‘Red Widow’: Haven’t We Seen This One Before?

Red Widow is the latest in ABC‘s short-run series experiment, with two of its total eight hours airing for the first time last night, according to Ethan Alter for Television Without Pity. The short-run format will allow the network to experiment with just a few episodes of a new series without having any embarrassing headlines about super-fast cancellations if the viewers don’t respond.

As Tayla Holman previously reported,ABC had to cancel another new series, Zero Hour, after just three episodes. Starpulse said that the program “scored a new record low as the least-watched premiere ever for a scripted series on ABC.” Now that’s painful.

Tim Goodman for The Hollywood Reporter summed up the Red Widow premise like this:

“Suburban mother of three is pulled into the drug business when her brother robs a Russian mobster and she finally opens her eyes to admit that not only was her father a mobster, but her husband was breaking the law as well. And now — dramatic pause — it all falls to her.”

Apparently, TV thinks that nobody gets into the drug business for the cold, crass cash. It’s all about taking care of their family when their spouse dies — Showtime’s Weeds — or they themselves are dying of cancer — AMC’sBreaking Bad.

Alter reported that Red Widow was adapted from a Dutch series, Penoza, but the “me, too” plot makes it sound like it was mostly inspired by those two wildly popular series. The acclaimed Breaking Bad has a hotly anticipated final season coming up this summer. Weeds had an even longer run, with its final season and eighth season appearing last autumn, according to data given in Wikipedia.

Unless Red Widow finds its feet quickly, it won’t last nearly as long. Goodman calls out the show for its unbelievable premise. Lovely female lead Radha Mitchell stars as a woman brought up in a Russian mob family and married to a mob husband who somehow failed to notice those annoying little facts until she was forced into the business herself. “Viewers will see Red Widow as a formula series trying desperately not to be a formula series,” he predicted.

Alter’s review is even less enthusiastic: “It’s not so terrible,” he wrote.

Will you continue watching Red Widow? Or have you decided that you’ve been there, done that?

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