[ This review covers Season One, Episode One of Scoundrels, entitled And Jill Came Tumbling After, which premieres on Sunday, June 20, 2010 ]
Summer is usually a wasteland in the television world, when the networks populate their schedules with ridiculous reality series and burn off series that just couldn’t survive during the primetime season. The networks, however, seem to be trying to turn this around in recent years, as the summer seems to be offering quite a plethora of television for us to watch in recent years. Scoundrels is a very entertaining and pleasant offering for the summer season – I just hope it can survive to see more than its first season.
Scoundrels follows the tale of the West family, who seem to make a living out of being crooks. But when the head of the family, the father, gets sent away to prison for a long-term sentence, it sets a change in motion for the West family, as the mother of the family decides it is time to go straight.
Virginia Madsen stars as the mother of the family, the show’s most central character that Madsen brings to life as the most talented actor on the series. Leven Rambin, who you all might recognize as Sloan Sloan from Grey’s Anatomy, again plays the ditzy blonde who has no real aspirations in life other than being a model. But whereas Rambin was (unfortunately) chillingly received on Grey’s Anatomy, her character on Scoundrels is much more fun and certainly has smarts of her own. She’s a pleasure to watch, and nowhere near as annoying as Sloan Sloan was on Grey’s (that is, if you felt Sloan Sloan was annoying).
Another actress you may recognize is Vanessa Marano, who played the despised daughter of Luke, April, on Gilmore Girls. She, too, plays a recognizable character here on Scoundrels, again playing the “smart one” of the family. The character is a lot of fun and, again, she should much more likeable on Scoundrels than on Gilmore Girls. Patrick Flueger plays a duel role on the series – and the characters couldn’t be more opposite from each other. In fact, Flueger does such a fantastic job playing each role that I really thought that the two characters HAD to have been played by two different actors, while, in fact, they are not.
Carlos Bernard – Tony from 24, here looking much worse than he ever did on that show – pops in as the West family’s arch nemesis, as he tries to find some way, anyway, to lock the West family up for good. David James Elliot stars as the West family father figure, who doesn’t do much more than spend time in jail in the pilot episode.
I was really pleased with Scoundrels upon viewing it. It was a fun little show – not quite laugh-out-loud as I had expected, but still really good nonetheless. I’m intrigued to see where the story takes the characters, as the ending of the first episode shifts what appears to be the show’s initial premise. Scoundrels is certainly worth a look, as it may just turn out to be a fun little series to get us through the long, dry summer.