Last week, ABC announced that Still Star-Crossed, the Shonda Land produced period drama based on the book of the same name by Melinda Taub, has been moved from its Monday 10PM time slot to Saturdays beginning on July 8. As Saturday night is basically the “television viewing cellar” as no one stays home to watch television on this weekend night, the schedule shift doesn’t bode well for the series.
Still Star-Crossed premiered on May 29, 2017 to 2.29 million viewers. Apparently, the ratings declined as each new episode aired with the third episode “All the World’s a Stage” only gathering 1.61 million viewers despite having The Bachelorette as lead-in. The series told the story of the feud between the Capulet and Montague families of Verona (of the famed Romeo and Juliet) with the families wanting to keep the peace by marrying off Juliet’s cousin Rosaline Capulet (Lashana Lynch) to Benvolio Montague (Wade Briggs). Rosaline shared a romantic past with Prince Escalus (Sterling Sulieman) who ordered the union, even though he was still in love with Rosaline. The cast included Ebonee Noel as Livia Capulet, Torrance Coombs (formerly Bash on The CW’s Reign) as Count Paris and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s beloved watcher Rupert Giles) as Rosaline’s uncle Lord Silvestro Capulet. The series was full of romantic tension and family and political turmoil. Additionally, many of the key roles were played by African American actors, which is a rarity in today’s television landscape. And finally, Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder was behind the project. So with all this behind it, why didn’t Still Star-Crossed attract a larger audience?
As a viewer and a writer covering the show, I saw potential in Still Star-Crossed. In my opinion, it was well written and well cast. As a history buff and fan of historical dramas, I knew immediately that I would be watching. Even though I had read Romeo and Juliet in high school, I wasn’t expecting Still Star-Crossed to be a sequel to this classic piece of literature. That might have been the problem for some viewers who lost interest in the series. Maybe they were also expecting a Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal type of show, just set in a different time period. For whatever reason, Still Star-Crossed couldn’t hold an audience and that’s a pity.
Actors Lashana Lynch, Torrance Coombs, Ebonee Noel and Sterling Sulieman were a clear presence during airings of Still Star-Crossed and engaged viewers during active live tweeting. They discussed their characters’ motivations and appreciated fan support. And for that as well as their performances, I offer my sincere thanks. Everyone involved in the making of Still Star-Crossed should be proud of the project. Like Rosaline’s marriage to Benvolio, the future of Still Star-Crossed is uncertain. However, I will continue to watch and support the show as it moves to Saturday nights.
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