This summer, it’s time to meet your new neighbors as The Gates comes to ABC. The Monohan’s are the newest family to settle down in the private village called The Gates. With their father, Nick Monohan, taking over for the previous sheriff (who went on a permanent vacation), all hell breaks looks as outsiders invade this exclusive community.
Touted with an eerily similar description of their now defunct series, Happy Town, The Gates promises that a dark and delicious secret is buried underneath the surface of this picturesque neighborhood. Although, unlike Happy Town, will this series be a hit?
Read on and find out.
The Monohan family move into their new home in The Gates, an exclusive community of perfectly manicured lawns and friendly neighbors. But things grow complicated when Nick Monohan, the new Chief of Police, has to investigate those neighbors in a missing persons case during his first day on the job. Claire and Dylan Radcliff fight to hide not only their involvement in Nick's case, but their rather unusual family secret. Meanwhile, Charlie Monohan tries to adjust to his new school, finding a friend in the beautiful but unavailable Andie Bates. Just when his family is finally settling in, Nick's world is rocked by a late-night caller with some terrible news.
The Gates is unlike anything that you’ve seen before. Oh no, I don’t mean because of its originality or interesting plots and subplots – in that way, The Gates is everything you’ve seen before. What I’m referring to is the fact that The Gates blatantly rips off almost every single series on the air today – and does so poorly.
How many series, you ask? Well, let me list them for you: Eureka, Desperate Housewives, True Blood, (gulp) Happy Town, Eastwick, Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill all have their essential elements ripped out and duct-taped together in some crude fashion to create this series.
While I assume ABC is trying to cater to viewers who watch any of the aforementioned series, their failure comes from their over-eagerness to reach beyond their bounds. The Gates is the perfect example of network gluttony - trying to cast the widest net possible to pull any possible viewers they can.
Instead of relying on one or two elements that have proven to work on primetime television, they sloppily choose all of them. On some level they have to know that viewers tuning in will be expecting to see their favorite element, whether it be the catty spouses from Desperate Housewives or the supernatural mystery of True Blood, to be front and center. Instead, they’ll be disappointed to see that while all of them are present, they’re done poorly and the actual amount of screen time each element receives is minimal.
To be fair, there are supernatural elements afoot, but for that, the creators of The Gates receive no credit because the mere fact of mentioning vampires, werewolves or witches (oh my!) instantaneously makes it a supernatural series.
Mystery and catty housewives, they’re there as well. Although, I should tell you that the only mystery that will come from watching is simply trying to figure out what exactly is going on. With that, I’m not saying that the plot is complicated – it’s exactly the opposite. What I’m referring to is the fact that there are so many superfluous storylines and characters jammed into this series that each plot progresses at the slowest of paces, if at all.
The new sheriff in town is a poorly realized, irritating character who has enough hidden back-story hinted at to cover the series being picked up for a full season – although, it won’t. The catty housewives are at best dull and at worst, a waste of time. The love triangle between high school kids (one of which is a werewolf) is so painfully unoriginal that it’s one of the few elements you look forward to because you know what you’re going to get and it’s not done (all that) badly.
As the first episode came to an end, I still didn’t know what this series was about and I have a feeling that even if I took a look at the third and fourth episodes, I would leave feeling the same way.
I’m sick and tired of feeling like I have some kind of sixth sense when it comes to picking what televisions will, and will not, be canceled. When it comes down to it, the folks at ABC, no matter how out of touch they may be, know what series will fail, but still they feel the need to “try it out” because “you never know.”
Sure, this is a midseason summer replacement after all, but on some level ABC needs to realize that it would just be easier to play reruns of any other series on hiatus than to shovel obviously terrible television shows onto their loyal viewers. Unfortunately, this is a lesson they have yet to learn.
…maybe next year.
The Gates is a series that tries to be everything to its viewers, but instead of focusing on doing one thing right, it does many things very, very wrong.
What do you think of The Gates? Are you looking forward to this series? Will you be tuning in? How long do you think it will last?
The Gates premieres, June 20 on ABC.