As that old expression sort of goes, those who can, do, and those who can’t …well, they try really hard and hope for the best. The former is the case with ABC’s The Catch, the latest entertaining effort from the Shonda Rhimes foundry which debuts March 24. The latter is the case with the March 22-premiering NBC medical drama Heartbeat — which is not even Grey’s Anatomy lite.
Taking over the TGIT 10 PM slot of the now-wrapped second season of How To Get Away With Murder, The Catch is, as my video review above says, a slick and high-octane, high-production-value property which could prove a real midseason potboiler. Starring well-cast The Killing star Mireille Enos as Alice Vaughan, L.A.’s top P.I., and Peter Krause as con artist extraordinaire Mr. X (who also happened to pose as her boyfriend to fleece her and her company), ABC Studios’ The Catch went through a bunch of re-castings and behind-the-scenes shakeups, including the exit of co-creator Jennifer Schuur, to make it to this week’s debut.
ABC only provided the pilot for review, so where the first 10-episode season of the show executive produced by Rhimes and Betsy Beers and showrun by Allan Heinberg goes is a bit of guesswork. However, with agile pacing and double helix plotlines — both Shondland specialties — the fine suits, stilettos and scam-fueled show seems to fit in well as a West Coast version of Scandal. And that’s fun at the very least.
Based on Dr. Kathy Magliato’s 2010 book Heart Matters: A Memoir Of A Female Surgeon, Heartbeat reveals that while imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery, it doesn’t mean the outcome will be any good. Developed by Jill Gordon and starring Melissa George as renowned Dr. Alexandra Panttiere, Heartbeat premieres with a preview in a choice post-The Voice slot at 9 PM before moving to its regular perch of 8 PM on Wednesdays on March 23. Delayed from coming to air in the fall to now because of former Grey’s actress George’s pregnancy, the wayward Heartbeat is many ways reminiscent of NBC’s ill-conceived and thankfully short-lived 2014 drama State of Affairs as one of those shows where networks simply flatline on the originality chart.
Trying way too hard to be Grey’s, the series from executive producers Gordon, Amy Brenneman (a Private Practice alum), Brad Silberling and Robert Duncan McNeill often ends up as an unfunny Scrubs, with a near-ubiquitous monotone of righteous delivery plus self-kamikazing one-liners and characters and plots that make it almost impossible to engage in.
All of which is to say, looking at both The Catch and Heartbeat, you get a crash course in how good Rhimes is at what she does. So, click on my review of both and tell us what you think.