Genre: TV Pilot – Drama
Premise: When their thought-to-be-murdered son arrives back in town 12 years after he went missing, a family who’s moved on from him must learn to rebuild.
About: This one comes from Shonda Rhimes disciple Jenna Bans, who’s written on Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. These Rhimes writers really know how to weave a good tale. Rhimes must hold some class about how to add the perfect amount of twists and turns to an episode, because whenever I read anything she’s involved in, I never get bored. There’s always some surprise coming that throws everything off its axis. The pilot for Flesh & Blood is being shot for, not surprisingly, ABC, and will star superstar character actor Joan Allen. No word yet on if it’s been picked up. The market is starting to get saturated with these “characters who return after a long time” shows and that might scare ABC.
Writer: Jenna Bans
Details: 62 pages – Revised Network Draft (January 18, 2015)

St-Patricks-Day-Hotels1Happy St. Paddy’s Day!  It’s magically delicious!

So I’ve FINALLY started watching House of Cards. I didn’t think I’d be interested in a show about politics but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The show is really well written, driven by clear goals and high stakes that keep all storylines on track and interesting. It just goes to show, if you write a show with compelling characters who have clear objectives and those objectives actually mean something to the characters, you can write about anything and make it good.

Speaking of “Cards,” it’s crazy how a career can blossom in this industry while others stagnate or never go anywhere. Beau Willimon was a nobody until he wrote Farragut North, which finished number 2 on the 2007 Black List. He had to wait 4 years for the film to get made (it was later retitled “Ides of March”) but the next thing you know, he gets in on the ground floor of Netflix’s original programming boom and is the creator of one of the biggest shows in television (House of Cards).

It’s why I keep telling you guys – it’s fine to break in with a feature, but have that TV pilot ready. That very well may be how you become a superstar.  It’s why I write these Tuesday TV articles.

As far as today’s pilot, I wasn’t expecting much. I just went down a list of pilot scripts in search of something that sounded good. This had a nice hook to it so I decided to give it a shot (another reason that a good hook helps – many people are just like me, scrolling down a list of loglines for something that sounds “interesting.”  Don’t be the idea that doesn’t sound interesting).

Claire Warren had the perfect family. Her husband, Peter, was tall, handsome, and smart. Her teenage son Danny was a high school football star. His younger sister, Willa, 14, was a mini-version of Claire, smart and ready to take over the world. And then there was Adam, the baby at only 8 years old. The apple of Claire’s eye.

Until she takes her eyes off the kids at the park, and Adam wanders off, never to be seen again. A manhunt is led by an ace young cop named Nina, who quickly pinpoints the neighbor, Hank, a registered sex offender, as the chief suspect. Although Adam’s body was never found, Hank was convicted, and sent to prison. That was that. Life moved on.

Until 12 years later, when a young man shows up at the police station, claiming he’s Adam. Things have changed a lot since 12 years ago. Claire is now the mayor, Peter a motivational speaker who lectures about loss, Willa a religious nut, and Danny a drunk. Each of them are notified of the miracle, which has since been confirmed by DNA, and the unthinkable happens – Adam moves back in with the family.

Claire loves her son more than anything, but is already thinking about how it might help her campaign for Governor. Hank, who is now an innocent man, is released from prison immediately, a chip on his shoulder bigger than the state penitentiary. And Nina, who put Hank away, has to revaluate everything she thought she knew. But the first order of business is to find out who was holding Adam captive for twelve years and arrest him. So a new manhunt begins. But are they going to find anyone? Or is Adam even telling the truth?

One of the things I’m starting to notice about TV is that if your hook is either non-existent or short-lived (today’s hook, while cool, is essentially limited to the first episode), then the characters themselves have to be “bigger” in some way.  Adam isn’t coming back to a normal boring everyday family.  Instead, his mother is  the Mayor.  Because of that, everything that happens with Adam feels “bigger” because it’s happening on a bigger stage.  If this were some poor family nobody cared about living in a trailer, the pilot’s going to feel pretty tiny and meaningless.

Another thing that’s becoming apparent to me the more TV I watch is the importance of exploring multiple characters in-depth. In features, you’re so focused on “Main Character” “Main Character” “Main Character” – and rightfully so. The main character in a feature has to be powerful and active enough to propel the story  through a limited run time.

