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?