‘Still Star-Crossed’ Advanced Preview: Diversity, Drama and Tropey Fun

I must admit I approached this show with trepidation. I have a love/hate relationship with Shonda Rhimes in general, in that I love her brilliant mind but I hate how many times she’s broken my heart by taking away my favorites, and thus I must prefer to avoid anything she does for fear she will make me care and then rip apart my insides.

And yet – Still Star-Crossed seemed, too something to not at least check it out. Too out there? Too tropey? Too dramatic? My curiosity got the best of me. And here we are.

First things first: I enjoyed it. Much more than I expected, to be honest, and that’s usually the problem with Shonda, so I shouldn’t have really been surprised. Yes, the diversity is glorious – and though we know that it’s not historically accurate, we don’t really care – the female characters are strong and there’s a lot of close ups of the main characters looking shocked and/or pained, but the most important thing about Still Star-Crossed is that …despite all of that, or maybe because of it, it’s never, ever boring.

Even in an episode where they, for some bizarre reason, insists on spending a good chunk of time rehashing the whole Romeo and Juliet tragedy that everyone already knows, even if we only get to the actual point of the series in the final few minutes of the episode, even if Anthony Stewart Head is so anti-Giles that I almost can’t process him in this role.

You still don’t want to turn away, lest someone is killed or makes some stupid mistake.

This, honestly, is just the Shonda way. Has anyone ever been able to look the other way when one of her shows is on? I mean, unless you’re looking away to wipe your tears, that is.

So, should you watch? What is in store for you if you do?

Still Star-Crossed is stunning visually, the production values are top-notch; it gives us a POC heroine in a time where the whole idea of a POC was laughable, at best, it opens up a few family/romantic subplots in the very first episode, and the two main characters have a lot of the kind of antagonistic chemistry that you expect for a show about an arranged marriage.

Yes, the dialogue is stilted at times – too much Shakespeare, too little of how people actually talk, and yes, this is 100% tropey drama, the kind of guilty pleasure that means you will either love it or hate it, but in a summer season that seems to provide us with nothing of this sort of entertainment, it might still be worth your time.

As for me – I’ll be checking out the second episode, at least. This could either be all I want of a romance novel brought to life, or a fun mess, but either way, I don’t want to be told what it is. I want to experience it.

Still Star-Crossed premieres on ABC on Monday May 29th at 10/9c.

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