As I sat there, watching the first few minutes of How to Get Away with Murder, all I could think was: “Damn, Shonda Rhimes has done it again!” Having already created two of the most successful shows on television, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, it should be obvious that this show would follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, which both will also air Thursday on ABC. It’s not a done deal quite yet, though. How to Get Away with Murder may be one of the most highly anticipated new shows this year, but that doesn’t mean it will actually end up living up to the hype. So, I came into this praying for another Grey’s or Scandal, but prepared for it to fall short of those two spectacular shows. Thankfully, I think How to Get Away with Murder will end up falling under the category of ‘hit’ rather than ‘miss.’
The show starts out with an arresting scene that leaves us with an endless array of questions, and then immediately rewinds to three months earlier as a class of law school students begins its first day in Professor Annalise Keating’s infamous Criminal Law 100, “How to Get Away with Murder,” class. Throughout the episode we watch as four of these students in particular vie for the fierce and unyielding Professor Keating to notice them and to earn a spot working with her on a high profile case. We also get pieces of a puzzle dropped here and there about that first scene, and how pivotal it will be in upcoming episodes.
At its core, How to Get Away with Murder is a character-driven legal drama based around a bunch of law students who get the invaluable opportunity to work with their professor, who is also a famous defense attorney. They get to practice law rather than just study it and we get a chance to study more of Rhimes’s brilliant characters. Even with such a large cast, there was so much to get out of each character in this pilot; there was something about each of them that made them unforgettable. Wes is down to earth but still ambitious. Laurel is insecure yet intuitive. Connor deceptive and resourceful. Michaela intense and guarded. I finished the episode with a clear first impression of everyone, and now I just want to know more.
My guess is that How to Get Away with Murder is going to be one of, if not the, best new shows this year. It’s got all of the makings of a hit: compelling characters, an intriguing mystery, and immeasurable potential to grow as a series. At this point I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out, and I am optimistic that it will end up being an essential part of my Thursday nights.
My Final Thoughts:
- Viola Davis as professor Annalise Keating: AMAZING. This character was so much more than I even thought she was going to be. Davis is both driven and cunning as professor Keating, but she also brings a certain vulnerable emotion to the character. I think she will be giving us a lot of surprises this season.
- Wes Gibbons is by far my favorite character so far because he is extremely likable and easy to relate to.
- This show is perfect for viewers in their twenties who can still relate to wild college days but also understand the responsibilities that come with adulthood. It really caters to this demographic.
- We didn’t get too good of a look at Matt McGorry’s (Orange is the New Black) character, Asher Millstone, yet, but I’ve already got a feeling he’s going to be a character who I love to hate.
- I love the tone of the show. It’s intense like Scandal but easier for viewers to relate to.
- The revelation at the end of the episode sealed the deal for me. I will definitely be continuing to watch this show every week.
Check out the trailer for How to Get Away with Murder below and watch the series premiere Thursday, September 25 at 10/9c on ABC.