Shonda Rhimes Lands Another ABC Show That Sounds Poised To Deliver More Powerful Female Characters To TV
You know you're doing TV right when the network upon which your shows air give you an entire night all to yourself. While most networks break up their programs by pairing them with similar shows throughout the week, ABC gave us Shondaland Thursdays, where all of Shonda Rhimes' shows, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, air in one block of unprecedented awesomeness — because they know that we will sit down in front of the television for three hours if it's a Rhimes show capturing our attention. Now we might have to make even more room in our DVR, because ABC has ordered another Shonda Rhimes show. Where are they finding the space?
This new show is called The Catch and it's a crime thriller that, according to Variety, "follows a female forensic accountant whose career specialty is exposing fraud for a living... the sure-to-be-fierce woman at the forefront of the crime thriller is not all she appears to be and has a tumultuous love life. She's about to get married, but also about to get conned by her fiancé — little does he know, her lies end up colliding with his cons." Um, is there anything about this that doesn't sound awesome? Is there? I don't think there is.
However, it's quite likely that The Catch will ruin Shondaland Thursdays by airing on a different night — as Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder currently take up the entire TV block from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it just sounds, to me, like a good way to get Shondaland Tuesdays started, culminating in practically every show on ABC being one that is produced, written, or in someway influenced by Rhimes. Rhimes is a feminist of color who not only knows good TV, but knows good TV with a message.
Think of how many times Olivia Pope has delivered a powerful speech about feminism, and how it doesn't mean reducing men to nothing, it doesn't mean you can't be a flawed person, and it doesn't mean that you have to love someone who is doing wrong just because they are also female. Think of how many times Annalise Keating has challenged mainstream beauty standards, particularly in that powerful scene where she removes it, and her makeup, and strips down to the bare essentials in a way that every woman of color is all too familiar with. More so than drama, more so than heated romances, and more so than complex storylines, Rhimes is a woman who understands how to get a theme out there or get a conversation started that the world needs to be having.
Rhimes has a running habit of taking talented but not-really-mainstream actors and actresses and casting them as the leads in her shows (see Kerry Washington, who had previously appeared in a few movies and cameo roles in TV before getting her big break in Scandal; see Viola Davis who was most famous for The Help prior to HTGAWM), so it's hard for me to speculate who she should cast as the lead character and her conman fiancé in The Catch. However, if there's one thing that we can be assured of, it's that the cast of a Rhimes show will be populated with lots of women and people of color, pass the Bechdel test with flying colors, and do more with those complex characters than simply making them plot devices or love interests.
Not only does Rhimes care about her characters, but she also cares about her actors and cares about her audience. She gives her actors a script, a plot line, and some motivations that they can really sink their teeth into. She delivers to her audience good entertainment with an even better message. I literally cannot sing her praises enough, at least until the television atmosphere becomes as diverse and powerful as most episodes of any given Rhimes show. Sure, TV has made a lot of huge strides, as evidenced by the 2015 Golden Globes, but there's always room for improvement. Rhimes shouldn't be the only person in Hollywood making these shows, even though she does it so well. Let's diversify even more.
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