REVIEW: ‘Longmire’ (37 Shows You Might Want To Check Out This Summer – Pt. 3)

Here’s part three of our series on shows you might want to check out this summer.  Just one show today and since it’s a returning show that I am quite familiar with, I’ll throw in a review, as well.  Scroll to the bottom for the previous entries.

LongmireLongmire (A&E – Mondays, 10:00 p.m. beginning June 2nd)

Based on Walt Longmire Mystery series of novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire also is named after its central character, Walt Longmire, the local sheriff in rural Wyoming. As the series starts, Longmire has been widowed for a year and, still in pain, hides behind a brave face and dry wit. After his wife’s death, he dragged himself into the office but his heart wasn’t really in the job. He knows it’s time to turn his life around and with the help of his daughter, Cady, and his deputy, Vic, he revives his interest in his job and decides to give his all to his re-election campaign. Victoria “Vic” Moretti is the newest addition to the sheriff’s office. She was a Philadelphia homicide detective for five years before relocating to Wyoming. While adjusting to how to deal with the locals, Vic is out to prove she’s not a rookie. She has a deep connection with Longmire along with her playful attitude and he allows her to be his most trusted deputy. Longmire’s lifelong best friend and close confidant is Henry Standing Bear, the owner of the local bar. Henry is often Walt’s go-between with the reservation. Unlike Longmire, Henry embraces progress and the trappings of the modern world while holding a close connection with his past. Another one of Longmire’s deputies is ambitious go-getter Branch Connally. He’s motivated more by political aspirations than his work as a deputy. He thinks Longmire’s stuck in the past and wants the department to have the technology that most other law enforcement agencies use. It’s his umbrage towards Walt’s outdated methods that pushes him to run for sheriff. Longmire’s only child is daughter, Cady Longmire, an attorney who dreams of practicing law in a big city. With the death of her mother, Cady has stayed to help Walt get his life back together. She isn’t afraid to tell her father like it is, and it’s this straight talk and sense of humor that makes their connection strong. Longmire’s third deputy is The Ferg who has a heart of gold. He’s loyal and well meaning and always eager to please. The Ferg can hunt and fix most anything but he’s not much of an investigator. 

Score: 85/100

Last night, Longmire began its third season and the timing couldn’t be better as I just finished watching season two last week and I’m hungry for more and that’s saying a lot because quite honestly, two years ago I got three episodes into the series and put it on hiatus for over a year because it seemed like just another police procedural.

The drama, based on the Walt Longmire mystery of novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson definitely is a police procedural in the most traditional sense of the genre but I discovered after giving up on it early that the series really has far more appeal than I had originally given it credit.  Whoops… muh baaad!

As far as murder mysteries go, the basic formula on Longmire is, admittedly, pretty vanilla.  If, for the most part, just by the formula of the series established in the first half-dozen episodes or so (and every other police procedural done in the last 50 years) you can’t figure out “who done it” within the first 20 minutes then congratulations, you are not a couch potato and television drama junkie like I am and you are actually doing something with your life.

Of course, as I’ve noted several times in the past, the vanilla and formulaic nature of police procedurals is why I don’t watch them to begin with because none of them have anything new or particular novel to offer.  Sure, there has been this flurry of police procedurals featuring lead characters with incredibly unique abilities that aren’t quite supernatural but give them a special insight into solving crimes that the regular cops don’t possess, but those are simply gimmicks used to gloss over the fact that we are still dealing with a standard “murder of the week” police procedural. Numb3rsThe MentalistUnforgettable (yes, CBS really likes this theme a lot) and The Finder readily come to mind as fitting this mold.

Although certainly formulaic, Longmire  is one of the rare exceptions because it fills in all of the other gaps regarding good television drama that the other police procedurals don’t. The casting is excellent with every single actor being ideally suited for their role on the series and marvelously well-developed.  According to what I’ve read, Robert Taylor (Walt Longmire) is apparently an incredibly well-known and accomplished Australian actor but I don’t believe any of it because I have no doubt in my mind that he is the same weathered old, incredibly well-read and educated renaissance cowboy philosopher from Wyoming that he plays on the show. Despite everything I know about Lou Diamond Phillips (who’s heritage is Spanish, Scottish/Irish, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Cherokee) I have no doubt that he is full-blooded Cheyenne and and has been best friends with Taylor since the sixth grade.  That’s how truly honest these character portrayals are.

As far as Katee Sackhoff is concerned, I’m curious if she even had to audition for the role of Deputy Moretti because it’s as if Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica moved to Wyoming and became a slightly less insubordinate cop.  You get the feeling that the producers read the series bible and the character descriptions, watched 10 minutes of BSG and sent her a plane ticket.

I could go on and on about the supporting cast of this show and I almost feel guilty for not but I don’t want to spend an entire piece gushing over casting and character development when the real main co-star of this show and really what sets it apart is the rural Wyoming backdrop which, ironically, much like the show’s titular protagonist, is completely faking its true local origins.  Y’see, the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming is actually in and around the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.  But, once again, I don’t believe it.  As far as I’m concerned, even though I’ve never been to Wyoming, I am absolutely convinced that the show takes place there because the writers and producers have done such a brilliant job in crafting this fantastic living and breathing environment and community that it leaves simply no doubt that what you are seeing is the genuine article.

Part of it is the character development, part of it has to do with selective exterior shots of the landscape (that have even fooled actual Wyoming residents) but more importantly is the presentation of the storylines that address issues inherent to the locals of that part of the country that due to isolation and small populations aren’t very well-known to the rest of us.  Quite often, the storylines are centered on the issues related to the Indian Reservations or ranching or any one of a dozen issues that is part and parcel with that region of the country but it’s done in such a way as to make it accessible to audiences to the point that they easily relate with this community and subconsciously can easily accept Absoroka County as their own community.

"Yeah... where's my attorney and who the f*** gave you law enforcement powers.  I don't see no badge, playa.  All I see is an ascot."

