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Rise (NBC) (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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NBC looks to build on its "This Is Us" success with the latest feel-good drama from Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights", "Parenthood")

I'll be sticking with it because this premise is like catnip to me, but it was a pretty rough start.

First, the good:
  • This is a superb cast. There wasn't a weak link among them. The adults are great, the kids are great. Ever since Moana, I've been waiting to see Auli'i Cravalho in a live action role, and she doesn't disappoint here. Josh Radnor brings a wonderful resigned sadness to his character, which makes the brief moments where something stirs in him even more impactful. You can tell they wrote Rosie Perez's character with her in mind, because the role fits her like a glove.
  • Every single scene in the auditorium works. The kids are way more talented that 99 percent of high school casts, but that's kind of what you want to see; they know how to bring the material to life. Even by the end of the first episode, the potential for greatness is tangible.
  • After the increasingly suffocating bubble of upper-middle-class greater San Francisco on "Parenthood", where characters faced increasingly trivial problems that were less and less relatable, the rustbelt town of Stanton, Pennsylvania feels like a slap of bitter cold outside air. This is a community where the decline and lapsed sense of opportunity spans generations. The likelihood is that these people have real problems.
Now, the not so good:
  • Nearly every single scene outside the auditorium rings false.
  • There is way too "Parenthood" Season 4 Katims here, and not nearly enough "Parenthood" Season 1 Katims.
  • Even within this first 45 minutes of runtime, every single character's background is stuffed full of television tropes: The drama head's teenage son is an alcoholic; the ingenue who nabbed the lead in the musical has a serially promiscuous mother who is sleeping with the married football coach, who may or may not be the girl's father; making her frenemy, the long-time female lead for the school plays, possibly her half-sister; the student in charge of the lights is homeless and living in the projection booth; the star football player cast as the musical lead has a terminally ill mother; the former male lead may or may not be a closeted homosexual, comes from a strict religious household, and has a sister with Down syndrome. Cumulatively, it's just too much.
Anybody else watch?
 

ScottH

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  • Even within this first 45 minutes of runtime, every single character's background is stuffed full of television tropes: The drama head's teenage son is an alcoholic; the ingenue who nabbed the lead in the musical has a serially promiscuous mother who is sleeping with the married football coach, who may or may not be the girl's father; making her frenemy, the long-time female lead for the school plays, possibly her half-sister; the student in charge of the lights is homeless and living in the projection booth; the star football player cast as the musical lead has a terminally ill mother; the former male lead may or may not be a closeted homosexual, comes from a strict religious household, and has a sister with Down syndrome. Cumulatively, it's just too much.
This is spot-on. All that was missing was a "Trope Counter" in the corner of the screen that would ding every time a new one came up.

That said, I'll probably give it a couple episodes since I really enjoyed the first few seasons of Friday Night Lights and to a lesser extent Parenthood. Plus, my daughter seemed to like it.
 

Will Krupp

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I'll give it another shot because you can rarely judge a series' eventual quality from the pilot. I'll watch at least two more and decide then.

There was a lot less "feel good" than I was expecting, and very very cliched. It's almost as if they were afraid to leave any box unchecked. The whole thing seemed a little depressing if I'm being honest but there IS some talent behind this so we shall see.

So far, the two mid seasons I was looking forward to, this and CHAMPIONS, have both been disappointing (and, if anything, CHAMPIONS' second episode was even worse than the first.)

We shall see.
 

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