Posts Tagged “Review”
Let’s make this short and to the point: Rookie Blue is a better show than it should be. That’s seldom the case for network television; usually shows are no where near as good as they could be. Rookie Blue is exactly the opposite of that. At its heart, this is a cop show with far too many pretty people. It’s nowhere near as good, for example, as Southland which was discarded by NBC (because they already had far too many good shows?) after just one season.
But I’m okay with pretty people, particularly if one of them happens to be Missy Peregrym. And she may not even be the prettiest cop on the beat. Okay, actually she is. But the girl seems able to act and the rest of the ensemble cast hold up well enough. Do I see an Emmy in the future? Hell no. But William Shatner’s guest turn as a grandfather obsessed with the disappearance of his granddaughter in the season premiere should get some consideration. It won’t, but it should.
The plot-lines are overrun with unlikely coincidences and unbelievable twists, but so what? You ever watch Grey’s Anatomy or House or just about any other television drama? That’s the way these shows work. We’re television junkies, people. We buy anything. Hunky ex-boyfriend/fiance returns from the military and ends up working as a cop in your same precinct? Sure. Why the hell not. You catch a ride with your on-again/currently off-again police officer boyfriend and crash into a van that happens to have a kidnap victim hiding in the back? Sure … go with that.
Rookie Blue isn’t about being believable. If we want that, we watch the far better Southland. I told you already … it’s about pretty cops doing cool things and, whenever possible, hooking up. Welcome back you guys!
Rookie Blue airs Thursdays on ABC at 10/9c.
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First, I had to ask myself: “Do we really need another one of these?” Because I have to be honest here; I didn’t really keep up with Lost, or Heroes, or Alias for that matter. I barely made it through four, maybe five episodes of Flash Forward before I just couldn’t work up the motivation to watch any more. I did pretty good this summer with Persons Unknown, but the last few of those are still awaiting my attention on the TiVo.
Even if I do decide I’m ready for it, does any network still have the motivation to stick with a show like this after Heroes flamed out and Flash Forward turned out to be a flash in the pan? Network executives, as a rule, have a much shorter attention span than I do. I’ve been hurt before …
So am I ready to commit to another grand metaphysical/supernatural/extraterrestrial television show? Maybe. If it’s the right show. No one is more surprised than I am to discover that The Event may actually be the that show. It helps that NBC has promoted the hell out of this, suggesting they may even stay with it for longer than a few weeks. But then, I felt the same way about Lone Star … and we all know how that turned out.
On the other hand, as Lone Star so clearly demonstrated, Monday is a difficult place for any new series to make a splash. So I can only hope that pulling Lone Star out of the mix will help The Event gain a foothold on a very tough night.
Because The Event is looking like damn good television. The first episode was simply breath taking. It was suspenseful as hell, with a strong set-up and a giant pay-off. Some viewers may have trouble with the multiple viewpoint/non-linear narrative, but that’s okay. It works well here. It works remarkably well. A little patience on the part of the viewer helps … as does the rewind on the TiVo.
This show was built for your DVR; I suggest you use it. Record The Event each week and watch it after the kids are in bed. That also frees you up to watch Dancing with the Stars if you really think you must.
I have no complaints about the cast or their performances. All very believable. Jason Ritter looks to be your nominal lead, and he does frantic and sincere as good as anyone can. Blair Underwood gets to be President–he sure as hell looks the part. Several familiar character actors crop up throughout, and you may need a scorecard to separate the good guys from the bad. Basically, if the actor usually plays evil or smarmy, he is evil or smarmy now. Case in point: Zeljko Ivanek. If you don’t know who that is, no worries. You’ll recognize him and know right away he’s gonna be evil. He’s always evil.
There are several story-lines to follow which requires numerous actors to play the parts. You’re going to be busy enough just keeping track of the multiple plot points without worrying too much about who’s playing who. By the time of the actual “event”, some of those characters may already be dead anyway.
So go ahead make room on your DVR for The Event. You can start be deleting all those old episodes of Persons Unknown you’ll never get around to watching anyway.