But in TV, and even in the pilot, you have to show that you’re ready to explore multiple characters on an intense level. So we don’t just get scenes following Claire. We get scenes following Nina, who stands outside the courthouse when Hank’s released, wondering what the hell she’s done. We get scenes with Hank, who walks down the noisy glow of an American mall for the first time in 12 years.

One of the questions most producers will ask with a pilot is “Does it have legs?” Is this a story that can take place past a few episodes? One of the ways you achieve this is through multiple character exploration in your pilot. Give these characters their own scenes (not just scenes when they’re around your main character). Show us what they’re struggling with so we can anticipate what will happen in later episodes. For example, when I see Hank walking through that mall, looking at the small children, I know he’s a grenade waiting to explode. I can see that happening in episode 5, or 10, or 15.

Then there’s Nina. Her whole career has been built on being perfect. This screw-up now puts all of that in doubt. And you sense that that’s going to eat at her. So again, I’m anticipating I’m going to see this girl fall apart, or at the very least struggle through some tough shit before she gets her perp.

Finally there’s the family. Claire and Peter have built an industry on the loss of their child. How do you now keep those careers going when the child has returned? Add on top of that the mystery box that is Adam himself. Is he really their kid? If he is, why does he seem to be hiding something?  These are the things that tell me there’s more to this show than a pilot.

All in all this feels like a cross between Gone Girl and Little Children. The big glossy national coverage angle of a missing person case mixed with that dark eerie look at a rich suburb’s underbelly.  That sounds like a cool show.  I hope it lives up to the script.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[xx] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Flesh and Blood jumps back and forth in time a lot (we keep going from the present to the past, when Adam was taken). If you’re doing constant flashbacks in your script, consider italicizing the past stuff. It’s visually VERY HELPFUL to the reader. When the writer doesn’t do this, I occasionally find myself confused about if I’m in the past or present, which can totally screw up my interpretation of the story.  It is a risk though.  Some readers don’t like the eye-strain italics cause.  So proceed with caution!

  • fragglewriter

    Glad to see that Shonda Rimes is giving her writer’s staff a shot at their own show. I have a love/hate relationship with Shonda though. I do love the scenarios and concepts of her shows but hate the “soap Opera” aspect of it, because of its absurdness. I do agree that individuals have a distinct behavior and response, but some seem so childish that I have to say “really”?

    I would love to read this script if possible. Email to fragglewriter at yahoo dot com

    Thanks.

    • Somersby

      I, too, would appreciate a copy if anyone is willing to share. Thanks in advance.
      anvil at total dot net

  • martin_basrawy@hotmail.com

    This plot is similar to a recent comic from Image Comics called Birthright, wherein a kid goes missing and returns years later as an adult. Of course, in the comic he was abducted into a supernatural dimension where he fought demons, etc. I doubt this show will be as fun. lol

    • BellBlaq

      and The Face on the Milk Carton
      and Finding Carter
      and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
      and The Deep End of the Ocean
      and The Sound (which I don’t think got made, but Carson reviewed it in 2009)
      …but I guess the appeal of this show goes back to angle like Carson said a few weeks ago… this time the family’s “important,” and how that changes the scope of the story… for people who are interested in this kind of thing, that is.

  • leitskev

    Recently I watched(on Netflix) the modern British show Sherlock. The guy who plays Bilbo from the Hobbit plays Watson. Really, really well done in episode one.

    But then I found myself bored in episode 2. They used the same case solving style…what went wrong?

    It was easy to figure out. In episode 1, Watson is an unemployed doctor returning from the Iraq war with PTSD. He needs a place to live, and a friend introduces him to Sherlock, a young investigator who the police both hate and depend on for tough cases. Sherlock is eccentric and has no friends. So right from the start we have 2 characters that are perfect for each other, that need each other, and watching that bond grow drives the story.

    In episode 2, that bond is already formed, so it’s all about the case. Boring.

    True Detective avoids this by taking a brilliant approach, telling the story in two timelines, thus allowing us to both see the bond develop and at the same time see that the connection is broken, given us the desire to see it repaired. Which is really what the series is all about.

    • brenkilco

      Am not a huge fan of the new Sherlock but am impressed by how thoroughly the makers have immersed themselves in sherlockiana (yeah, that’s a word). The shows I’ve seen cleverly rework the original stories finding modern analogues for things that were written more than a hundred years ago. So, for instance, in the first episode Holmes tells Watson scads of stuff about himself just by examining the condition of his cell phone. The same bit exists in the original Study in Scarlet. But the object being examined is a pocket watch. Lots of fun if you like the stories. And the relationship is what it is. Holmes and Watson are not the guys from True Detective.

