The Arrangement (E!)
Premiered March at 10pm
I was confused by this show’s title for a majority of this episode since it seemed to me like it was just one up-and-coming actress getting catapulted to stardom thanks to a strong audition with a megastar. There were a number of things that already seemed over-the-top and unbelievable, like everyone being completely wowed with this unknown actress’ reading and then her being whisked away by a new suitor with all the time in the world free despite earlier having to rush not to be too late to her audition after staying too long at her day job. But then this show lived up to the network that airs it by throwing in a twist in the last act of this pilot, something that was probably obvious and included in any descriptions of the show that those who knew what they were watching had read, that, even though they were genuinely falling for each other, it had to be something far more contractual with a whole game plan of their relationship trajectory for the cameras and the newspapers. I’ve never seen “The Royals,” the other scripted series that currently airs on this network, but I find this show to be extremely similar to Lifetime’s “UnREAL” in the way that it mimics its portrayed genre in its style, playing out like something from the tabloids rather than just a romantic television drama. I recognized Josh Henderson from his past work on the likes of “Desperate Housewives” and “Dallas,” and of course I know Michael Vartan from his memorable role on “Alias” over a decade ago. I think Christine Evangelista has potential as the series’ star, and I’m more excited about seeing Autumn Reeser, originally of “The O.C.” in a role that seems perfect for her. I don’t, however, plan on watching this show going forward – I don’t think I’m at all part of its intended audience.
How will it work as a series? It didn’t take much for Megan to go from thinking that this was a total joke on Kyle’s part to agreeing to sign the contract, and even that was a quick leap from her meeting him for the first time. With such tremendous jumps in trust and closeness, I can only imagine how far this show will go in a short time, and I think it’s going to be very hard for it to be tethered to any sense of realism or stability.
How long will it last? It looks like both the reviews and the ratings are both decent, not necessarily promising but not too bad either. I think that E! is still exploring its relationship with scripted series, and as a result I think this should play nicely to its established viewer base and likely garner enough attention to merit a renewal.
Pilot grade: C