We have to give credit to Matt Lopez for making Promised Land an enjoyable, soapy show that doesn’t insult the intelligence of its viewers. Its messaging is tightly weaved into its multigenerational plot, and the direction and acting are refreshingly nuanced.
The show can still go in any direction, but in these first 80 minutes, Promised Land lays the groundwork for a nuanced look into what it means to be an immigrant, Latinx, and self-made in the U.S. today.
“Promised Land” proves a much better viewing experience in episode two. All the setup is out of the way and the parallel storylines are less confusing and more engrossing. It’s that rare occasion where it might have been smart to start with a two-episode premiere. As it is, one wonders if viewers will stick around to become invested in this propitious soap in the vein of the original “Dallas” and “Dynasty.”
“Promised Land” is a big and messy show with so many avenues to go down that it sometimes has trouble choosing which should matter most. But there are worse sins for a show to commit than having many worthy stories to choose from, as long as it eventually leans into what works and cuts down on what doesn’t.