We’re a little late on the draw on this, but dammit, upfront week was flippin’ tiring and we’re trying to catch up. A&E’s hit summer series from last year The Glades (which we loved) roars back like a hurricane this Sunday night, June 5th, at 10:00 p.m. Good times indeed. Here’s the trailer for the new season and a little sneak peek at what we have to look forward to with Detective Jim Longworth and the rest of the characters:
Via Press Release:
A&E’S HIT SCRIPTED DRAMA “THE GLADES” SEASON 2 PREMIERES
SUNDAY, JUNE 5 AT 10PM ET/PT
SERIES STARS MATT PASSMORE, KIELE SANCHEZ, CARLOS GOMEZ AND MICHELLE HURD
NEW YORK – April 21, 2011 – Season two of the hit A&E original scripted drama series “The Glades,” starring Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, Carlos Gomez and Michelle Hurd premieres Sunday, June 5 at 10PM ET/PT. The second season will feature thirteen one-hour episodes.
In its first season, “The Glades” became the most-watched drama series in network history, averaging 3.1 million total viewers. These ratings propelled A&E to ad-supported cable’s number one network on Sunday nights among total viewers.
In “The Glades,” Passmore stars as Jim Longworth, an attractive and brilliant Chicago homicide detective with a reputation for being difficult. When his captain wrongfully accuses him of sleeping with his wife and shoots him, he is exiled and forced to relocate. He lands in the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, outside of the Florida Everglades, where sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. But Longworth soon finds out this town isn’t quite as idyllic as he originally thought, when murders keep piling up. Each case pulls Longworth off the golf course and reluctantly into his element as one of the sharpest homicide detectives to wear a badge.
In the season premiere, the daughter of a notorious Cuban mobster turns up dead in a Little Havana alley, and Longworth and the rest of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement must solve her murder to prevent an all-out war between two rival mob families. Meanwhile, Callie (Sanchez) prepares for her husband’s release from prison.
“The Glades” is produced by Fox Television Studios for A&E Network. The series executive producers are Clifton Campbell (“White Collar,” “Profiler,” “21 Jump Street”) for Innuendo Productions and Gary Randall (“Saving Grace”) for Grand Productions, Inc. The series is created by Clifton Campbell.
About Fox Television Studios
Fox Television Studios produces scripted and unscripted programming for US broadcast and cable networks, and international broadcasters. In addition to “The Glades,” hit series include “Burn Notice” and “White Collar” for USA, and “The Killing” for AMC. The studio also is in production on the pilots “Outlaw Country” for FX, “Three Inches” for SyFy, and “Wild Card” and “Over/Under” for USA. Fox TV Studios also produces the reality hits “The Girls Next Door,” “Kendra and Holly’s World” for E!, and will launch this summer the late-night comedy series “In the Flow with Affion Crockett” for FOX.
About A&E Network
A&E is “Real Life. Drama.” Now reaching 100 million homes, A&E is television that you can’t turn away from; where unscripted shows are dramatic and scripted dramas are authentic. A&E offers a diverse mix of high quality entertainment ranging from the network’s original scripted series, including “The Glades,” to signature non-fiction franchises, including the Emmy-winning “Intervention,” “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Hoarders,” “Billy the Exterminator” and “Storage Wars,” and the most successful justice shows on cable, including “The First 48” and “Manhunters.” The A&E website is located at www.aetv.com.
GOOD MORNING, U.S.A.! IT’S GONNA BE A WONDERFUL DAY!
“American Dad” RENEWED FOR SEVENTH TERM
Emmy-nominated Animation Domination staple American Dad has been renewed for a seventh season, bringing the series through the 2012-2013 season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“This is fantastic news,” said Roger the Alien. “But you do realize I’m not real, right?”
American Dad follows the lives of ultra-conservative, staunch GOP supporter and CIA agent STAN SMITH (Seth MacFarlane) and his eccentric family that includes FRANCINE (Wendy Schaal), his ditzy-but-lovable wife; HAYLEY (Rachael MacFarlane), his 18-year-old left-wing hippie daughter; STEVE (Scott Grimes), his geeky, 14-year-old son; ROGER (Seth MacFarlane), the selfish and sarcastic cross-dressing space alien; and KLAUS (Dee Bradley Baker), an attention-starved goldfish. The fan-favorite series airs Sundays (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Expect lots of hijinks from the Smiths this spring! Roger attempts to make Steve a “cool kid” by letting him drive other kids around in a tractor, but the plan quickly backfires. Meanwhile, Francine gets a job at Stan’s office, but she cramps his style; and Roger starts dressing like a teenage girl and quickly seduces Steve’s best friend, SNOT (guest voice Curtis Armstrong). Upcoming guest voices for this season include Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds and Grammy Award winner Cee-Lo Green.
American Dad is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman serve as co-creators and executive producers, while Kenny Schwartz, Rick Wiener and Nahnatchka Khan serve as executive producers. Become a fan of American Dad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americandad and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americandadfox.
We are officially not hating FOX today (ONE day, FOX… you get ONE DAY!) but we would like to point out that after we saw the pilot of Bob’s Burgers we knew that the renewal of American Dad was inevitable and noted it in our review. So tell your friends about how brilliant our insight is (again) and that they have to read this blog. That being said, with this announcement today, we find it highly unlikely that Bob’s Burgers will be renewed and we are thankful for that as it’s just awful.
