Monday, December 07, 2015

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Telenovela - Premieres Tonight (Dec. 7); I Get That a Lot Returns with First Special in Nearly 3 Years

Telenovela

Telenovela - Mondays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Series Preview Monday, December 7, 2015 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT; Timeslot Premiere on Monday, January 4, 2016 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) stars in this big, fun and flashy half-hour comedy as Ana Sofia, the star of a popular Spanish language soap opera. One problem, she doesn't speak any Spanish. Other problems? Ana must manage a new boss, jealous castmates and high-maintenance best friends — and that's all before her ex-husband is hired as her new on-screen love interest. Just like a real telenovela, this comedy is full of all kinds of drama, including love, hate, life and even death! Despite all the chaos, this telenovela's cast and crew is a family ... or, at least, they try to be.

Cast Details:

Eva Longoria as Ana Sofia Calderon
Jencarlos Canela as Xavi Castillo
Diana Maria Riva as Mimi Moncada
Amaury Nolasco as Rodrigo Suarez
Jose Moreno Brooks as Gael Garnica
Jadyn Douglas as Roxi Rios
Alexendra Meneses as Isabella
Izzy Diaz as Issac Aguero

Eva Longoria (Anna Sofia) is a Golden Globe-nominated, Screen Actors Guild and ALMA Award-winning actress, producer, director, entrepreneur, philanthropist and of course is best known as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives. Longoria is additionally executive producer of Lifetime's hit one-hour dramedy Devious Maids. The show follows the trials and tribulations of five Latina women who work as maids in Beverly Hills and was just renewed for a fourth season. It was also recently announced that she will be producing two more projects for NBC — the comedy Bonita & Mechelle, co-produced with Will Packer, and an untitled Texas Ranger comedy. Longoria is set to star opposite Oscar nominee Demian Bichir in the feature film Low Riders, which looks at the lives of enthusiasts of the re-emerging low-riding culture in Southern California's Latino communities. Longoria also recently starred in the feature films Refugio, Any Day, alongside Sean Bean and Kate Walsh, and the critically acclaimed feature film Frontera, co-starring Michael Pena and Ed Harris. Longoria also recently guest starred in the Golden Globe Award-winning comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Before she was famous she appeared on LA Dragnet and on The Young and the Restless.

Jencarlos Canela's (Xavi) first TV role was in Telemundo's soap opera Pecados Ajenos. That propelled him to sign an exclusive contract with the network for which he has co-starred in several Spanish-language productions. Univision extended an invitation for Canela to join their esteemed panel of judges for popular reality show Nuestra Belleza Latina. Soon after, Univision joined forces with Televisa Network in Mexico City to create a reality show called Va Por Ti, featuring Canela.

Diana Maria Riva (Mimi) has established herself as a dominant force in television, film and theater. On the big screen, she most recently starred in McFarland, with Kevin Costner and Maria Bello, and Love and Mercy, with Elizabeth Banks and John Cusack. Riva also had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed film Short Term 12. In 2010, she starred opposite America Ferrera in Family Wedding and has also appeared in 17 Again, What Women Want, Employee of the Month, Chasing Papi and The Third Wheel, among others. On the television side, Riva was most recently seen in FX's Saint George, with comedian George Lopez, and simultaneously recurred in FX's The Bridge, starring Diane Kruger. Other prominent series in which Riva has appeared include Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, City of Angels, NYPD Blue, Everybody Loves Raymond, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Less Than Perfect, The Hughleys, The Drew Carey Show, Strong Medicine, The X-Files, The Pretender, Party of Five, The Ghost Whisperer and In Plain Sight.

Amaury Nolasco (Rodrigo) has guest starred on several popular television shows, including CSI, ER and George Lopez before landing his first major supporting role on the big screen hit 2 Fast 2 Furious as Orange Julius. In 2005, Nolasco solidified his Hollywood acting career with his series regular role as Fernando Sucre on the critically acclaimed series Prison Break. Nolasco recently had a recurring arc on Gang Related. He's had previous roles on the sitcom Work It, Justified, Rizzoli & Isles, Southland and Burn Notice.

Jose Moreno Brooks (Gael) starred in MTV's One Bad Choice as Stephan Perez in the retelling of his true-life story. Other credits include a guest star on Nine Lives of Chloe King, as well as roles on The Game and Big Time Rush.

Jadyn Douglas (Roxi) started pursuing acting in 2011 while living in New York. In 2012 she was cast in the independent film Greetings From Tim Buckley, starring Penn Badgley. Last year she played a murdering con artist on NBC's drama Taxi Brooklyn and was also cast in the Andrew Levitas drama Lullaby, alongside Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund.

Alexandra Meneses (Isabella) first became embraced by audiences playing Teresa Morales in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Her role as Stefania Fogagnolo — Brad Garrett's luscious Italian girlfriend on Everybody Loves Raymond -- earned her ALMA Award and American Comedy Award nominations. Other TV roles include Joey Tribiani's sister Cookie on Friends, Sofia on The Goldbergs, CSI, CSI: Miami, Prison Break, NCIS, Psych, Austin & Ally and The Cleveland Show. On film, the Chicago native and former model appeared in Selena, Boyle Heights and the New York Film Critics Circle Award-winning Auto Focus.
Izzy Diaz's (Issac) credits include Parenthood, Austin & Ally, Lost, Rules of Engagement, Workaholics and Happy Endings. On the big screen, Diaz appeared in Brian DePalma's Iraqi war drama Redacted.

Pilot Plot:

We received four episodes for review. The review will be based on these four episodes.

"Pilot" (Airs December 7 at 10:00PM ET)

Ana Sofia (Eva Longoria) is taken by surprise when her ex-husband, Xavi (Jencarlos Canela), joins the cast of her popular telenovela. With the help of her best friends and co-workers, Mimi (Diana Maria Riva) and Gael (Jose Moreno Brooks), Ana Sofia sets out to prove that she is still in charge.

"Evil Twin" (Airs December 7 at 10:30PM ET)

Ana Sofia (Eva Longoria) doesn't like her co-workers having secrets and tries to implement an "open book" policy at work. Things get crazy when a surprise workplace romance and a surprise visitor put that policy to the test.

We also watched the episodes "The Kiss" and "The Rivals," both set to air in January, but no official airdates are given yet.

Analysis:

Eva Longoria is back on network TV in a regular series and it's great! This is a show made for her to star in and she delivers on all comedy aspects -- such as comedic timing and physical comedy. She was the comedic genius on Desperate Housewives and was reliable for laughs on every episode of a dramedy like that. Now she has a true comedy and can show off all of her comedy chops. Her character of Ana Sofia Calderon has lots of similarities with Gabrielle Solis (her DH character) and that's a good thing. On this show, Eva plays a telenovela actress who is nothing really like the character PasiĆ³n that she plays. It's a great workplace comedy and with lots of silly (but in a good way) laughs. Eva works well with all of the supporting cast on this show. In the pilot plotline, her character is worried that she may have to share top-billing with the new addition to the cast (hilariously her ex-husband), but Eva doesn't have to worry here because she is the show. Back to the supporting actors, after watching four episodes we are pretty invested and know these characters. I feel all of the characters so far are unique and crucial to the show. So far I think Isaac might be the weakest, but I'm sure some good plotlines are to come for him.

I think in future episodes there will be a love triangle between Ana Sofia, her ex-husband & now co-star Xavi and the network boss (recurring guest star Zachary Levi). The episodes with Zachary I found were the best ones ("Pilot" and "The Kiss"). I watched the episodes after the pilot in somewhat out of order and it doesn't seem the storylines are serialized, so you can watch the show at any point, unlike a real telenovela. As of now, we see Ana Sofia with her colleagues, but not family yet. Maybe that will be tackled at some point, such as maybe her DH husband Ricardo Antonio Chavira? We can confirm that he will indeed guest star this season! Anyway, this show is just good old funny with the natural funny Eva Longoria. And it's funny that her character doesn't speak any Spanish either.

Conclusion:

Telenovela has it all, the glitz, the glamour, the hilarious plotlines and...a wind machine! Even a fake TV network, VivaVision. It may be a mix of 30 Rock and the classic sitcom Soap, if that makes sense. The series will be paired with another fan favorite star (America Ferrera) so it's NBC's new comedy duo hour come January. The recipe for a good comedy and show is to always include Eva Longoria. She is that funny in this show. Because if viewers don't tune in, well we will just have to give you the...telenovela...stare-down. It's just plain old fun and a good time. No translator needed for this show.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, December 7, 2015 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Telenovela Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • I Get That a Lot

    I Get That a Lot, featuring popular stars pulling funny pranks on everyday people, returns with a new installment in a continuing series of one-hour specials, to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 8:00PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Celebrity participants include actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth working as a waitress at a New York diner; restaurateur, author and television personality Guy Fieri selling cars; singer Rita Ora working at a tanning salon; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers working the front desk at a gym; Australian pop sensation Cody Simpson selling candy; and Jeopardy's Alex Trebek behind the information desk at a public library. This is the first special to air since early Jan. 2013.

    I Get That a Lot features celebrities tricking everyday citizens in cases of supposed "mistaken identity." Working ordinary jobs, these celebrities confuse customers who can't decide if it's the actual celebrity or an astonishing look-alike. As these celebrities continue to deny their true identities, various reactions from their customers elicit exasperated and hilarious responses.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)

    The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

    03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
    03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
    03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
    03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
    03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
    03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
    03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
    03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
    03/21 - Master of None - Season One
    04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
    04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
    04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, April 25

    The Middle - "Trip and Fall" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Trashy neighbor Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) talks an apprehensive Frankie into taking a road trip to an unknown destination; Mike takes an embarrassing fall at the quarry and has to deal with even more embarrassment when OSHA is called in to investigate; and Sue attempts to convince Axl to end his estrangement with the family after learning their true feelings about April.

    American Housewife - "The Otto Motto" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Taylor keeps quitting school activities, Greg says that Katie, quite the quitter herself, sets a poor example. He challenges her to finally learn French after quitting lessons so long ago, so she reluctantly enrolls in a college class.

    Speechless - "S-I-- SICK D-A-- DAY" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Maya gets sick, Jimmy is forced to be the mom of the house, and Dylan becomes Kenneth’s replacement for JJ when Kenneth also gets sick. Jimmy ends up doing well with Maya’s normal duties, but he tries to keep it from her to avoid her feeling bad. Meanwhile, JJ protects Dylan from a boy she’s interested in. And despite its illness, the family bands together and pulls an all-nighter to finish Ray’s school project.

    Imaginary Mary - "In a World Where Worlds Collide" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Alice freaks out when her friends want to meet Ben. But when an outing with everyone goes surprisingly well, Alice wants to meet Ben’s friends. However, Ben is hesitant but devises a plan that will impress Alice; but later, he makes a surprising admission.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Last Ride" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    In what could be their last case as partners, Jake and Charles go to great extremes to apprehend a local bike thief. Terry shockingly isn’t in the lead for “Mr. Nine-Nine” (the detective who has solved the most cases), leaving Rosa determined to boost his ego. Meanwhile, Amy spends some precious time with Holt.

    The Mick - "The Implant" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Sabrina tells Mickey she wants to augment her figure, so Mickey decides the best way to dissuade her from doing so is to do a test-run in public. Meanwhile, Jimmy takes Chip and Ben to a baseball game to teach them how to be more masculine.

    Great News - "Pilot" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Katie (Briga Heelan), a frustrated cable news producer, is horrified when her mom, Carol (Andrea Martin), gets an internship at "The Breakdown." Despite Katie's best efforts, Carol is instantly beloved by the entire office, including blowhard veteran anchor Chuck (John Michael Higgins). But when Katie hits a roadblock while producing a big story, she realizes that maybe having a mom at work isn't such a bad thing.

    Great News - "Bear Attack" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Katie (Briga Heelan) tries to set workplace boundaries with Carol (Andrea Martin), but when a big story about an escaped bear lands in her lap, her mom can't help but meddle. Meanwhile, Greg (Adam Campbell) tries to get Chuck (John Michael Higgins) and Portia (Nicole Richie) to do a little friendly banter at the end of the show.

    The Detour - "The Mule" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Robin and Nate live out their action movie fantasies as they make their way to the kids, who are actually doing fine without them.

    The Detour - "The Ass" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    The family reunites, but this time Robin makes a huge mistake.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 24)

    Tuesday, April 25

    • Amanda Peet (Brockmire/Togetherness/Bent) - Catch Amanda on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She also appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Patton stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Kal Penn (We Are Men/How I Met Your Mother) - Kal is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Reid Scott (Veep/My Boys) - Reid visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Arden Myrin (Working) - Arden appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Andrea Martin (Difficult People/Working the Engels) - Andrea visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Andrea Martin (Great News/Difficult People/Working the Engels) - Andrea talks about Good News on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Jason Jones (The Detour) - Jason talks about The Detour on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Ross Lynch (Austin & Ally) - Ross opens up about his new movie My Friend Dahmer on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
    • Peter Engel (Producer of Saved by the Bell/California Dreams/Hang Time) - Peter dishes about his new memoir I Was Saved by the Bell on the The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Danny DeVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Taxi) - Danny appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.