The Village depicts real-life struggles of Brooklynites

By MELISSA PEREZ
On April 15, 2019

Photo courtesy of Jcchoi, Wikipedia

NBC premiered their new scripted drama, “The Village” a few weeks ago on March 19. The series is a mix of “This Is Us” and “A Million Little Things” as it centers on an apartment building in Brooklyn, depicting real life struggles of the tenants.

This show certainly deserves some praise alone for not being a crime or hospital drama like the countless ones the network loves to force on the public, like “New Amsterdam,” “Law and Order,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago MED” and obviously “Chicago P.D.” Poorly marketed, the show is easily confused for the East Village, depicting a gentrified version of Brooklyn. In actuality, the name of the building is The Village.

The show markets itself as comforting and sometimes sentimental, but trying too hard with cheesy lines like “when you’re under this roof, you’re family,” as if the producers are actually writing a script for an Olive Garden commercial. One saving grace is how the show features one of the most diverse casts on cable TV right now.

The African American super of the building, Ron (Frankie Faison), is losing both his historic bar, and possibly his wife Patricia to cancer, who is played by the iconic Lorraine Toussaint. Their son Ben (Jerod Haynes), who had moved back into the building after the loss of his own son, is sparking a romance with Iranian single mother Ava (Moran Atias).

Battling with ICE, Ava is fighting to keep her son and her home. The building welcomes back long time resident Enzo (Dominic Chianese) who moves in with his grandson Gabe (Daren Kagasoff) after years wasting away at a retirement center.

The Village also welcomes their new subletter, Nick (Warren Christie) who is secretly – not so secretly – the biological father to Katie (Grace Van Dien) now a pregnant teen much like her mother Sarah (Michaela McManus).

It's a mouthful of a plot and yes, the show is corny and especially sappy in all the most obvious cliche ways. The show needs to mature, but the selling point of “The Village” is that it’s actually not a bad watch. Once you start watching, you get infested and the episodes end before you know it.

Believe or not, the show has great writing. The representation does not end at casting, but portrays lifelike PTSD, much needed healthy relationships between people of color, while raising awareness about immigration.

The show will have you rooting for them, and crying with them. This new network series has undeniable potential if NBC decides to renew it. Hopefully the mushy touchy-feely plot lines will carry on to a season two.

4 stars

 

mperez9@ramapo.edu

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