There is a discrepancy here, though, that we would like to point out: American Dad is currently in its sixth season (2010 – 2011). The press release indicates that the American Dad renewal will bring the series through the 2012 – 2013 season. The numbers don’t work on that (it should be 2011 – 2012) unless FOX intends to split up season seven over the course of 2 years (there are reports that the order was for 22 episodes) premiering each half in January 2012 and January 2013. We don’t find this scenario likely but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either.
Consider this: FOX has ordered pilots for at least two new animated shows for 2011 – 2012 and they are continuing to look for more because they want to expand their “Animation Domination” schedule, according to our sources. There is no change in time-slot according to the press release which means that American Dad will still be airing at 7:30 p.m. The problem is that FOX stops airing programming at 10:00 p.m. so they are limited on time slots to keep plugging cartoons into. The only solution would be half-season programming, i.e., air “Cartoon-X” in the Fall of 2011 and American Dad for 11 episodes in Spring 2012, rinse and repeat for the following season. Although we find this scenario unlikely, it is possible and we don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing.
The more likely of the scenarios, however, is that they either just made a mistake and meant 2011 – 2012 or they actually renewed it for two seasons. As much as we’d like the latter, we’re leaning towards the former for obvious reasons.
Of course, we’ll keep you updated as we find out more.
THE CHICAGO CODE, the compelling new police drama from critically acclaimed creator Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”), follows the Windy City’s most powerful and respected cops as they navigate the city’s underbelly to fight crime and expose corruption within Chicago’s notorious political machine.
Set and shot on location in Chicago, THE CHICAGO CODE is a fast-paced series centered on JAREK WYSOCKI (Jason Clarke), a local legend and a larger-than-life veteran of the Chicago Police Department who wields considerable power thanks to his relationship with TERESA COLVIN (Jennifer Beals), his ex-partner and the city’s first female superintendent, now in charge of a 10,000-member police force. While Teresa diplomatically governs amidst the complicated landscape of Chicago politics, Jarek works the streets on a crusade to clean up corruption and crime and avenge his brother’s murder. Along the way, they will stop at nothing to bring down their powerful adversaries, including ALDERMAN RONIN GIBBONS (Delroy Lindo), a building-magnate-turned-politician who has ruled his ward with a velvet glove for over two decades.
Joining Jarek on the street is CALEB EVERS (Matt Lauria), an eager young detective trying desperately to prove himself. Also in Jarek’s charge is his niece, VONDA WYSOCKI (Devin Kelley), a rookie beat cop whose father – Jarek’s brother – was killed in the line of duty when she was young. Jarek keeps close tabs on her and is less than thrilled with the risk-taking ways of her cocky hotshot partner, ISAAC JOINER (Todd Williams). Also in the mix is low-life LIAM HENNESSEY (Billy Lush), an Irish thug who blends in with the gritty world of local crime. – FOX
8 out of 10
So here we are asking ourselves again, why, oh why, do the best scripted dramas always wind up on FOX? They are only going to canceled when FOX inevitably pisses their pants after a couple of episodes. The Chicago Code is eerily similar to Lone Starin that it’s a serialized, well-written, well-casted and well-acted dramatic series… that probably won’t last a single season because FOX has no patience for shows like this. For the sake of this review, though, let’s pretend that FOX won’t cancel it before the end of the first season.
The Chicago Code is everything it claims to be and perhaps a bit more. Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) is brilliantly cast as the down-to-earth, old-school detective who is used to thinking unconventionally and using unorthodox methods in order to effectively do his job. Beals, is his former partner and newly appointed Police Superintendant who has recruited him to help her to clean up the corruption in Chicago. If you think you’ve seen this before, you have. This is almost the exact same scenario as in Brian De Palma’s 1987 classic The Untouchables when Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) recruits Jim Malone (Sean Connery) to help him take down the corrupt politicians, corrupt police department and Al Capone.
Watch this scene to understand The Chicago Code:
… and THAT’S The Chicago Code. There is no sugar-coating it. This is a modern-day telling of a classic story of crime and corruption and Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) is not even being subtle with his homage to The Untouchables. Good for him because he’s a brilliant writer and he’s smart enough to know that if you are going to use someone else’s source material for inspiration, use only the good stuff. What made HBO’s Deadwood so good was the fact that it was Shakespeare set in the Old West. It’s no different with any good drama and The Chicago Code excels in exploiting its predecessor.
Ryan’s no slouch, either, when it comes to stories about corruption having been the creator of F/X’s hit The Shield which lasted for six seasons which revolved around a group of corrupt detectives in the L.A.P.D. And like The Shield, The Chicago Code does something that we absolutely love and we praised it before in our review of A & E’s The Glades; it uses the city itself as not just a backdrop, but as a living, breathing character. One gets the feeling that they know Chicago as well as the residents do by watching The Chicago Code and that is a key factor that makes the show compelling and worth investing in for audiences. It’s also beautifully shot and is a visual pleasure to enjoy in high-definition. Unfortunately, though, as previously noted, we don’t think the show has much of a chance at survival.
To be fair to FOX, and as much as we rip on them, there is a big problem with The Chicago Code that has nothing to do with bad management at FOX: it’s a serial. Serialized television has no place in major network schedules any more. It just doesn’t play with this generation of viewers who are inundated with 300 plus channels of cable television, the Internet, and reality television. This generation of television viewers expects everything to be immediate with their entertainment and they simply have no patience for a story that doesn’t effectively conclude itself at the end of the hour. This isn’t a criticism, this is just a fact and if you’re wondering when the end of serialized drama on network television officially occurred, it was May 24, 2010, which is the day of the series finale of 24 and the day after the series finale of Lost. It’s getting more and more difficult to put any effort in writing reviews for serialized drama on network television because we are kind of at the “what’s the point?” stage as we expect every serialized drama on network television to be canceled no later than the end of its first season.