“Yeah… where’s my attorney and who the f*** gave you law enforcement powers? I don’t see no badge, playa. All I see is an ascot.”

One of the few things that does annoy me about Longmire that was stolen right out of the “Mad Libs For Police Procedurals” manual is the obligatory “Scooby Doo Ending” of every episode which I complain about ad nauseum.  If you’re not familiar with the “Scooby Doo Ending,” this is how it goes: the prime suspect in the last five minutes of the episode (sans attorney, of course) while being interrogated basically has the interrogator tell them all of the details of the crime the interrogator knows they committed (without any actual evidence or with only the most insignificant circumstantial evidence) and then the suspect admits to doing it while lamenting how they could have gotten away with it.  The only thing missing is the rubber mask reveal and the phrase “…if it weren’t for those meddling kids [and their dog].” For 10 plus years of examples of this nonsense, simply turn on any episode of CSI as that’s all they do on that show.  The only difference with the Longmire S.D.E. is that that more often than not, our killer is a local who either made a big mistake and regrets what they’ve done or it was an accident that they foolishly tried to cover up or they were motivated by grief/justice/sadness, i.e., our killer is sympathetic and a shade of gray.

Yuck.

That said, however, I’m willing to let Longmire off the hook for even this Cardinal sin because the three or four intertwined main recurring story arcs have been so damned compelling that you find yourself not really caring that much about whatever particular “murder of the week” is on the schedule, anyway.

Longmire does such a great job in every other aspect of crafting good television that I can forgive its shortcomings in the procedural drama arena.  Honestly, the show is so well put-together that it seems that if the “murder of the week” aspect to it is merely incidental and almost filler in order to advance the character development and overall arcs.  Needless to say, that’s rare indeed, and in fact, I’ve never seen a procedural that took such an approach that deliberately and was successful doing it.

So, if you haven’t watched Longmire, yet, set your DVR for the current episodes and head on over to Netflix and get caught up as both seasons one and two are currently available.

As for our multi-part series, 37 Shows That You Might Want To Check Out This Summer, you can find part one, here and…

Check out part two, here.

FOX: ‘Bones’ Renewed For Ninth Season

bones1

Via Press Release:

HOT FROM FOX…

 

FOX DIGS UP NEW SEASON OF “BONES” 

Veteran Procedural Renewed for Ninth Season on FOX

FOX has renewed the hit series BONES for its upcoming ninth season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“After more than 150 episodes, BONES continues to be one of television’s most dynamic and consistent dramas,” said Reilly. “We at FOX, along with millions of zealous fans, look forward to seeing where the incredible creative team takes the series next season.”

BONES returns with all-new episodes, beginning with a special two-hour Winter Premiere Monday, Jan. 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. In the episode, “The Diamond in the Rough/The Archeologist in the Cocoon,” the Jeffersonian team investigates the death of a professional ballroom dancer who was murdered three days before her audition on a popular dancing competition show. In order to solve the case, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) go undercover as dance competitors to see if they can find potential suspects. Then, the team investigates the murder of a well-known archeologist with a questionable reputation, who came upon a career-defining discovery right before his death.

BONES is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.

BONES is from Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson, Stephen Nathan, Ian Toynton, Barry Josephson and Jonathan Collier are executive producers.

“Like” BONES on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bones. Follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BonesonFox and join the conversation at #bones.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For photos and more information on BONES please visithttp://www.foxflash.com/div.php/main/page?aID=1z2z2z43.]

-FOX-

CBS: Viewers Can Choose Ending For Upcoming ‘Hawaii Five-O” Episode

cbs-logo-featured

My FIRST CYOA Novel. Made for 10 year-olds, because only 10 year-olds would think this would be a good idea for TV.

My FIRST CYOA Novel. Made for 10 year-olds, because only 10 year-olds would think this would be a good idea for TV.

Normally, I just like to post the press release on stories like this and be done with it but this time I feel it is a moral imperative to comment on how stupid this is.  It’s bad enough the Hawaii Five-O turned into a typical police procedural but now, making matters worse, it’s going to become a “Choose Your Own Adventure Novel”… but only for the Eastern/Central and Pacific Time Zones. So basically, what this means is that we could very well have an episode with three different outcomes.  Wow, nothing says series continuity like three different resolutions for the same episode.

Hey, CBS, here’s an idea: how about you focus on decent plot-lines and compelling stories instead of gimmicks?  We’d appreciate that.

Via Press Release:

FOR THE FIRST TIME, A PRIMETIME DRAMA ALLOWS VIEWERS TO CHOOSE THE ENDING OF AN EPISODE IN REAL TIME, ON CBS

“Hawaii Five-0” Viewers Will Be Able to Choose the Culprit by Voting Live on CBS.com or Twitter Monday, Jan. 14

Voting Will Take Place in Real Time during the Broadcasts for Both East/Central and Pacific Time Zones

h50

Click Here for Video Sneak Peak

CHEAT TWEET: #H50 fans! U get 2 choose the ending of the episode LIVE 1/14 #theBoss, #theTA, #theStudent 1/14 10PM ET/PT http://bit.ly/UIPig1

For the first time in television history, a primetime drama will allow viewers to choose the ending of an episode in real time when CBS’s HAWAII FIVE-0 lets fans vote on CBS.com or Twitter during the East and West Coast broadcasts, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The mystery begins on #H50 when the team must investigate the death of an O’ahu State University professor.  His boss, his teaching assistant and a student who he busted for cheating are all viable suspects.

To vote, after each of the suspect’s motives is revealed, viewers will be directed to CBS.com or Twitter to select either #theBoss, #theTA or #theStudent as the culprit, any of whom could have committed the crime.   The votes will be tallied immediately and the most popular ending will become part of the broadcast.  Separate voting will occur for East/Central and Pacific Time Zone broadcasts.  The three different endings will all be available at CBS.com after the broadcasts.

