What if Shakespeare had written more about the Montagues And Capulets following the deaths of Romeo And Juliet? That is the question asked in “Still Star-Crossed.” The series premiere, which echoes the beginning of Shakespeare’s play with the title using the first line in “In Fair Verona, Where We Lay Our Scene,” sees a new royal coming to power in Verona, someone who wants to put an end to the fighting between the families.

It’s been a bloody summer

On his deathbed, the ruler of Verona points out that the Montagues and Capulets can never be allowed to gain the upper hand on one another because they’ll come after the crown once either family has an advantage.

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This is certainly an interesting angle for the show to take, and one that isn’t wrong since we see both the Montague and Capulet patriarchs scheming to get close to the prince as soon as he is crowned.

Members of each family fall like raindrops as the hour goes on, partly because we get a very condensed recap of “Romeo and Juliet” during the episode, which isn’t really needed. After all, everyone knows how the two young lovers of Verona end up, right?

The series does seem to be exploring more politics instead of just the tragic love story in Shakespeare’s source material though. We get the reveal that Lady Capulet was actually in love with her husband’s brother, but she wanted the title that came with the name, so married the other man instead. This added bit of backstory should easily provide a fresh take on the story we already know so well.

History is finally more colorful

The majority of adaptations of “Romeo and Juliet” cast Caucasian actors in the roles, unless, of course, we’re talking about “West Side Story.” It’s refreshing to see a story set earlier than the 20th century that has a more diverse color palette amongst its main cast.

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There is no family on “Still Star-Crossed” that is lily-white, and it’s a welcome change.

It’s also not lost on me, however, that the two women with the darkest skin tone on the show (including main character Rosaline), are not only Juliet’s cousins but relegated to the role of a servant. The sisters lost their parents, and instead of being taken into the lighter skinned household as a family, they’ve been employed as maids. I do hope more of this particular divide is going to be explored.

CGI Verona is not appealing

Still Star-Crossed” looks to be borrowing from the same CGI catalog as another ABC drama, “Once Upon A Time.” One complaint by even the most loyal of fans has been that “Once Upon A Time” has always lacked convincing CGI. It’s been called cheesy, cartoony, and any number of other adjectives when settings are filled in by computers instead of real set pieces.

Still Star-Crossed” might end up falling into the same trap. The few shots in the series premiere that panned over the city of Verona, which showed fireworks over the palace celebration, etc., looked like they could have been pulled right out of the Enchanted Forest on the other series.

The blatant computer work definitely takes you out of the moment when the costumes, the cast, and any of the real set pieces, are so gorgeous.

Rosaline steals the show

We get introduced to a lot of the key players in the series premiere, but Rosaline is clearly the standout. She’s strong and smart and pragmatic. While her sister dreams of finding a husband, Rosaline dreams of her life is in her control. She doesn’t want to belong to anyone, and who can blame her with the life she’s lived - as a servant in her own cousin’s house - so far?

The premise of the entire show is that Rosaline and Benvolio will be charged with doing what Romeo and Juliet couldn’t: unite their families. As a result, the ending of the episode isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s certainly a good time watching it get there. It will be fascinating to watch the fiercely independent Rosaline deal with the new lot she’s been dealt in life.

The verdict and what’s next

This episode is just a little too much-rushed recap of a story we already know, but it does feature quite a few fresh takes on that old story as well. The good just outweighs the questionable, making me want to see what happens next.

3 out of 5 stars

Next week’s “The Course Of True Love Never Did Run Smooth” sees Lady Capulet investigate Juliet’s death as she wants to know just who influenced her daughter’s decision. Meanwhile, Rosaline and Benvolio are being forced to marry to put an end to their feuding families, though Rosaline has trouble accepting her new path in life.