Now, that being said, we believe that FOX has made the same mistake with this show that they did with Lone Star and that is airing it on FOX instead of F/X. F/X has been consistently able to support to serialized dramas and The Chicago Code would be a perfect fit there.
Of course, we certainly hope that we are dead-wrong about the lifespan of The Chicago Code on FOX but the numbers were only OK for the premiere (2.4 rating for 18-49) and the tendency for serialized shows is to lose audience after the premiere, not pick them up. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed but we aren’t very optimistic about any long-term success for this show.
Being Human is a re-imagining of the acclaimed BBC original series that follows three 20-something roommates: A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf who are struggling to keep their dark secrets from the world, while also helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives.
The series will star Sam Witwer (Smallville, Battlestar Galactica), Meaghan Rath (The Assistants), Sam Huntington (Cavemen, Superman Returns) and Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Supernatural). – Syfy
8 out of 10
After being thoroughly disappointed in season three of True Blood and having no interest in the teen-soap silliness of The Vampire Diaries, we approached Being Human skeptically to say the least. A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf live in an apartment together… yes, we know. It sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke or a sit-com on FOX, but believe it or not, after watching the first three episodes, we’re happy to say that it doesn’t suck… at all. Well, Aidan (Sam Witwer) the vampire sucks… but he’s working on that.
Since we mentioned our disappointment in True Blood, we’d like to take a moment to discuss why we’re so disappointed in that series and why Being Human is a breath of fresh air for the genre. As we see it, True Blood, like many-a-series on HBO, now tends to focus on excess for the sake of excess because… well, it’s premium cable and they can damned well do what they want short of porn and snuff films. Unfortunately, excessive sex, violence and profanity is replacing quality narratives and strong character development. Subtlety and nuance are virtually non-exist on True Blood, now, and what was once a compelling storyline has devolved into the arena of pure melodrama that it is completely unbelievable and inaccessible.
Matt Volke of The Movie Bros. was at Casa De ‘Tastic in May and just happened to stroll into the room for one five-minute segment of True Blood and he couldn’t stop laughing at the absolute absurdity of the show. Our immediate reaction was to make excuses for it and say words to the effect of, “Yes… that was ridiculous but it’s normally not like this.” The sad fact is that absurdity is now the norm on True Blood. For the record, this is not the first time this has happened to a show on HBO. The Sopranos, Rome and even Alan Ball’s other HBO hit, Six Feet Under, are all prime examples of once-great shows that ended up choosing shock-value in place of good story telling and style over substance.
This is why we like Being Human so much. Being Human does not have the crutch of excess to use in place of strong character development and compelling story lines. In other words, because it’s on basic cable, it can’t cheat. Now, don’t get us wrong, Being Human is quite dark at times and it does have its share of violence but the “horror” violence for the most part is simply alluded to and implied (the first bite of a vampire on a female victim, the aftermath of a werewolf attack on a deer, a flashback of the aftermath of an entire wedding reception being slaughtered by vampires, etc.) whereas on a show like True Blood, the same type of scenes of violence would be graphic and gory, leaving nothing to the imagination and a complete sense of detachment.
Despite its darkness, Being Human excels in levity with its three main characters who all interact with each other quite well and they all bring their own unique sense of humor associated with their own supernatural affliction but at the end of the day, they are all very relatable and – here’s that word, again – accessible to audiences. We truly love the storyline so far and Mark Pellegrino (Lost) is brilliantly cast as the shades-of-gray villainous vampire, Bishop, in this outstanding addition to SyFy’s lineup.
As a final word of warning, we would highly recommend that you ignore any critique of this show that compares it to its BBC predecessor. We’ve never seen the BBC version, which we are sure is great, but we believe it’s irresponsible to judge a series based upon another series and not on its own merits despite the fact that they are based on the same material.
Fringe Returns on Friday January 21, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. on FOX
We did a piece back in December regarding the Fringe move to Friday nights in which – and we see no reason to sugar-coat this – we spent the majority of the piece, bashing (albeit justifiably) FOX for its treatment of scripted programming in general, its propensity to panic and banish a show to Friday nights for the purpose of letting it die and to, by virtue of their irresponsible programming decisions, cause the premature cancellation of quality programming.
We also explained that while were inclined to accept the fact that Fringe would be moving to Friday nights and this most likely signaled the end to the series (FOX or any other network can do whatever they want), what we could not tolerate was the self-righteous spin coming from FOX (specifically in the promo trailer below) which attacked other blogs and commentators far more reputable than The ‘Tastic who are well aware as we are of FOX’s history regarding scripted programming and in particular, genre programming, who dared to suggest the same thing that we did.
What particularly bothered us was not the issue of FOX calling out highly reputable sources such as Collider, Ain’t It Cool News, and IGN… that’s fine. When a media outlet is wrong or publishes commentary that is scurrilous with nothing to back it up, it’s completely justified. The issue we had was that of FOX trying to pretend that they have no history of doing exactly what these outlets suggested and mocking them for the suggestion and leaving the false impression on the fans that they should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because they of course are going to fully support Fringe on Friday night… just like they do all of their scripted programming they put there!
