Comparing Shonda Rhimes TV Shows

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It is no secret that I love Grey’s Anatomy. And subsequently, I have developed a love/hate relationship with most of Shonda Rhimes’s shows. Shonda Rhimes is the producer and owner of Shondaland shows, mostly featured on ABC.  I have watched all the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal. I am currently watching How to Get Away With Murder and For the People. This post is going to be mini-reviews of these shows and my thoughts on her new show Station 19. All of Shonda Rhimes shows feature high stress or difficult professions: Surgeons, Lawyers, Politicians and Firefighters. Are all Shonda Rhimes’s shows worth the hype? I’ve listed my favorite to least favorite show and explained a little bit about them:

Grey’s Anatomy

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  • Featured Profession: Doctors — Surgeons
  • Seasons: 14
  • Premiere Year: 2005
  • Rating: 4.8/5 stars

I’m starting out with Grey’s because, in my opinion, it is Rhimes’s best work. There is a reason that this show has been around for so long! The characters are complex, but not confusing as is the storyline. This show is more sucessful than the other Shondaland shows because it is not a small group of people interacting on a day to day basis, but essentially a community or village of people. This allows for less slow or stuck plot lines or seasons that ultimately cause fans to fall out of love. Also, the love stories in Grey’s are that of legend. They are not always shocking, out there or confusing.

The #1 thing I hear from people who have never seen Grey’s is, “I know it’s a very popular show, everyone loves it! But, is it worth watching all 14 seasons?” My answers is and always will be: YES! It is a time commitment and it can seem redundant at times, but the overall plot line is so worth all that time and energy. Another thing I love about Grey’s is that it does not demand your attention for every second. Most likely, information that you miss if you are distracted or multitasking will be repeated or explained again. I got through all the seasons by watching it while I get ready in the morning.

That being said, it is an extremely dramatic show. It can be stressful at times or even annoying (due to some characters you HATE). It can also be gross at times (it is a skill to learn to eat and watch this show at the same time). There are some plot lines that seem totally unnecessary, as in all shows. But for the most part, Grey’s Anatomy is one that is worth the small annoying parts.

Scandal

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  • Featured Profession: Politicians and Lawyers
  • Seasons: 7
  • Premiere Year: 2012
  • Rating: 4.3/5 stars

Scandal was my favorite show for a period of time. It honestly influenced what I decided to study in college. This show is very entertaining and definitely binge-worthy! Olivia Pope is a character that inspired so many women. She was strong and smart and was never afraid of anyone (man or woman) that stood in her way of getting the job done. “It’s Handled” became a phrase that I heard references to on a daily basis. To say this show was popular is an understatement.

The plot included perfect examples of flashing backs that shed light on present issues. The character’s development was seen through these flashbacks as well as through the series itself. This was a show that stayed very close to the realm of possibility. Although it included many conspiracy-esque themes, nothing in the show was every so far-fetched that it was not possible for our governmental system. This is a show that really builds upon each episode and must be given full attention. There are so many details, verbal and nonverbal, that are integral to the storyline that can be easily missed.

This show started off strong but grew to have issues. Due to the small group of main characters, the problems sometimes became monotonous or repetitive. The problems presented also became predictable. All these issues were not too obvious so they could be forgiven. The main issue that made me fall out of love with this show was the awful character development of Olivia and Quinn. Both characters grew to be people that I despised (Quinn I began to love again at the end). Sadly, I found myself forcing my way through the last season just because I wanted to say that I finished and saw the show to completion.

For the People

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  • Featured Profession: Lawyers — Prosecutors and Public Defense Attorney
  • Seasons: 1
  • Premiere Year: 2018
  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I am so excited to see where this show goes! It is a brand new series following the lives of three young public defenders and three young prosecutors. The characters are relatable, funny and genuinely entertaining. I am not a huge fan of courtroom shows (I think they become very redundant and boring after a few episodes). However, For the people has changed my mind. These characters are ones you cannot help but root for, which is hard because they are pit against each other each episode. I think this is a perfect example of how to do a professional career drama well!

Private Practice

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  • Featured Profession: Doctors
  • Seasons: 6
  • Premiere Year: 2007
  • Rating: 3.8/5 stars

This Grey’s Anatomy spin-off was very entertaining but very different from its parent show. I started watching this show to learn more about Amelia Shepard’s backstory. I will say I did not every love this show the way that I loved Grey’s and Scandal. But it was a nice show to watch over the summer. It is much less stressful than Grey’s and focuses more on relationships and personal issues of the main characters than their jobs themselves. I didn’t really love the plot line until Amelia joined the practice (around the end of season 3). This may have to do with the fact that I have never liked Addison Montgomery, and being the main character really irritated me. However, this was a very well written show and is very entertaining, I just did not enjoy the characters as much as I thought I would.

How To Get Away With Murder

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  • Featured Profession: Lawyer — Defense Attorney
  • Seasons: 4
  • Premiere Year: 2014
  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is the only Shondaland show that took me multiple tries to get into. I watched the first episode three times before committing to watching the entire season. I have now finished two seasons and I really can’t say that I like this show. It is intriguing and the mystery draws me in and keeps me watching. However, the set up (having a murder or crime that is slowly revealed through flashbacks as well as present issues and cases occurring) is not something I find extremely entertaining. The repetitiveness and overlap of the flashbacks annoy me to no end. I also cannot identify with any of the characters, which makes it hard to root for them. This show is so out of the realm of possibility! Someone is murdered or committing a crime too often for a legal drama (in my opinion). I also cannot get behind Annalise Keating. I think she is a good character and I like her confidence and forcefulness, but she is so polarized in her personality (being a badass and then crying for days on end) it makes her a character I don’t want to watch.


 

If you haven’t seen these shows, I hope this gives a little insight into the shows. Please know that these are just my personal opinions and I know that others have different opinions than I do.

Until next time,

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