Judging from Walden’s reported remarks at a recent conference, Fox is proud of its socially relevant storylines, but not at the cost of entertainment.
Other than Orville, social consciousness ties Behind Enemy Lines, The Resident, and Controversy together. Each pilot deals with a very specific and high stakes social issue: civil war and Islamophobia (Behind Enemy Lines), medical negligence (The Resident), and campus rape (Controversy).
Conflicts of interest feature strongly in each pilot, used effectively to create internal struggles within protagonists, as does institutional corruption. There’s a bit of Paths of Glory running through each of these. While Fox certainly gets us thinking, it keeps us entertained too — we’ve got romance, betrayals, murder, crises, and classic soapy structures. I’m calling this the “social soap.”
Both Controversy and The Resident are at par, with Controversy leading the pack in terms of craft and entertainment value. I’d be surprised if they don’t join the Marvel series on the fall schedule.
While Behind Enemy Lines has its source material and military themes going for it, I’m not sure IP and trends have proven to be all that successful lately. Plus, it’s an expensive show. Does Fox really need this? I don’t believe so.
Ashish is a publicist, screenwriter, and script analyst, currently reading for a coverage company and a film financing platform, among other individual clients in the US and UK. The views expressed here are entirely his own.
Ashish Mehta | Contributor