“I’ve always felt the most fun aspect of watching a mystery is trying to figure out ‘whodunit,’” says Executive Producer Peter Lenkov.  “Now the HAWAII FIVE-0 viewers will actually get the chance to tell us who they think committed the crime and we will listen. I love that our dedicated and attentive fans will actually play a part in resolving our story.”

HAWAII FIVE-0 is broadcast Mondays, (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network and is a production of CBS Television Studios.  Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are the executive producers.

Photos are now available at http://cbspressexpress.com

Website:  http://www.cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/HawaiiFive0CBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/HawaiiFive0CBS

Show Hashtag: #H50

CBS Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CBSTweet

Cast on Twitter:

Daniel Dae Kim     @danieldaekim

Masi Oka     @MasiOka

Michelle Borth     @michelleborth

*  *  *

VIC’S REVIEWS: ‘Elementary’ (CBS – Thursday, 10:00 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolutionhere.  To see Shawn’s original review of Elementary, go here.

ELEMENTARY stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr. Watson.  A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance.  However, the restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients.  He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs.  But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator. Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team.  With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it’s simple deduction that he’s going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it’s elementary that it’s a job for Watson.  Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. – CBS

Score:  75 out of 100

I don’t fancy the “Police Procedural” like I used to. Turning the tables on me though is Robert Doherty who is known for his exceptional work on Star Trek: Voyager and Medium. After hesitantly working up the nerve to watch a show which re-invents the famous Sherlock Holmes I’ve decided that while taking a few liberties and risks, Elementary is a slightly above-average crime show. Taking into mind that the BBC is light years ahead of CBS with their modern adaptation of Doyle’s iconic Detective with Sherlock, I still found some things to like here. I admit that I was very critical of CBS attempting this show. I, like Shawn and others, felt it was a blatant attempt to cash-in on the popularity of an already established “Reboot” or “re-imagining” started by Stephen Moffat.

First off, I was a bit thrown off by the casting of not Sherlock, but Watson. When they announced Miller I felt that it was an appropriate casting choice. Miller’s cool in my book. I’ve enjoyed his work going way back to Dracula 2000 and on. I believe I had issue with Watson being changed genders. Watson as the stoic male counterpart has always worked before so why change it? Well, I decided to accept Doherty’s take and I’m glad that I did. Kind of.  I won’t get into the chemistry between Miller and Liu too much here. It is a bit clunky at first but as each episode passes they start to gel. Watson is Holmes’ live in companion who is also an ex-surgeon. She needs to keep an eye on Holmes since he is in early addiction therapy. Some interesting moments between them include the often shown attendance of NA and AA Meetings meant to help Holmes with his rehabilitation.

From the pilot and further episodes it’s established that Holmes is combative, quirky and an isolationist. Jonny Lee Miller is very well capable dealing with the somewhat timid and redundant material and themes that he’s been given but I do like that he likes to pick locks and has decided to never pick up playing the violin again. Miller displaying his “Sherlockisms” is accurate and unconventional of course. Not much of the actual “essence” of the traditional Sherlock is displayed here. It comes in spurts. Doherty’s take falls into some conventions that can’t be helped but to be compared to other shows of it’s ilk like CSI and such. Despite my getting used to Liu and Miller there are times I wish that the crime solving was a bit more interesting and involving. Some of Doyle’s Holmes’ is on display here, especially regarding the addiction and obsessions. Holmes is quick, smart, perceptive and a social stooge. He’s brilliant but has absolutely no people skills. These aspects of the show are interesting. The crimes and stories in my opinion should have a bit more of a punch.

Aidan Quinn is just hands down brilliant as Captain Gregson. He’s fun to watch and even manages to steal a scene here and there. He provides simply placed drama playing against Miller. In one episode, he is forced to admit to Holmes that he has always known about his drug addiction. It is simply Quinn at his best. He acts with his eyes (I know it sounds weird) which is very fun to watch. Quinn plays the grizzled and work weary Captain to a “T.” He relishes having Holmes around, though, to help him with the mysterious and baffling  cases.

I’m five episodes into this season and I have grown to like the show a bit more than I did upon watching the pilot. My problem with the show is well… Lucy Liu. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Liu’s interpretation and evolution of Watson. I got used to the gender change but I think that Watson is the most under-written character of the show. I do admit that we get to know about her much more in the later episodes. This is from Sherlock consistently picking her apart all aspects of her personal life from her love life to her now defunct medical career. Her role needs a bit more meat with more conflict and more revelations. Maybe I am being impatient but in keeping with the spirit of Doyle’s  Watson we should have had some more of a hands on feel for Watson and her inclusion in Holmes’ world. Liu is very cute, likable and very watchable but just when we want to know and see more of Watson doing her thing (with the exception of the episode, Lesser Evils, where Watson gets a diagnosis of endocarditis correct) we get some very routine melodrama (like some very lame boyfriend troubles… ugh.) and the character ends up at a standstill. I do believe that they will eventually get more out of Watson but I feel that she is falling by the wayside at times and gets boring. In Liu’s defense, she is spunky and very smart. She plays Watson with confidence and gives as good as she gets. She is just not as edgy and interesting as she should be. I’m nitpicking though.

The show is evolving nicely and I suspect the best is still yet to come.  The cast is great. Quinn and Miller being the standouts and the locale is just wonderful. Another show other than Person of Interest (CBS also) that beautifully shows off my old stomping grounds, NYC! Elementary just needs a bit more self confidence to elevate it above the mundane “Police Procedural” conventions.

