The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including The Orville‘s maiden space voyage, ABC’s rapping Mayor, David Boreanaz’s SEAL drama and NBC’s “true” new Law & Order. 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 Valor (Mondays at 9/8c, premiering Oct. 9)
THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, NBC’s The Voice, CBS’ Kevin Can Wait/Me, Myself & I (new) and Fox’s The Gifted (new)
THE CAST | Matt Barr (Hellcats), Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom), Charlie Barnett (Chicago Fire), W. Trè Davis (Shades of Blue), Corbin Reid (How to Get Away With Murder), Nigel Thatch (Selma) and Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond).
THE SET-UP | Barr and Ochoa star as Captain Leland Gallo and Warrant Officer Nora Madani, elite Army helicopter pilots who conceal a dark truth when a mission in Somalia goes sideways, leaving crew chief Jimmy Kam (Davis) behind. Barnett plays Madani’s boyfriend/First Lieutenant Ian Porter, while Thatch, Reid and Roxburgh costar as an Army commander, Kam’s wife and a CIA investigator.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Yes, this seems like an odd (whirly)bird for The CW… when viewed as a straight military drama. But rest assured, the pilot seeds enough soapy elements (including one of the more vivid sex scenes in recent CW memory) to rouse the Gossip Girl crowd. In fact, I would argue that Valor‘s biggest liability may be its lofty, righteous-sounding title, when a snippet of dialogue — “blurred lines” — jumped out at me as offering a juicier, more apropos hook.
Among the cast of seven, maybe one-and-a-half characters — primarily Ochoa’s conflicted, dutiful pilot — are meaningfully established within the pilot, while at least one peripheral player comes off as amusingly CW-ified. But with some ironing out of any casting kinks (and the probable, eventual addition of an older, “name” actor), there is some potential here, more so than I thought after viewing just the trailer. Fun fact: Looking at Gallo, it would seem that Barry Allen traveled to the future to confirm that by October, the Army will have followed through on lifting its beard ban.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | A military drama amid so many superheroes, supernatural beings and comedic romantics? You can’t kvetch about The CW’s #DCTV O.D. and in the same breath chide the network for branching out. At the end of the day, the only pertinent question is: Will Valor pair better with Supergirl than Jane the Virgin did? With savvy marketing/promotion — playing up the cover-up and how it leads Gallo/Madani down a taboooo path — it just might.
Watch the highly spoilery trailer for Valor, then vote in our poll below.