We took A LOT of heat for that piece by FOX gushers suggesting everything from we didn’t know what we were talking about, to we’re just making things up and our favorite, at least FOX gives Sci Fi and genre a chance as none of the other networks do (which is absolute nonsense).
So, as the weeks have progressed, there has been more and more propaganda spewed by FOX and by their willing accomplices in the media about how much support they are giving to Fringe. Outlets such as the folks at TV Line seem all to happy to not only believe FOX, but to promote their spin as if it should be believed, in particular Matt Webb Mitovich and Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello. From Mitovich’s January 11th piece:
Fringe‘s move to Fridays, which takes hold on January 21, is looking more and more like a really terrific thing.
Not only has Fox been promoting the heck out of the time-slot change, but Fringe‘s new “under the radar” home apparently has opened the door for even freakier storytelling.
Noting that Fox “has always been pretty cool” about letting Fringe push the envelope, series creator J.J. Abrams tells TVLine that said envelope’s seams have achieved outrageous new levels of elasticity.
In a major blow to the argument that Fox is banishing Fringe to Fridays to die, a new piece of evidence has emerged that strongly suggests the network very much wants the show to succeed in its new, challenging time slot: A fancy outdoor advertising campaign touting the show’s new Friday perch!
The fancy investment of $5,000.00 on a billboard which obviously means that FOX is fully supporting Fringe.
Well, we guess that completely shoots holes in our perspective and that of the rest of the other skeptics, right? Well, not really.
You see, in an interview with Collider’s Christina Radish on January 12th, J.J. Abrams himself had a bit of different take on the Friday move for Fringe than the FOX talking heads and the propaganda pushers at TV Line.
J.J. Abrams... He'll be drinking more.
Radish: How do you feel about the move to Friday nights for Fringe?
ABRAMS: Oh, I’m horrified beyond belief, but as a fan of the genre and the show, I’m hoping that fans will tune in. I certainly can promise that it will be worth their while. The episodes that are coming up are spectacular. I guess you can just be hopeful and say that, if the work is good enough, it will find the audience. I think they’re doing better work now, even in the second half of Season 3, than they’ve ever done on the series. I’m just crossing my fingers that fans of the show, show up.
Radish: Do you see any upside to the change in nights?
ABRAMS: Just in that I’ll start drinking more. No, I don’t see an upside because the audience on Friday nights is harder to find. But, that’s not to say that they aren’t there and that we might not be able to make it there. Certainly, I would be lying to you if I said I’m thrilled about the move. But, what I am thrilled about is that the network has been incredibly supportive and, despite its move to Friday, they’ve been nothing but encouraging of the show. It’s still on the air in its third season, and it’s not easy to do that. It’s not easy to get to Season 3 of anything. They’ve allowed the show to become truly great, I think. The question is, will audiences find a great show on Friday nights? I pray that they do.
Well, surprise, surprise! J.J. Abrams has the exact same opinion of the move to Friday for Fringe that we do. The only difference is that he’s more polite when discussing the show’s relationship with FOX than we are, because after all, they’re still paying the bills. Like J.J., we are also horrified and we see no upside to this move but we do sincerely pray that it does find success… but we doubt that it will. The reality of it is, as Abrams knows, that if FOX truly had faith in Fringe and wanted to support it, they never would have moved it to Friday night to begin with.
Part Five of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted. Do you really need a review of those?)
The CW: Smallville (September 24, 2010)
Vic: The final season of Smallville begins this fall and we have Clark Kent finally on the cusp of eventually becoming what he is destined to become: Superman… the ‘Man of Steel.’ This season is what we Smallville fans all have been waiting nine years for. We have all hung in there through some exceptional stories, heart-wrenching losses, great heroes and villians and now it would appear that the baddest of the bad is coming to Smallville: Darkside is looking to take over our planet it seems that Clark will have no choice now but to jump into those tights that Mrs. Kent has been saving for him all these years… or does Lois have them now? That is why you must tune in and continue hanging in with what has been one of the most enduring Sci-Fi, Fantasy Dramas in recent TV memory. Smallville still has the chops. The performances are still great all the way around. Tom Welling still proves that season after season he can command every scene he is in and even in lighter moments he shows us an endearing and clumsy side. Erica Durance as Lois is quick, sharp and she has range. She proves that she has mettle as Lois up against Welling’s Clark. I can’t say enough about Allison Mack as Chloe. I just can’t wait to see how this all turns out this season. I for one hope to see the big guy finally fly and soar this season and hope you all watch as well.
In this drama based on a graphic novel of the same name, Mark Valley plays Christopher Chance, a for-hire bodyguard and private investigator who integrates himself into his clients’ lives so that he becomes a target instead of them. Assuming a new identity for each job, Chance relies on the help of his associates Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), but he can’t outrun his past — or the secrets driving his odd choice of work. -FOX
Shawn: Alright, so this is a little out of the norm because I normally don’t put show descriptions in with previews of returning shows. I’ve made the exception with Human Target because I think it’s a show that too many people are unaware of because it was a mid-season replacement last year and unfortunately, FOX will most likely kill it by putting it on Friday night where they put all shows to die. I cover this sad state of affairs in my column regarding the changing network attitudes towards Friday night prime-time and how FOX is, as usual up to the same old bag of tricks (read it here). So, it’s basically like this: I am on a crusade for the critically acclaimedHuman Target because it was one of the best new shows on television last year and needs everyone’s support.
