Thanks to a shameful (but successful) week-long Netflix binge on three full seasons of “Scandal”- I have been classically conditioned to feel an amalgam of excitement and delight whenever encountered by the name “Shonda Rhimes.” So naturally, after stumbling upon the news that my girl Shonda has just booked a third ABC show starring none other than African-American female icon Viola Davis (who literally moved me to tears in “The Help”), I nearly had a heart palpitation.
The new show is called “How to Get Away With Murder,” which was described by “E” as “A sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller that centers on ambitious law students and their brilliant and mysterious criminal defense professor. However, everything changes when their professor (played by Davis) becomes entangled in a murder plot that could rock their entire university and change the course of their lives.” The drama is written by Grey’s Anatomy producer Peter Nowalk- who is also executive producer along with Rhimes and Betsy Beers. The series, (which landed on TVGuide.com’s most promising pilots list), will also star: Jack Falahee, Liza Weil, Billy Brown, Matt McGorry, Aja Naomi King, Alfred Enoch, Charlie Weber, Karla Souza, and Katie Findlay.
As a self professed “all things political and bloody” fanatic (that means you “Scandal” and “House of Cards”), I for one am very excited for this new show! I am especially looking forward to Rhimes’ signature inclusion of several strong and dynamic female characters. In an industry that has been historically dominated by men, Shonda Rhimes is part of a select, but slowly increasing, number of female film producers and writers who are changing the game when in comes to the depiction of women onscreen. Thanks to Shonda we are starting to see the emergence of intensely complicated, even ruthless female characters like Olivia Pope and Mellie Grant, who completely defy gender stereotypes. On a similar note, Scandal is exalted for having one of the most ethnically diverse casts in all of television and Shonda is able to make us fall in love with these characters for who they are as people, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. I have no doubt in my mind that Shonda Rhimes will continue with this pattern of pushing the envelope and driving television in a more positive direction with her next drama!