Out of all the family-orientated melodramas on TV, I’ll always have a soft spot for This Is Us. I have no shame in saying that show has made me cry numerous times and remains one of the few shows I refuse to watch episodically, instead opting to binge the entire season in a few days. NBC’s latest attempt at the melodramatic pie is The Village, a series which attempts to emulate the same emotional peaks and valleys seen in This Is Us to mixed results.
The premise of this drama is pretty simple, albeit a little far-fetched at times. This latest melodrama sees residents of an apartment building leading separate lives but intertwining in the confines of the apartment itself. The first episode introduces us to a host of different characters, and right into the thick of the drama, almost right off the bat. Teenage girl Katie comes to terms with being pregnant while her single mother Sarah deals with the aftermath of what this means for her and their life together. Retired grandfather Enzo loathes the retirement home he finds himself in, taking advantage of his Grandson by up and leaving the first chance he gets.
There’s also an interesting nod toward the recent civil rights issues in America right now too, told through the eyes of Iranian refugee Ava who finds herself stuck in a detainment center, torn away from her son. Rounding out this group of core characters is Nick, who acts as our anchor to the series as he moves into the apartment building and finds himself overwhelmed by the hospitality offered by those around him. Along with getting to know the characters, it’s revealed that Nick and Sarah happen to be the biological parents to Katie whilst Nick’s dog Jedi comes along for the ride too.
While there are some nice moments in The Village, it’s dampened somewhat by an incessant need to push the melodramatic beats from the start all the way through to the finish. Without allowing us to get to know these characters and immediately throwing them into dramatic and heartfelt moments, it makes it very difficult to really get as much emotion out of the audience as this show should. There’s a lot of potential with The Village and I’ll be the first to admit, the premise got me very excited, especially after watching This Is Us. Unlike that show which took the time to introduce its characters, their struggles and the world around them, The Village jumps straight into the drama, barely letting up for a breath.
Yet for all its flaws, The Village is a strangely endearing show. It manages to introduce enough characters to keep things interesting whilst presenting a surrealistic world of feel-good drama that manages to push the right buttons to make this a really moreish prospect when the credits roll. Of course, it’s far too early to tell whether The Village will grow into its story or whether the series will continue to push the same melodramatic beats every week but for now, there’s enough here to pique the interest and keep you coming back for more.