Monday, June 3, 2013

'Mistresses' Premiere Review - 1.01 Pilot

        On the series premiere of ABC's Mistresses, four girlfriends are each on her own path to self-discovery: Savi, a successful career woman working toward the next phase in her life, both professionally and personally, Savi's free-spirited and capricious baby sister, Josslyn; their friends April, a recent widow and mother of a ten-year-old daughter, and Karen, a therapist with her own thriving practice.

        Adultery is such a troubling act for anyone involved in it. The person who partakes in is willfully choosing to break a personal and deep promise to someone they once held so close. Because of this terrible stigma attached to the main plot in all the stories of this new ABC drama, the show tries overly hard to try to justify the actions of its main characters. It is in this aspect that the series fails the biggest. In the three episodes that ABC made available to critics, every second of the show is overly predictable and offers nothing fresh on these stories or characters and not even some recognizable talent doing the best that they can do can elevate such weak material.
        Each of the four leading ladies has their own distinct story and each wants to be given the same amount of weight in each episode but that never happens. Jes Macallan may be having the most fun in her role of Josslyn Carver but that is also the character that the show has absolutely no clear direction for. Over the first three episodes, she largely has three very different plots. It is very easy to assume that they will come together eventually and how they will do so. But man, it is painfully boring at the start.
        Alyssa Milano arguably is the most recognizable face on the series and she largely does come across as the leading character we're suppose to care about the most. And yet, no matter how much good will she has earned in her lengthy career on TV can save her here. Her story in the first three episodes is the one given the most focus - even though it has the exact same time allotment as the other three. It's also the one that follows the most predictable patterns. She and her husband, played by handsome but bland Brett Tucker, experience fertility issues and the ensuing fight pushes her away into the arms of another man in the form of work colleague Dominic, played by Jason George given a similar character to his on Grey's Anatomy and yet isn't as charismatic or likable. With all that information, it is pretty easy to guess what will happen to her. And yet, it takes until the end of the third episode - the worst of the first three - to get to that "twist." She will spend a lot of her time contemplating her actions and yet comes as totally self-centered doing so. A trait that is terrible to watch especially with Milano trying her best to squeeze any kind of sympathy out of her character.
        Out of all of the main plots, the one focusing on Yunjin Kim's Dr. Karen Kim is the most infuriating. She is dealing with the ramifications of having an affair with a married patient of hers who has recently passed away and cannot break away from his family even though everyone is telling her to do so. This character just makes no sense whatsoever and is a huge waste of Kim's talents. But what makes it so frustrating is it did have a moment of goodness when she has that open discussion with her friends realizing that she was just a mistress. That scene was great. And then, everything gets undercut in her next scene when she is shown destroying every file she has on Thomas Grey. Why do this? How did those records in any way indicate the affair she carried out with him. Add on top of that the puppy love exhibited by her lover's son, Sam Grey (Erik Stocklin), and the story becomes the worst version of itself. Stocklin had some interesting initial shadings as a character but he quickly became just another annoying teen character raining on other, more important character's parade. And it only gets more ridiculous in episodes two and three.
        The one story that works much better on an emotional and likable level is the one focusing on Rochelle Aytes' April. I found her to be much more sympathetic than any of the other three leading ladies and that is largely due to the fact that she is the moral compass of the show. She is not the cheater. She was the one who was being cheated on - a very distinct point of view. Her story, too, follows a mostly predictable route but I'm much more accepting of it here because her actions can very easily be justifiable. It's not enough to save the show but it's something good to give a contrast to the rest of the immoral stories happening elsewhere.

So what did everyone think of the premiere? Did you find the overuse of that one music cue to be terribly annoying? If so, get ready it doesn't ease up in later episodes. Share your thoughts in the comments.