Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Red Widow?

Got an idea for a show that involves a strong female lead doing stereotypically manly things? Pitch it to ABC! The network's affinity for ladies living large continues with the new midseason drama Red Widow, debuting this weekend. But is this Sopranettes worth watching, or should you erase the show from your memory as soon as possible? I've seen the first episode and will help you make a decision. Also, now would be a great time to make sure your memory eraser is charged and ready to go.


What is
Red Widow

Red Widow is not at all about spiders. The hour-long drama stars Radha Mitchell as Marta Walraven, a wife living the good life in NoCal because her husband Evan (Anson Mount) is LOADED thanks to his job as a Russian mobster. But after Evan's idiot brother rips off the most dangerous gangsta in the city, Evan succumbs to the occupational hazard of being killed to death, leaving Marta a... Red Widow. In order to keep her family safe and pay off her family's debt to some bad guys, Marta takes her hubby's place as a tough mobster!


Who Created Red Widow?
 

The show sprung from the mind of Melissa Rosenberg, whose name you may recognize from that time someone dared you to watch the Twilight movies. Red Widow is based on the Dutch television series Penoza


When does Red Widow premiere?

Red Widow premieres Sunday, March 3 at 9pm with a pair of back-to-back episodes. On March 10, it settles into its regular 10pm slot.


What kind of audience will like Red Widow?
 

Well I can't say what audience will like it, but I can tell you who the show is trying to bring in: femme-strong ladies who likely have no element of danger in their lives and escape their humdrum existence with page-turning beach books and Julia Roberts movies.

Let's hear the positives!

San Francisco vistas and flyover shots of the Golden Gate Bridge are a common sight, and they look great! Clifton Collins, Jr. (The Event; a personal favorite of mine) plays an FBI man, and he's his usual creepy self. 


Uh-oh, let's hear about the negatives.

Red Widow is a Lifetime movie with a bigger budget but none of the guilty pleasure. Every single character is flat as a board, predictable, and about as delicious as a Saltine cracker; as a result, the show a bore to sit through. Given that it's supposed to be a primetime crime soap, it should have as many twists and turns as San Francisco's famous Lombard Street, but instead it's stiffer than the Transamerica Pyramid. Anson Mount is the best part of the cast by a long shot (and plays the most interesting character), but gets killed off about two commercial breaks in. Also, green screens all over the place!


So what's the verdict—watch or don't watch?

Don't. It's not even worth sitting through to make fun of. This is just plain, uninspired television that makes The Mob Doctor look great. Can I see a trailer anyway? Hmmm... okay.




What drink should I pair with Red Widow if I choose to watch it?

Anything your local bar serves... as in, go to the bar instead. 




Red Widow premieres Sunday, March 3 at 9pm on ABC.
Comments (81)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Red Widow is awesome!!!
2
Reply
Flag
I dunno, the premise sounds like it could be good. Haven't watched it yet and this review sets very low expectations so I might as well check it out. Plus I spend too much money at the bar anyway.
Reply
Flag
Tim's review is spot on. I actually went looking for it and read it while red widow was on in the background because I couldn't believe how bad it was and hoped I wasn't alone in thinking so.
Reply
Flag
the opening bicycling scene screamed missing's opening jogging scene. original!
Reply
Flag
I would say the biggest shock factor would be that her father killed her husband. Mystery solved :). Next!
Reply
Flag
I always watch the first few eps of any new (drama) show but they had better improve with age or they're done!
1
Reply
Flag
Sounds like another Mob Doctor...what's the fascination with mobsters and TV people? I for one won't be turning in, this show sounds terrible.
Reply
Flag
It's actually pretty good
Reply
Flag
Already seen the pilot also and have to say I'll jus record the rest and watch them when I have absolutely nothing interesting to do...Why kill off Anson Mounts xter so soon why not have some other actor play the role of the husband since his death is what the show is based on..but on the upside foor an occasional drama its good
Reply
Flag
Saw the first episode and completely concur with what Surette said - fact is, Anson Mount is truly by far the best actor, playing the most interesting character in the pilot... and he gets it midway through. I liked Radha Mitchell, but it's obvious her character is gullible as all hell. So am I seriously suppose to sit and watch her idiotic brother (yeah, TIm, the guy who made the dumb move was her dumbass brother, not his...) makes one moronic move after another, just to make the plot move along?
Forget it - got way more interesting things to do on a Sunday evening.
Reply
Flag
I'm with you there....maybe I'll jjus wait for the season finale and watch
Reply
Flag
Sad to hear this. The Dutch show is a fantastic gritty portrayal of a strong woman. I thought the fantastic Mitchell could pull that off. I might check it out since I've been waiting so long for it but it doesn't bare much hope for the future of this show. And now you've mentioned it, why wasn't The Mob Doctor on ABC?
Reply
Flag
You talking about the Golden Gate Bridge reminded me of Charmed... I miss that show.

