A Betrayal Community
ABC (ended 2014)

Betrayal S01E01: "Pilot"


If you've clicked your way to this review because you're looking for a constructive analysis of the tangled web of lies, murder, and adultery featured in ABC's new nighttime soap Betrayal, turn away now. Go on, get! Shoo! If you've found your way here because you want to know whether someone else who watched it thought it was as awful as you did, well, pull up a chair, grab some popcorn, and let's chat!

Try as I might, I cannot be nice to this show. Betrayal takes the trophy for Worst New Show of the 2013 Fall Season in a landslide, and if it's still on the air by the time November rolls around, we are in a lot of trouble. It's eerie that on very same night that one of television's best series ever came to an end, one of its worst began. There is now an imbalance in the equilibrium of the television universe so great that I fully expect a vortex to open up and swallow us all whole, or gravity to reverse itself and spit us all into the ether. Betrayal is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad television.

Falling in line with some of the other soapy dramas that ABC has turned into relative hits as of late—Revenge and Scandal, two other series named with inciting adjectives, come to mind—Betrayal is all about revenge, scandal, and betrayal. Hannah Ware (Boss) plays a wife, mother, and photographer named Sara who's "trapped" in a marriage on its way to Staleville. I guess. Her husband Drew (Chris Johnson) is a successful prosecutor working his way up the Chicago political ladder and no doubt paying for Sara's awesome photography studio and every other luxury in life. They have a seven-year-old son who Sara clearly loves, and in the pilot, Sara and Drew even had some awesome sex! So why so glum, Sara? Because it fits this hokey and terrible story, that's why. 

At one of Sara's art shows, Sara met a lawyer/stranger named Jack McCallister (Stuart Townsend) in a chance encounter out on the balcony where they had the stupidest discussion about art, though Betrayal attempted to pass it off as deep philosophizing smalltalk and the spark that set their lust on fire. If it were me in either of their shoes, I would have blown my rape whistle or made up some excuse about how the cable guy was on his way and I had to leave. But these two duds just couldn't get enough inane conversation. He dissed the art show, saying he preferred something "real" that he could touch, and she kept her mouth shut about being one of the artists the whole shindig was for until finally admitting she was a photographer and saying her photography was kind of real, right? Then he said he liked her art and the two shared a chuckle and gentle eyef*ck. Oh and did I mention that Jack is married, too? A few very chance encounters and obsessive stalkings later, including an awkward all-day date in the countryside, and the two were f*cking each other's lunches out.

In the other, barely-more-intriguing half of the pilot, real-estate mogul (and Jack's boss) Thatcher Karsten (James Cromwell living out one of his worst nightmares) had an issue with an "Uncle Lou" possibly making some shady deals under Thatcher's company's umbrella. "After the first betrayal, there are no more," Thatcher growled (and Cromwell was probably referring to his agent), and a few scenes later, Thatcher's somewhat mentally challenged son TJ (E.T.'s Henry Thomas) confronted Uncle Lou to get some answers. We didn't get the details of what happened after that, but next we saw Lou he was floating face down in a river, with TJ the prime suspect in his murder.  

Tying all of this nonsense together while still making it more complicated, Sara's husband Drew landed the prosecuting case of a lifetime to take down TJ (and Thatcher's illegal real-estate activities, too) on his way to becoming mayor of Chicago. In the courtroom, he'll be going face-to-face with Jack, who will act as TJ's defense attorney. BOOM there's your convoluted soapy drama! Meanwhile, Sara was left to cry with a broken bottle of wine on her kitchen floor, wondering what sort of mess she'd gotten herself into when she decided to throw away her marriage because some other dude paid attention to her. 

That summary does no justice as to how truly awful Betrayal is. The pilot was full of characters for whom I felt nothing but hate, and there wasn't one favorable protagonist in sight. Are we supposed to be rooting for Sara and Jack to be together because they had one idiotic chat about art and he brought her donut holes and her scarf when he stalked her and kept showing up wherever she was unannounced? Was Betrayal trying to say adultery is normal even when the two horny parties are perfectly okay in their respective marriages? Has our society fallen so far that ABC thought it could trot out two moderately attractive people and make a case that their love was real because everyone is bored with their spouses?

Betrayal made two major mistakes, and millions of small ones, in trying to get us to believe in this garbage. First was the "steamy" affair at the center of the series. The Sara-Jack fling has no basis for existing. Ware and Townsend have zero chemistry, bouncing lines of horrendous dialogue off each other like two statues playing Smashball until it was time for Sara to grab Jack's scruff and suck his face. And their impromptu date, which escalated rapidly from skipping rocks on a beach to fancy dinner to Jack jingling a hotel room key in Sara's face like a complete douchebag and date rapist, made everything that happened during the the last season of The Bachelorette seem genuine. I think Ware and Townsend might've been held at gunpoint while filming this. 

With zero believable fireworks between the two, their affair turned them into a pair of assholes just looking to get their rocks off while Sarah's husband and Jack's wife went about their business and asked them why they didn't pick up their phones. The nerve of Sara and Jack! These two are the most selfish people in the world and they have no excuse for their actions. They're just terrible people who shouldn't've been married in the first place. This isn't forbidden love, it's unforgivable love. Sara and Jack deserve to be catapulted into a brick wall. Or worse, forced to watch Betrayal.

Anyway, the second big oopsie Betrayal committed was believing that it's a drama to be taken seriously. Scandal and Revenge know what their game is: full-on lunacy that's supposed to be fun. Betrayal carried itself like it's already trying on dresses for next year's Emmys. There wasn't a wink in sight. And the pilot wasn't even accidentally funny, it was sad. The stone-faced acting, the sham writing, the sloppy dialogue, and the confusing editing were all an embarrassment. This show could've been a delicious little guilty pleasure (which I'd have loved), but instead it's more trauma than drama.

In conclusion, I hated it.



NOTES

– I don't know what it says about Henry Thomas's performance that I couldn't tell whether his character had suffered some form of brain damage or not until the very end of the episode. Kudos for not feeling the need to bring attention to it, Betrayal, but maybe in this case you should have, instead of hanging Thomas out there like that? 

– The choices to intercut certain scenes with one another did not work at all. Thatcher talking about Lou's betrayal while Sara had sex with her husband was an artistic failure, not to mention very confusing.

– Completely useless scenes and dialogue everywhere! What was the point of TJ talking about the pool table not being crooked? Why did Drew's coworker have to mention his retirement party? Why did Thatcher scream, "JUST GO!" to TJ and then immediately follow that with, "Come here"? 

– Is the real hook of the flashforward where we saw Sara being shot the mystery of who is holding her hand in the ambulance? 

– All I could think about while watching this was The Room, but that was fun.


So, uh, what'd YOU think?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 1/19/2014

Season 1 : Episode 13

57 Comments
Comments (57)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I loved the show Betrayal!! It was one of the best tv shows in a long time. Several of us every week couldn't wait for it to come on. Your crazy if you didn't enjoy the whole affair!!
Reply
Flag
This show was so terrible i still think what the hell was the director and the writer wear thinking When i first heard the name Betrayal i thought it would be a thriller drama but there was no thrill at all actually it was kind those 90's movies boring and time consuming ,don't get me started about the chemistry between the lead characters by the end i actually thought the chemistry between Sara and Drew was even better and that Sara character really pissed me off one minute she would be like oh this is not fair to my kid and the next moment she would be F**kn that laim ass Jack whose character seemed more like a jock to me , I like The Affair series better its new but more realistic not this drama full of crap.
1
Reply
Flag
I absolutely loved it, hope somebody takes up the second series
1
Reply
Flag
Personally I truly enjoyed the series from beginning to end. I would guess the show's premise is what some people object to. Sometimes one can't use their personal prejudices to judge TV shows. I think it's well written, well performed and follows fairly complex and intriguing story lines. I hope it returns.
1
Reply
Flag
Do I really understand the reason for it being the worst show? not really..in fact, so far it has been one of my best.. I love it n the whole story line. keeps one totally glued in a nice way.. This show wasn't bad at all.. Totally and completely loved it!!!!
1
Reply
Flag
i'm also a new viewer of this series.

I have to agree with Tim Surette review. But i don't hate the series, i find this series NOT GOOD, i'm still intrigued, i'll watch a 2nd ep.

In my opinion, the less successful plot line is the hidden love between the 2 main characters. (its just like Tim said in is review, they don't have chemistry)
the other plot lines and relationships are what keeps me going.

Final thought: the flashforward was HORRIBLE (trying to shock the audience, and failing all the point). Unknown woman gets shot, by unknown man, with no emotional weigh, writing this sentence reminds me of CSI and CSI should BURN in the stake! !
- Its one of the worse misplaced scenes in recent TV, its was better putting it at the end of the episode (but the show didn't needed it, it had enough story lines)
Reply
Flag
I agree that the dialogues are somewhat ropy - but the story is ok:

This is how the world works. Sexual attraction follows rules that are hundred of thousands of years old - we may like it or hate it, play by those rules and have fun or dislike them and remain rather unsuccessful when dating - but neither embarrassment nor stupid conversations matter in that universe.

From that angle the initial encounter we had to watch was pretty realistic whether it made us angy or not.

