Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pilot Review: Boomerang

Boomerang (BET)
Premiered February 12 at 10pm

It’s hard to find any truly original programming these days, with a whole bunch of previously popular films and television series being repurposed and continued in the present day, hoping to find an audience. In this case, it’s the 1992 film “Boomerang” starring Eddie Murphy, which this reviewer hasn’t seen. Given that the film was released nearly thirty years ago, it makes sense that the next generation would be the focus in what has been described as a straight continuation of its plot happening many years later. There’s a clear dynamic at play here, one in which Simone, the daughter of Murphy’s character from the film, lives in a privileged position because of her father’s success and often exerts undue influence as a result, yet all she wants is to be able to make her own, individual mark on the world, evident in her excitement at seeing a check that didn’t have her father’s name on it. On the other side of things is Bryson, who knows that he needs to work hard and should really listen to his instincts rather than let Simone reshape a winning pitch that he had made into something with her fingerprints all over it that was not what was ordered. This show is reminiscent of “Insecure,” though its protagonists come from very different backgrounds. The only performer I recognized immediately was Paula Newsome, who I first encountered on “Women’s Murder Club” and appeared much more recently on “Barry,” as Victoria, Bryson’s unforgiving boss. This show is fun for what it is, but it doesn’t appeal particularly to me.

How will it work as a series? Even though it cost him what could have been a great gig, Bryson does seem to value Simone’s input, and their futures are going to be interwoven, both professionally and personally. This is a setup that we’ve seen before many times, and though it’s formulaic to a degree, these characters should help it stand apart.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be pretty good, which is a major get for a remake of a movie so many years after its initial release. It already lost some of its viewers going from episode one to two, and they’re not as impressive as other series on BET. The network feels like a good fit, and I suspect this one will get a shot to prove itself in a second season.

Pilot grade: B

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