A lot of Quantico is vaguely familiar — 24‘s terrorism, How To Get Away With Murder‘s structure, Homeland‘s ridiculousness, Prison Break‘s clues, LOST‘s large ensemble cast — but it still manages to pull off genuine surprises, in both gasp-inducing dramatic moments and legitimately characters’ unpredictable personal secrets. It isn’t all good: some characters are stereotypes, the pilot involves the occasional eye-rolling exposition, and the show runs the risk of either blowing its mystery early or prolonging an answer for so long the series could get tedious and drop off.
Despite all of that, however, Quantico might be the most engrossing, dramatic pilot of the fall season. The cast is great and memorable — particularly Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who commands the screen every time she appears, so much so that I’m always itching to get back to her when the focus is on one of her classmates. It hits the correct soap opera beats, lovingly borrows from Rhimes, and remains a fun ride throughout the first hour. It’s too early to say definitively that Quantico is “good,” but it’s the first pilot I’ve seen this season that had me immediately wanting more.
Quantico premieres Sunday, September 27 at 10 PM on ABC.