who is a member of the Night Raiders special ops unit. And though I didn’t fall in love with the character, I still find her interesting and unusual for a female lead. She is partnered with the more experienced Gallo, an aging hipster, and together they fly choppers in and out of the hottest hot spots in the world (but in the show expect the world to look like Atlanta and its surroundings all the time). They share a secret that must never come to the attention of the Army. It is linked to a botched mission in Somalia that left a pair of American servicemen in enemy hands. Even if I wanted to tell you more, I couldn’t. Was too bored to understand what was happening. The other characters are bland. I don’t remember one clearly.
Which network will have the biggest and noisiest military drama? Certainly not The CW! Valor is a weak contender, flying under the radar, ans has very little chance to be ordered to series anyway. Those who are interested by this type of shows are more likely to give a chance to For God And Country at NBC or CBS’ Navy Seal Drama.