The Event airs Mondays on NBC at 9/8c
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As noted elsewhere herein, Friday nights are not usually a good place to be for most television series. It’s the purgatory of network television, where good (or simply marginal) shows are sent to circle the drain before getting the final flush. If the show airs on SpiFfy (aka SyFy), or any number of other cable locations, it might be a good thing. But if the show airs on any of the standard ‘Nets … woooooosh.
All this makes me think that Blue Bloods is going to be your basic non-starter. It’s an interesting take on the classic cop show premise. Almost all the main cast members are from the same family, the Reagans, from Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) to rookie Jamie (Will Estes). Donnie Walberg as Danny Reagan does most of the heavy lifting while Bridget Moynanan, as Erin, and Len Cariou, as Henry, round out the family/cast.
With the family drama angle we get all kinds of affairs and secrets blended in with all the standard cop drama plots (kidnapped kid in the pilot episode, subway train violence in the follow-up). Hey, it could work. Hell, it should work. Only … I’m not so sure it works at all. I like all these people, I really do. And I’ll TiVo the hell out of this thing and likely watch each episode some time each weekend. But it’s not really grabbing me, at least not yet.
It may have something to do with the performances by all the leads. Everything here feels over-done and typical. Selleck is almost too low-key while Walberg is your typical hot-head, get the job done at any cost kind of cop. Estes is a run-of-the-mill rookie, even with the Internal Affairs angle they’re trying to establish. And Moynanan’s overly strident lawyer character is the most off-putting of the bunch. It’s like they bought the blueprints for all these characters from “Cop Dramas R Us”. The plot of each episode has been straight from the factory so far, and done so much better by shows like Southland.
That’s the problem, I guess. There’s really just nothing here. I’m not surprised. It is Friday night, after all.
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS
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I have to ask, what is Fox thinking put this one into the Monday Night Mash-Up that is network television? Lone Star has a great deal of potential, but Monday night is going to be something of a bloodbath. I expect the first two or more cancellations to come out of Monday (a bit of a change from the wasteland of Friday nights) if only because the competition is just too brutal.
Let’s take Lone Star’s time slot, for example. At 9/8c, we have Two and a Half Men (and Mike & Molly). There’s the second hour of Dancing with the Stars and no one watching that is going to tune away. There’s also The Event over at NBC and Gossip Girl, one of the CW’s better performers (though it may be slipping). I’ll grant you that House is a solid lead-in and the pairing even makes sense. But I’m calling Lone Star a “Long Shot” to hang around for long.
And there’s the rub. You see, I have zero confidence in network television to stick with something–even if it’s pretty good–once the ratings get rough at all. It used to be that great television shows could maybe get a chance to build an audience and become something special. But either because America’s attention span is just short of nil or because no one at the networks has any foresight (or balls), that almost never happens anymore. Even shows that make a giant splash right up front eventually get penalized because they have almost no hope of maintaining those numbers.
Okay. Hopping down of my soapbox now. Like I said, Lone Star is good television. And it is doomed. I can’t recommend that you watch it since I don’t want to be blamed when it gets cancelled and all of us are left saying the same thing: “But what happens next?”
But if you’re willing to take the risk, here is what you should know. James Wolk is the lead, playing a charismatic conman named Robert (and Bob) Alan. Yeah, he also has a heart of gold and damn near weeps as he robs you blind. He’s working small town Texas and big oil Texas both at the same time, trying to maintain relationships with two different women at once, and fighting the flak from various father figures including Jon Voight (father-in-law/boss) and David Keith (real dad/crook). Adrianne Palicki plays Cat Thatcher, one of Robert/Bob’s love interests. Adrianne first came to our attention during her run on Friday Night Lights–she is simply stunning. And, as she proved during her FNL days, the girl can also act, so that’s nice. Not necessary, but nice.
The cast is amazing, top to bottom, but everything rides on James Wolk. If you like him, you’ll watch. If you don’t, you won’t. The thing is, you almost can’t help but like him. Wolk invests just enough vulnerability and charm into this character you want to like him.
