Fall TV First Impression: Fox's Red Band Society

Red Band Society PreviewThe broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including a new Shondaland drama, and a trip to Gotham, a third NCIS and a Flash-y Arrow offshoot. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

PHOTOS Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

THE SHOW | Fox’s Red Band Society (Wednesdays at 9/8c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Modern Family, CBS’ Criminal Minds, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and The CW’s The 100

THE CAST | Octavia Spencer (The Help), Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), Charlie Rowe (Neverland), Griffin Gluck (Private Practice), Nolan Sotillo, Zoe Levin, Ciara Bravo (Big Time Rush), Brian Bradley (The X Factor) and Rebecca Rittenhouse.

THE SET-UP | Spencer stars as Nurse Jackson, the suffer-no-fools “Scary B—-” who lords over the pediatric ward of Ocean Park Hospital, where a veritable Brat Pack of patients from assorted walks of life begrudgingly bond a la (Hey! Hey! Hey!) Shermer High’s Breakfast Club.Red Band Society Preview

RELATED Fox’s Fall Schedule: Gotham on Monday, Bones‘ Big Move, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Cops New Sunday Slot

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Some may reflexively scoff at the notion of a “sick kids” show claiming a spot on their DVR, but riding on the heels of The Fault in Our Stars‘ Cineplex success — and boasting a winning (if on-the-nose) mix of the aforementioned seminal John Hughes film and Glee‘s freshman season — Red Band Society has the potential to sneak up on and charm its samplers. Let it, and it will make you smile.

Though Academy Award winner Spencer understandably gets top billing (and she is very good), this drama ultimately will rise and fall with the performances of the younger cast, and several immediately shine. In the pilot — which was penned by Margaret Nagle (Side Order of Life) and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Glee) — Rowe and Sotillo stand out as cancer fighter Leo and his new roomie Jordi, who’s about to lose a leg to the disease, while Levin gradually brings some shading to the stereotype of Bitchy, Perpetually Uniformed Cheerleader and Gluck entertainingly narrates the proceedings from a coma kid’s POV. (Of the many, many voiceover’d pilots this year, Red Band‘s approach is at least distinct.) Rounding out the adult cast, you have the forever affable Annable (playing a peds doc) and Griffin Dunne (guesting, albeit in too few scenes, as an eccentric ally of the young’uns).

The biggest threat to Red Band Society‘s prognosis may be this: Is the premise, as heartwarming as it is, sustainable as an ongoing series?

MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS CBS’ Madam Secretary, NBC’s State of Affairs, ABC’s black-ish, CBS’ Stalker, The CW’s The Flash, Fox’s Gotham

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Red Band certainly fills a void in its time slot, where CBS and NBC have a lock on the despicable and deplorable and ABC brings the funny. But in addition to stealing viewers from any of those long-running series, this youth-centric drama also faces the challenge of luring eyeballs away from The 100‘s own PYTs. Fox’s new boss, whomever s/he may be, would be wise to cultivate this show (in success).

Watch a video preview for Red Band Society, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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28 Comments
  1. Marco says:

    If this show follows the path of both the original and Italian versions, yes, yes it is sustainable.

  2. Chris says:

    I’ve seen the pilot and thought it was one of the most organic pilots in ages. The end montage is also a winner in its own right.

  3. Ken says:

    If it’s half as good as Chasing Life, I’m in!

  4. GuessWhat says:

    Sounds like a good movie idea.
    Will never last as a series.

    • Karen says:

      This is a Spanish series. It’s on its second season and going strong. They show it in different countries with great ratings in all of them. If it doesn’t last it’s either because the US public doesn’t like that kind of story or because the remake doesn’t follow the original version as it should.

  5. LADY_in_MD says:

    This is one of the shows I’m looking froward to the most besides Gotham

  6. Tran says:

    Red Band Society is one of the most emotionally charged dramas I’ve ever seen in years and it does have potential. It will have the upper hand going up against two procedural dramas that desperately needs to end in Criminal Minds and SVU and ABC’s comedy block of Modern Family and Black-ish. Can’t believe Ciara Bravo is in the cast because she was so funny as the trouble maker on Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush.