      • leitskev

        But there ARE like the guys in True Detective. Or like Felix and Oscar in the Odd Couple. The thing is that they complete the process of them bonding in episode one…so the personal side of the drama is over. All that remains is the case stuff. That’s not enough! There’s no question of whether they will become friends and partners. They already have! There’s very little friction between them in episode 2. Watson has already learned his injury was psychosomatic and has discarded his cane. There is no longer any need for growth.

        • brenkilco

          Well, considering we’re talking about arguably the two most enduring characters in literature, or perhaps all media, it seems they somehow managed to finesse their lack of growth.

          • leitskev

            I am just approaching it purely from the angle of story mechanics. Episode 1 worked brilliantly because there was an arc for their relationship. The crime they were working on was more or less incidental to the story.

            Episode 2 had ONLY a crime case. So it’s ONLY a trail of clues, and it becomes tedious without reward.

            It presents a difficult challenge as a writer for doing a series. It’s probably not possible or wise to stretch out the arc of the Watson/Holmes relationship over a season. So what do you do? I don’t know, but when there is no relationship arc or other dramatic element, it feels empty and dull. And I did not go into episode 2 with any expectations. I simply watched because I enjoyed the first show. It was only when I found myself bored in the second episode that I started asking myself why…and the answer came quickly.

            Standard in something like this would be to have new obstacles appear that threaten to rupture their relationship before it fully cements. Such as a woman!

          • Citizen M

            But Holmes and Watson are not supposed to arc. They’re like James Bond in that respect. You should watch Sherlock to see how he uses his intellect to solve crimes, not for any insight into human nature.

          • leitskev

            The Robert Downey movies have been HUGELY successful precisely because of the Holmes/Watson relationship. In that version, Watson has recently moved out from the bachelor pad he shared with Holmes because he wants to grow up. They’ve been working cases and drinking and gambling and carousing like any aging bachelors, and Watson knows he has to grow up before it’s too late. But he’ll miss it. Holmes, on the other hand, doesn’t want things to change. He uses the lure of solving cases to try to bring Watson back in, and he causes friction with Watson’s new fiancee. Basically Watson and Holmes are a couple, and the director floods the movie with suggestions of homosexual attraction on their part…but it’s basically a buddy movie. We want to see them end up staying as a team, and Watson’s desire to grow up is getting in the way. It’s that relationship that drives the movie…that’s why the movie is so successful…that’s there the chemistry comes from.

          • brenkilco

            I’m sorry, but if you are citing those dim witted, cartoonish, visually epileptic, CGI happy Guy Richie Holmes movies as examples of anything other than the degeneration of film storytelling and the mental decay of the audience then I don’t know what to say. Don’t care how much money they made or how much rudimentary friction there was between Holmes and Watson. Downey wasn’t Holmes. He was just doing his hyper, smart ass, Downey thing. Jude Law did the best he could in the circumstances. The things were travesties. Conan Doyle was one of the great plotters and storytellers, and deserves more respect. Which, despite the sometimes hyperbolic visuals that infect the new TV show, is what he gets with Sherlock.

          • leitskev

            I don’t know if the story pleases Sherlock Holmes/Conan Doyle devotees, and I don’t appraise it on those merits. I only know it’s very effective story telling, and THAT’s why it has done so well.

          • Levres de Sang

            I think you’re actually being a little generous with “sometimes hyperbolic visuals that infect the new TV show”… For me, they render it unwatchable! Although please bear in mind that this opinion comes by way of a traditional Holmes admirer — especially the masterful Granada TV adaptations of the mid-1980s with the incomparable Jeremy Brett.

          • brenkilco

            Yes, Brett was great. Amazing that he was able to make the character so completely his own after so many had already played it.

          • filmklassik

            “Empty and dull”? Are you really insisting that the solving of an intriguing mystery can never be compelling all on its own? Isn’t there an entire corpus of detective literature, detective movies and detective TV shows that belie that assumption?

            Or did you mean that a story that focuses primarily on solving a mystery can never be compelling to YOU?

          • leitskev

            First of all, I have to be honest, from your tone you appear to be somewhat of an ass. The “somewhat” is a failed attempt to be polite.