Uh... this show, though? I might give it a looksie if it lasts more than 2 episodes. It sounds like a depressing premise, though.
2
Reply
Flag
i didnt think it was too bad - compared to zero hour, the mob doctor, 666 park avenue, cult and do no harm, its ok
i watch online so clashes with other shows wont bias me
Reply
Flag
I want to watch it cause I like Radha Mitchell but the show's Twilight connection makes me doubtful
Reply
Flag
same day and time with so many good series....goodnight
Reply
Flag
Won't watch if it's up against "The Good Wife".
1
Reply
Flag
I don't think "From the Screenwriter of the Twilight Series" is something you really want to put in your promotional teaser.
8
Reply
Flag
Well it's airing against Walking Dead so...
2
Reply
Flag
So basically its canceled?
Reply
Flag
I was interested in the trailer but when I saw it's air time I said nope, since I am the person who watches tv "live". And based off this review I probably wont take the time to watch it somewhere else later.
Reply
Flag
oh, it's doomed to fail. I think I will wait to see if it lasts a season before getting invested in a show even if I only watch 1-2 episodes. No point in watching anything if it is destined to fail. The network should put the episodes up on their website shortly after they air since most people who watch tv "live" (i.e., watch on tv when it airs) will probably be watching TWD.
2
Reply
Flag
Oh it's doomed to fail because its shockingly sh!t* I could only take the first 30 minutes before I had to turn it off & Im not one to give up easily. Just dull.
Reply
Flag
I will watch because... It's Sunday night, I'll probably be at home and there'll be nothing better to do. If an opportunity surges, I'll skip it. :P
Reply
Flag
Went back and forth yes no yes no yes no final verdict no
1
Reply
Flag
decided to watch and its awesome!!!
Reply
Flag
I think I will give it 1-2 episodes and reassess. I'm not sure I trust you Tim since you hate Banshee. On the other hand some of the comments here are by people who like/dislike the same shows as I do so I may hate this show.
I will withhold judgement until seeing 1-2 episodes.

One of my best childhood friends lives in Eindhoven -- lovely city and everyone is so nice:D You can't go wrong with a country that has chocolate sprinkles on the bread in the morning (not to mention the wonderful cheese). I love Holland/Netherlands
3
Reply
Flag
Thank you for your compliment of the Netherlands. And Eindhoven isn't even the most beautiful city over here. Probably I'll appriciate it even more when I see my kids putting chocalate sprinkles on his bread in de mornings (he also loves peanut butter).
1
Reply
Flag
Somebody hates Banshee??? Dang, that's one of the best shows on television!
6
Reply
Flag
not even close maybe between 100 and 125 Spartacus by far is the best movie channel show hands down
Reply
Flag
Gotta jump on the uh, Bansh...wagon
Banshee's more cheap fun than a 2 dollar whore on dollar night
2
Reply
Flag
read the "should I watch article on it and the review of the 1st episode"

that show kicks a@@ imo
2
Reply
Flag
BANSHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3
Reply
Flag
No kidding, that was one of the best pilots I've ever seen! The only show on a movie channel I like better is Strike Back.
4
Reply
Flag
I also really like strike back. Season 1 was awesome. The other seasons were great (not awesome but great). The American getting laid every episode in the middle of vital sections of the missions were over the top but FTW--it's fiction:-)
1
Flag
Hellllll no I'm not watching this quick-canceled turd of a show.
1
Reply
Flag
Good thing Anson Mount is in the incredible "Hell on Wheels" since this one is circling the drain as we speak.
Reply
Flag
No freaking way. You had me at brought to you and Twilight.
2
Reply
Flag
Ha...tv.com hated Zero Hour. Ditto for Cult and I was absolutely glued to my tv watching the premieres of both shows....love them, so from this review, I'm definitely gonna watch this one too. Sure better than the bunch of crap that stays on season after season, that I don't watch!
Reply
Flag
And now look...Zero Hour is cancelled and Cult is pretty much on its way out.
Reply
Flag
Yeah, and Red Widow won't last either, but if all of these shows did well and continued, it would have been awesome. But if not, there's always the great cable series such as Game of Thrones, Spartacus, Shameless, Californication, Englightened, and so on, so I've got plenty to keep me busy.
Reply
Flag
I'll watch just because.
1
Reply
Flag
i will try
1
Reply
Flag
When my mom told me she wanted to watch this I said NOOOOOOO.
4
Reply
Flag
The previews I have seen have either been very bad or vague, which sets off my "Bad TV Show" alarm. At least I finally know why they call it "Red" Widow.
2
Reply
Flag
I'll watch the series premiere for patriotic reasons - Rade Serbedzija and Goran Visnjic are Croatian actors, both great btw.
Radha Mitchell is also a favorite of mine, but the trailer does look awful.
Better luck next time guys.
Reply
Flag
But, did you like the show, Tim?
3
Reply
Flag
That sounds dreadful. However I will definitely go watch the original Dutch show.
Why does American TV always try to "re-do" foreign great shows? Are they too good for our shows? Can't they just air them like they were, with subs or dubs if it wasn't already in English?
Especially since they mess the whole thing up most of the time.
4
Reply
Flag
Ah, it gives the screen writers something to do. You can't expect them to come up with their own ideas, can you?
4
Reply
Flag
Some of them do... Sadly it doesn't always work out well for them. (see Last Resort for instance)
Reply
Flag
Sounds like a borefest.
2
Reply
Flag
As I have seen Penoza I could not care less about this product.
3
Reply
Flag
They pre-released the pilot and as shocking as it is, I agree with Tim--not about the romance novel loving target audience--but the fact that the only character with any depth or charm was Anson Mount and he was dead before the pilot was over. The story was crap, the characterization non-existent, and they put way too much emotional storytelling in the hands of child actors.

