[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]

Show: "Scandal" (ABC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: Does Shonda Rhimes even need to pitch ABC anymore? Whatever Shonda wants, Shonda gets.
Quick Response: Yep, it's a Vocational Irony Narrative. Our main character is a Washington DC "fixer" who can fix everything, except for her own life. What the heck is a fixer? Dunno. They're sortta lawyer-journalist-detective-mediator-spies? Or something? If there's a problem, yo they'll solve it, might be Vanilla Ice's explanation. Shonda Rhimes' explanation might be, "Fixers do whatever we want fixers to do, fix whatever needs fixing." The "Scandal" pilot is full of wild implausibilities, coincidences and gaping logical flaws and yet I kinda enjoyed it. It's VERY slick. Director Paul McGuigan ("Sherlock," "Lucky Number Slevin") is a master of superficial fun and dam-the-torpedos-ditch-the-questions pacing and the script is full of dialogue and character details that are clever and probably don't invite any additional analysis. What "Scandal" has going for it in particular is Kerry Washington, who probably ought to have been a star four or five years ago, not to dare accuse Hollywood of institutional racism or providing only limited options for minority actors. Definitely not. Washington's Olivia is like a super-powered version of Sarah Shahi's "Fairly Legal" character, which isn't a compliment in terms of originality, but it's not an insult either. Washington is good. And the cast around her isn't bad either. Columbus Short is, like Washington, another actor who should have been given a break like this a while ago and he's solid. Then you've got familiar character actors like Guillermo Diaz, Jeff Perry, Josh Malina and, playing the President of the United States with a perfect amount of icky unctuousness, Tony Goldwyn. Some percentage of the audience will be drawn by "Lost" veteran Henry Ian Cusick and while the erstwhile Desmond isn't bad, he's doing an accent which conspicuously isn't Scottish and equally conspicuously isn't consistently anything identifiable. I ask for the millionth time: If you have an actor like Cusick, why not do three seconds of writing to explain why his character had to abruptly leave Glasgow, rather than squashing the most identifiable aspect of said actor's presence. Sigh. In any case, "Scandal" sets itself up decently with the prospect of micro cases involving the Fixing-of-the-Week, as well as whatever macro scandal involves Olivia and The President. That allows for possible storytelling versatility and a format that could let "Scandal" be a fun kinda character-driven uber-procedural. It's definitely better (for one episode) than "Off the Map" and "Private Practice" on Shonda Rhimes' non-"Anatomy" ABC resume.
Desire To Watch Again: If ABC were to give "Scandal" the post-"Grey's Anatomy" slot on Thursdays, I'd definitely watch a couple more episodes for the cast and somewhat unfamiliar angle. There are a couple other time periods in which I'd also give it more of a look. But there are more competitive slots in which I'd probably tune out sooner. I'm guessing some viewers will feel the same way. [The publicity still with this story is really dumb. Goldwyn's character is the President of the United States. Why is he just standing around in the back row with this office of fixers? In *their* office? The office, by the way, is a strong piece of production design, but it raises some of those "Please don't ask..." questions I mentioned earlier.]

Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Smash'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Good Christian Belles'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'How To Be A Gentleman'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Prime Suspect'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Man Up!'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Free Agents'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Suburgatory'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Ringer'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'Terra Nova'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Whitney'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Pan Am'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'Alcatraz'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Person of Interest'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's ' 'The River'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Last Man Standing'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Two Broke Girls'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Up All Night'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Revenge'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Awake'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'The Secret Circle'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Unforgettable'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'The Playboy Club'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Charlie's Angels'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Grimm'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'New Girl'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Hart of Dixie'
Take Me To The Pilots ' 11: ABC's 'Apartment 23'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'A Gifted Man'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots installments.