            This is a place to try to discuss how to make scripts/stories stronger. To identify problems. My comment was just an attempted contribution to that. If you are a serious writer, which I doubt from your tone is the case, you know that feedback on what people like or don’t like in story is ALWAYS useful. And always subjective. And that feedback is even better if the person giving it tries to identify WHY something worked or didn’t work.

            I felt the second episode was dull. I tried to identify why. It may also be that the mystery itself was not compelling enough…and it wasn’t. Another problem with the show’s format is that they flood you with clues and information in a way that is somewhat tedious and overwhelming.

            Are there people that will still enjoy this second show? Sure. But there was a drop off in the story’s appeal, and that drop off was due the cessation of character development. What worked exceedingly well in the first episode was complete by that episode’s end, and nothing was brought in to replace it.

            I’m a big fan of the old school mysteries like Hammet and and Chandler, but much of the appeal in those stories is due to style. The modern Sherlock is not built on style, and it’s not a period piece so it loses that potential aspect. I thought the first episode was brilliant, and the second was flat. Maybe later episodes recover the brilliance. If I’ve poked you because this is your favorite show or something, I hope you can get over it.

          • filmklassik

            Ha! “Somewhat” of an ass? I’ll take it! (And I’m frankly relieved you left out the “hole” part. Or was that you just being polite again?)

            But getting back to our original conversation, I do think you’re starting to back-peddle a little, because just now you said that —

            “Another problem with the show’s format is that they flood you with clues and information in a way that is somewhat tedious and overwhelming”

            — which would indicate that THIS PARTICULAR SERIES doesn’t handle mysteries very well, but only a short few hours ago you sounded more sweeping and prescriptive about the genre overall, saying for example that —

            “In episode 2, that bond is already formed, so it’s all about the case. Boring.”

            And —

            “All that remains is the case stuff. That’s not enough!”

            And —

            “Episode 2 had ONLY a crime case. So it’s ONLY a trail of clues, and it becomes tedious without reward.”

            — which is why I hope you’ll forgive me for believing (mistakenly, perhaps) that your advice to other writers might be interpreted as, “Mysteries on their own simply aren’t sufficient to command attention.”

            Which of course is just wrong. Not if they’re handled well.

            But once again, I’m sorry if I misunderstood you.

          • leitskev

            “Are you really insisting that the solving of an intriguing mystery can never be compelling all on its own?”

            That’s where you went wrong. You converted what I said to something so sweeping that it no longer resembles what I said in any way.

            My point was that in both episode 1 and 2, we had the solving of a case that was similar in style. In both episodes, we know next to nothing about the victims as characters, they generally are just corpses. There are no stakes for any characters we know as far as solving the cases(unlike, for example, Columbo). And in both cases we get flooded with clues at breakneck speed.

            And yet while I loved the first, I was bored during the second. Since the case being solved was similar in the ways I mentioned, what was different? That’s why I identified what I did: the relationship of Holmes and Watson(there was also an element of mystery about Holmes brother in episode 1; that helped).

            There was no backpedaling on my part at all. And you draw your conclusion from my advice correctly…just too strongly. Simply building a show around a trail of clues is weak. Good luck with it. It’s terribly handicapped. There NEEDS to be other things. But there are different things it could be. In the case of Holmes and Watson, their relationship is a good place to start. This is common for buddy cop shows like True Detective.

            Columbo is effective for other reasons that separate it from just plain clue solving. For one thing, it’s about getting close to the killer, which happens in every show. That creates drama and tension. And of course there is style and appeal in Columbo himself. If these Columbo shows had been simple clue solving they would have failed completely.

            The more compelling the mystery, perhaps the less necessary these dramatic elements might be. But it takes something pretty compelling to overcome that need, and my point was to show how important that other stuff is. Clue solving alone ain’t gonna cut it.

          • filmklassik

            Well, you happen to be talking to a dyed in the wool COLUMBO fan… although I’m aware that only a handful of episodes were truly first-rate. But I agree with you, the cat & mouse stuff pretty much always worked on that show. In fact it’s a template that was so sure-fire (or as sure-fire as any template can be) that I’m surprised we haven’t seen a dozen or more clones of it cropping up since the seventies. Instead we’ve had maybe three.