Sara through away her marriage for that jerk named Jack indeed, but what is so unrealisitc about it ? Happens all the time.

Do not think for a second that your wife is not as receptive as Sara. Have a closer look at her next time you see her sitting on the couch appearing miles way in her thoughts.
2
Reply
Flag
me too,Love it! Love it! Love it! For those who don't . . . don't watch it

5
Reply
Flag
I agree with the review. I think Ware and Townsend have no chemistry at all. While I love Stuart Townsend and think he can do no wrong, I feel bad for him that he is stuck doing this awful show. Much as I try to watch it every Sunday I just can't do it.
1
Reply
Flag
Interesting review...however I like the show. Love that Cromwell and Thomas eat the scenery but it's so much fun to watch. And Ware and Townsend are so beautiful to look at I could lick my tv screen. Plus I love their flirtatious banter and their scenes together are pretty darn hot. Is it award-winning tv? Absolutely not but it is fun and mindless and a perfect way to end one week and start another.
9
Reply
Flag
Love it! Love it! Love it! For those who don't . . . don't watch it.
17
Reply
Flag
Love it too!!!!!!!
6
Reply
Flag
I agree with these comments. Worst TV show so far. The actors are very boring, and unbelievable. Even the brief times of cheating and fatal attraction are boring.
2
Reply
Flag
Wrong
2
Reply
Flag
Wrong
1
Reply
Flag
Only because I live in Chicago and saw some of the filming in Evanston this summer, was I interested in the show. What a disappointment. The writing was terrible, the actors had little energy and were lackluster and the plot line where Townsend's character shows up wherever Sara happened to be was implausible. And a huge wasted of a show for James Cromwell. He is a far better actor than to be lending his talents to this drama. However, I can understand why Sara would be enticed to have a romp with this obviously beautiful man, but hey, can you make an entire series out of this attraction? I think not. Thumbs way down.
2
Reply
Flag
Wrong
3
Reply
Flag
My God, it was NOT that bad at all. I shudder that you say it is the WORST of all the new shows. ghhh, only explanation: we were watching a totally different show
9
Reply
Flag
  • I don't know if I honestly didn't know what was happening or if I genuinely didn't care to know what was happening.
  • There has to be something likeable or endearing, or relatable about the protagonists of a show, and neither of them came across as likeable. From what we seen, the two of them had very solid marriages with no real reason to even consider having an affair. Then they had an affair. Huh.
  • Neither of the leads can successfully pull off an American accent for an extended period of time. Contrary to popular belief, there are many actors out there who can't, but while some of them are endearing in their valiant attempt (Daniel Sharma) and it's easy to pay no mind, I find theirs distracting. Perhaps because I wasn't as invested in anything else going on.
  • Jack was very stalkerish and their entire thing was just a huge turn-off.
  • Meh.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Finding it somewhat funny picturing Tim watching this atrocity and then popping on Sons of Anarchy.
Reply
Flag
Just after reading its synopsis, the only thought I could muster from that series was... "what the f*ck?"

Glad I wasn't wrong.
Reply
Flag
I hope everyone else feels this way and it gets cancelled so I can have on in the bag for my dead pool. mwahahahahaha
1
Reply
Flag
Wow, that was unexpected. Just finished watching it and I absolutely loved it! Funny how two people can have completely different views of the same thing. But, well, I guess that's what makes things interesting, right? I'll keep on whatching every week!
18
Reply
Flag
me too love it
1
Reply
Flag
I actually thought is was very good!!! as well
14
Reply
Flag
The show had its good points, I think it has a good story to tell. The main characters are drawn to each other, but a little more resistance and angst about betraying their respective spouses would have been appropriate. They did not seem to be unhappy in their respective marriages before they met and it seems like their respective spouses, may be boring, but don't deserve this kind of betrayal. This was like cramming one year of daytime soap capades into one episode.
1
Reply
Flag
I don't know. Sometimes B grade stuff can be very relaxing. Hannah Ware is so easy on the eyes too. I actually prefer a little brain-deadening after The Good Wife and Revenge. Regular, uninspired people going about their business ya know, like the neighbors or something.
Reply
Flag
I was curious about this show. Well, I saw the first 20 minutes I think. Horrible!

