Entertainment Magazine

Red Band Society (Pilot)

Posted on the 18 September 2014 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable, Astro, Ciara Bravo, Griffin Gluck, Zoe Levin, Charlie Roth, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Nolan Sotillo

I’ve read some really angry reviews about Red Band Society, saying that the show is manipulative, and it panders at pulling your heartstrings. Well, I suppose, if you just crumble at the sight of sick kids. I don’t see this as a “all these kids are going to die” show, but rather a very different drama about kids who live in a hospital. Yes, probably someone is going to die. Eventually. I don’t think this entire cast is destined to expire. Some people do go to the hospital to get better. It does happen.

The kids are actually compelling characters, for the most part. Astro isn’t really given much to do, but the rest of the kids are pretty fleshed out even in the pilot. Zoe Levin as Kara is probably the standout. Bitchy, but obviously two dimensional.

She’s the central character, in a way, because we are introduced to a bitchy cheerleader who has an “episode” and is brought to the hospital. Technically, our narrator is also the central character, but he’s in a coma. Many shows employ the “first day on the job” trope as a way to introduce you to the cast, and they use that here in a repurposed way. There’s another kid, Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), who is also spending his first day in the hospital. Shockingly, they both become fast friends with the kids who have been stuck there a while.

Octavia Spencer and Dave Annable play second fiddle to the cast of kids, so it’ll be interesting to see how they keep this show interesting for Spencer. Right now, I can’t see her doing this supporting role for five years or more.

As a pilot, I’m not sure where this show is going, or how it will be interesting for more than one episode. I don’t know what the plot is. There seems to be no plot. It’s just a cute pilot about some sick kids who are friends. Where is the conflict? Looming disease is not a conflict.

Obviously, this show will have a plot, because this show is a remake of an already existing spanish language hit. Like Ugly Betty… but with dying kids.

FINAL GRADE: B


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