            But I do think you’re being too sweeping and dogmatic here (As for instance, “Clue solving alone ain’t gonna cut it”) because you’re overlooking the fact that different stories have different imperatives. You’re right, TRUE DETECTIVE was dependent on the chemistry and evolving relationship between its two main characters to sustain our interest and proved to be hugely successful in the bargain…

            … but it wasn’t more successful than LAW & ORDER, which had ZERO character development from week to week (indeed, there was a veritable revolving door of well-written but one-dimensional heroes throughout its run) and instead focused EXCLUSIVELY on the crime-solving. Y’know, on the clue solving alone that ain’t supposed to cut it.

            And that show lasted for twenty years and a kazillion episodes, and I understand it does very well in re-runs, too, so people are obviously compelled to watch it. (Though for what it’s worth, I personally am not one of them.)

            Once again: Different stories have different imperatives.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Not sure I liked episode 2 either.
            Not sure why.
            Don’t mean to sound like an argument —
            but I remember watching the MORSE detective series on PBS.
            What people seemed to like was that Morse was mostly always himself
            and Lewis was always Lewis. The audience loved the characters. And they were complete opposites.
            Morse had feelings for Lewis even though he thought Lewis inexperience and at times annoying. Lewis also had feelings for Morse, even though he though him grumpy, stubborn, and condescending towards his efforts.
            People didn’t want the characters to change. They wanted more of the same. With only an occasional admission that they needed each other. (That is something the audience always knew.)

            It’s been said — the difference between movies and television is this:
            In movies, the character has an arc. In television, they stay the same.

          • leitskev

            Keep in mind, I said their relationship had an arc. Though the characters do too. Watson learns he has PTSD and that his limp is psychosomatic. He also learns that what he misses most might be the action, the sense of purpose. Holmes is slowly accepting he might not be the easiest to get along with, that he likes having a friend and partner, and that he may have to make some slight changes to make that work.

            I am intrigued by the model of True Detective, where TV is not episodic. Instead the story runs a season. This is now much more possible because people are watching on demand.

  • romer6

    This looks good. There are so many shows on right now that I can´t keep up with my watching list. And then there is Daredevil coming up and I don´t even have Netflix yet. Damn it. I really think TV (as well as online TV) is pushing the bounderies of entertainment and imagination, there is something for every taste, it seems.

  • mulesandmud

    Noticed this as soon as I opened the script:

    CHYRON – PRESENT DAY

    For those who haven’t come across the term before, ‘Chyron’ indicates text that appears on screen, the same as TITLE CARD or LEGEND or LOWER THIRD. The word comes from the name of a company that did a lot of that kind of on-screen text in pre-digital television days. Like calling a photocopy a Xerox.

    Usually, that word is the mark of a veteran; if not somebody who was around in the early days, then someone who came up in a writer’s room that used that term in its house style (many still do, in fact).

    Anyway, just a reminder of how the biz changes over time, and of all the weird vestigial shit that ends up stuck in the machine long after everyone forgets how it got there.

    This one may not be the most useful tidbit of all time, but still, it points at the glacier of film and television history beneath the surface trends that take up most of our conversation.

    Too many folks, amateur and pro alike, tend to ignore or overlook the parts of the game that don’t seem directly relevant to the industry or their goals right this very second, but in the long game, that’s both a strategic and an artistic mistake.

    It pays to know not only the craft, but the history and culture of that craft, too. A writer’s work is never done.

  • Poe_Serling

    A character who disappears for whatever reason and then shows up years later can be a powerful emotional hook if done right.

    >>The Return of Martin Guerre (1982) – Just a great film.

    >>Sommersby – the American remake of Martin Guerre. I actually liked that the filmmakers set the story during the years after the Civil War. Not as good as the original, but Gere and Foster try their best.

    >>The Deep End of the Ocean – I highly recommend the book. The ending packs a real wallop. I thought the film version was just okay.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Enjoyed The Return of Martin Guerre too, was always amused how anyone could mistake Gerard Depardieu for anyone else. It’s like confusing the Elephant Man with Clark Gable.

      And anything with Nathalie Baye is always a plus.

    • brenkilco

      Interestingly, Alfred Hitchcock for years was rather obsessed with a play called Mary Rose by J.M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. It concerned a woman who disappears while visiting an island and then returns to her family years later, not having aged. No one else apparently thought it had any commercial potential so while it was frequently touted as an upcoming project of his it never happened though Hitchcock actually had a screenplay written.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey brenkilco-

        If you’re interested, you can read the completed screenplay for Mary Rose by Jay Presson Allen… just go here:

        http://www.stevenderosa.com/writingwithhitchcock/stevenbio.html

        Then hit HOME… you can find a link to the script under the “Unproduced Projects” section of Derosa’s Writing with Hitchcock website.