So, go ahead … watch it. But do so at your own risk. I don’t think it will be around long, but I really hope I’m wrong. The pilot and last night’s episodes are available at Fox.com
Lone Star airs Mondays on Fox at 9/8c
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You can’t help but stack this show up against the long list of police procedurals and dramas we’ve all been watching for decades. Based upon my own somewhat extensive viewing history, one show sets the standard for the genre: Hill Street Blues. There is a fairly short list of quality series that can even come close to that standard, series like NYPD Blue and Law & Order. Maybe it’s no accident then that Detroit 1-8-7 feels a lot like NYPD meets L&O … and there is nothing wrong reaching high.
But only if you live up to it. I’m a little surprised to say that yeah, Detroit 1-8-7 manages to do that, if only just barely. In a decade, assuming it lasts that long, it might even earn the right to be considered on the level of either of those shows. We’ll have to wait and see on that. For now, I tend to think that Detroit 1-8-7 is off to a pretty solid start.
Let’s face facts here though. There is a clear logjam of cop shows on primetime right now and countless other variations thereof. Everyone is trying to adjust the formula a bit, tweak the details, alter the presentation, whatever it takes to land a winner. Detroit 1-8-7 opens like L&O, with a quick narration about Detroit and murder rates; if it had aired on NBC I might suspect that the show’s genesis was L&O: Detroit. The title sequence recalls NYPD Blue. The editing/filmography falls into that mock-documentary/pseudo-reality show style we’ve already seen elsewhere. Detroit 1-8-7 manages to mix that all together without spoiling the stew. But no matter how good the recipe, we’re still left with a bowl of soup.
Eh … love those metaphors.
Recognizing that a key ingredient for any successful cop/detective show is a quirky lead, Detective Louis Fitch, played by Michael Imperioli, has been given his fair share. The most amusing (or simply odd) of which is his strategy for dealing with confrontation by calling people, even when they’re in the same room. Some viewers might confuse Fitch’s quirky behavior with uninspired acting by Imperioli … don’t. Imperioli is portraying Fitch as low-key and socially awkward; there’s nothing wooden about Imperioli’s performance that isn’t meant to be that way. The phone thing plays an important role throughout the pilot; I just hope Imperioli’s (and the deft touch of the writers) isn’t lost on their audience.
The rest of the cast is not exceptionally remarkable–that could be a good thing. A couple of standouts are Abby Ward and James McDaniel. Ward is the Medical Examiner and they do well in the initial episode to play down her hotness; if you caught her in AMC’s Spartacus, you know what I’m talking about. She doesn’t have much to do in the pilot, but when she is on screen, her character of Erin Cummings is quite appealing. She gets a couple of the more inspired lines as well. NYPD Blue fans will recall McDaniel as Lt. Fancy; it’s nice to see McDaniel back on TV. The role of Jesse Langford, a veteran detective close to retirement, fits him almost too well. I keep waiting for him to say “I’m too old for this shit!”
However, the most intriguing character thus far is the city of Detroit itself. It gives the show a look of its own instead of your usual NYC generic set piece. It remains to be seen just how much that do with that. Another strength of the show is going to be how all of these characters play off of each other. It was the best aspect of the pilot and I hope this ensemble gets a chance to gel as the series progresses.
Maybe there are simply too many cop shows to wade through lately. If so, Detroit 1-8-7 may not have that great of a chance to make an impact. That would be too bad because there is quite a bit of potential here … if we get the chance to see it.
Detroit 1-8-7 airs Tuesdays on ABC at 10/9c
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The U.S. Marshal Service appears to have become something of a FotM* on television lately. I’m not complaining really. In Plain Sight happens to be one of the best shows on any network, broadcast or otherwise. The same is true of Justified. Both series feature kick-ass, take no prisoners Deputy U.S. Marshals. More importantly, is their ability to tell kick-ass stories.
Chase, on NBC Mondays this season, gives us the character(s) but falls just short on the story.
