Pilot Perception: Jane the Virgin

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Jane the Virgin, the CW in the U.S. and Canada, Mondays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: Jane the Virgin is based on Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen. This version was developed and written by Jennie Snyder (Emily Owens, M.D.), who executive produces with Brad Silberling (Reign) and others. Silberling directed the pilot.

The Cast & How You Know Them: Gina Rodriguez (The Bold and the Beautiful) stars along with Anthony Mendez (The Unexplained Files), Andrea Navedo (Law & Order), Ivonne Coll (Switched at Birth), Brett Dier (Ravenswood), Justin Baldoni (Everwood), Yael Grobglas (Reign), and Jaime Camil (Que pobres tan ricos).

The Premise: A young woman named Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated due to a medical error and must deal with the ramifications on her life, her family, and the biological father — just as some other family secrets are starting to come out.

A Taste:


What Works: The thing that most caught my attention about the show was how different it was from pretty much everything else on American TV right now. Jane and her family are fans of telenovelas, and that format definitely informs the tone and framing of the show; I’m not familiar enough with telenovelas to know whether this is a good representation of them, but it worked for me in its own right. Gina Rodriguez is a strong lead and the ensemble of characters is compelling. The episode made me smile a lot, and the twists and turns of the plot made me eager to see more — which is, after all, a pilot’s job.

What Doesn’t: I know the premise of the show sounds ridiculous and makes it a difficult sell, and there are some viewers who just won’t want or be able to suspend disbelief in order to buy in. Similarly, the tone is probably not for everyone. And I’m concerned that there may be one too many plot threads started in the pilot; we’ll see if they all come together or if things get messy.

Our Favorite Line: “What if you’re like a religious messiah? I can’t lie to a religious messiah.”

You Might Like This if you like dramas that mix an earnest heart with plenty of comedy. And if you just want to try something different — I’m having a hard time coming up with other shows on U.S. TV to compare it to, though the narration reminded me of the Pushing Daisies pilot. As I said, I honestly don’t know enough of traditional telenovelas to know whether you’d like this if you like those, but maybe give it a try?

If You’re Interested: The CW is rerunning the pilot on Friday at 8/7c, or watch it on the CW site or Hulu. Then set your DVR for Mondays at 9/8c.

(Photo courtesy of the CW.)

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