The description is a little misleading. Chance doesn’t just have a mysterious past, he’s a former freelance assassin who was a really bad dude, completely amoral who had a seminal moment in his life that made him reevaluate his own personal morality and vow to use his skills to protect people from now on. It’s a fast-paced action show based on the DC Comics Graphic Novel and they couldn’t have picked anyone better for this role of Christopher Chance than Mark Valley as the dashing yet compassionate former assassin (…and I’m just thrilled to see that Mark Valley finally has regular gig!). The supporting cast is fantastic with Chi McBride (Boston Public, The Nine) as Winston, the gruff, former San Francisco police detective who works with Chance to keep him ahead of the game and regularly uses his connections from the old job to help Chance on his missions. Then you have the other, more mysterious and far more deadly Guerrero, played by Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street) who is a hi-tech wizard and a former associate of Chance’s in his prior profession but unlike Chance, really hasn’t had a change of heart, he’s just helping out an old buddy, but he does have a very strict personal moral code that abides by religiously.
Great action, unique stories, wonderfully written and compelling characters are the hallmarks of this show. I highly recommend that you set time aside on Friday for Human Target (or at least Divver it).
Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was in a class of her own, a brilliant neurosurgeon at the top of her game. Her world is turned upside down when a devastating car accident puts an end to her time in the operating room. Megan resumes her career as a medical examiner determined to solve the puzzle of who or what killed the victims. Megan’s instincts are sharp, but she’s developed a reputation for graying the lines of where her job ends and where the police department’s begins. It turns out her career isn’t the only thing that will need to be rebuilt; Megan’s family has taken a backseat to her ambition, and now she’ll discover there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to dissecting her relationships with the living. – ABC
Shawn: If it hasn’t become abundantly clear by now, I really dislike procedurals in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s police, law, medical, detective… whatever, I really have no use for them. And it’s not that this show looks particularly awful, because it doesn’t. It’s just the same thing I’ve seen time and again which is also one of the big reasons I have no use for sit-coms. There’s just no originality in any of these programs and with the incredible batch of new shows that have come out this season, it’s not like there is a lack of originality in Hollywood, it’s just not being utilized enough.
What bugs me the most is that the procedurals don’t have to be unoriginal. Hollywood producers and execs choose to go that route because it’s safe and easy to pitch to advertisers and the general viewing audience. For example, NCIS is by definition a procedural, but it’s still a good show because of how original it always has been. Body of Proof doesn’t have anything resembling an original premise. Not even the title is original, which like most procedurals and sitcoms reverts to the use of cringe-worthy “clever” double-meanings for phrases and words to convey a commonly known phrase to attract the audience’s attention, e.g., House, The Whole Truth, Outlaw, Grey’s Anatomy, Rules of Engagement, Raising Hope, Running Wilde, The Biggest Loser, Bones and Blue Bloods. That’s just from this Fall. I didn’t even mention the stupidest one of all, HawthoRNe (well… now I have). This show literally is a hybrid of Quincy, Crossing Jordan, CSI, House and Everwood. Like I said, Body of Proof doesn’t look awful, and it does have a good cast, but it just looks ordinary.
FOX: The Good Guys (September 24, 2010)
From Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), comes THE GOOD GUYS, a new action comedy about what happens when an old-school cop and a modern-day detective expose the big picture of small crime.
Once upon the 1970s, DAN STARK (Bradley Whitford) and his partner, Frank Savage, were big-shot Dallas detectives. So big, in fact, that they were lauded as American heroes after saving the Governor’s son. Thirty years later, Dan Stark is a washed-up detective who spends most of his time drunk or re-hashing his glory days. A stranger to modern police work who would much rather trust his old-school police instincts, Dan has the reputation as being a bit of a wild card. Able to skate by on the heroic deeds of his yesteryear, he is still a semi-active presence on the force, and with the help of his liquor of choice, occasionally comes through to solve a petty crime.
Dan’s new partner, JACK BAILEY (Colin Hanks), is an ambitious, by-the-book and overall good detective, but is sometimes a bit too snarky for his own good. His habit of undermining himself has earned him a dead-end position in the department, and he is stuck solving annoying petty theft cases that nobody else wants. Worse, he’s been given the thankless task of babysitting Dan, the drunk pariah who can never keep partners for long. Jack may not see it, but he has little chance of getting out of his situation; his knack for making enemies at the station has assured he is not going anywhere.
His only ally is ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY LIZ TRAYNOR (Jenny Wade), a quick witted former girlfriend whom Jack hasn’t quite gotten over and the one person he turns to for help with his current professional predicament. Until Jack finds his way out of this situation, he is stuck awaiting the day when he can turn everything around, get back to solving actual cases and return to being a real detective.
On one fairly typical day, as Jack and Dan are pursuing a Code 58, the Dallas police code for routine investigations, which puts them hot on the case of a stolen humidifier, they inadvertently become engaged in a shootout over a stolen golf bag belonging to a notorious drug smuggler. This starts Jack and Dan on a wild chase to retrieve the bag, recover the contents inside and go after the drug smuggler – all while dodging his hired assassin!