There are plenty of characters to chose from here, starting with Kelli Giddish in the lead, playing U.S. Marshal Annie Frost. Unlike In Plain Sight and Justified, Chase is much more of an ensemble show, often giving me the same vibe as Closed Case. But instead of rebuilding the past, this group works to predict the future and try to anticipate where their quarry will land next. Cole Hauser is Jimmy Goddrey, Frost’s right-hand and the team heavy. Hauser is always the heavy as he seems to ooze menace. Jesse Metcalfe is the new guy, Luke Watson; you get the feeling Metcalfe is always going to be the new guy–he just has that look. Several other players round out the cast, including Amaury Nolasco. It’s good to see Amaury is getting work now that his Prison Break days are behind him.
Giddish had a short-lived cop-type drama last season, an unimpressive effort called Past Life. Fortunately, that is long behind her and this new series–while nothing special–is still a serious step up. Frost is clearly written to be edgy, tough but just a little sensative; Giddish makes that work quite well. She’s no Mary McCormack, but then nobody is … except Mary McCormack.
This is another cop show from the Bruckheimer hit machine, and it sure as hell feels like it, start to finish. The break that finally puts Frost’s team on the trail of their fugitive comes right out of Psych, which is not a Bruckheimer production. But Psych’s integration of random “clues” is very Bruckheimer. The only thing that sets this show apart from all the rest (C.S.I., Numbers, the afore-mentioned Cold Case, etc.) is the “us vs. them” set up. Chase may be mostly about the “chasers” but some screen time is set aside for the “chasee” as well. Bruckheimer shows almost always center around some sort of device or gimmick. In Numbers it was math; in Cold Case, the device was dusty old files and flashbacks; in Chase it will be the chaser/chasee dynamic.
A gimmick does not a plot make. The real strength of this show is certain to be the characters. Bruckenheimer learned back in his old C.S.I. days that the gimmick was not enough. Only I’m not entirely convinced that the characters here will be strong enough to carry the gimmick beyond a season.
Chase airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
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Well, this may be more embarrassing than admitting I watched the entire season of So You Think You can Dance this Spring. But here it goes …
I, um, well … I sorta liked it. Hellcats, I mean. In my own defense, there is a certain hotness factor that appeals to shallow male TV junkies, of which I am one. I had never even heard of Aly Michalka before now. Actually, I guess I had since I’m told she was (is?) one half of Aly and AJ and that sounds vaguely familiar. I assume she’s the Aly half.
And while skinny, cute young ladies in short cheerleader uniforms sporting belly-button accessories will almost always score a few points, Hellcats might just have something to cheer for besides the hottie factor. For example, there’s Gail O’Grady, playing mom to Michalka’s Marti. Gail was once (and forever) Donna Abandando on NYPD Blue, one of the classic characters of all time on network television. She stole my heart then and, while we have both moved on in years, she is still simply stunning. And since I fall quite easily for attractive women in television shows, I also must mention Sharon Leal. Sharon came to my attention back during her days on Boston Public. Keep in mind she had the share the screen with Jeri Ryan and somehow still get noticed. Then there is Ashley Tisdale … she did some sort of Disney stuff somewhere.
You may be wondering if all these ladies can act. Um … sure. I guess. Who the hell knows?
There is also plenty of eye-candy for the the women in the audience, most notably in the form of D. B. Woodside. For the younger types (and those simply young at heart), you also have Matt Barr and Robbie Jones.
You might get the impression that this is your typical CW drama packed tight with all types of good looking people doing all kinds of good looking people stuff. You would be right. But they are really good looking people and the stuff they’re doing is a bit more accessible and interesting than the usual CW hottie vehicle. Both Aly and Ashley have mommy issues and family drama to spare. There’s a bit of bad blood and bitchiness among the squad, but it’s not overdone. All of this is mixed in with a healthy dose of good-nature fun and frolic, including your requisite cheer routines. Unfortunately, many of those fall kind of flat–maybe SYTYCD spoiled me for that kind of thing.
So if you happen to like a little story with your hotties, this one is a step or two above most of your CW content. And at least they’re not all in high school so I don’t have to feel like a total sleaze for actually enjoying all that hotness.
Hellcats airs Wednesday at 9/8c on the CW
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