I will note that I believe the brother who ripped off the drug dealer was the wife's brother not the husband's. Her family was the dangerous one, he just married into it.
3
Reply
Flag
I thought Red Window would pair up with The Americans as the lady should be the widow of a KGB agent or something, but now I find out it's set in modern times, I find it ridiculous to refer to post-communist Russian mob as "Red", when this kin of mob flourished PRECISELY because the Communist regime ended. But the what can you expect from "the screenwriter of Twilight"? (A fact to be embarrassingly concealed, not to be advertised.)
5
Reply
Flag
I was interested when you said it's for those with ho-hum lives looking for adventure, but you lost me when you said it's a soap. I'll pass.
1
Reply
Flag
I'll give it a try.
2
Reply
Flag
And another 10pm show that will be canceled before all filmed episodes are shown. Its ABC why expect anything different?
1
Reply
Flag
I think I will watch the pilot, I live in the Netherlands and have seen the original series Penoza, wich was very very good, so I really want to see how much they screwed it up... hope not to much though
Reply
Flag
Sounds like crime version of Revenge
Reply
Flag
I agree with Sjaakjatvcom. It might be because I'm also Dutch but it's probably because I agree with him that Dutch crime in Amsterdam can be perceived different than Russian mob in San Francisco. Ans as the basis is different the story and the story telling probably are different.

There always seems to be a kind of advanturous side to it in Amsterdam. Willem Holleeder has always been kinda famous over here. In his biografy he and his friends are more pictured as adventurours then hardened criminals. We also have criminals that are seen as hardened criminals, but for some reason we do not see/feel them as penoza, they often are from Eastern Europe. As Sjaakjatvcom sais, our Penoza plays with those advanturous, romantic ideas. And Amsterdam is the perfect old setting for that.

Russian mob in San Francisco gives a completely different vibe that completely kills the reason why Penoza was such a success. It might be good in its own right, but it probably cannot be compared to the Dutch original. I suppose only the premise is the same and the rest is different. If it had been a Russian mob woman in Amsterdam it also would have been different as the East European mob in Amsterdam is different from the penoza.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I watched the pilot online already, as well. It's hard to judge it on the first hour alone because it's 90% setup for what the show is going to be about. And yes, that setup was somewhat boring. It could have been a much tighter script. ABC is showing the first two episodes together, and there were some entertaining elements, so I'll reserve judgment until I see the 2nd episode, which is necessary to know where the story is heading.
3
Reply
Flag
It is hard for me to judge the American remake solely on the trailer and Tim's review of the first episode. But I'm from Holland and watched the original series. I think the biggest problem with this remake is that it has no Amsterdam in it.

As Tim described, the show has been explained to be about a strong independent woman who takes over the (shady) business of her husband after he is murdered. But I don't think that was the reason for me and a lot of other Dutch folks to have watched the show. The focus of the first season of Penoza lay on the nostalgic feelings towards Amsterdam and her Penoza (loosely translated as figures from the underworld). With Holleeder (probably our biggest example of penoza, for abducting Freddy Heineken (in time the CEO of Heineken, the beer producer) in 1983) all over the news because of his release from prison, people romanticized the old days. Penoza, responded to that feeling.

The problem with "our" second season was in fact, that it was too much pinpointed on the strong and aggressive independent main character. That's where the show went wrong in my opinion. I wonder if the setting of this show, San Francisco with the main character in the Russian mob, can establish the same nostalgic feeling with the Americans as the Dutch had with Penoza. Otherwise it will be a quick cancelation.

Pardon my language mistakes!
More+
5
Reply
Flag
I agree with the word "plain". I had high hopes for the show, I don't know why, but it did let me down. I kept wondering how much it is based on the Dutch version. Is it a poor attempt to remake Penoza (which I haven't seen), in the same way as people say The Killing failed to do justice to the Danish original? Or is Red Widow just inspired by the original, but failed to make the story original and exiting?
2
Reply
Flag
this seems more like a daytime American soap opera
1
Reply
Flag
Dead Pool
3
Reply
Flag
haha, the dutch original is quite good actually
Reply
Flag
It looks pretty good and she is a great actress its gonna do well.
Reply
Flag
I'll never watch it but Radha is yet another Australian master thespian so I hope it gets better ratings than The Big Bang Theory.
Reply
Flag
You guys are so freaking negative! Give it a chance before you start trashing it... It might be good:)
2
Reply
Flag
I agree..
1
Reply
Flag
So, yet another American remake of a European series. Will Hollywood ever stop this ripping off other countries?
3
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook