Thursday, 28 May 2015

Scandal Season 1 (ABC)

I offer my opinion on the first season of ABC’s hit Shonda Rhimes created show, Scandal, starring Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Kaite Lowes and more. Compromising initially of seven episodes, Scandal began its run on April 5, 2012 and has recently concluded its fourth season.

With the main bulk of the TV season coming to a close it was great to see that I now have the time to catch up on shows that I wouldn’t get the chance to watch otherwise due to the amount of new content, and although there is plenty of new Summer shows coming soon, there’s not quite as much as the Fall line-up which has allowed me to catch up on shows like ABC’s Scandal, a mass hit that has recently finished its fourth season and should return for a fifth later in the year. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Scandal is something that I’ve wanted to check out after really enjoying the first season of How to Get Away with Murder earlier in the year, and it didn’t disappoint, offering up some electric, fast paced fun featuring not only some great diverse characters, but also some strong fantastic acting primarily from the lead, Kerry Washington.

The show itself introduces us to Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a former White House Communications Director for the President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn), who left after helping him get elected to start her own crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. Whilst she’s decided to dedicate her life to her new career, her past affairs with the President cannot be ignored, with Oliva having to tackle different threats each week with her new associates including the likes of Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), an investigator, Huck (Guillermo Diaz), a hacker with a mysterious past, Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), a smooth and efficient litigator,  and Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), a Lawyer who’s the team’s new recruit. We also spend time with Henry Ian Cusick’s former employee of Olivia Pope, Stephen Finch, a Detective.

Lasting only seven episodes, the first season of Scandal is super quick and easy to get through, available on Amazon Prime in the UK and Netflix in the USA. Starting off as an initial case of the week drama like so many freshman shows tend to do, Scandal was helped by its insane pacing, often moving along at incredibly quick speeds, as well as the fact that it was only seven episodes allowing more time to get to the bulk of the season’s plot, with the mystery surrounding Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil), and her involvement with the White House. We also saw flashbacks employed effectively, including a flashback heavy episode The Trail (S1x06), which further explored the connection between Fitzgerald Grant, the President, and Olivia Pope.

Whilst Scandal can feel very soapy at times, and soap operas aren’t normally my sort of thing, I did end up enjoying the first season of this ABC drama (even if it saves the best for Season 2, which I’m currently working my way through at the moment), as it eventually broke free of the procedural start and flung itself into the over the top, plot-twisting drama that remained increasingly unpredictable, not just in the present but also in the past, with The Trail itself providing plenty of twists and turns.

The cast of Olivia Pope & Associates aren’t that fleshed out as well as they could have been in the first season, but that’s in part due to the short episode count as we see their past being explored in later seasons (Huck, the former Black Ops Marine, is just as flawed as the lead Olivia), but the characters are complex, fun and likable enough to get behind. I already mentioned Kerry Washington’s excellent acting and it’s something that continues throughout the season, especially with the dialogue getting better and better with every episode.

Whilst flawed, the first season of Scandal was a fun, well paced intriguing look at complex characters with flawed lives and compelling mysteries. It might not be the show’s finest hour (even ten episodes into Season 2 I’m enjoying it better as I mentioned above), but it’s consistently entertaining and if you give it a chance you will more than likely not be disappointed.


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