REVIEW: ‘Vegas’ (CBS – Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis star in VEGAS, a drama inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher tasked with bringing order to Las Vegas in the 1960s, a gambling and entertainment mecca emerging from the tumbleweeds.  Ralph Lamb (Quaid) wants to be left in peace to run his ranch, but Las Vegas is now swelling with outsiders and corruption which are intruding on his simple life.  Recalling Lamb’s command as a military police officer during World War II, the Mayor appeals to his sense of duty to look into a murder of a casino worker – and so begins Lamb’s clash with Vincent Savino (Chiklis), a ruthless Chicago gangster who plans to make Vegas his own.  Assisting Lamb in keeping law and order are his two deputies: his diplomatic, even-keeled brother Jack (Jason O’Mara) and his charming but impulsive son, Dixon (Taylor Handley).  Ambitious Assistant District Attorney Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), who grew up on the ranch next to the Lambs, also lends a hand in preserving justice.  In Vegas, two powerful men – Lamb and Savino – are engaged in a fierce battle for control of the budding oasis, and for both of them, folding is not an option.  Nicholas Pileggi, Greg Walker, Cathy Konrad, Arthur Sarkissian and James Mangold, who also directed the pilot, are the executive producers for CBS Television Studios. – CBS

Score:     72 out of 100

Initial Impressions (September 6, 2012):

Shawn:  This actually appears to be really good but we have two big problems with it. First, the trailer seems to have just a whole bunch of random action scenes thrown  together to make the show seem more exciting than it really is.  Second, the show is filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico, NOT Las Vegas, Nevada and the landscape isn’t even close to matching the majestic mountains of Southern Nevada (yeah, we’re biased on this issue).  For crap’s sake, at least use some CGI and fake it.

Initial Impressions (September 8, 2012):

Redeye:  Come on dude! It’s the same guy who wrote Goodfellas and Casino.  It’s got Dennis Quaid. Could it possibly be anything other than awesome?  If CBS can resist going all ‘procedural’ on this one there might be hope.

The Review:

Shawn:  It took me a couple of episodes to get a good take on this show because the pilot really didn’t seem like a pilot at all.  It seemed like a series that had been on quite some time and was pretty comfortable with itself.  Unfortunately, though, it seemed, as Redeye feared, a procedural hidden behind the premise of an historical period piece, i.e., a serialized drama.  I actually got about 3/4 of the way through the first episode and was pretty annoyed as I felt I had been tricked but then, it actually turned out to be pretty decent.

I realized by episode two that this is how the show was going to go: murder of the week with a consistent serial arc.  In other words, it’s going to have basic timeline but, if you miss an episode or two, you don’t have to worry about missing major plot-points.  That being said, it is more procedural than serial and I’m surprisingly OK with that.

Vegas, with all of its generic procedural underpinnings, still manages to succeed very well despite those handicaps with a few gimmicks that are incorporated effectively and a strong cast that is probably the most important element of the show.  Dennis Quaid was born to play the role of the down-to-earth, old-school leathery cowboy turned lawman in this 20th century version of a classic old west, frontier town tale.  And make no mistake about it, it is a tale… right out of Hollywood.

If you think that the premise seems a little too unbelievable (and recycled) to be true of the unwillingly local becoming the incorruptible sheriff among a sea of corruption, you’d be right.  The idealized version of Ralph Lamb portrayed in this series is a shined and polished  facsimile of the real former sheriff who was known for not just “frontier justice,” but a bit more of a tarnished reputation than this show would suggest while sheriff for 18 years.  Honestly, what it comes down to is that this series has been watered down for network prime-time and the series would actually be a lot more interesting had they complicated the character closer to how he was in real-life.  Considering that there have only been a handful of episodes aired, there is still room to flesh out the character more, but it doesn’t seem that there is any intention of this.

Yep… ‘Vegas’ has the ‘Scooby Doo Endings.’

That being said, the weekly stories are pretty compelling despite that they follow the typical police drama formula and there’s a lot of the CSI Scooby Doo ending crap that we hate where the suspect, when presented with the police’s conclusions, admit everything. I really should hate this show for that alone, but the characters are all very well-written and believable and performed admirably by all of the major players.  Besides Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis (No Ordinary FamilyThe Shield) is fantastic while Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Life on Mars) and Carrie Anne-Moss (The Matrix, Unthinkable) bring the show even more credibility as do the A-list of character actors with recurring roles on the show (James Russo, Jonathan Banks, Michael Reilly Burke and Michael O’Neill, to name a few).

Though I still have my complaints about every scene where they show the New Mexican or California skyline (filming moved to Los Angeles, post-pilot), the use of blended CGI and backlot sets to represent 1960’s downtown Las Vegas is very convincing (despite the fact that for some reason EVERY television show that has casinos in it looks like they are done on a soundstage).

Flaws and all, what really makes Vegas work is the cast and the well-fleshed out characters which do a lot to bolster what would normally be only little more than better-than-average storylines.  You can do a lot better as far as prime-time drama is concerned but you could also do a lot worse.

Chance of Renewal:  50%

Honestly, I am so stumped on this one that it could either way.  It has very similar numbers to the show that it replaced from last season in its timeslot, Unforgettable, which was cancelled and then uncanceled by CBS for a shortened season next summer.  That being said, if the wheels fall of completely as far as the writing is concerned it could just disappear altogether.

Watch Vegas, here.

REVIEW: ‘Elementary’ (CBS – Thursday, 10:00 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

ELEMENTARY stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr. Watson.  A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance.  However, the restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients.  He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs.  But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator. Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team.  With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it’s simple deduction that he’s going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it’s elementary that it’s a job for Watson.  Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. – CBS

Score:     88 out of 100

Initial Impressions (September 6, 2012):

Shawn:  When we first heard about Elementary, we wanted to repeatedly punch ourselves in the face because we are kind of tired of seeing the U.S. television industry lazily copy the success of magnificent BBC programming by stealing their shows and then thoroughly screwing up what has made the BBC versions so great to begin with. To make matters worse, someone thought it was a great idea to send Holmes to New York and making matters even worse, casting Lucy Liu in the Watson role.  So, unlike the BBC’s Sherlock, which we’ll go as far to say may be the best show on television regardless of what side of the Atlantic you’re on, this adaptation of Doyle’s masterpiece not only has set the characters and the story in the modern era, but they’ve also gone so far as to change the locale to a completely different continent, ergo, destroying part of what makes Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes, and they’ve changed Doctor Watson from a male, British Army Doctor to a female Asian-American surgeon.  Fantastic.  Despite that, after watching the trailer, it really doesn’t look bad.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s no Sherlock, but it doesn’t look awful.  That being said, don’t fool yourself, the lame suits at CBS have brought us, yet again, another police procedural with a gimmick (see: Numb3ers, Unforgettable, CSI and The Mentalist for recent examples of CBS doing this).

