The premiere of ABC’s one hour summer dramedy, Scoundrels had many highs and some lows.
There is a cast full of well known and talented actors including Virginia Madsen as Cheryl West, Leven Rambin as Heather West, and Carlos Bernard as Sergeant Mack. As for the characters…it is quite displeasing to see Leven Rambin playing the blonde who has nothing but her looks and criminal background to get her ahead. Rambin has played such smarter roles, so hopefully this role will not seem so out of place in future episodes when there is more character development and range…because Rambin can do much better than the typical pretty blonde. Heather’s sister, Hope (Vanessa Marano) is the typical sarcastic, smart, brunette sister on TV so hopefully there is more to appreciate there as well. Perhaps her passion for film making and other characteristics aside from her sarcasm will overshadow what we have seen thus far. One thing that is shaped well right away is the relationship between the two sisters.
The tricky writing actually comes into play with making the Alzheimer’s story line comedic. It is always hard writing jokes for a story line about someone who is ill…so some viewers may find these jokes offensive while others may find it tolerable and laughable. Either way, the line of funny or not funny is clearly drawn there. Really, it may all depend on where this character of Grandpa West is taken…which is unclear. What is also unclear is how the relationship between the West family and the police is so casual, given the fact that the family is clearly known for its criminal lifestyle. The setting up of this casual relationship has made for some very intrigued viewers.
Now the plot of Scoundrels is amusing and the tone is especially comfortable and familiar for regular ABC viewers. Even though the show airs in the 9’o clock hour, it seems like a fun show to watch with the family over the summer. So far, the show just seems like a light comedy with no groundbreaking emotional impacts in sight. Although that can be seen as a negative for this show, in that many viewers may not emotionally connect to these characters and their lives in the very first episode. One of the reasons of the disconnect being how predictable the story line is. So it all depends on how much stronger the writing gets, as this episode was clearly just the groundwork. Perhaps finding out why and how this family started living a criminal lifestyle will help in the drama aspect (and not by simply finding out through flashbacks). Being able to relate to and agree with the family code of no drug dealing or violence is not enough. So stay tuned for next week to not only be entertained but to see how well the story and character development advances.
Scoundrels is based on the Pilot episode from the New Zealand series, ‘Outrageous Fortunes.’
Scoundrels airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.