My Take On….SCOUNDRELS from ABC
ABC’s SCOUNDRELS tells the tale of the West family. They follow the rule that the family that commits crimes together, stays together, until the patriarch of the family (David James Elliott) is thrown in jail for a much harsher sentence than they were expecting. Mom Cheryl (Virgina Madsen) decides then and there that her brood of criminals – Cal (Patrick Flueger), Heather (Leven Rambin), and Hope (Vanessa Marano) – would join the straight and narrow path that golden son Logan (also Patrick Flueger is a much better role), a new lawyer, decided long ago to follow. Along for the ride, and there to portray the long arm of the law, Tony Almeida, I mean Sergeant Mack (Carlos Bernard), doesn’t believe the Wests can handle it, and he promises to be there the next time one of them slips.
For starters, SCOUNDRELS, based on the New Zealand show OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, has a very recognizable cast that should bring in a following. Elliott has a decade of JAG under his belt; Madsen is very well known for all of the roles she’s played over the years. Flueger was one of my favorite parts of THE 4400; Rambin was last scene on GREY’S ANATOMY proving that she can bring the teen angst needed for Heather, and Marano is known to TV fans as the plot contrivance built into GILMORE GIRLS to break up Lorelei and Luke. Oh, and you know that I love me some Tony Almeida! A recognizable cast, however, will only get you so far.
I always believe that there’s never so much negative that you can’t find a positive when you’re talking about something bland, and if we’re looking for positive, I’ll give it to Rambin and Marano, who do have a sarcastic relationship that I can relate to (hey Brains)! Madsen, for all of the ridiculous dialogue she’s straddled with, holds her own, and could be an enjoyable matriarch to root for. But that’s where my positivity stops. I expect more from Flueger because I remember the depth he gave the character of Shawn Farrell on THE 4400, but he’s playing for a paycheck with the two roles he’s got, and he seems as anxious as I was to get it all over with.
I know that the cast is excited about the show, and for that, I’m willing to give them a second chance with next week’s follow up episode, but with all of the competition that SCOUNDRELS is facing on the cable networks, the slow and predictable pilot doesn’t do enough to wow the average viewer to bring them back for round two.