Initial Impressions (September 8, 2012):

Redeye:  Lucy Liu  in what could be a compelling crime procedural show. Only problem is, it’s a crime procedural show.  Won’t someone  please tell CBS that those are played out already?

The Review:

Shawn:  We both got it right and I am relieved to say that although Elementary is not as good as the BBC’s Sherlock, it’s still an incredibly worthy entry in the mythology of the Doyle franchise.

I wanted to bring Sherlock up immediately and discuss it regularly because it’s the biggest elephant in the room of all and it needs to be addressed so we can move on.  Elementary is not Sherlock but how the hell could it be? BBC shows are in a completely different class than American shows.  It’s not even a fair fight.  The BBC is a government-owned entity and has been its entire existence and is not nearly as dependent on advertising and 18 – 49 viewership as privately-owned American networks are.  When the BBC greenlights a project, it’s from a perspective that quality programming begets more viewership.  That’s not how it works in the U.S.  The model here is to present a product that has the most likelihood of gaining the attention and eyes of the 18 – 49 crowd on a weekly basis, quality of programming being a secondary consideration.  This really is an apples and oranges comparison.

There is ZERO chance that Sherlock could ever be produced in the U.S. with its 90-minute feature-film run times and three-episode seasons.  It just isn’t possible except for maybe on a premium network like HBO.  It’s not a coincidence that the vast majority of BBC programming that has found its way to this side of the pond has found its success on PBS (including Sherlock), a not-for-profit entity funded exclusively by donations and government grants.  So, as someone who enjoys quality television programming, not only am I thankful for what the the BBC offers, I’m beginning to appreciate the government-funded model for the arts (because television is an art) that has been the tradition in the U.K. since the BBC’s inception and I would actually prefer that the U.S. follow their lead.

That being said, I am aware that the possibility of that occurring is slim to none and I’ve come to accept how the U.S. television industry works, warts and all, and that quality programming is possible even when working within and around the standard guidelines. I’m reminded of shows like Lost that managed to find an audience on ABC because it was three years into the series before audiences realized that they were watching a Science Fiction serial, which they had generally given up on a decade earlier. The fact is that 22-episode police procedurals generally succeed in the U.S. by just moving the pieces around and cutting and pasting and that, to an extent, is why Elementary works here so well.

As I’ve noted, what’s become more and more commonplace is the the police procedural with the main character possessing some kind of uncanny and unique ability that’s not supernatural, however it does give them an advantage and greater ability to solve crimes. These shows have found a lot of success and though I’m generally skeptical of them because I come from the perspective of “you’re not fooling me, I can smell a generic procedural a mile away,” that didn’t happen with Elementary because like its BBC counterpart (which I grant is far more epic), it’s not about the ability, it’s about the characters of Holmes and Watson themselves, and they are portrayed masterfully through both writing and acting by Miller and Liu.

One of the things that needs to be noted as to why Sherlock is so good is because, frankly, Steven Moffat is a better writer than Doyle ever was and his main character’s persona being that of a self-described “high-functioning sociopath” (which was easy to call before he even admitted it) elaborates on themes only hinted at in the original work.  Why it works is because the writing never strays from that model nor do they stray from Watson’s model of the damaged, somewhat angry and lonely former soldier trying to make sense of it all while possibly being the only person that is capable of reigning in the eccentric consulting detective.  The point of this is that Moffat has smartly taken the template for the classic characters and re-imagined them while staying true to Doyle’s original intentions and this is exactly what Elementary does and it should be celebrated for doing it as effectively as it does, despite the handicap of being on American network television.

Miller is as perfectly cast for this Holmes as his long-time friend Cumberbatch is cast for his Holmes on the BBC’s hit.  Shockingly, Lucy Liu is an excellent Watson who serves to bring fresh perspectives that Holmes is frankly incapable of due to his inability to maintain normal interpersonal relationships, regardless of who’s writing the character.  As brilliant as Holmes is, even Doyle made a point to highlight his many weaknesses and in this version there is far more emphasis on the implied drug abuse issues than have been in the past. Other than the drug abuse issue, Holmes’ biggest character flaw is that though he may understand the human psyche and mentality, his own ego and inability to experience empathy has always been his downfall as well as ignoring the obvious when sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  A strong Watson is an absolute necessity in order to humanize Holmes and Liu does it aptly but don’t expect any romance between the two because it’s not even hinted at a little bit and I think the writers are aware that going that route would effectively be the sign that the show has officially jumped the shark.

Rounding out the trifecta is Aidan Quinn playing the role of Lt. Gregson (basically the equivalent of the D.I. Lestrade character on Sherlock), an NYPD detective who has had experience with Holmes and his unique abilities since his stint in London post-9/11 and respects his insights greatly to the point where he depends on them.  I like Quinn in this role – again, another perfect job of casting.  Quinn’s best performances in my opinion are where he plays the strong every man. I think he’s been short-changed in his career in a lot of roles where the attempt has been to portray him as the larger than life leading man or the villain.  He’s far more Jimmy Stewart than he is Cary Grant and his understated performance here brings a calming influence yet he still exudes a sense of leadership despite the fact that much to the dismay of the younger detectives under his command, he often defers to the expertise of Holmes.  Gregson comes off as a character who has had enough experience professionally to know that in order to be as good as he is at what he does there is a greater wisdom in deferring to the experts at the sake of even your own ego, even if that means placating Holmes’ already massive ego.

