Logline: Based on the 2013 book of the same name that picks up after Romeo & Juliet’s tragic ending, and follows the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues in the wake of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.
Cast: Dan Hildebrand, Lashana Lynch, Torrance Coombs, Zuleikha Robinson
Creators: Shonda Rhimes (EP), Betsy Beers (EP), Heather Mitchell (W/EP), Melinda Taub (author), Michael R. Goldstein (EP), Michael Offer (D)
Studios: ABC Studios TV, Shondaland
This is our Shonda produced pilot for the season. Romeo & Juliet has helped power many a feature spec sale in the last decade. A TV show on this topic was inevitable.
For you Shakespeare fans, all your favorites are here: Lady Capulet, Rosalind, Mercutio, Tybalt, etc. Dialogue is Shakespeare-esque, but not written in iambic pentameter (I don’t think). We do get some iconic lines — ie. Romeo, Romeo — wherefore are though Romeo?
This is what we call a premise pilot. It’s mainly setting up relationships to pay those off throughout the season. I’m shockingly a big fan of Romeo + Juliet, the Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes movie. This pilot plays things a little straighter than that movie. I thought the writing was quite good. It could have had a touch more fun, but that’s nitpicking.
My feeling is this is execution dependent. The topic has obviously has built-in brand appeal, it’s geared towards women, it has Shondaland producing. What does it not have going for it? Period piece, drama without much humor, and the cast doesn’t have any A-listers. This might be a can’t miss on the pilot, just for curiosity, so perhaps ABC should order some backup scripts?
Something tells me ABC will go with Broken, Presence, Conviction, Time After Time, The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez and, already picked-up, Designated Survivor. Channing Dungey apparently wants to go towards procedurals, so I’m saying pickup 3 producedurals and 3 other series that are more “on brand” with ABC.
ABC picked up 6 new series last series and it’s safe to assume they’ll pickup 5-6 new series. I just can’t understand in what world (Marvel) ABC would pickup Marvel’s Most Wanted, it has failure written all around. Why not avoid going down that road when all the signs are showing it won’t work?