I checked out ABC’s new 10:00 p.m. Thursday night show. I’m of two minds about the show. First off, I will watch again, out of curiosity more than enjoyment. I won’t say it’s stunning or fabulous or amazing or give it any such accolade as I’ve seen it receive on other reviews. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but in my review of it, it came out as interesting, but that may not last. Secondly, the premise of the show is problematic from the outset, and that may be what causes me to cancel this from my DVR list. I don’t wish it to fail. I already enjoy Elementary at 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays, and while that isn’t as eye-catching as this show is, it has a solid base and CBS is very, very pleased with it – especially as they have sold it into syndication at purportedly $3 million per episode. Elementary, despite heavy competition from this show, will do just fine for several more years.
Now, on to what causes me to say this is likely short-lived on my DVR.
Viola Davis was very good in her “tough as nails” persona as a criminal law professor; however her character is absolutely unlikeable in every aspect. She cheats on her husband, is abusive to her students and staff, and is absolutely corrupt as an attorney: lies in court, manufactures evidence all while knowing her client is guilty and not caring whatsoever about the truth. Her stance is simply: I do my job, my client walks free. Well, that may be how some attorneys do operate – and, sadly, yes, some do operate that way. (And I work with some attorneys whose ethics I question.) However, attorneys with integrity do recuse themselves from defending clients they know to be guilty. AnnaliseKeathing has no integrity in any aspect of her personal or professional life. Not a lead character I wish to root for.
As for her students, well right from the beginning we know that four of them who are part of her ‘chosen’ group participated in the murder of someone and are seeking to cover that murder up…thus bringing to life the title of the show in a real and unfolding way. The use of the flashbacks are quite good and the show does do something unique in the Pilot in giving us the identity of the murdered victim, Keating’s husband. I do have to wonder though, since these events transpire a mere three months in the future, where does the show go once this big event unfolds?
I am a fan of serialized elements in a show, however, my preference is that the serialized elements not be so big at the beginning precisely because it leaves the creative minds few options but to go bigger and more dramatic going forward which often leads to forced drama and cliché events – sexual affairs, lies, betrayals, all of which this show has packed into the pilot episode so it’s likely that this show will very quickly become a caricature of itself before the first season concludes.
The students are interesting to watch in the beginning as they try to impress their professor and earn a spot at her firm; all but one of them compromised themselves to do it, leaving Wes as the lone character in this show with any sort of integrity, which won’t last as he is part of the four trying to cover up the murder of Sam Keating.
There is another mystery to be solved as well, the murder of Lila Stanguard, the college football hero’s girlfriend. The mystery of that will play out no doubt by weaving in and out of all these characters’ lives. There will also be a case of the week, (which no matter how often people dismiss shows with ‘case of the week’ formats, almost all shows have a procedural format to them, yes, even Scandal, another ShondraRhimes show) which will once again allow Keating to impart her experience to the students. I wonder which one will have sex this time in order to retrieve a key piece of evidence.
I’ll not dismiss it from the outset, and as I stated above, I have no ill-wishes for it. But it does seem likely that ABC will remain a network that entices me with nothing. Shame too, I used to watch a lot of their shows.
Coming soon, a review of The Blacklist – last season’s surprise show for me which gets better and better.
Thanks for reading, Elle2