One of my biggest concerns was that Elementary was set in New York City and not London and that’s because if you’re a fan of the franchise, you know that the city of London is as much of an integral character to the stories as any of the actual performers.  I’ve noted several times how effective a locale can be for a series when done correctly.  Think of Los Angeles for  The Shield or Albuquerque in Breaking Bad or the biggest example, the island in Lost.  London in my mind has always been just as important to this franchise.  The truth is that Elementary is so well-rounded that the locale is almost insignificant and New York works nicely for it.

This being a standard 22-episode American series, don’t expect the writers to re-imagine classic Doyle tales the way that Sherlock has done (there’s simply not enough of them to do this with and 43 minutes isn’t enough time to do them justice), but it is apparent that the writers for Elementary have been chosen well and have a masterful ability to weave a good yarn in the traditional Holmesian style.  The pilot was incredibly impressive despite the fact that it was a one-off, killer-of-the-week story that is the hallmark for all procedurals.  That being said, the best part of the story was being engaged in Holmes’ process and his uncomfortable interactions with other characters and most importantly there was no Scooby Doo ending and that alone makes it a winner.

Brilliantly cast, brilliantly written with no sense of needing to prove itself, Elementary is by far one of the best new dramas of the fall and it stands alone as an excellent tribute to the classic detective.  The biggest issue I have with the series is that CBS, being the scared little babies that they are, actually used the hashtag #Sherlock during the pilot to generate buzz for the series.  That’s cheap and unnecessary and it shows that as much confidence that the writers and producers have in the series, CBS is a little more skeptical and is hedging their bets.  Dumb across the board.

Chance of Renewal:  100%

It’s already huge and with Person of Interest as its lead-in, CBS has a one-two drama punch on Thursday that’s going to be impossible to beat.

Watch Elementary, here.

REVIEW:Copper (BBC America – Sunday, 10:00 p.m.)

From Academy Award® winner Barry Levinson and Emmy® Award winner Tom Fontana, “Copper” is a gripping crime drama series, set in 1864 New York City, filled with intrigue, corruption, mystery and murder. Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones, “MI-5″), an Irish-American former boxer turned cop, returns from the Civil War to find his wife missing and his daughter dead. Corcoran seeks justice for the powerless in the notorious immigrant neighborhood of Five Points. Bonded by battle to two Civil War compatriots – the wayward son of a wealthy industrialist and an African-American physician who secretly assists the forensic investigations – Corcoran is thrust into the contrasting worlds of elegant and corrupt Fifth Avenue, and the emerging African-American community in Northern Manhattan. The three men share a secret from the battlefield that inextricably links their lives forever.

70 out of 100

The last time we saw any attempt to recreate lower Manhattan mid-to-post-Civil War was in 2002 when Martin Scorcese, Leonardo Di Caprio and Daniel Day Lewis brought us the incredibly overrated Gangs of New York in which Scorcese seemed far more interested in creating an opera than he did in depicting the actual Five Points neighborhood and the actual history as presented in the original 1928 non-fiction book, The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury, which the film is supposedly based on.  We love the opening line in the Wikipedia entry:

Gangs of New York is a 2002 historical film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City, purportedly depicting “the birth of Manhattan and the way the different waves of immigrants have shaped New York City’s evolution.”

Notice the keyword, “purportedly” because the film doesn’t even come remotely close to depicting “the birth of Manhattan and the way the different waves of immigrants have shaped New York City’s evolution.” Scorcese was far more concerned with the meaningless details of the architecture and culture than he was concerned with the actual the history of Five Points.  Copper, although not perfect by any means, seems to be at least attempting to do what Gangs of New York failed to do in that regard.

First, other than the similarity of the setting, Copper bears no resemblance whatsoever to Gangs of New York.  The best comparison we can make is really to HBO’s critically-acclaimed Deadwood, albeit, the light version, without all of the realism and  cleaned up for basic cable.  That being said, we were still pretty surprised at how dark the show really is considering it is basic cable, but then again, even though it’s not BBC, it is BBC America so we should expect it to be a little sharper than your typical U.S. fare.

During the pilot, in the first 10 minutes we see a nine year-old prostitute offer to “pleasure” our main character, Kevin Corcoran, a brutally violent gunfight where one man gets his entire eye socket completely blown out and his brains spray in a mist out of the back of his skull, and shortly after that, the dead body of our young prostitute’s twin sister is found, bludgeoened to death and we find out (graphically, I might add) that she was raped post-mortem.  It also didn’t help that Corcoran was literally running around with the child’s corpse bouncing on his shoulder wrapped in a blanket for a good five minutes.  Like we said… a little darker than expected.

Like Deadwood, Five Points is a lawless frontier town replete with many different and unseemly characters and with varying shades of gray.  We appreciate this portrayal because for some reason, people assume that due to its size and history that New York has always been the metropolis it is today.  Quite the contrary.  New York’s growth coincided with the westward expansion of the U.S. and the incredible influx of primarily European immigrants from the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s.  Between 1840 and 1900 the population of New York City increased by more than factor of 10 from 300,000 to 3.4 million.  This backdrop is providing an incredibly rich history that Barry Levinson seems eager to explore whereas Scorcese really didn’t seem that interested.

Now, as far as the depth of the characters is concerned, well, that leaves a little to be desired at this point.  Corcoran, though certainly a man of his times (he sees no problem in stealing the stolen money from the bank robbers that he and his fellow detectives just killed… kind of the Vic Mackey of his day but it’s acceptable and to be expected in 1864, apparently) does kind of come off as comic bookish in his dedication to “justice above all else.”  What bothers us about that is that it’s just very safe because that particular character has been done repeatedly in literature and pop-culture going back to the Greek tragedies.  The writers do attempt to tarnish this image by depicting him as a man who will use threats, intimidation, violence and outright torture to get the answers he wants and to dish out justice as he sees fit.  Again, he’s the Vic Mackey of his time but the problem with this is that in 1864, Vic Mackey would have fit right in so the “tarnished” effect they’re going for with Corcoran is completely lost.  All that aside, as far as leads go, Copper could certainly do a lot worse.  It’s very easy to see how audiences could become very attached to “Corky” as Dr. Freeman refers to him.

