Bravo | March 21, 2019

Tribune News Service FROM LEFT, Michaela McManus as Sarah Coleman, Grace Van Dien as Katie Coleman in the NBC series, “The Village.” ‘The Village’ tear-jerkingly predictable By VERNE GAY Newsday The Village is a quaint old apartment building in Brooklyn filled with tenants who care about each other and have each other’s backs. There’s Sarah (Michae- la McManus), a VA nurse and single mom to rebellious high schooler Katie (Grace Van Dien). There’s Gabe (Daren Kagasoff), a law student who now has to worry about his strong-willed grand- dad, Enzo (Dominic Chianese). There’s Ava (Moran Atias), an immigrant and mom. There are Ron (Frankie Fais- on) and Patricia (Lorraine Toussaint), good-hearted proprietors and landlords of The Village. Next door is Ben (Jerod Haynes), a NewYork City cop who watches over his neighbors. One day, Nick (Warren Christie) arrives. He’s ex-Army and wounded — missing a leg below the knee that he lost in Iraq. Besides the war, he has a particularly complicated back story. The first bare-naked pitch to patri- otism and the heartland arrives at the 18-minute mark. The first Funny Old Guy scene at the three-minute one. The first Heartfelt Sad Moment follows that. The Good-Hearted Cop arrives 10 minutes in. The first indie pop song (meant to elicit tears) tracks about 25 minutes in. The Cute Dog arrives right on schedule at the 34-minute mark, and six minutes after that, The Unexpected Twist None of Us Saw Coming. Simply put, “The Village” pilot is per- fect: A flawless configuration of “beats” and “moments” and “grace notes” that are neatly stacked into a prime-time artifice as familiar as an old shoe. Of course, to some hamburger connoisseurs, the Big Mac is perfect, too: A flawless configuration of buns and burger and onion and ketchup and mayo and relish and secret sauce that are neatly stacked into an epicurean artifice as familiar as an old shoe. This is not to say “The Village,” Big Macs or old shoes are terrible, but — lordy, oh, lordy — they’re familiar. Disposable, too. We know them well, and in a TV network ecosystem as fractured as this current one, famil- iarity may be considered a plus. That doesn’t necessarily make it great or even worthy — and “The Village” most emphatically is neither. It’s a distillate of “This Is Us” and every other prime- time serial that dials in Snow Patrol or Tegan and Sara soundalikes the minute it wants to soften up viewers. It’s also another show that exploits NewYork City without seeming to understand NewYork City at all — one big prop with nice buildings, pretty people and photogenic skylines. Disney World or Paducah would’ve done just as well. Viewers, meanwhile, have clearly established that they couldn’t care less. They’ll take the syrup without the pancakes, gladly. Give them the Britpop-light soundtrack! Give them the faux tears! Give them downbeats followed by the upbeats followed by the let’s-all-hug-it-out ones. Especially give them the phony invocations to patriotism — and be sure to throw in at least one or more references to 9/11! “The Village” does all that and more, and so — ipso facto — “The Village” is perfect. The Big Mac is, too. Bon appétit.

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