Monday, September 21, 2015

Where To Be Merry: A Press & VIP Screening of Rosewood @ Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14

Last Wednesday, Sept. 16, I attended a VIP & Press Screening of Rosewood, a new Fox show that debuts this Wednesday, Sept. 23, right before the season two opener of Empire. The screening took place at downtown’s Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14 complex, right across from the LA Live entertainment center. 

After guests received their complimentary bright blue Rosewood-branded sunglasses and free small sodas and popcorn, the night kicked off with a warm introduction from a Fox representative and a few words from the editor of Rolling Out magazine.

Eventually, the lights dimmed and the screening commenced. Up first were brief, behind-the-scenes looks of three Fox shows. The first two debut this Fall: Scream Queens, with Niecy Nash (who makes an appearance in a throwback #WilsonsGuide post), and Minority Report, starring Meagan Goodman and Wilmer Valderrama. The last preview was of Fox’s wildly successful Empire.

Then, it was time for the star of the night: the first episode of Rosewood.

The opening scene shows a shirtless Morris Chestnut, in all of his glory of rippling abs and bulging muscles, running down an oceanfront street in Miami.

Chestnut is Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., a private pathology consultant, displaying a remarkable, almost unbelievable aptitude at examining corpses to determine their true cause of death. He uses the latest technologies and a team of his sister and her fiancé to find clues on the dead bodies that many coroners would never see. He often lends his expertise to the Miami Police Department, whether its members want his help or not.

This first episode finds Rosewood assisting one of Miami PD’s most recent additions to the team, Detective Annalise Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz). Villa is a no frills, aggressive cop who knows how to kick, punch and get a grown man forcibly on his knees and in a chokehold, to get the information she needs. Together, upon the request of Rosewood’s mother, Donna (Lorraine Toussaint), the duo search to find out who murdered Donna’s beloved student (I won’t tell you if they catch the killer or not; no spoiler alerts here). While undoubtedly featuring a good dose of suspense and mystery, the episode was very high-spirited, with plenty of comedic shots and playful back-and-forth banter.

In all honesty, I wasn’t moved by this first episode. Solely focusing on story or character development, there wasn’t really anything new or original to make it stand out from any other show, and there was nothing sensationally attention-grabbing.

However, I will say that I appreciate the series’ lightheartedness, its strong emphasis on family ties and the beautiful, colorful backdrop of Miami. Plus, Chestnut’s portrayal of Rosewood is beyond commendable. To see a dashingly handsome, exceptionally smart African-American man demonstrate that it’s “cool” to be intelligent, use complex medical terminology that the average person doesn’t understand and have success in a career that’s not sports or music related, is pretty phenomenal. I hope this means we can expect even more African-American actors to continue to have access to diverse, leading roles.

With my two cents now thrown in, I’ll close by saying that I’m definitely curious to see how this new series will fare. Does Rosewood have what it takes to become the next big hit like Empire or to have the longevity of a series like the Law & Order franchise? Only time will tell.

Do you plan to tune in and catch Rosewood?

See you at the next Hollywood screening soon!

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