Written and Created by Jonathan Abrahams
Directed by Ken Olin
I just finished watching this first episode. I’ve been looking forward to this series ever since I first heard about it last year, as it stars Josh Henderson, an actor whom I’ve written about before. And while I wish things had worked out with the previous revival of DALLAS so that he could still be playing John Ross Ewing III, I’ve been waiting for him to get another big role, and here it is.
Henderson stars as Kyle West, an A-list movie star (who is totally NOT Tom Cruise), who belongs to a controversial “self-help” organization called The Institute of The Higher Mind (which is totally NOT the Church of Scientology). Christine Evangelista co-stars as Megan Morrison (who is totally NOT Katie Holmes), a young up and coming actress who is still working as a waitress when this episode begins, as she continues to go out on auditions, looking for her big break. She auditions for a small role in an upcoming Kyle West film, and is surprised when she does well enough in the initial audition to be called to come back for another one, in which she’ll be meeting with Kyle West himself.
Sparks fly between Kyle and Megan, and before you know it he’s giving her a ride on the back of his motorcycle to his favorite taco place, and that’s followed by a trip on his private jet to Mexico. This whirlwind romance is capped off a couple of days later when an extensive contract is sent to Megan’s agent, where she is asked to sign a lucrative deal to date, court, marry, and even potentially have children with Kyle. Thus we have the “arrangement” of the series.
Along the way, there are several twists and turns. We learn that, a year earlier, Kyle was left at the altar by his previous fiance, another movie star who has a competing film coming out the same time as Kyle’s current film. This is something he’s been recovering from, along with the help of a “therapist” from the IHM, who provides some real “hands on” treatment. And coincidentally, right before her audition with Kyle, Megan discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her and has gotten another woman pregnant. And allusions are made to both Kyle and Megan having pretty significant secrets that they are hiding from each other.
So far, I have to say that this series is off to a good start. This premise feels like it could have easily been a 2-hour Lifetime Channel movie, and it still remains to be seen if it truly has the legs necessary to fill an ongoing series. It certainly is helped by the electric chemistry between it’s two leads. Just like the characters that they are playing, Henderson and Morrison instantly seem to connect, in every scene they have together (not just the somewhat-restrained love scenes) they feel like a real couple.
Also standing out in this first episode are Michael Vartan as Terrance Anderson, the enigmatic founder of the IHM (who is totally NOT Scientology leader David Miscavige), who is also Kyle’s best friend (at least that’s what Kyle thinks). He plays Terrance with just the right amount of restraint, so that while it’s clear that he’s not entirely on the up and up, he doesn’t come off as a cartoon villain. And Lexa Doig plays Terrance’s wife Deann, and Kyle’s agent, who appears to have her own agenda separate from her husband’s.
Altogether, with the clever writing and capable (and attractive) cast, I believe that The Arrangement could be the next big hit. I’ll definitely be back next week! Grade: A+