Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pilot Review: Conviction

Conviction (ABC)
Premiered October 3 at 10pm

Pilot season brings a slew of new ideas and concepts to the small screen, some of which seem much more solid and lasting than others. The notion of a team investigating cold cases as a way to help free the wrongly convicted has some appeal, and it’s also something that has been explored before, on shows like “Cold Case” and “The Forgotten.” Why that team needs to be led by a woman who happens to be the party girl former First Daughter is a mystery, and while that does add another layer of intrigue, it also feels hopelessly random. Hayley Atwell is an interesting choice to play said character, Hayes Morrison, since, while she does have a history of defying authority on her most recent TV role, “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” she doesn’t strike me as the obvious choice for this far more scandalous and sordid role. There are a handful of familiar TV faces in this ensemble, starting with Eddie Cahill, who definitely doesn’t look like he did nearly fifteen years ago on “Glory Days,” as DA Wayne Wallis. Shawn Ashmore, fresh off the awful series “The Following,” Merrin Dungey, best known for “Alias,” and Emily Kinney from “The Walking Dead,” make up the rest of the recognizable ensemble, all given extensive backstories that make them curious and potentially volatile additions to the team. This show wants to be complex and engaging, but unfortunately it’s not nearly sensational enough to be appealing and too over-the-top the rest of the time to be taken seriously. This just isn’t a show that needed to exist.

How will it work as a series? After going after an easy win, the CIU is now being pitched more cases than it can possibly handle, which should allow the team to pick the ones they think are the most crucial. That could make individual episodes more exciting and involving than others, but I still don’t think the show has enough of an enduring hook.
How long will it last? Probably not long. The reviews weren’t great, and the premiere numbers were also not promising. ABC has other new shows that are faring better, and aside from the draw of having Atwell as the lead on another show, I think the network will part with this one pretty soon.

Pilot grade: C

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