NBC’s The Village has been created by Mike Daniels. It focuses on the residents of a titular New York City apartment building. However, unlike other NYC apartment buildings, the Village is special.
The show is modelled after the breakout success of NBC’s family drama This is Us. It has been so popular throughout its run that the broadcast networks, including NBC itself, are trying to recreate it with other shows.
1. Quick review
The show is set in a quaint old apartment building in Brooklyn called The Village. The show has a diverse cast that depicts the ups and downs of the tenants’ lives and their personal relationships.
A new resident comes to the building, who is trying to restart his life after losing his leg in an IED attack. He is made to feel at home, but someone knows his secret. His connection to their narratives is soon revealed after tense events.
Through the course of the show, the audience realizes they’re much more than neighbors. They’re friends who seem to be as close as family. In one episode alone, they tackle a teen pregnancy, the death of a man and a cancer diagnosis scare.
2. Is it worth watching?
Despite being unoriginal, The Village is a good drama. However, it will take a little more than inducing tears to be as impactful. Although it is built in the same vein as This is Us, it has somehow missed its mark.
In the series’ first episode, we dive directly into the tenants lives with no context. There is connection lost between the audience and the character and the characters themselves. This disconnect carries on through the show.
The first few episodes show their characters being slowly peeled back. Instead of feeling natural, most of the scenes and dialogue seem to be constructed with the motive of making viewers cry.
Keeping in mind the series was made to emulate This Is Us, this show retains the same corniness. However, This Is Us had comic relief and fantastic performances to earn its emotional high points.
The Village, meanwhile, has cringe-inducing dialogues that feels emotionally manipulative.
If The Village is watchable, it is so because of the prominence of the older generation of stars. The amount of common tropes and weird lines that veteran actors are required to say is baffling, and yet they do it well.
The main story of the series involves Sarah Campbell (played by Michaela McManus), a nursing-home employee. Her teen daughter, Katie (played by Grace Van Dien) reveals in the series’ first episode that she is pregnant.
Meanwhile, military veteran Nick Porter (played by Warren Christie) has just moved into the same New York City building. Nick is over-involved too. He has a secret connection to one of them.
Patricia (played by Lorraine Toussaint) is the de facto protagonist. She’s a social worker married to the building superintendent, Ron (played by Frankie Faison). She is also a maternal figure to the other residents.
Police officer Ben (played by Jerod Haynes) calls her when his friend, Iranian immigrant Ava (played by Morian Atias), is detained by ICE.
It’s a lot of plot for a subtle, well-written show to handle. Thankfully, The Village is neither of those. Instead, the show unfolds with cringe-worthy dialogues and absurdly cliché plot twists designed to make you cry.
II. Music and Visuals
The music directors are Jamie Jackson and Waz. They are a dynamic wife and husband duo known for their modern edge and wide variety of genres.
The soundtrack has popular songs such as Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo, Such A Simple Thing by Ray LaMontagne, Happy, Happy Christmas by Ingrid Michaelson, Killing Me by Luke Sital-Singh and Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley.
The cinematographers capture the shafts of sunlight breaking through windows beautifully. However, it does no justice to the way the shoot the glistening eyes of its stars.
Early directors, including Minkie Spiro and Peter Sollett, aim for heightened naturalism in the shots of New York surrounding them.
They use the visuals of warm toned brick walls and greenery to balance scenes. This helps create a calmer environment for everyone.
3. Final Thoughts
The writers of The Village confuse emotion with quality. The Village has some polishing to do to become the heartfelt drama that it was made to be. It doesn’t meet the emotional rollercoaster standards of This Is Us.
For a show rooted in a single building, there’s an astonishingly little sense of place. This show exists in a fictional New York where everyone is moments away from monologuing, a place that we’ve visited it so often that it’s got nothing new.
The characters of The Village are put through the paces of poignant issues. Teen pregnancies, post-traumatic stress, cancer, immigration enforcement, and the strain of aging in a production-oriented world.
It’s just a pity that they never feel real.