TV Report Card | 'Red Widow' Season 1 Review

Overview: Red Widow told the story of a woman who has been widowed and must hold her family together after her husband is murdered. It is an American remake of the Dutch television show, Penoza. The ratings for this one were low, so this very well might be the first and last season of the series.

Storyline Direction: What great potential for a great show. There was an integral mystery at the center and it propelled each episode rather nicely. The characters were for the most part sympathetic. Lead protagonist, Marta (aka the Red Widow) was one of the rare leads you could actually root for this season.

She was warm and tough when she needed to be, a strong woman. As a family drama Marta’s family was also explored with her brother Irwin and sister Kat, along with Marta’ s children. This show would be best described as “Brothers & Sisters” meets a cable-friendly “Sopranos”. All in all, this was a show filled with so much potential and yet there were things that were left woefully unexplored.

Luther, Marta’s father's henchmen, went completely ignored for most of the season, while plenty of screen time was wasted on Boris, Marta’s young son, the sniveling antics of a little boy that we’re supposed to care about simply because he is a kid; pushed the patience of this viewer too far and it was detrimental to the pacing of the show.

This is an adult show that aired at an adult hour and it needed to focus on just that, adults. As cute as the juxtaposition might’ve sounded in the writer’s room, having the violent mob underworld in contrast to the innocent little face of young Boris, simply didn’t work.

There could’ve been more time spent on the backstory of Schiller, Luther, Marta’s father, or just Marta herself. The FBI agent was also a waste of time. The teenagers' storyline also never developed. There was a lot here, more than other shows have as potential and yet, they played it like they needed to rely on filler characters and stories, which they didn’t.

Performance Quality: Radha Mitchell led the cast and she was terrific. I’ve been a supporter of hers for years as she had to sit idly as the supporting female role in countless movies. Here the potential that had always shined in those roles was given the chance to really come through and prove why she is worthy of a whole lot more.

She filled this role with so many layers, expressing so much through her eyes; so much passion, so much vigor, she was a powerhouse. I really hope the network gives her the chance to anchor another show, if this doesn’t get renewed.

Goran Visnjic (Schiller on Red Widow and perhaps best known for his role on ER) was superlative as well. He too was able to hit all of the right notes for his portrayal of a really complicated character. His performance kept us guessing as to whose side he really belonged. Without his performance, Mithchell’s wide eyed Marta would’ve seemed naïve to have been as open minded as she was about him. The two also shared some potential romantic chemistry.

Rade Serbedzija (Marta’s father, Andrei) who has been one of film's hidden treasures as a villain was also great; warm one moment and cruel and calculating the next. He has long been underappreciated and it was nice to see him get this kind of role.

Luke Goss (Luther) who has been in Jason Statham-like roles in some movies, wasn’t given much to do, having seen him in other roles, it was clear that he was wasted and had a lot of potential that simply wasn’t tapped. He did have some nice moments in the finale but it was too little too late. It should also be said that the teenagers were very well cast.

Musical Score: A competent score, foreboding and not at all over the top.

Overall Grade: A, so much more could’ve been done with this show; its frustrating waste of a wonderful cast and storyline ultimately contributed to its ratings downfall. It was called the Red Widow, why not be as bold as your signature color? Playing it safe cost this show and when it finally got everything together, it was too late.

I do think it deserves another season though. Other shows that possess half the quality (too many too mention) have been on for way too many years and while this show might have some things to learn, it still deserves the chance to prove it can.