        • brenkilco

          Thanks, you can really find some amazing, obscure stuff online. And even though the site is sort of an elaborate ad for this guy’s book it’s still looks interesting. The sad thing is I’ve read so much Hitchcock stuff that even though I don’t think I’ve read this particular book I’m not entirely sure.

        • Levres de Sang

          Carson even reviewed it back in February 2013!

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Thank God Carson didn’t spell “St. Patty’s Day” like some dyslexic wannabes I know.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Somebody who knows that “House of Cards” is originally British!

  • ripleyy

    I hate Scandal. It lost me at the pilot. It’s like everyone is speaking after a sugar rush and the direction was so frantic it would cause Tony Scott to roll in his grave. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paul McGuigan (he’s one of the most creative directors working today. Just need to watch “Push” and his “Sherlock” episodes to see) but it was so disorientating to watch and to listen that I just gave up.

    This sounds good, but it hardly has a shelf life above two seasons. Which really boggles my mind – why do people insist on writing shows that don’t seem to have a very long lifespan?

    • charliesb

      i think 3-5 seasons is a good lifespan for a tv show. Too many shows go on and on, well past their expiration date and keep churning out stories that eventually lose sight of the original premise of the show (i.e. everything on the CW).

  • carsonreeves1

    The Imposter was one of the stranger stories I’ve ever seen. That film leaves you scratching your head.

  • Levres de Sang

    Another hidden SS 250 tip, I suspect… “Don’t be the idea that doesn’t sound interesting.”

  • Malibo Jackk

    Curious.
    What’s the film industry in Ireland like?

  • klmn

    Considering the scripts Carson picks for Amateur Fridays, it’s really hard to guess what he finds interesting. At least it is for me.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Sci-Fi, Horror, and Comedy with bathroom jokes.

  • Poe_Serling

    OT: Fun to see that the film Crimson Peak is starting to generate some positive buzz before its fall release date.

    From Stephen King: “Was treated to a screening of Guillermo Del Toro’s new movie, Crimson Peak, this weekend… Gorgeous and just f–king terrifying… electrified me in the same way Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead electrified me when I saw it back in the day.”

    From Joe Hill (King’s son): “Del Toro’s blood-soaked Age of Innocence, a gloriously sick waltz through Daphne Du Maurier territory.”

  • klmn

    OT. There’s a major solar storm going on, so folks in the north might want to take a look tonight.

  • jasondean

    If anyone has a copy of the FLESH AND BLOOD pilot, I’d love to give it a look. Thanks in advance!

  • charliesb

    I immediately thought of that documentary as well.

    Speaking of IMPOSTER. EVERY FRAME A PAINTING did a great piece on storytelling and how the director put that film together. Take a look (if you’ve seen the film)

  • http://glintoflifeblog.blogspot.com/ K.Nicole Williams

    I’d like this too if anyone would be so kind.

    kn.williams@gmail.com

  • Bifferspice

    “One of the things I’m starting to notice about TV is that if your hook
    is either non-existent or short-lived (today’s hook, while cool, is
    essentially limited to the first episode), then the characters
    themselves have to be “bigger” in some way. Adam isn’t coming back to a
    normal boring everyday family. Instead, his mother is the Mayor.
    Because of that, everything that happens with Adam feels “bigger”
    because it’s happening on a bigger stage. If this were some poor family
    nobody cared about living in a trailer, the pilot’s going to feel
    pretty tiny and meaningless.”

    i disagree with this. depending on execution, as is everything, but the premise/hook is enough to get you to stay to know the characters, and if the characters are good enough, then you’ll be fine, whether they’re trashy scumbags, or a poor family living in a trailer.

  • Sean Reardon

    I’m with you, RLG. Network TV is dead to me. I actually gave “The Slap” a chance, and for about 15-20 minutes, it was fairly entertaining, but soon after that, it went to downhill, rapidly. Same old tired cliches, the biggest offenders making me hit the gong where, the MC screwing a co-worker, and his “rightous” brother screwing the baby sitter, wh is also an intern for his wife. Truth be told, I only watched it to see Thandie Newton ;) Is it me, or does every show need to be titled, “American” somethng or other, these days?