The playback pitch of Showtime’s The Affair makes it impossible not to think about ABC’s Betrayal, launched this fall without meeting the expected success, which won’t surprise anyone. I admit that I really like the pilot script of Betrayal, but the result is far from having seduced me. Because of the major players, at first, absolutely not convincing and then slowly getting less unlikable. There was too much time lost in the two cheaters. As I feared, this sort of project can only have a shot at a cable network. So ABC decided to make it more accessible, less intimate, but forgot to make it energetic. As a result, it ended up as a cold and boring product, whose potencial was not enough to make you want to follow the story. The question is: will The Affair be a successful version of Betrayal?
I don’t have the answer to this question, because I’m torn. And, frankly, I wouldn’t be schocked if Showtime chose not to greenlit it for a full season. The theme of adultery is likely to affect many people. Has adultery ever been wrong? Who hasn’t ever cheated? “Lots of people”, you’ll answer me. An “I” perhaps. But are the faithfull the majority? I don’t believe so. That’s not the debate, though.
Even though this pilot has something special, an ambivalent atmosphere as bright as dark and the heart of a small town on the East Coast, it seems at least trifling. What I’m trying to say is that the subject is basically made for a single season or even a mini series. But several seasons of 13 episodes? This would fall into a soap opera. Add many complications, a whole bunch of additional characters and let’s see how interesting it can get. In the first episode it isn’t the path followed. Everything is oversimplified to keep only the emotion of the meeting, disorder pain is never far away. It’s beautiful, but is it enough?
The pilot is told through two perspectives: first Noah’s and then Alison’s. An interesting concept but it doesn’t really make the story any more interesting. For example: It would’ve been interesting if the stories of the two protagonists could differ a little bit, even if it was on silly details, but it is exactly the same. However, in the scenes, not everything is discovered. While reading it’s pleasant. I fear they can get a bit boring on the screen. Specially Noah’s (scenes of family life fairly basic). Going on vacation, teenagers who shun a woman slightly upset (Maura Tierney, who has not much to do at the moment). Alison’s situation is more singular. Her husbad, Cole, played by Joshua Jackson, is quite enigmatic! Should she be afraid of him? Is he a good person? Gradually, many questions arise. How did their child die? Is one of the parents responsible?
But the greatest mistery surrounding this pilot resides in a scene where Alison and Noah are being interrogated by the police. The writer gives any information toward when and where and most importantly why it is happening. Has there been a murder? A suicide?
The Affair could be a real deep, challenging and beautiful drama. The difficulty is not to produce a good pilot, especially if you have a cast as good as the one the Affair has, but also produce a second episode and then a third… and then dozens of them while remaining relevant and sober.
This script was translated from this french website: Des News En Series
I’m sorry if there are any mistakes in the translation (my french is not fluent). I did everything I could to make it as faithful as possible.