Hannah Royce’s Questionable Choices
Logline: A woman has made some interesting choices throughout her life – namely, having three kids with three different men – but all have led her to having a very unique, loving, blended family.
Cast: Alice Eve, Tyler Labine, Kyle Howard
Creators: Matt Tarses (W / EP), Aaron Kaplan (EP), Wendi Trilling (EP), Dana Honor (EP), Fiona Clark (EP), Steve Pink (D)
Studios: CBS TV Studios, Sony Pictures TV, Kapital Entertainment
This was one of the loglines that definitely caught my attention during initial pilot script pick-ups last year. The strong cast led by Alice Eve, and the fact that it’s single-camera, did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. Then I gave it a read and thought it didn’t quite meet my expectations. Did a second read do anything to further encourage me?
As we meet Hannah Royce, she’s frantically bolting through traffic to get her mixed-race son Jamie to a school interview. She gets into an accident with a guy in a Mercedes. Up pulls Barry, Hannah’s stoner ex, along with sullen teenage daughter Scarlett. Then her gay ex Lewis shows up along with teenage son Carter. Finally, Jamie’s dad, J.L., rolls up on a scooter, and before the Cold Open ends, the gang is all there.
For Act One, the whole group is back at home. They discuss various issues, including Carter getting into a fight, with each Dad revealing their character pretty strongly. It turns out Jamie has another interview the next day for the school admission, but Hannah has a work conflict at her hospital. The rest of the pilot is the Dads working together to get Carter to the interview, and Hannah trying to sneak out from her important work test to help out.
Some of my concerns cropped up during a second reading. The dads border on caricature occasionally and Hannah’s work scenes don’t work at all, but I also came to appreciate what was happening — there’s a lot of tracking laying, character-wise, to be paid off in subsequent episodes. This is basically like a gender-swapped Trophy Wife, and frankly a lesser pilot to that one, but I think the casting and set-up might be enough to give this pilot a real good chance of getting the greenlight.