The broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including Katherine Heigl‘s TV comeback, 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….
THE SHOW | The CW’s Jane the Virgin (Mondays at 9/8c, premiering Oct. 13)
THE COMPETITION | NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, CBS’ Scorpion (new), Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and ESPN’s Monday Night Football
THE CAST | Gina Rodriguez (The Bold and the Beautiful), Andrea Navedo (Law & Order), Justin Baldoni (Everwood), Yael Grobglas (Reign), Brett Dier (Ravenswood), Jaime Camil (Qué pobres tan ricos) and Ivonne Coll (Switched at Birth)
THE SET-UP | Hotel hostess/wannabe teacher Jane was raised from a young age to safeguard her virginity, since, as her abuela bluntly puts it, there is no going back. So imagine the surprise of everyone — Jane’s uber-patient longtime beau Mike included — when she learns that she is pregnant, by way of a rather incredible* doctor’s office mix-up.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | *Your willingness to sample, let alone embrace, Jane the Virgin largely depends on your relationship with the word incredible. No real-world scenario supports the premise by which she gets accidentally inseminated (with the thawed sperm of, coincidentally, onetime crush-turned-hotel magnate Rafael, played by Baldoni), so if you hold The CW to the same standards as Science Channel, this isn’t your cup of sangria.
But if you are willing to suspend belief for that pivotal (and hilariously played) examination room sequence — and you have mad ninja skills when it comes to programming your DVR during this highly competitive hour — you’re in for a treat. Because even upon a second viewing (which Jane’s medically unsound conceit demanded), this telenovela-tinged dramedy still charmed my socks off. (I mean, if the closing scene doesn’t make you misty, you’re made of stone.) As the bearer of this “Immaculata,” Rodriguez is a real find and has you rooting for Jane from the moment she suffers an early workplace mortification. Other standouts include Navedo as Jane’s mildly flaky mom, Grobglas as Rafael’s scheming wife and Dier as the understandably gobsmacked Mike.
The why of Jane’s pregnancy is almost incidental, as it serves largely to set in motion myriad juicy plots, including the arrival of the dad Jane never knew, an investigation policeman Mike is involved in that threatens to expose a key character’s secret and, I am guessing, the eventual someday-maybe rekindling of Jane’s aforementioned crush on Rafael. In other words, there are enough dishes spinning to drive story for all of Season 1, but not so many — or any so outlandish — to steer this series off its decidedly soapy rails.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | We wish Jane the very best — life has thrown her a real curveball — but the true miracle here might be for her to deliver… any sizable audience. The Voice and DWTS still sing, Sleepy Hollow has fervent fans and no CBS procedural, old or new, can ever be dismissed. Also, the pairing with The Originals lacks flow… unless you count Hayley’s own “miracle” baby?