Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pilot Review: Star

Star (FOX)
Premiered December 14 at 9pm

When something is working, there’s a tendency for it to be replicated. Take the superhero shows that are currently doing so well on the CW that they just featured a four-series crossover. That’s the kind of thing I like, where I’m much less thrilled about the notion of another music show. A few years ago, it was “Glee” and shows with songs performed throughout them that was big (and a few still do that, like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), but now it’s much more about “Empire,” which aired its season finale leading into this premiere, and shows that have to do with music and often feature performances of both original and familiar songs in their storylines as their characters try to make it big in the music scene. This one features a slight twist, which is that these three young women have an amazing connection to someone who can make it to the top, who in turn has a complicated relationship with a man who wants to make all their dreams come true. I feel like I’ve seen this show in some form so many times before and never particularly liked it, but there definitely is an audience who should be able to relate to the struggle to succeed against (sort of) all odds and make it big. Queen Latifah is the big name on this show chewing lots of scenery, though not nearly as much as Taraji P. Henson on “Empire,” and we also have Benjamin Bratt as the manager and Lenny Kravitz as another successful musician who just happens to be one of the young women’s fathers. That much star power could be helpful, but this show is going to be much more about the breakout stars if it succeeds, which, given its relatively uncreative premise and poor dialogue, I’m not sure I see happening.

How will it work as a series? Despite landing low-level salon jobs as their first big break, these ladies managed to score a major gig that allowed them to demonstrate their talents right away, which should at the very least give them unrealistic expectations of the music business. You also have that stabbing and attempted murder incident that’s sure to come back to haunt them along with plenty of soapy drama this show doesn’t need.
How long will it last? The show did pretty well in its initial airing thanks surely to being put right after “Empire,” and its success will be measured once it returns for its second episode on January 4th. The reviews, on the other hand, have been largely poor, and while I’m not sure that matters, it’s not exactly helpful. I’d predict that this one might make to a second season but nothing beyond that.

Pilot grade: C-