Speaking of which, the other main character is Dr. Matthew Freeman, played very well by Ato Essandoh who we honestly never heard of before Copper but he has had a long and distinguished career as a character actor in both film and television and you know how much we appreciate character actors.  Essandoh’s portrayal is certainly not the problem, it’s the character that’s a little screwy.  First, and this a minor nit-pick but notable, his name is all wrong for the character.  Freeman was a name that was commonly taken by freed slaves, post-emancipation.  The good Doctor is around 40 years-old which would make his birth year c. 1924 and the name “Freeman” implies that he was a slave that was freed.  Well, if this is the case, it’s pretty safe to say that he didn’t go to medical school or have any formal education whatsoever.  So, unless they explain this away magically, the name is completely wrong but like we said that’s a bit of a minor problem because he did imply that he worked in Paris and his bio on the show’s webpage states that he was a valet during the Civil War to Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid) so we know he was definitely from the north, free and well-educated.

The real problem with the character is his skill as a coroner.  First, the bio and the show itself indicate nothing about him being a coroner, only a physician.  Being a coroner, even in 1864, was a very specialized field and what makes it more ridiculous is the level of sophistication he employs in the field of forensic science.  It’s not that we doubt the Doctor’s intelligence, but the science that he is using to determine cause of death and specific details about a perpetrator of said crime simply didn’t exist in 1864 at that level.  We don’t mind suspending disbelief, but this isn’t a SciFi show and it seems apparent that someone thought they could get away with this gimmick that serves to only appeal to the simplistic audiences that have been lapping up the CSI franchise for over a decade by simply having Freeman use contemporary scientific methods however only by using the technology available at the time.  It’s like how they explained away all of that stupid steampunk technology in Wild, Wild West but in reverse.  Sorry, but we’re not that stupid and throwing this aspect of the doctor’s character into the mix seems like a decision that a network executive made, not television writer.  This is just completely unbelievable and we have a feeling that they aren’t going to tone that down because it’s going to serve to be a good weekly gimmick for the show.

Our biggest issue with Copper, though, is that the entire show feels like it’s done on a studio backlot and on soundstages.  This is the one area where Gangs of New York surpasses it by leaps and bounds (and of course, Daniel Day Lewis was magnificent as Bill The Butcher).  It doesn’t feel like New York City or any other mid-19th century urban environment and the CGI backdrops are awful.

The pilot for us was a little slow for about the first thirty minutes but then it quickly picks up and becomes a very compelling story, with just the right amount of plot twists and political intrigue to keep viewers like us satisfied.  Copper appears to us to be a series that will have an overriding serial arc (that’s not particularly complicated so you can miss an episode or come to the series late without worry) with a murder-of-the-week theme, so it has a little something for everyone.

Bottom line, Copper is a very good series at this point but not a great series.  The positives of the characters and the storyline far outweigh any negatives.  We definitely recommend this, but brace yourself and try to control the eye-rolling which is inevitable.

Chance of Renewal:  100%

Again, like Perception on TNT this is a no-brainer.  Copper was the highest rated premiere in BBC America history and it probably made back all of its sunk capital costs the first night.  This is going to be a very popular show on a network that’s doing nothing but growing thanks to the saturation of BBC programming available on Netflix and PBS. Again, it’s another show that’s filmed in Canada (Toronto) so it makes it that much easier to call.  Figure that  renewal will be announced no later than the fifth episode.

http://www.bbcamerica.com/copper/

Like We Said, No-Brainer: TNT Renews Perception For Season Two In 2013

Not that it was a really bold statement to make, but as we predicted last week when we wrote our review of TNT’s freshman detective procedural, Perception and said this:

Chance of Renewal: 100% 

As dopey as this type of show is, audiences eat this generic fare up and it’s a bit of a no-brainer for TNT to renew what is an incredibly inexpensive show to produce (and it’s filmed in Canada, as well dropping the costs that much more), only has a 10-episode summer schedule and is bound to be a ratings boon for the network.  Expect renewal by the halfway point of the season.”

…but, yes, we were right and last Friday TNT announced that the series had been picked up for a second season.

Via Press Release:

 

TNT RENEWS HIT DRAMA PERCEPTION, ONE OF BASIC CABLE’S TOP NEW SERIES OF THE YEAR

TNT has ordered a second season of Perception, the hit Monday night drama starring Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Award® winner Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, Who Is Clark Rockefeller?). Perception comes to TNT from ABC Studios and currently ranks second behind TNT’s Major Crimes among basic cable’s top new scripted series for the year-to-date. The network has ordered 13 episodes for season two, which is slated to air in 2013.

“Perception has captured the imagination of TNT’s audience of armchair detectives with wonderfully intricate cases, emotionally charged situations and, of course, a terrific cast led by Eric McCormack,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “Daniel Pierce is a truly unique and fascinating addition to television’s pantheon of crime solvers. We look forward to seeing where Perception takes us next.”

TNT’s Perception, which airs Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), centers on Dr. Daniel Pierce (McCormack), an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That) stars as FBI agent Kate Moretti, Pierce’s former student who asks him to consult on her cases. The cast also includes Arjay Smith (The Day After Tomorrow) as Max Lewicki, Pierce’s teaching assistant, and Kelly Rowan (The O.C.) as Natalie Vincent, Daniel’s best friend and every bit his intellectual equal. In addition, award-winning actor LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation) plays Paul Haley, a dean at the university and Pierce’s friend.

Perception was created by executive producer Ken Biller (Star Trek: Voyager, Smallville) and co-executive producer Mike Sussman (Star Trek: Enterprise). In addition to starring in the series, McCormack serves as producer.

