Monday, September 29, 2014

Pilot Review: How to Get Away with Murder

How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Premiered September 25 at 9pm

Shonda Rhimes has done quite well for herself, managing to program an entire night on ABC with her shows. “Grey’s Anatomy” is now in its eleventh season, while “Scandal” is starting its four. Now, Rhimes is getting even more serious with this cleverly-titled show about a law school professor teaching a course about, well, you know. What this show does have going for it is Viola Davis, an actress I didn’t initially like when she earned an Oscar nomination for what I felt was no more than an adequate turn in “Doubt,” but I’ve come around to her more recently after “The Help” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” She has plenty of passion and fire in her, and she’s a great fit to play this famed teacher and lawyer who also happens to be having an affair with a cop more than occasionally involved in her cases. That’s the good; everything else doesn’t quite stack up. That she chooses favorites is irritating, and I’m none too impressed with the lot of them. This hardly seems like a terrific follow-up to “Orange is the New Black” for Matt McGorry, who played sympathetic guard John Bennett and here portrays the unapologetically annoying Asher Millstone. Ignoring the rest of the cast, I’m especially not into the murder plotline, which we’ve now seen involves the death of Annalise’s husband, illustrated through that always-unnecessary flashback. Maybe they’re just literally completing an assignment, but this is one course I have absolutely no interest in taking.

How will it work as a series? Presumably, each episode will involve a new case, though the murder of this college student is sure to take center stage, particularly because of its connection to the soon-to-be-deceased Sam Keating. As with Rhimes’ other shows, there’s going to be lots of sex, betrayal, and soapy drama to go with it.
How long will it last? Shockingly, it’s a hit! ABC did very well by putting all three of Rhimes’ shows in a row, and this show looks to be one of the biggest slam dunks of the fall so far. I’m sure ABC will capitalize on that and renew this show very soon.

Pilot grade: D+

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