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Thursday, September 22, 2016

PILOT REVIEW: Notorious

NOTORIOUS











Starring: Piper Perabo, Daniel Sunjata, Kate Jennings Grant, Kevin Zegers, Aimee Teegarden, J. August Richards, Sepideh Moafi, Ryan Guzman

Created by Josh Berman and Allie Hagan
Written by Josh Berman & Allie Hagan, Directed by Michael Engler

Is it a requirement for a show like this to have to start with a steamy love scene followed by a quick return to an intense job? Well that was the first of many, and I mean many, cliches that were used in the pilot of Notorious. The salacious (a less generous word would be trashy) drama is about the relationship between the media and the law. At the center of this back and forth is high powered newsmagazine producer Julia George (Piper Perabo) and hot-shot lawyer Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata). Julia works for a Nightline-type show hosted by Louise Herrick (Kate Jennings Grant) and Jake works at a law firm with his brother, Bradley (J. August Richards). What seemed like it might be a case of the week involving tech billionaire Oscar Keaton (Kevin Zegers) is actually part of a larger story.

I'm sure there are people out there who will enjoy a show like this. Those are the same kinds of people who probably check TMZ daily and revel in tabloid stories. Early on, I felt like this might be trashy fun but it soon devolved into a troubled show that ran in circles and it got nauseating before too long. I love watching shows with troubled anti-heroes like Don Draper or Frank and Claire Underwood. But these two leads were just plain unlikable, manipulating others and each other left and right for the sake of a quick fix. There wasn't much redeeming or complicated about the two lead characters so they were more annoying than anything else. And the acting was pretty bad too.

This was a show that seemed to look at the TV landscape and think "wow, people really love twisty shows like Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder" and then they proceeded to put approximately a zillion twists in the pilot. The problem with that is there was no time to care about anything or anyone in the pilot before it was a "gotcha again" moment. This is a show that has no interest in character building or slow build drama. It is all gloss and frills with no substance.

From characters hooking up with each other left and right to the aforementioned twists and turns that happened every 30 seconds or so, it almost felt like a parody of a show like Scandal. It was a waste of Perabo and Sunjata, who actually could be decent in a better-written show. I wouldn't say they gamely made the best of the material but they weren't the main problem here. This isn't quite as terrible as another steamy, twist one word show from ABC a couple years ago (Betrayal) but it's quite a weak placeholder until Scandal comes back. I wish ABC had used this slot for season two of The Catch, which had a cat and mouse feel too but was far more captivating (and oh by the way, it is a Shondaland show not a cheap knockoff). It's ironic that the show is called Notorious, because I have a feeling it's going to be forgotten pretty quickly.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
It is very unlikely.

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