2 Cop Dramas and Amy Poehler – a few of last weeks pilots!
There are 3 shows that premiered this past week that I’m going to touch on. The first one is called The Unusuals and is on ABC on Wednesdays at 10pm, the second is called Southland which premiered on NBC last Thursdays and will continue in the old ER time slot of 10pm and lastly Parks and Recreations, Thursdays at 8:30.
I have come to all of these shows from other shows – as I’ve said before, if I love an actor I will seek them out. Or… if you were in a show that is now a juggernaut on ABC (Lost – Harold Perrineau – The Unusuals) and juggernaut on HBO (Entourage – Adam Goldberg – The Unusuals), or maybe you were on a show I grew up on… (General Hospital – Amber Tamblyn – The Unusuals). Then there is Southland that has Ben McKenzie who I LOVED on the O.C. is now on Southland, who also is showcasing (firstly) C. Thomas Howell (um… Ponyboy!) even though I think he was only in the pilot – but it also has Regina King (here’s me showing my age… 227! And Jerry Maguire), Michael Cudlitz (you may remember him from Gross Pointe Blank, not to mention 24, Lost, Nip/Tuck) Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do, Law and Order) all on Southland and then there is Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation and Rashida Jones and Chris Pratt! (SNL, The Office and The O.C.)
SO – here they are… starting with – The Unusuals:
I started taking notes when I was watching this show. Why? Because I hear these lines and all I could think was – are you kidding me with this? The lines were,
“…he was a bully and a drunk and last night he was perforated in East River Park.”
“We worked East River Park last month, I can interface with the hoes and see who saw what.”
The lines were in the first five minutes when you learn that Detective Casey Shraeger [Amber Tamblyn] was just moved over from vice to homicide. She is to take the place of Burt Kowalski – a.k.a. the guy perforated in East River Park.
The story moves quickly and you learn that the real reason for the name “The Unusuals” isn’t so much for the man dressed as a hotdog (bun included) as it is for the entire staff of the entire 2nd precinct…
You have Detective Leo Banks [Harold Perrineau] who wears a bullet proof vest ALL the time because his father and his uncle died when they were 42, and HE just turned 42. Then there’s his partner Detective Eric Delahoy [Adam Goldberg] he has a brain tumor, oh, and can’t be hit by buckshot, Detective Henry Cole [Josh Close] he used to be a bad guy – like rob a bank bad guy – until he found God and became a cop, Detective Eddie Alvarez [Kai Lennox] wants to be in politics BAD and he’s willing to kiss whatever butt he needs to in order to get into the limelight, Detective Allison Beaumont [Monique Gabriela Curnen] I’m not exactly sure what her issue is yet… but I’m sure they’ll tell me soon. Then there is Sergeant Harvey Brown [Terry Kinney] who brought Shraeger into this mess to be the partner of Kowalski’s old partner and one time New York Yankee Detective Jason Walsh [Jeremy Renne] who makes the point of the whole show, “Secrets keep us sane.” OR – Secrets keep our scripts coming.
The premise is that Shraeger (a little rich girl – that’s her secret) is brought into the precinct to “clean it up” by Sergeant Brown. Why? She’s rich, she can’t be bought. And it needs to be cleaned up fast – because the now “perforated” Kowalski? He was digging on all the guys and gal he worked with – so maybe it wasn’t a mugging after all! And it wasn’t the asian kid he mentored either.
Yes – it’s another crime drama. With the 37 Law and Orders out there, is there room for another New York based crime show? Maybe. Yes, the numbers were really low last Wednesday. (There are already rumors that ABC might cut the show early and just move on.) But what the hell? Right?!
There were some things I liked (from a writing perspective) I like that Det. Burt Kowalski, while a two timing husband, a cop on the take, and a bit of a jerk – he mentored kids and did some other good stuff too. People aren’t 2 dimensional in the real world and sometimes the secrets we keep are the things “those people” find acceptable. That I really liked. And I also like that for once, the manly man partner that took on the new female detective DIDN’T give her some bullshit, “you wouldn’t understand cuz you’ve got boobs” speech.
So, after watching more than the first five minutes, I’m going to watch it again. I think it has potential.
NEXT UP! I’m going with Southland:
I’m going with Ben McKenzie’s character – Officer Ben Sherman - HE is a rich kid that became a cop. I’m just pointing this out because someone else is going to at some point, but I feel the need that is were it ends with these two shows.
Southland follows around a rookie cop named Ben Sherman, he is partnered up with Officer John Cooper [Michael Cudlitz] – Cooper is a loud mouth, hard nose cop that swears and cusses and hates just about everyone because they just suck. We also get to watch Detective Lydia Adams [Regina King] and her partner Detective Russell Clarke [Tom Everett Scott], and Detective Sammy Bryant [Shawn Hatosy] and his partner Detective Nate Moretta [Kevin Alejandro] – now, there are a LOT more actors on this show, but listing them all would just take all night… I will add one more Officer Chickie Brown [Arija Bareikis] she’s in the pilot and I think she balances out the “Officers” segment (because she’s a girl.)
The stories are all separate but they are all connected. I got a very big “Crash” feeling from this show – Crash mixed with The Wire. The show is very “hand held” which seems to be rather big these days in old Hollywood – The Office, BSG, and now Parks and Recreation – they all have that “documentary” small camera crew feel. There is also a lot of cussing and crudness (which I’m all for – I don’t believe the general public says “gosh” and “golly” when they slam their hand in a door… I don’t… I sound like a sailor.) So I don’t, necessarily, have issues with it -but I really do because I just feel like it’s TOO much.
I love the cast. ALL of them. I think that John Wells, Ann Biderman and Chris Chulack knew what they were doing when they hired these people, I also think that they know what they’re doing in general. Chris Chulack produced ER and Third Watch – two really AWESOME shows. Ann Biderman produced NYPD Blue, and John Wells also produced ER and The West Wing – so we aren’t looking at the “new kids” on the block – they’ve been there and done that – and they’ve done it well. So I hope that this show lasts. (even if my gut is telling me that it won’t…)
Maybe the expectations are too high, the whole “gay cop” thing added to the “raw look” at L.A. coupled with Ben being a rich kid and the content… Maybe if they were on HBO or Showtime and not NBC – but like I said, I hope I’m wrong. (And no, I have no issues with a gay cop – but to be honest, I missed it. I didn’t know it until I read it online… I’ll pay closer attention next week.)
This show is character driven – what I mean is you are there more to learn and love these cops and their stories are just there to add to it. JUST like ER and JUST like the West Wing.
As for now, I’ll tune back in – I’ll let you know if that changes any time soon!
And finally – I end with a laugh! Parks and Recreation:
Parks and Recreation follows around Leslie Knope [Amy Poehler] who works for the government in the “Parks and Recreation” division. Yes, it is a “mock-umentary,” which will bring me back and make me realize I’m probably being too critical – but I guess I was just expecting more and not a female government version of The Office.
I will give it a second chance mostly because of Amy Poehler, but it seems I’m not the only one that noticed how similar this show is to it’s big brother The Office – the reviews I’ve been reading are not that great – including this one from Monday, April 6th Variety.
Overall, can’t say any of these are that strong – it seems that the economy isn’t the only thing on a dive these days, but I’m still hopeful.
That hidden gem is out there, and I’ll keep looking for it!
I hope you all have a great week – AND GO WATCH TV!