At a time when the world could use a little distraction, ABC sends us the perfect sizzling romantic drama TV series premiere. Based on the similarly Israeli named series from creator Assi Azar, the series has been adapted to follow Daniel Garcia, baker’s son and Noa Hamilton, mega celebrity. Spoilers ahead, this is your warming.
What brings a baker and a celebrity together you ask? An innocent bowl of soup, a botched proposal, and a vulnerable moment. All things that, done poorly, make the show cookie cutter. What could have been trite and well-trode is still …well-trode but what makes this first episode really work is these actors.
Victor Rusak, perhaps best known for his role as best friend Jose in the Fifty Shades Trilogy, is no stranger to TV like E.R and Tom Clancy. Nathalie Kelley, best known for her role in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and multiple TV series roles, brings similar acting diversity to this series. Together, their chemistry leaps off the screen in the first episode to give us a taste of what’s to come for this season.
Given the prime time spot of 10pm (ET) on Monday nights right after the Bachelor Spin-Off series: Listen to Your Heart, the show is slotted in perfectly to appeal to romantics craving a different kind of chemistry. The entire cast of characters feels authentic to the Miami lifestyle, both parts sparkling jet-set and hard working business people.
Deservedly, each of the Garcia family in particular feels very unique, their interactions together naturally like a real family that love each other. Daniel, our male lead character, is placed well, a hard working son helping his parents who have raised a man of character. There are a few elements shoehorned for optics that may lead to some eye rolling further down the road but good guys can be boring if they don’t have a little bad in them.
Less good is the posse of gals and associates surrounding our lead actress. They serve as a backdrop for Noa’s life, often providing insight for Daniel that explains something the audience doesn’t know. This works but only to a point, after which it feels more like narration or voice over. There are better ways to show the reality of Noa’s life that has only been teased about in the first episode.
Still, the appeal of the show hinges on whether these two will stay together. Remember that botched proposal? Daniels ex Vanessa, who bucked convention to publicly propose to him only to get turned down, may not play an extended role in the series if previews are to be believed. Her character serves as the anti-Noa, foil to her lead charm. Vanessa is everything you might expect Noa to be-wound tight, at times over-dramatic, and very much the woman scorned. Noa’s charm is in her ability to change the course of Daniels life but this may come back to bite him later on.
It remains to be seen, just what keeps our two lead characters together. This series isn’t one of those ‘will-they won’t-they’ dramas with great chemistry, it’s an ‘oh they will, very much so-but there are strings attached all over the place’ drama with excellent chemistry. Previews show our lead couple together, carefree and passionate as Daniel traverses her world but be warned, all is not sunshine and daisies in this world of Little Havana.
Also shown is a glimpse of Noa visiting Daniel’s family for dinner. Unlike the scenes where Daniel is a fish out of celebrity Fiji water, Noa seems to crave the family atmosphere and down to earth nature that this hometown bakery brings. Warned that Noa occasionally picks up strays, will this make Daniel worry? Will she bring more destruction than joy to his life? As she said, life in the limelight is hard on a relationship.
The series makes you speculate on just what will happen, which is what the creators and show runners were hoping to achieve. We’ve seen plenty of these kinds of stories in popular romantic fiction and films that offer an escape of regular life to join the ranks of the elite. What keeps and will hold the show together, is the strength of chemistry between these characters. ABC certainly knows what it’s doing so there is great hope for this show but one wonders just how long a show like this will last.
Until next time!