Spring TV Roundup, Week 1


Spring is here, and it brings with it a flood of new series. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Spring. Don't see a new show listed below? You can check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
Shots Fired, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX (Premiered March 22)
About: FOX is looking to get into the anthology series game with "Shots Fired," a series whose first season focuses on a police shooting in a small southern town. The twist here is the officer is African American and the victim is a white man looking to make a drug deal. Soon a special prosecutor (Stephan James) and investigator (Sanaa Lathan) are brought in at the behest of the governor (Helen Hunt) to try and get to the truth. That quickly leads them to the death of a young African American man, one whose case is getting no publicity. And it leads them to the suspicion there is more going on with the Sheriff's department than it first appeared. This is a timely and interesting premise, and there's a lot of potential here. The show was created by the husband and wife team of Reggie Rock Byethewood ("Biker Boyz," "Notorious") and Gina Prince-Byethewood ("Love & Basketball," "Beyond The Lights"), and they are clearly passionate about this topic. Police shootings and community relations with law enforcement is an important subject. This show has the potential to explore that in depth. However, I wasn't wild about the pilot. There is a lot going on, and while the investigation is compelling the personal life of the investigative team — which seemed to get equal air time — was less compelling. I like the cast here and the potential, so I'm hoping that subsequent episodes dig deeper into these larger issues.
Pilot Grade: C

Streaming Series:
Ingobernable, Now Streaming on Netflix (Debuted March 23)
About: This is a new original Netflix series that is a Spanish-language series set in Mexico. All 15 episodes debuted on Thursday and are available to stream. The series centers on the First Lady, Emilia Urquiza (Kate del Castillo), who helped get her husband elected and has an interesting past, including working for the Mexican intelligence services. As the pilot begins, Emilia has lost faith in her husband, is separated from him and asks for a divorce. He doesn't respond well. When he pushes the issue, a violent altercation ensues. In the course of it, the president is killed. That's a potent start to a series, and through the first two episodes the show is about Emilia evading authorities, while the government tries to pick up the pieces and find the First Lady. In addition, it's about the two young children of the President and First Lady who are left without either parent, trapped in the palace by the police and trying to figure out what happened. I like del Castillo, who is strong in the lead role, and I like the potential of this series. The first two episodes were engaging and there is plenty of potential with this premise. For those that don't mind subtitles, this could be worth a look.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: C+

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