All I noted for The Village was “community building in Brooklyn” (the building is called The Village) and I predicted CANCELLATION. I watched the first episode, and the prediction stands. Which is a bit unfortunate as I think there might be some interesting stories in there. Just none with enough “hook” to be gritty. A collection of soft short stories, and not enough meat. This is the Village, these are their stories.
Story 1 involves a mother and daughter, Sarah and Katie. Sarah is a single mother, working hard as a nurse, and summarizes her life basically as “hard” and “happy” being not mutually exclusive. She is played by Michaela McManus, and I like her in just about everything I’ve seen her in…SEAL Team (I only saw her in Ep1), Aquarius (also Ep1 only), Awake (a short 13 episodes), and L&O: SVU (22 Eps although I didn’t watch the whole run). I love her here. She’s the hot girl next door with a few miles on her that everyone is destined to fall for in almost every show. Her daughter is played by Grace Van Dien, and while a stretch (23 year old playing mid-teen), she does a decent job in the pilot. Of course, no relationship would be complete without her being pregnant plus a teenage activist.
Story 2 involves an immigrant from Iran with a 7-year-old son. She’s illegal, and arrested by ICE for deportation in the pilot, putting in jeopardy what to do about her son. Moran Atias plays Ava, and only has one or two scenes, but does alright. Her son is more a plot device than anything, but Ethan Maher does okay. They’re helped by Jerod Haynes as Ben, a police officer who lives in the building. There’s a hint of greater ties to the woman and her kid, but it isn’t entirely clear.
Story 3 is the old guy story. His name is Enzo, and he’s living in a nursing home where Sarah works. His lifelong friend just passed away, and he wants to leave. He convinces his only relative to let him live with him in the building, even though the kid is in law school, has a girlfriend, and only a 1BR apartment. Dominic Chianese plays Enzo, and he’s a long way from playing Junior on The Sopranos. I like him here better. 🙂 Daren Kagasoff plays Gabe, and he also gets roped into helping Ava with her deportation hearing. See how this works? Everyone in the building gets the “Village experience”. Everyone helping everyone, cuz, well, it takes a village. He is solid in every scene, it just isn’t clear what his role or character are going to be.
Story 4 is about the owners of the building, Frankie Faison as Ron and Lorraine Toussaint as Patricia/Trish. Ron’s character is a little too positive to be realistic…he’s like a kindly old Santa Claus, but he also seems a bit over familiar with everyone. Creepy, to be honest. Toussaint isn’t my favorite actress…she was okay on Into the Badlands; I almost hated her as Mama Rosewood on Rosewood; she was tolerable on Forever; and I would have been fine without her on Friday Night Lights or Saving Grace. Similarly for Crossing Jordan. Not surprisingly, I don’t like her here. Nor do I like her storyline, and for the same reason. She has cancer, hasn’t told anyone, and when she’s trying to act by herself, she has a very limited range. When she does the girl-buddy thing, I can tolerate her; beyond that, I want to skip every scene she’s in.
Story 5 would be make or break for me. Warren Christie plays injured soldier Nick “just Nick” Porter. An IED took out part of his leg, snipers killed his team members, a dog saved his life. He’s home, so to speak, and everyone he meets thanks him for his service, which is freaking him out. I don’t recognize him although he’s been in a few shows that I’ve watched, always as a guest star though and I guess not a big one. He’s pretty damn solid — happy scenes, tortured soul, freaking out because a light popped behind him, etc. Super-excited to get his companion dog back. I’m not sure how I feel about the very last scene — and it’s a spoiler. He’s Katie’s dad, and she doesn’t know. I like the premise of the connection to be forged. But it’s a bit trite, not to mention the whole drama of “they didn’t tell her” for the future.
Unfortunately, I just don’t care about stories 2, 3 and 4. Not really. 1 and 5 have some potential. The weird part is that I don’t think I would stick around for Ep 2 to see what happened, but the decision is already made for me…the series didn’t make it to Season 2 as of this week, so not much point in watching now.