Shondaland Law Drama ‘For The People’ Offers Nothing New

“For the People” doesn’t completely suck.

That’s the fairest assessment I can apply to this assembly-line ABC drama — stamped out in cookie-cutter fashion — by Shondaland, the production company overseen by creator/producer Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes will be taking her act to Netflix, so maybe that change of TV scenery will help spark something more imaginative than “For the People,” the umpteenth take on Rhimes’ first TV hit, ABC’s soapy hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which spawned Shondaland knockoffs (same show, different setting) including “Scandal,” “Private Practice,” “The Catch” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

“For the People,” created by Paul William Davies, doesn’t offer much that’s new or different. This time around, the Shondaland universe revolves around newly minted defense attorneys and prosecutors working for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, nicknamed “The Mother Court” for its historical and national importance. For cutesy Shondaland purposes, I have no doubt “The Mother Court” will be referenced in upcoming episodes to create a self-referential catchphrase (i.e. the “gladiators” in “Scandal” or “The Keating Four” from “HTGAWM”).

Rhimes will be taking her act to Netflix, so maybe that change of TV scenery will help spark something more imaginative than ‘For the People.’

The newbies here are the usual assortment of good-looking young people with perfect hair (and teeth) and the requisite “types”: the goofy one, the super-motivated one, the arrogant one, the timid one, the angry one, the couple, etc.

Here’s what you should know: They will all try to one-up each other. They will live in digs way too luxurious for their salaries. They will emotionally hold hands. Tears will be shed and lessons will be learned (sometimes in the same scene), underscored by a soundtrack of sad piano music. The clueless newbies will be thrown to the proverbial wolves in their first day on the job by their gruff-yet-wise bosses (one is named, I kid you not, Roger Gunn), who only want to teach them life lessons. They will tackle federal cases they can’t possibly win, yet will triumph over huge odds by discovering legal loopholes that were overlooked by colleagues far more experienced. They will bond with each other in a bar. The group’s romantically involved couple — Seth (Ben Rappaport) and Allison (Jasmin Savoy Brown) — will encounter inevitable workplace conflict, trying to balance their personal lives with office politics. You will struggle to care.

On the plus side of the ledger, there’s some nifty lower Manhattan scenery and (so far) everyone keeps their clothes on. The largely unknown cast is fine, but they’re working with such bland material that it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm.

Veteran actors Hope Davis (“Wayward Pines,” “American Crime”) and Vondie Curtis-Hall (“ER,” “Rosewood”) lend a steadying hand — but it’s not nearly enough to sustain a series that has a “been there, done that” feeling propping up its predictable facade.

Source : https://nypost.com/2018/03/05/shondaland-law-drama-for-the-people-offers-nothing-new/

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