Pilot Script Review of Until the Wedding
2019 seems to be the year of Israeli remakes for ABC, with the network ordering two pilots based on earlier Hebrew-language series. There's The Baker and the Beauty (read my pilot script review), and this project, which is based on the 2008 Israeli series Ad HaHatuna. Those who've already read my earlier review know that I'm quite high on The Baker and the Beauty. Does Until the Wedding hold the same promise? Read on...
WRITTEN BY: Becky Mode
DRAFT DATE: 2nd Revised Network Draft. 1/17/19
PAGE COUNT: 62 pages
SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: A friend's wedding forms the backdrop for a group of relationships in crisis. DANNY and ADRIENNE (30s) seem to be the perfect couple, but Adrienne is caught off guard when her ex–boyfriend WILL, a philanthropic doctor who left her for humanitarian work in the Congo, shows up the wedding. Will claims he's friends with the groom, but his intentions of getting Adrienne back are later revealed. NAOMI is the ever-present third wheel in Danny and Adrienne’s relationship. She spends the wedding flirting with JAMES, a British boy looking for US citizenship, only to find him entangled with another woman at the end of the night. Adrienne’s brother, MILES, and his husband SAM bicker about their daughter, while Danny’s autistic sister LAURA makes a special connection with BEN, a wedding guest who's also autistic. Danny’s ready to take the next step in his relationship, and although he seems to recognize that Adrienne isn’t, he interrupts the wedding reception toast to propose her in front of everyone. The look on her face is unreadable, leaving us with the show's first cliffhanger.
COMMENTS: It's not clear what motivated ABC to develop and pick-up a pilot based on a series that was only a moderate hit when it aired in Israel 11 years ago, but they've gone and done it. I suppose it fits with the Alphabet’s mandate to lure women viewers back, but like with The Hypnotist’s Love Story (read my pilot script review), if that is the goal, this seems like a misfire. Thankfully, this project is smarter than The Hypnotist’s Love Story; it just doesn’t have much of a hook, and the cliched soapy storyline gives us very little reason to stay. Good actors with chemistry may help, but even then I'm not sure today’s TV landscape will give the show much space to bloom.
I have to say I was surprised that the wedding couple around which the pilot is structured is almost nowhere to be seen. Clearly it’s a choice, but it seems like the wrong one. How can we be invested in a pilot set at a wedding if we don’t care about the people getting married? You get the feeling that the guests share this disiniterest, as they’re each so deep in their own melodramas. The soon-to-become-a-thing pairing of autistic couple Laura & Ben is the story that I liked the most, but I’m not sure where it can go from here…
Let’s meet the three leads: Adrienne is the one all of her friends go to first for advice. She’s warm and super-empathic, with a biting sense of humor. Idealistic, ambitious and really smart, Adrienne is a highly skilled psychologist who’s sometimes better at taking care of other people than she is of herself. Naomi is Adrienne’s roommate and best friend. Defiantly single — defiant in general, actually — there’s nothing Naomi loves more than a good fight. Uncensored and funny, she’s an up- and-coming writer with a book of essays that’s getting some serious traction. Though Naomi is far from an introvert, there are very few people she truly lets in. Danny Garcia is a serious mensch who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks or express emotions. While he's the founder of an online fraud detection company that’s about to go public, he’s a family guy first. He’s a romantic, and madly in love with Adrienne, but things get complicated when her ex-boyfriend shows up the weekend Danny plans to propose.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: If ABC didn't already have A Million Little Things, there might be a better case for giving this project a shot. As it stands, both are friendship dramas about relatable, complicated and attractive human beings, but A Million Little Things is a million times better. ABC would be best served leaving Until The Wedding at the altar.
OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:
[ ] CONSIDER
[ ] RECOMMEND
BEST FIT: Midseason replacement for A Million Little Things on Thursdays at 9pm, or paired with The Bachelor.