Reviews

CW TV Promo Reviews (2017-2018)

Last but certainly not least, CW closed out Upfronts week, delivering 4 promos. They brought us their usual superhero show and quirky comedy, but also mixed things up with a soap revival and military drama. All showed potential and got us even more excited for pilot season.

Black Lightning

What it’s about: Jefferson Pierce gave up being a superhero years ago. But with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante Black Lightning.

What we think: I thought I’d reached my limit with superhero shows. That was until I saw the promo for Black Lightning. Everything about the trailer just played right, and I was kinda disappointed when it ended. Tonally, it seems like it has the potential to get a lot darker than other CW shows, but it still has that family element to give it some heart. The family element is really what sold it for me. Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning is so relatable and admirable because you can tell he’s just trying to do the best for his daughters. And both daughters seem pretty badass, it’ll be interesting see how their powers develop. They all have great chemistry with each other and the casting seems to be on point. That being said, I’d watch any show with Cress Williams in, so maybe I’m a little bias. Black Lightning will have to work hard to stand out from the plethora of superhero shows currently on TV, but if the promo is anything to go by, it should be a massive hit.

Excitement factor: 5/5

Dynasty

What it’s about: A modern revival of the classic soap that follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they fight for control over their fortune and children.

What we think: I never saw the original Dynasty but I knew enough about it to have a picture in my head about what this promo should look like. While there are the catfights, expensive outfits and bitchy comments I expected, it all together seemed a little too tame. I’m not 100% sure what I wanted, but I know I wanted more than that. On the plus side, Elizabeth Gillies looks great in the role, she basically carried the whole trailer, and I’m already rooting for her character. The other characters, though, either weren’t seen enough (severe underuse of Grant Show) or seemed a bit dull.  I am, however, willing to give Dynasty the benefit of the doubt, because Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz are producing. Savage/Schwartz gave us Gossip Girl, and that show was incredible. So I’m confident that they’ll be able to make Dynasty a winner.

Excitement factor: 3/5

Life Sentence

What it’s about: When a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out she’s not dying after all, she must learn to live with decisions she made when she decided to “live like she was dying”.

What we think: I’ll start by saying, I love the concept of this. It was one of the promos I was most looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. This seems like the perfect show for Lucy Hale to star in post Pretty Little Liars, and from the trailer she looks very comfortable in the role. They also managed their time well enough to give us a good look at the other characters, her brother being a highlight. That being said, I did have concerns about the boyfriend/husband? Him and Hale were lacking some chemistry in the promo. Don’t get me wrong, he seemed like a great character individually, but together they feel rather flat. Despite that, I still feel it was a really solid trailer. It oozed charm and really played to the quirky rom-com type show that CW has been so successful in producing recently (Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Hopefully, its pilot will match the quality of its promo.

Excitement factor: 4/5

Valor

What it’s about: The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets and leading to a season long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.

What we think: So this is definitely a different show for CW. When I read the premise, I thought it sounded more like a cable series. After seeing the promo, I’m still of the same opinion. It does have the potential to thrive on CW but they need to not inject their usual brand of glitz and glamour, which is something that the trailer struggled with. In some moments, it felt like it could be a truly great hard hitting drama. In others, there was so much cheesiness, I rolled my eyes. The concept and cast are great (just watch Matt Barr in Harper’s Island if you have any doubt), but the characters need a little work to be more likeable, and get us to actually connect.  I like the whole thing enough, that I want it to do well. I just think CW needs to embrace the grittiness and let it be different to their other programming.

Excitement factor: 3.5/5

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