The CW goes off-brand for this military conspiracy thriller that isn’t likely to last long enough to redefine the brand.
[I’ll remind you at the top of every single one of these: These entries are not reviews. They’re gut reactions to not-for-air pilots that could change in big and small ways between now and September or October or midseason. Full reviews will come then. They’ll be longer. And more carefully considered. The opinions may even change. Who knows?]
Show: Valor (The CW)
The Pitch: “Rah-Rah Military Drama Broadcast Networks Are Convinced Viewers Want: The CW Edition”
Quick Response: Not gonna lie. This is fascinating. Valor is like no show currently on The CW and no show The CW has done in my memory and, if nothing else, it’s bad for an astounding number of different reasons. The best way I could describe it is if somebody decided to do Young Doctors in Love as Young Soldiers in Love, but didn’t realize Young Doctors in Love was a spoof and attempted a deadly serious approach to the military in which each and every actor looks and acts like they just stepped out of a second rate CW drama (not first rate, because I love a first rate CW drama). So you’ve got sweaty, buff, wooden acting all around — the show’s best performances are Matt Barr in One Tree Hill and Christina Ochoa in the current Syfy dramedy Blood Drive — but then they’re dropping real country names and military references like Bowe Bergdahl as if to give it contemporary resonance, but then there’s a big conspiracy that’s confusing only because the show seems to think it’s so gripping and I can’t even pick it apart in a way that makes me curious about how the truth might unfold. I got to the end and my only response was, “Wait. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I want to bother caring.” The big mystery (behind the show, not in it) is probably why The CW wanted to develop it and then why, having seen this weirdly cheap-looking pilot, they didn’t just say, “We tried, it didn’t work, move on.” But then again, the Valor pilot did have two or three moments of outrageous, laugh-out-loud ridiculousness including one to “Hello My Baby,” that I’m relative sure is an homage to former WB mascot Michigan J. Frog and even if it isn’t, I’ve decided it is. That joke makes more sense than the existence of this show.
Desire To Watch Again: Basically none, but you wanna know the scary thing? On the day I watched Valor, it was far from the worst pilot I watched. Stay tuned.
Take Me to the Pilots ’17: ABC’s ‘The Mayor’
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Take Me to the Pilots ’17: CBS’ ‘Young Sheldon’
All of my 2016 Take Me to the Pilots Entries