THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: ABC COMEDIES

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Raised by Wolves

Logline: Sheila Gable is one tough mother struggling to support her five opinionated, eccentric kids on a shoestring budget in a Midwestern town. Based on the UK series.
Cast: Georgia King, Craig T. Nelson, Izabella Alvarez, Talia Jackson, Cooper J. Friedman
Creators: Diablo Cody (W/ EP), Greg Berlanti (EP), Sarah Schechter (EP), Caitlin Moran (EP), Kenton Allen (EP), Caroline Leddy (EP)
Studios: Warner Bros TV, Berlanti Productions, Big Talk Productions

The words “Diablo Cody” and “network comedy” are not ones you’d necessarily associate with each other, but that’s what we have with Raised By Wolves, a remake of a UK show that would fulfill ABC President Dungey’s mandate to not just focus on coastal elites (something The Middle has done well for many years now).

Sheila is a no-nonsense midwesterner, raising four daughters, one son, and buying a vodka rifle alongside a whole lot of off-brand cereal at the local club store. The wiener factory Sheila worked at has closed down, her van is on its last legs, and her father occasionally comes over to take a nap… in the nude. The rest of the episode just kinda follows a day in their life: grampy admits he was kicked out of the house by his wife, a daughter goes to profess her love to a boy, and the family stumbles upon a meth lab that they call into the police to get a reward for.

You can tell in reading this that Cody has no interest in fitting inside the “network tv” box. I say that in the best way possible. This isn’t a premise pilot, and not a lot changes or really happens. What we end up with is a very well done portrait of a struggling midwestern family. It’s like an indie film cut down to a half-hour. The specificity and dialogue is quite well done. There are a few frustrating Cody-isms — characters with ridiculous names, kids too hyper-literate for their age — but even those seeming anomalies have become the norm in culture, so she’s really just capturing the world as it is. It will be interesting to see the Nielsen reaction to this, if, as Dungey contends, there’s pent-up demand in middle America for this type of television.

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