Freeform finds good drama in “Good Trouble”

Five years ago, a cable channel transformed – again..
It had been the Christian Broadcasting Network … then the Family Channel … then Fox Family … then ABC Family. Now it would be Freeform.
“’Freeform’ evokes a mood, a sense of spontaneity, creativity,” Tom Ascheim, the channel’s president, insisted. His channel would focus on “that place between childhood and adulthood, … between your first kiss and your first kid.”
That’s a tough target; Freeform has missed several times, but has hit the mark twice. On opposite coasts, those shows depict young people (likable and telegenic) starting careers amid personal chaos: Read more…

Social-distance drama? This one feels hopeful

It’s the kind of challenge writers and actors should savor: Create stories about isolation … filmed under isolated conditions.
There have already been some interesting ones, crafted during the COVID slowdown – episodes of “All Rise” and “Mythic Quest,” a reunion of “Parks and Recreation,” a British hour called “Isolation Stories.” Coming (Sept. 12 on HBO) is “Coastal Elites,” with playwright Paul Rudnick giving monologs to Sarah Paulson, Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae and Kaitlyn Dever.
But before that, Freeform gets a chance. “Love in the Time of Corona” (shown here) is Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-23, then rerunning Monday, juggling four slightly related stories. It’s a tad predictable, but skillfully written and acted. It’s also optimistic; you could say it’s very American … or maybe very Californian. Read more…

“Okay” finds random joy in teen life

Leaping across continents, Josh Thomas has ignored TV’s assumptions.
American networks try to be relatable and universal and such. Instead, he’s turned his offbeat Australian teen years into sometimes-great TV.
“Teenage girls are like so funny to me, right?” Thomas said. “And I just really wanted to write a teenage girl.”
He’s written a lot of them– led by Kaylan Cromer, shown here — for “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.” And in the next episode (Feb. 20), they converge in wonderfully odd ways. Read more…