The excitement of the case reminds Dan of the way he and Frank busted punks back in the good old days, and he convinces Jack to go along for the ride. Needless to say, many departmental rules are again broken in the reckless pursuit, showing their boss, LIEUTENANT ANA RUIZ (Diana Maria Riva), that Jack and Dan will be spending many more days in the Property Crimes Division, assigned to investigate seemingly minor crimes in order to keep them out of major trouble.
Shawn: Yep, I broke the rule again about not posting show description in regards to returning shows (well… not technically as this is just a continuation of the first season that went on hiatus at the end of August.). But again, like with Human Target, I have to do this to counteract FOX’s continued insanity regarding good shows left to die on Friday night. For the point of brevity (and because copy and pasting is a helluva lot easier) here’s the skinny on how FOX is abusing this show as I mentioned in the same column that I discussed Human Target.
It’s not even remotely fair what they’re doing to The Good Guys even by FOX’s idiotic standards, premiering it on a Monday in the middle of May when all of the other shows are wrapping up, letting it run for nine episodes over the summer and then dumping it into Friday night because it didn’t catch fire fast enough for them.
Simple, but to the point… it’s the same standard operating procedure that they’ve used with Human Target and countless other shows.
Now that the rant is complete, I really like The Good Guys. It is very funny and full of action and Hanks and Whitmore play off each other brilliantly.
CBS: Blue Bloods (September 24, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)
BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy. – CBS
Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason. Simply look at this cast. Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either). Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant. The concept is definitely unique. An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that. I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.
Few jobs are guaranteed for a lifetime, and a Supreme Court appointment is a position that no one ever quits – unless he is Cyrus Garza (Smits). A playboy and a gambler, Justice Garza always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now, he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice.
Using his inside knowledge of the justice system, Garza and his team will travel across the country taking on today’s biggest and most controversial legal cases.
Garza’s team includes his best friend since childhood, Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), a brilliant defense attorney with liberal beliefs; Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom), a hopeless romantic who is Garza’s loyal law clerk; Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope), a wildly unorthodox private investigator who uses her sex appeal and wit to gather information for Garza; and Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford), a tightly wound, rabidly ambitious Yale-educated attorney, recently hired as Garza’s law clerk. – NBC
Shawn: I’ve already done a complete review for Outlaw, here. It is by far the worst drama on television.
ABC: No Ordinary Family – September 28, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)(Full Review Here!)
ABC Studios brings to life “The Incredibles”, the story of the Powells, an every day american family, who are too busy to spend time together. So they decide to take a trip as family as a way to reconnect, but on the way, their plane crashes. Now there’re back to their normal lives, but something seems to be happening to each one of them… they have superpowers. – ABC
Shawn: First, let’s give credit to ABC for not only acknowledging right off-the-bat the most obvious criticism of this show – that being that it looks like Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles – but outright OWNING it. That’s the way to beat them at their own game! And why wouldn’t Disney try to capitalize on their property in a prime time, live-action drama (for those of you that are unaware, Disney owns ABC)? Screw the nay-sayers, this show looks like a lot of fun and is my choice for sleeper hit of the season. The concept is great and it’s not just a show for the family but it’s a show focused on the family as much as it is on their super powers. Casting always tells me a lot about a show and No Ordinary Family is no different. You’ve got Michael Chiklis as the dad (The Shield), Julie Benz as the mom (Dexter), Romany Malco (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as the best friend and sidekick and lo and behold, Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) who appears to be our Lex Luthor-type. I don’t care if I sound like a 10 year-old fanboy, I can’t wait to watch No Ordinary Family and apparently based on the amount of merchandising I saw over at the official site, ABC is pretty confident that they have a hit on their hands as well.
CBS: NCIS – September 21, 2010
Shawn: NCIS enters its eighth season and is still one of the most watched shows on television and the highest rated drama. I’ve been there from the beginning since it was a spinoff of J.A.G. and the show has gotten increasingly better each season and I don’t see any signs of it jumping the shark any time soon. At first glance, NCIS would appear to be your standard fare, formulaic cop show that I regularly rail against and during the first couple of seasons, that’s exactly what it was. But, the cast and the characters were compelling enough to keep me around until season 4 when it really came into its own with multi-episode, cloak and dagger story arcs and complex character development. You simply can’t go wrong with NCIS.
(Sorry, but no video on this one. I was completely unable to find any trailers for season 8 on YouTube or anywhere else)
FOX: Glee – September 21, 2010
Shawn: Glee is great. Everyone should be watching this. It is funnier than any other sitcom on TV with the exception of Modern Family, has wonderfully heartwarming drama and the musical numbers are creative and fantastic. I challenge you not become moved during the musical numbers on Glee.
CBS: NCIS Los Angeles* – September 21, 2010
Shawn: The only reason I’m putting NCIS Los Angeles (now in its second season) in this preview is to clarify why I recommend NCIS but not its spinoff. Simply put: I just don’t like it. I was very excited last year about the possibility of an NCIS spinoff but I only lasted six episodes into the first season. The show makes no sense at all. The premise is unbelieveable, the plotlines are boring and formulaic, and the characters are clichéd and have absolutely zero chemistry. I like Chris O’Donnell a lot. He’s very talented and I appreciate the fact that he dropped out of the business to raise a family and be a father to his 103 children. There’s nothing more noble than being a father and a husband. Unfortunately, his talents are being wasted on this safe, simplistic and dry show. On principle, I don’t recommend this show, but I may watch the season premiere just to see if they’ve fixed any of the mess that is NCIS Los Angeles. I’m always willing to give a show a season to work out the bugs and if they do, I’ll report back with the good news.
