The pilot episode of the new FOX show, Red Band Society is available for viewing until 5 pm ET tomorrow afternoon (Aug 26) on HULU (I also have it embedded, below). The show co-stars X Factor alum, Astro plus Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “Fruitvale Station”) and Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “666 Park Avenue”).
Fans “unlocked” the pilot by donating $100K to charity by sharing content via social media. The charity partners are Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ryan Seacrest Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Teen Cancer America and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The series premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 17 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT)
The coming-of-age dramedy is about a group of “rule-bending friends and the adults who mentor them through the ups and downs of adolescence in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital.” The characters–no-nonsense nurse, bitchy cheerleader, sensitive bad boy–are super cliched. The story is actually narrated by a boy in a coma. Despite the overt sentimentality, the winning cast manages to breathe new life into those well-worn stereotypes. Besides, it’s only the pilot. The show could go on to take these characters to unexpected places.
Steven Spielberg is the executive producer, which is no guarantee considering that his Smash series was pretty much a botch job. Nevertheless, I’m willing to give this show a shot. I think teens, especially, will really connect to the coming of age themes. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, whose Glee credits include emotional episodes like “Grilled Cheesus” and “The Break Up” directed the pilot.
From the press release, an introduction to the young characters:
Twelve-year-old narrator CHARLIE (Griffin Gluck) is in a coma and introduces us to this band of unlikely friends, including the “new kid,” JORDI PALACIOS (Nolan Sotillo), a 16-year-old who comes to California to seek out treatment at the renowned hospital. What Jordi soon discovers is that it’s not his illness that’s going to change his life, but his new friends.
Also at Ocean Park is LEO ROTH (Charlie Rowe), the 16-year-old, charming and independent “leader” of the group. Leo’s best friend is DASH HOSNEY (Astro), a 16-year-old “rebel” with a big personality, who is determined not to let his cystic fibrosis stop him from living his life. Also on the ward is 15-year-old “know-it-all” EMMA CHOTA (Ciara Bravo, “Big Time Rush”), Leo’s on-again-off-again girlfriend who is coping with an eating disorder. Rounding out this group of patients is KARA SOUDERS (Zoe Levin), a “mean girl” cheerleader who shares a room with Charlie. Although her heart is failing, she is realizing for the first time that she actually has one and begins opening it up to her new friends.
These teens form a life-changing bond and singular kinship, represented by their red hospital bands. They face shared experiences, both uplifting and challenging, tragic and comedic, ordinary and out-of-the-ordinary – and they do it together. When you’re brought to the brink, that’s when you laugh the loudest, love the strongest and cry the hardest…This is the story of the RED BAND SOCIETY.