In its first season, Perception is averaging 7 million viewers (Live + 7), with 1.8 million adults 18-49 and 2.3 million adults 25-54. The July 9 series premiere of Perception ranks third behind the Aug. 13 premiere of Major Crimes and the June 13 premiere of TNT’s Dallas on the list of this year’s top series debuts on cable. The season finale of Perception is set for mid-September.

Connect with Perception

Website: http://tntdrama.com/series/perception/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PerceptionTNT/ | #PerceptionTNT

About ABC Studios

ABC Studios, part of ABC Entertainment Group, develops and produces compelling programming for both broadcast network and cable television as well as digital platforms. ABC Studios has delivered some of the most successful, talked-about and evolutionary series on television such as Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Criminal Minds, Army Wives, Once Upon a Time, Scandal and Revenge.

About TNT

TNT, one of cable’s top-rated networks, is television’s destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Dallas, Perception, Major Crimes, Franklin & Bash, Leverage, Southland and the upcoming Monday Mornings. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like this summer’s The Great Escape and the upcoming Boston Blue (working title) and 72 Hours (working title). In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like The Mentalist, Bones, Supernatural, Las Vegas, Law & Order and Castle, which starts this year; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

REVIEW: Perception (TNT – Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

In Perception, Eric McCormack plays Dr. Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Pierce has an intimate knowledge of human behavior and a masterful understanding of the way the mind works. He also has an uncanny ability to see patterns and look past people’s conscious emotions to see what lies beneath.

Pierce’s mind may be brilliant, but it’s also damaged. He struggles with hallucinations and paranoid delusions brought on by his schizophrenia. Oddly, Daniel considers some of his hallucinations to be a gift. They occasionally allow him to make connections that his conscious mind can’t yet process. At other times, the hallucinations become Daniel’s greatest curse, leading him to behave in irrational, potentially dangerous ways.

Daniel’s mental condition and offbeat manner make it difficult for him to achieve the close friendships and intimate relationships he craves. He’s in his element when solving an intricate puzzle or a coded message. But in unfamiliar situations, he can quickly become overwhelmed, and only his favorite music and a crossword puzzle have the power to make things right again.

Rachael Leigh Cook co-stars as FBI agent Kate Moretti, Pierce’s former student who asks him to consult on certain cases. Unlike her colleagues, Kate is willing to look past Daniel’s peculiarities. Also in Daniel’s life is Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith), who serves as his teaching assistant. His primary job is to keep Pierce in line and on task, whether that means grading midterms or laying out Pierce’s wardrobe for the day. And Natalie Vincent (Kelly Rowan) is Daniel’s best friend and every bit his intellectual equal. In addition, award-winning actor LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation) will play a recurring role as Paul Haley, a dean at the university and Pierce’s friend. – TNT

Score:     55 out of 100

What do you get when you cross a delusional schizophrenic college professor and a cute and sassy FBI agent? Well, in this case, you get a typical formulaic police procedural with a gimmick that’s trying to trick audiences into thinking it’s actually clever, original and full of  compelling plot twists.  It’s not and in fact it’s pretty lame.

Now, we’ve talked about gimmicks on police procedurals before, most recently with the CBS series Unforgettable and the now canceled Bones spinoff, The Finder, and the gimmicks we are talking about concern the main character who has some special ability or feature that’s not supernatural but is rare that gives him a special insight into solving crimes that the local police and federal agencies simply can’t handle on their own (see: Numb3rsThe MentalistMonk, and Psych, to name a few).  Most of the time, it doesn’t work because at the end of the day, a generic police procedural is a generic police procedural and they’ve all been done before.

Perception is no different except for the fact that the goal of this show is apparently to throw so much crap at the audience between Pierce’s delusions and Monk-like obsessive-compulsive idiosyncracies and convoluted stories and plot twists that they utterly confuse the audience into believing that this is a unique and quality show.

“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for that meddling schizophrenic and his plucky sidekick.”

We normally don’t do reviews without watching at least the first three episodes of a series but we couldn’t get past two with Perception because it was so eye-rolling embarrassing to watch and it became obvious very quickly that the show was going to follow the same routine every episode and beyond the pilot there are simply no surprises in formula and procedure.  The only thing that is surprising is how completely ridiculous the premise of each scenario of each episode is and that they actually expect us to believe the ludicrous plot twists they throw at us.  And, of course, every week the ultimate suspect (because of course, they’ve gone through several by this point) when confronted by Professor Cuckoo-For-Cocoa-Puffs and Special Agent Sassy-Pants with the entire scenario of how they killed the victim, the suspect admits everything in the obligatory Scooby Doo ending.

The characters are incredibly poorly written to the point of being silly, however, they are likable, albeit cartoonish, and the performances by the actors are fine considering the garbage material they have to work with (although, it is very difficult to take Rachel Leigh Cook seriously as an FBI agent… she looks like she’s 16).

All things considering, though, as mediocre and silly as the show is, it’s not horrible and unwatchable.  It’s just very typical and it’s trying very hard not be and it’s a bit of a shame because the premise seemed to have a lot of potential.  Can the show improve?  Unlikely. The producers and writers seem locked into this safe formula with all the extra junk thrown in for good measure.

Chance of Renewal: 100%

As dopey as this type of show is, audiences eat this generic fare up and it’s a bit of a no-brainer for TNT to renew what is an incredibly inexpensive show to produce (and it’s filmed in Canada, as well dropping the costs that much more), only has a 10-episode summer schedule and is bound to be a ratings boon for the network.  Expect renewal by the halfway point of the season.

Watch compete episodes of Perception, here.

TVLine: NBC Renews Grimm For A Second Season

In news that is no surprise to anyone, NBC has renewed their Friday hit supernatural/police procedural, Grimm for a second season according to TVLine.  We love Grimm and it’s been one of the few bright spots this season for the struggling network so we’re definitely looking forward to season two.