  7. Drew says:

    This show could be good. They’d probably be wise to keep a slow pace with the storytelling though… meaning that one year inside the show could be told over the course of a couple of seasons instead of just one.

  8. Ram510 says:

    I would typically give a show like this a try at least once, but I just don’t have time for this so i won’t be watching and I’m just fine with that

  9. webly3 says:

    All of these pilots look immensely better than the pilots from last year. I will try this one as well.

  10. Kenny says:

    Its rare for me to say this but: FOX seems to have the really good Drama Pilots, I genuinely want to see all of them!

  11. Fernanda says:

    The original version is so moving and emotional. This version should have 12 or 13 episodes per season

  12. Maar says:

    Cannot wait for this!! Levin is a great actress

  13. Sheldon W. says:

    There are a couple of slightly too precious moments in the pilot, but overall, it’s extremely good. I hope we see a lot more of Griffin Dunne in future eps. It really helps that kids are real kids – and they are good actors.

    The one teensy nod towards the inexplicable is nicely handled, too.

    I’ll definitely be watching.

  14. herman1959 says:

    Coma Boy? I’ll pass on this one.

  15. LE says:

    The original Castilian show is really really good! I’m curious how are they going to adapt the show since it seems unlike the original show that focus only on the kids, this will focus on the kids and the staff…. I hope it last

  16. ikernad says:

    The Spanish (the original) version was amazying and very emotional! I hope this version can follow that path. It was really successful because there was a lot of trueness in the story. That’s what took people in. The creator had a similar experience as a kid and he create this story of a little family inside the hospital.

  17. Nick says:

    Really pretty excited for Fox’s fall lineup this year. Last year I only watched Sleepy Hollow, The Following, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but I’ve since discovered a love for New Girl, plus I’m really excited for RBS, Gotham, Gracepoint, and Mulaney. Not to mention Backstrom and the return of the Following in the spring. Go Fox!

  18. ashley says:

    I was kind of iffy on this, but since you gave it high marks I will definitely try it out. FOX seems to be an underdog going into the fall, but Gotham and now this one are my most anticipated; and Sleepy Hollow is a fav as well.

  19. Ally Oop says:

    This is definitely on my watch list. However, it sold poorly internationally plus it’s on FOX so hopefully it can get a second season.

    • Castle with a rock says:

      Not true. Even Spain bought this version of Red Band Society and they created Red Band Society. So now there will be two different versions running on Spanish TV. This show will run five years.

      • Eve says:

        Spanish version is the original one. There’s already been two seasons and they were incredibly successful. The Red Band Society is different than the original “Polseres Vermelles”, though. I fell in love with the original, I’m just liking this one so far. They’ve changed soo many things and I’m not sure that was a good idea. Hope it works out. They could’ve just dubbed the original one.

  20. Gerald says:

    Teared up a little watching the trailer. I am SO in. Haven’t had one of these kind of shows in a long time.

  21. Sammy says:

    So excited to have Red Bad Society come to the USA!!! This version of the show has sold great internationally. The previews around the country have been playing to sell out crowds. The Spanish show’s a smash and successfully in its third season. The Italian one is just as good. Go RED BAND!!!

  22. Brigid says:

    This show looks amazing! I will definitely watch.

  23. Davis says:

    I just watched the pilot in the theaters. There was so many ways this could have been an incredible show with a meaningful story line. It was wasted with cheap attempts at making the characters cool – gratuitous scenes of teens smoking pot and cigarettes & drinking (in a hospital, condoned by adults?!?), an adult smoking pot from a bong. While they might be part of terminal patients lives, they added NOTHING to the story line – and were just a lazy way for the writers to convey coolness/realness in the characters. I can’t believe the producers took such a lazy way out – and I can’t believe Spielberg attached his name to this. I wouldn’t allow my young teen to watch it – everything about it was just wrong – which is unfortunate because done well this could have the potential to be a must see for teens. What a waste and a shame.

  24. Was wondering why the cheerleader was there, but just saw a promo where its stated that she needs a heart transplant

  25. Pat Thompson says:

    Saw it and HATED IT! So ridiculous and cliche!!!!!

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