Fall Pilot Review – MY GENERATION on ABC

What? What a difference ten years can make. In 2000 a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high school seniors from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX, as they prepare for graduation, and revisits them ten years later, in 2010, as they return home to rediscover that, just because they’re not where they planned to be, that doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be. None of these students could wait to graduate and head out into the real world, but the world they were entering got very real, very fast. Personal, social and global events of the last decade shaped and altered their life courses, and when the documentarian reconnects with them, they’re faced with the questions of whether their old hopes and dreams were realized, what they’ve become and where they’re still headed.  Camera lenses takes us on a path of self-discovery, offering a window into the personal lives of these fomer classmates. There’s Steven Foster, “the overachiever,” who found it impossible to live up to his father’s expectations and escaped to Hawaii to become a surfer. Steven returns to Austin after a call from Caroline Chung, the shy “wallflower” in high school, who has decided to break the news that she’s raising his nine year old son, conceived on prom night.

Kenneth Finley, “the nerd” and all-around good guy, is now a teacher and wants nothing more than to have kids and a family of his own. He has created a sort of surrogate family in the meantime by allowing his former high school sweetheart, Dawn Barbuso, “the punk,” to stay at his house until her baby is born in three months. Dawn’s husband, Rolly Marks, Greenbelt High’s former star athlete and “the jock,” is serving his country in Afghanistan.  High school “beauty queen” Jackie Vachs returned to Austin when her Hollywood dreams didn’t pan out. She’s in a marriage of convenience to “rich kid” Anders Holt, and wears a thin veneer of polished marital bliss… until she bumps into Steven following his return to Austin.  Brenda Serrano, the class “brain” who thought she had found her soulmate in Anders, has not fully recovered from their high school break-up, despite her high-powered job working for a Congressman in DC. A call about her ailing mother will bring her back to their old stomping grounds. And The Falcon, “the rock star” free spirit, is still chasing his rock & roll dreams. Though producing, deejaying and tapped into the underground music scene, it’s his ties to his old friends that keeps him rooted.  The scripted drama follows the personal stories of these nine friends. The promises they thought their futures held, as well as how far they’ve come and just how they got here are all told through the camera of a documentary film crew.

Who? MY GENERATION stars Michael Stahl-David as Steven, Jaime King as Jacqueline, Kelli Garner as Dawn, Keir O’Donnell as Kenneth, Sebastian Sozzi as The Falcon, Mehcad Brooks as Rolly, Anne Son as Caroline, Daniella Alonso as Brenda and Julian Morris as Anders.  Based on a Swedish format entitled “On God’s Highway,” “My Generation” was created and written by Noah Hawley (“The Unusuals,” “Bones”), who is also an executive producer along with Warren Littlefield, Henrik Bastin, Peter Magnusson and Martin Persson. Craig Gillespie directed the pilot. The project is from ABC Studios.

Where/When? ABC, 8/7c Thursdays, before all new episodes of GREY’S ANATOMY.

Why (Why Not)? I want to say right off the bat that the show itself is not terrible.  I’ve heard from a lot of people out there that they didn’t like what they screened, but I thought it was a perfectly okay try at something kind of different.  Sure, we’ve seen the Talking Heads on the “documentary” comedies in the past few years, but this show embraces it full on and admits that they’re officially interacting with the Documentary crew, and we get an idea of why this Doc crew is around.  I think that the show needs to focus better on the relationships then or the relationships now, and less on incorporating every single character stereotype you can imagine and not exploring it.  Also, I am in this generation, that the show is based on – I graduated in 2000, like these guys did, and my school didn’t allow cliques to intermix, it just didn’t happen, so I don’t buy for a penny the fact that these 9 people would actually have been close, but maybe that’s me?   At any rate, it’s perfectly okay, and it’s something I will give a few episodes to convince me otherwise.

How? Not a bad DVR show.  Catch up on weekends; give it a few episodes before yaying or naying!