Now, you might actually be wondering if it took that much time to figure out that it was awful........nope. I couldn't find my remote and was just being lazy. I would've changed the channel after the first 5 minutes ^_^
4
Reply
Flag
The quality of some shows can be measured upon their ability to make me look up from my iPad - in this case: Betrayal 0 - Pinterest 30 new pins - to the DVR cancelled list with you...
3
Reply
Flag
I'm glad I put this in my Dead pool
1
Reply
Flag
Revenge, Betrayal and Scandal are nouns, not adjectives.
6
Reply
Flag
True.....and your point would be?
2
Reply
Flag
Read Tim's recap (which my comment was a reply to).
3
Reply
Flag
This review makes me happy that I forgot that this was a show.
Reply
Flag

This was plain boring and dull. From the very first second the show had an air of drabness and meaninglessness. I had zero interest in anything that came out of the mouths of the characters. And in all honesty; I didn't really watch it at all. I let the show play while I did something else just so that I could pretend that I actually watched it. I only glanced at it every once in a while, so maybe it would be more accurate to say that I spent time with it in the same appartment. Tim, I feel compassion for you. It must have been mentally really painful to sit down for a few minutes and write the summary of the show.

It was so bland that I immediately had to check what kind of executive producers would create something like this, apparently without any awareness of how bad it is. Firstly, there are two Dutch producers Ketelaar and Kievit who have worked together on a few Dutch productions as writers. One of their joint writing jobs in the Netherlands is what Betrayal is based on. However, Betrayal is Ketelaar's first TV exec production gig. Kieveit might be the most experienced producer on Betrayal with about 20 titles he has worked on during the last ten years. But out of those very few are executive producing jobs.

Then there's Aranya, who has a few projects on his resume, but the only TV series he has been producer on are Red Widow from the beginning of the year, Hostages that began this autumn, and now Betrayal. See the pattern? The fourth exec proudcer is Golenberg, with no TV experience what so ever(!). Betrayal is his first TV project. Another exec producer is Zabel with both Betrayal and Lucky 7 out this autumn (double whammy), but he has been an executive producer on Detroit 1-8-7 and ER (during the last seasons, though). Patty Jenkins, the director of e.g. Monster and a few episodes of The Killing and Entourage, is also stepping into producer's shoes for the first time with Betrayal. Looks like it's going to be a short-lived career expansion. Or maybe she was just executive producer for the pilot, since she also directed it.

More+
4
Reply
Flag
this show is great.
5
Reply
Flag
Thanks so much for the review, I shall not waste an hour of my time now.
Reply
Flag
Stuart Townsend is a beautiful, beautiful man. But not even that could make me touch this show with a ten foot barge pole.
6
Reply
Flag
waste of good money in it being made, watch the original with subtitles which does not abide to the US rules of bad remaking.
Reply
Flag
This sounds like one of those situations where it is so bad, it becomes good in a weird sort of way. I have that with a lot of B-movie (mostly bad horror flicks like e.g. Black Sheep). Maybe one should watch to understand Tim's pain :-)
Reply
Flag
It should have been a Lifetime movie instead of a series.
7
Reply
Flag
I planned to watch this for Hannah Ware (liked her on Boss), but then I thought there's no room on my DVR for a soap opera with a laughably thin premise. Like Tim said, the executives at ABC just wanted to pair this title with Revenge for shits and giggles and nothing more.
Reply
Flag
hahaha Love the review, I was never going to see this show anyway and this review just about sealed it for me. It's a good thing I haven't seen betrayal or scandal as well. I really can't stand shows like that, i rather watch paint dry
4
Reply
Flag
I never had any intentions at all of watching this show but its reviews are now on my must-read list. It's as though the network chimps keep turning out things like this solely so Tim can keep us entertained.

Thanks for taking yet another one for the team, Tim. Your pain is our gain.

5
Reply
Flag
I knew this show would be terrible. I'm glad I didn't waste my time on it.
Reply
Flag
It is for the women, not men.
2
Reply
Flag
2 of the worst series, Betrayal and HBO's Hello Ladys hope they cancel this shows soon!
Reply
Flag
Seriously though, tell us how you really felt.
9
Reply
Flag
I rather enjoyed it. I also believe that though it has some flaws and cliches it has a bit of realism to it. It's just a matter of perspective. Unfortunately in the world today, marriages (especially in America), can end in the exact stupid way these characters marriages may end, Due to boredom and lack of excitement in ones marriage and lustIng (not necessary falling in love) with someone else. I know many people in current or previous marriages risking to throw everything away because of the exact lame reasons in this show. Am I saying this show is good? Far from it. Hey, it's a true soap. But I've seen plenty worse. It was enjoyable and I actually wanna see where this is headed for now. And even you have to admit...she's pretty damn sexy ^_~
9
Reply
Flag
I didn't watch either but wanted to see what this would say. How is a real-estate mogul a lawyers boss?
Reply
Flag
LMAO. I didn't watch this but when I saw you were reviewing it Tim, I had to drop in to read your review. Hilarious! Seriously, my belly hurts from laughing so hard. Don't ever change, you're fabulous.
3
Reply
Flag
Follow this Show
Members
1,181