Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pilot Review: Still Star-Crossed

Still Star-Crossed (ABC)
Premiered May 29 at 9pm

I mentioned this show to a few people as a continuation of the story of Romeo and Juliet, to which they all sarcastically replied that it ends with them both dead and therefore can’t go anywhere else. A large chunk of this premiere episode was devoted to telling a tale that everyone knows the ending to, with Romeo dramatically uttering “Die I” and killing himself because he thought his beloved was dead, only to prompt her to do the same thing once she saw him no longer living. That famous story is epic enough without needing a sequel, yet this messy period piece desires to extend it anyway. This was never going to be my kind of show, so I’m not surprised that it didn’t entice me, but I do think that, even if I had been looking forward to it, I wouldn’t have been impressed. The characters are far from interesting, and there are too many interwoven love stories to keep track of or stay interested in. I only recognized two actors in the entire cast, both from their original appearances on “Lost,” Grant Bowler and Zuleikha Robison, as the heads of the warring families who are sure never to see eye-to-eye until they inevitably start sleeping together. This show’s title is an odd example of an in media res name, which assumes something that came before it and mistakenly presumes that its audience will be interested in what comes next. I really don’t think that will be the case, and this series should be short-lived.

How will it work as a series? Three-quarters of this pilot’s time was spent on Romeo and Juliet, and now with both of them dead we’ll have to focus on the surviving characters, who aren’t quite as idealistic or starry-eyed as their predecessors. Many will surely die, there will be lots of forbidden sex and love, and it’s all one big soap opera in the style of executive producer Shonda Rhimes.
How long will it last? Premiering this show on Memorial Day was a strange choice that didn’t make particular sense, and I’m sure that ABC is regretting that decision now considering its very poor ratings performance. The reviews haven’t been too great either, so I’m certain this won’t last beyond its initial episode order if it even goes that long.

Pilot grade: C-

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