(Again, no trailer for this show either… blame CBS)
FOX: Raising Hope – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Raising Hope is a new single-camera family comedy from Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia that follows the Chance family as they find themselves adding an unexpected new member into their household. At 23 years old, JIMMY CHANCE (Lucas Neff) is going nowhere in life. He skims pools for a living, parties every night and still lives at home with his family, including his MAW MAW (Cloris Leachman); his mother, VIRGINIA (Martha Plimpton) and his father, BURT (Garret Dillahunt). Jimmy’s life takes a drastic turn when a chance romantic encounter with LUCY (guest star Bijou Phillips) goes awry once he discovers she is a wanted felon. Months later, when Jimmy pays a visit to the local prison, he learns Lucy is pregnant with their baby, and after she gives birth, he is charged with raising their daughter. – FOX
Shawn: I didn’t think it was possible but Rasing Hope has given me whole new reason to hate sitcoms. You see, what’s pissed me off thoroughly is the lie perpetuated on show’s Official Page that I posted above. It’s leaving out a crucial detail and the omission is by design. The little baby’s mother, isn’t just a wanted felon, she’s a serial killer and her big joke in the trailer is that they would never execute a mother of a seven month-old baby. Then, they cut to a scene with Jimmy sitting on the other side of the glass with the baby on his lap watching her get electrocuted and about halfway through the process he covers the baby’s eyes. I’m sorry, and you can call me old-fashioned, but a baby being separated from its mother and then forced to watch her get executed in an electric chair is not exactly what I would call charming or endearing. FOX has been doing a very good job of hiding that little piece of information on their website and their regular TV spots for this show. Gee, I wonder why? What I saw is not nearly as bad as the fact that they are trying to hide it.
The latest series for the Stargate franchise has Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) as part of a group that is transported to Destiny, a self-guided spaceship used to place stargates around the universe.
Shawn: SGU starts its second season and I am loathed to admit it, but I like this show and I really shouldn’t. It is a complete rip-off of Star Trek: Voyager and Battlestar Galactica with the quest to get home and the incessant, holy-crap-we’re all-going-to-die-by-the-end-of-the-episode-but-somehow-we-are-miraculously-saved-at-the-last-minute crisis of the week, but still, somehow, it manages to work. The characters are OK and are becoming more developed every episode and the special effects and action do work well. SGU also succeeds because you don’t get the feeling that you have to know the entire Stargate Anthology in order to get the show. If you like space-based Sci-Fi, this show is definitely for you, if it’s not your thing, you can pass on this and your life won’t be any less fulfilled.
FOX: Running Wilde – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Will Arnett stars as a Beverly Hills jackass who ends up falling in love with Emmy Kadubic (played by Keri Russell), a charitable tree hugger, who hates his lifestyle and moral code.
Shawn: “What… the… fudge… was that?” You see, those are the words that came to mine when I watched the extended trailer for this show, except for the fact that just like Ralphie from a Christmas Story I didn’t use the word fudge. Unlike Ralphie, however, I didn’t have a bar of Palmolive handy to cleanse my soul from what I had just seen. Obviously, the geniuses at television development at FOX are the same people in charge of player development for the New York Mets. I have it on good authority that the roundtable discussion for filling the 9:30 hole on FOX went something like this:
Writer 1: OK, we want to go with something recycled along the lines of The Nanny and Dharma & Greg and every couple-based sitcom from the last twenty years that involves two people from extremely different worlds.
Writer 2: Well, I brought a hat full of a bunch of paper slips with different subjects on them. Let’s shake it up and pull out the first ten and apply it to your lame-o premise.
Writer 3: Um… I brought pot.
OK, so I completely made that up, but seriously, after watching the trailer below, does it not seem like that’s exactly how they came up with this show? It’s typical FOX suckitude for sit-coms. Running Wilde is a perfect bookend to Raising Hope. Both these shows look awful individually but together they qualify for “making-me-puke-in-my-mouth” status. But, fear not. TV-Tastic predicts that both of these shows will be cancelled before Thanksgiving replaced with re-runs of Bones or House.
ABC: Detroit 1-8-7 – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
In this ABC crime drama project, a fictional documentary filmmaking crew goes inside Detroit’s homicide division. – ABC
Shawn: “Once in a generation, a cop show comes along that re-writes the rules.”
That is seriously said in the voice-over at the beginning of this trailer. It may be true, but that show was The Shield, not Detroit 1-8-7 (which sounds more like a the title of an N.W.A. album than it does a dramatic television series). Sorry, but this show re-writes nothing. It’s the epitome of why I don’t watch formulaic cop shows anymore. It’s all the same thing but this one is trying to be clever by combining the rawness and the grittiness of The Wire and to an extent Homicide: Life on the Street and the pseudo-documentary style of… The Office. That’s right, The Office. The difference is that The Office actually is consistently shot like a documentary. The style of this show is all over the place. I’m sorry, but if you want to convince us that the show is being shot by a documentary camera crew, your shots cannot include shots only possible if filmed while a cameraman is sitting on the hood of a moving car (that’s in the trailer).
Beyond, that, though Detroit 1-8-7 doesn’t look awful, it just looks ordinary and typical. I’ve seen this cop show before, and I can tell I’m not alone in thinking this way.
“The detectives are well-developed and easy to follow… There are relationships worth investing in.”
– Mekeisha Madden Toby, Detroit News
“…promises to be a mighty fine ride…smartly cast urban crime drama’s gutsy, gritty allure.”
