Tuesday, March 19, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Village' - Nick Moves Into a New Apartment Building and Meets His Loving Neighbors in 'Pilot'

NBC's The Village - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Despite their differences, residents of The Village support one another in victory and defeat. Sarah is a nurse and single mom navigating the emotional volatility of her teenage daughter. Gabe is a young law student trapped between obligations to his grandfather and to his career. Ava is thrown into crisis when she's arrested by ICE in front of her young son. Nick returns from war and discovers everything he left behind. Ron and Patricia work to keep The Village family intact, even if it means neglecting their own well-being.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of NBC's The Village.

"Pilot" was written by Mike Daniels and directed by Minkie Spiro

The Village immediately presents as a drama that highlights the powerful connections across humanity even when no obvious connection occurs. Sure, it's easy to say that all of the main characters live in the same apartment building. And yet, they all come from different walks of life while also helping inform so many of these connections. This is a place that actually fosters openness and inclusion. It's a place where people try to stand up and do the right thing to protect their neighbors. That's the only thing that connects these people. They have their lives outside of the apartment building. They are contributing members of New York society. However, they will support each other because there is the inherent trust that people aspire to do the right thing. Of course, this is also a show that plans on tugging on the heartstrings of the audience to make them as emotional as possible. It's the latest attempt by NBC to copy the success of This Is Us. It was always expected that the two dramas would be paired together at some point this season. Sure, The Village will have to stand on its own much sooner than that. And yet, the plot developments of this first hour are very admirable even though the strings are a little too apparent. It mostly just has a lot of work to do to introduce the various sets of characters. Plus, it also wishes to surprise the audience with the bonds that they have outside of the apartment building. Sarah works as a nurse at a retirement community. As such, she has been interacting with Enzo for much longer than when he suddenly becomes his grandson's new roommate in a one bedroom apartment. Moreover, she also works at the local VA hospital which is where she was able to suggest the building to newly arrived veteran Nick. That story, in particular, may be going for some easy sentimentality by also featuring a three-legged dog whom Nick connects with immediately. But it also features the big twist at the end of the premiere with Nick actually being the father of Sarah's daughter. That's bound to only grow more complicated considering Sarah is putting off telling Katie that because Katie has just gotten pregnant. She is confused. She wishes to be making a political statement through her artwork. But she can also come across as a typical teenage rebel who has no idea what to do with her life. Sarah is trying to project strength and happiness even though she's consistently wondering if she actually has either of those things in her life. Some of her friends are able to see through it fairly easily. They don't expect much from the guy she brings to this party on the roof of the building. However, something more could develop there. It's just more important for her to be supportive of her daughter and whatever she chooses. Elsewhere, Patricia and Ron immediately come across as the owners of the building who wish to maintain this sense of compassion throughout the people who live here. But Patricia is dealing with her own health crisis and choosing to keep it to her self because she has always been the maternal figure of this building. She can't be in crisis because she is helping Sarah cope with Katie's pregnancy while trying to get help for Ava after she is detained by ICE in front of her son. Patricia isn't neglecting her health. It's just potentially worrisome if she is choosing to keep it from her husband for a long time. He can immediately sense that something is wrong. He just accepts her lie a little too easily. All of the pieces are there for this to be an effective show. It just needs to continue developing its ensemble to ensure the stakes are real and genuine for everyone watching.