May 30, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Mistresses”



There isn’t much mistressing going on in MISTRESSES at the dawn of the unapologetically frothy summer soap’s 4th season.  Having weathered the loss of marquee star Alyssa Milano’s Savi last year, the remaining lead characters Joss (Jes Macallan), Karen (Yunjin Kim) and April (Rochelle Aytes) are barely being transgressive at all, which makes Mistresses feel even more old-fashioned than it already did.  There wouldn’t be enough oxygen for the modest series to survive on a broadcast network during the regular season, but tucked into a safe corner of ABC’s summer, compatibly matched with lead-in The Bachelorette, it remains a pleasant enough hour, something of a video beach-read.

The season 4 premiere, written by Executive Producer Josh Reims (the showrunner is Rina Mimoun) and directed by vet Christopher Misiano, took a year-long jump from the 2015 finale.  That enabled April to firm up her relationship with laid-back recovering alcoholic Marc (Rob Mayes, promoted to series regular), into whose arms her initial-distaste-turns-to-romance arc didn’t put her until the end of Season 3.  It also allowed Karen to write a book and give birth to her baby daughter, offspring of last season’s thrupple, with enough time to clear space for a possible–let’s face it, inevitable–fling with manny Robert (eternal TV hunk Jerry O’Connell).  And it skipped over the long-distance part of Joss’s long-in-the-making true love with former brother-in-law (married to Milano’s character, in fact) and now celebrity chef Harry (Brett Tucker), so that he could propose marriage in the premiere.  The advisability of manny love aside, there’s nothing particularly shocking about any of that, and the show had to punch things up by giving Joss unacknowledged PTSD after having been assaulted by the killer from last year’s major arc, whose trial ended in the premiere with his conviction.

Mistresses is instantly forgettable, with plotting that can verge on the sitcom (April spent much of the premiere monitoring her 14-year old daughter’s Instagram use for the possibility of a boyfriend), baldly presentational dialogue and production values that place LA in a vague Canada.  The performers are all likable, though, with Macallan sometimes more than that when the scripts allow, and the show bounces along like a cable movie that always seems to be caught midway through the second act.  There was a time in TV history when Mistresses might have been a broad hit, but these days, it does its job by occupying a mild but reliable niche, and that seems to be enough for all concerned.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."