Magazine article Variety

Still Star-Crossed

Magazine article Variety

Still Star-Crossed

Article excerpt

TV REVIEW

Still Star-Crossed

Drama: 7 episodes (1 reviewed); ABC, Mon., May 29, 10 p.m.

Starring: Anthony Head, Grant Bowler, Lashana Lynch

On paper, the combination of Shondaland and Shakespeare is tantalizing: Both brands promise high drama, dangerous romance and memorable monologues. But "Still Star-Crossed," from executive producer and writer Heather Mitchell and Shonda Rhimes' production company, is a little too wispy and indistinct to make much of an impression. The drama, which continues the tale begun with the famous lovers' deaths, is a melding that emphasizes surface bells and whistles without building on the solid foundation of nighttime soaps or the Bard's depiction of the battle between the Montagues and Capulets.

There's nothing wrong with a high-concept gamble, of course, but execution is everything, and like many adaptations, this one relies too heavily on the outsize parameters of the concept to draw in viewers. The show has all the earnest energy - and stilted moments - you'd expect to find in a high school play, albeit one with a uniformly swoon-worthy cast and an exceptional budget for candles and corsets. But in its pilot episode, it doesn't quite supply a textured, distinctive approach or characters worth following.

Speaking of texture, the wardrobes on "Still Star-Crossed" are terrific, and often exude the sense of lush romanticism that the flat, exposition-heavy script lacks. In fact, most of the production values are top-notch, and the rustling velvets and embroidered waistcoats are shot lovingly by director Michael Offer. …

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