Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pilot Review: Telenovela

Telenovela (NBC)
Premiered December 7 at 10pm

This week, we got the second new show that NBC is premiering in January and previewing early with two installments. In this show, we get a different Latina actress known for an hourlong comedy - Eva Longoria - in a show that feels a whole lot like America Ferrera’s old series. This one is unapologetically a telenovela, using that as its premise but also feeling a whole lot like it in terms of many of its characters. Its format is much more of a sitcom, and not a terribly sophisticated one at that. Longoria was never considered to be one of the strongest players on “Desperate Housewives,” though she was perfectly cast for that role. The same is true here, allowing Longoria to really be ridiculous and over-the-top as a soap star who isn’t as popular as she once was and has to contend with a vicious costar who used to be the lead and an ex-husband who is now her costar and who got inserted into the show’s poster rather quickly. The only member of the supporting cast who caught my eye is Amaury Nalasco, who played Sucre on “Prison Break” and here gets to play up the silliness of his character, who especially in episode two got to have a wild plotline full of romance, betrayal, and passion. This show isn’t terribly sophisticated or particularly funny, and I think I’d much prefer to give its timeslot companion a few episodes to see where it goes rather than tune in to this one again.

How will it work as a series? The second episode, with Mimi’s sex dreams that turned into a whirlwind office romance, showed that this show is all about mirroring its show-within-a-show in drawing its salacious plotlines. There is sure to be some entertainment in there, but this show doesn’t hold a candle to something like “Jane the Virgin.”
How long will it last? Not long. While “Superstore” got off to a good start, this show didn’t perform as impressively, making its success all the less likely. We still won’t know until both shows arrive at their normal timeslots together on January 4th, but I wouldn’t count on this making it past February.

Pilot grade: C-

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