– Matt Roush, TV Guide
First, notice the ellipses that permeate both quotes like bullet-holes, indicating that ABC cut a lot out. Second, knowing that, this is really the best ABC could come up with to promote critical acclaim for the show? Seriously, that Matt Roush quote is just embarrassing, but honestly, I really don’t expect much from him anymore. I think he just has too much on his plate so unless he really likes something a lot, he just whips out the TV reviewer’s thesaurus and gives us “mighty fine ride,” “smartly cast (which is kind of like sensible shoes),” “gutsy” and “gritty.” As far as Makeisha Madden Toby is concerned, I think she got the memo that if you write for a Detroit Newspaper and live in L.A., it’s in your better interest to be pleasant when discussing a drama set in the city you don’t live in but is responsible for your paychecks. I’m sorry, but, “The detectives are well-developed and easy to follow…” and “There are relationships worth investing in,” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.
I’m sorry but there’s just too much good TV this Fall for me to waste my time with this. I may catch the pilot or an occasional episode, but this isn’t appointment television by an 8-mile.
The Glades stars Australian actor Matt Passmore as Jim Longworth, an attractive, brilliant, yet hard to get along with homicide detective from Chicago who is forced into exile after being wrongfully accused of sleeping with his former captain’s wife. Longworth relocates to the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, Florida, where the sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. But this town outside the Florida Everglades isn’t quite as idyllic as he thought, as he finds people keep turning up murdered. Each case pulls Longworth off the golf course and reluctantly into his element as one of the sharpest homicide detectives in the field. (A&E)
8.5 out of 10
I’ve been watching police procedural shows for years and I hate most of them that people seem to drool over. I gave up on the entire Law & Order franchise years go, I was never a fan of NYPD Blue (although I concede that it was occasionally entertaining) and I absolutely hate the inane CSI franchise and question the intelligence of the millions of fans who think that it’s actually any good. I could go into my hatred of CSI all day but I’m reserving that for a separate post. Needless to say, for a police procedural to really get my attention it has to be unique and well-written, but most importantly it has to be character-driven as opposed to event-driven which is what most of the generic police fare is. A few of the shows that really stand out in this genre and meet those standards over the last decade for me are The Wire (HBO), the short-lived but brilliant Boomtown (NBC), The Shield (FX) and most recently, one of my favorite new shows, Justified (FX, review forthcoming). Well, add The Glades to that list.
Like its predecessors, The Glades weaves excellent storytelling around and a well-written group of complex supporting characters with a central character that not only brings it all together but stands out as the reason to come back week-to-week.
Passmore is brilliantly cast as Longworth, which is really no small feat because the truth is that the character could easily come off as the clichéd cocky, big fish/small pond, I’m-smarter-than-all-of-these-small-town-hicks cop who every week learns a little lesson from living in small town America that gives him a greater appreciation for his colleagues. We, of course, have seen this more than once in TV and film and of course we’re bored by it. Instead, though, Longworth, cocky as he is, is cocky for a reason: he’s a really good cop, knows it, but isn’t arrogant about it. It’s just kind of a matter-of-fact deal with him but he respects his fellow colleagues who are competent and though he’s tolerant of his unmotivated colleagues like his partner, he recognizes their weaknesses and just goes about his business to make sure that they don’t impede his work. The point is that unlike other clichéd cops on TV, Longworth isn’t all up in anybody’s face about how good he is and how bad anyone else is, he just does the job and does it well. The character is witty and sarcastic and as a viewer you appreciate his ability to think outside of the box to bring clues together from unexpected sources.
Another reason why I put The Glades into the category of unique police procedurals is because it does something that most cop shows really don’t do: it makes the town of Palm Glades, Florida as important of a supporting character as anyone else in the cast, as opposed to just a backdrop for the drama. All of the other shows I mentioned all have this in common. The Wire with Baltimore, The Shield and Boomtown with Los Angeles and Justified with Leland, Kentucky. I always appreciate shows that understand that the locale is an integral character to any good story. It provides a depth to all of the live characters and their perspectives and it acts as a device to truly engage the audience, giving them a sense that they too, truly know what it’s like to be from Baltimore, L.A. or even Leland, Kentucky, even though they may have never even been there before. This approach has been done in film for decades but it is a relatively new concept in television and almost non-existent on network television. That being said, it’s entirely refreshing that a central character of The Glades is the Glades itself.
The pilot was excellent and the writing near flawless, albeit a bit rushed at the end because it’s obvious that they were trying to cram character development/establishment and a complex plot all into one hour (NOTE TO A&E: If a show is as good as The Glades is, a two-hour pilot will keep our attention). The story takes us on Longworth’s journey to connect clues and if you blink, you might miss something which is of course the true sign of a good mystery. The twist at the end is brilliant and of the quality you would expect from premium channels like HBO or Showtime (again, I just wished it wasn’t so rushed) and believe me, unlike everyone spoiling Shutter Island by telling you there’s a twist and ergo you expected it (and like me, probably figured it within the first 20 minutes), it is highly unlikely you will expect this particular twist even though you know one is coming. I just hope that they keep the twists coming like this every week.
You can watch the entire pilot episode right here on A&E’s website if you missed it or don’t have cable (make sure to scroll down and choose Pilot as the latest episode will automatically play when you click the link) and in fact, it looks like you can catch all of the episodes online (yay!).