Part Three 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?)
NBC: Undercovers – September 22, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
From acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Alias”) and executive producer/writer Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters,” “What About Brian”) comes a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership.
Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Vacation,” “Soul Food,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Dr. Who,” “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own and operate a small catering company in Los Angeles – with help from Samantha’s easily frazzled handful of a sister, Lizzy (Mekia Cox, “90210,” “This Is It”). Secretly, the duo were two of the best spies the CIA had ever known, until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired.
When fellow spy and good friend Leo Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress,” “Nip/Tuck”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss and agency liaison, Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood,” “Jericho”), to locate and rescue Nash.
With assistance from resourceful CIA field agent Bill Hoyt (Ben Schwartz, “Parks and Recreation,” “Bronx World Travelers”), whose professional admiration for Steven isn’t hard to miss, the pair is thrust back into the world of espionage, disguises and hand-to-hand combat.
Following leads that take them to cities spanning the globe, Steven and Samantha quickly realize that perhaps this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides exactly the kind of excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing. – NBC
Shawn: Wow. There is not a whole lot more to say about Undercovers than that. J.J. Abrams has done it again and NBC has proven again that they have gone from being the worst network on TV to perhaps the best. Do we really have to see even see one episode to be sure that this show is going to be great? The answer is a resounding, “no.” You’ve got a great cast with some actual chops, a relationship that I truly believe and care about from just the trailer and non-stop, J.J. Abrams-style action and spy-goodness that makes this show another moral imperative.
ABC: Better With You – September 22, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
The comedy explores love through three couples: Maddie and Ben, who have been dating for nine years; Mia (Maddie’s sister) and Casey, who have known each other for only seven weeks and are about to marry; and Maddie and Mia’s parents, who have been married for more than 30 years.
Shawn: (****sighs… shakes head and prepares for the shortest preview of the season***)
What more can be said but that this show looks awful. This is up there with Mike & Molly as a prime example of why I hate sitcoms. This is recycled crap.
ABC: Modern Family
Shawn: This is by far the funniest show on television, and yes, even funnier than The Office. The cast is brilliant and the writing is head and shoulders above any sitcom in the last decade and why brings it all together is just how incredibly relatable all of the less-than-perfect characters are that could really be in any of our families.
Watch full episodes of Modern Family, here.
The CW: Hellcats – September 8, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Marti Perkins (Aly Michalka) uses her dance and gymnastics skills to win a cheerleading scholarship at Lancer University after losing her other scholarship, but it is only the beginning of the drama she will encounter. – The CW
Shawn: (****sighs… shakes head and prepares for the second shortest preview of the season***)
The CW needs to be smacked on the nose with a newspaper for this. Although, I will say that this certainly will appeal to 14 year-old boys and I have no doubt that stock values of Jergens and Kleenex are going to skyrocket, so it’s definitely time to call your broker.
Here’s another group of Hellcats that seem far more interesting:
Watch full episodes of Hellcats, here (if you must).
ABC: The Whole Truth – September 22, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
This unique legal drama chronicles the way a case is built from the perspective of both the defense and prosecution. Showing each side equally keeps the audience guessing, shifting allegiances and opinions on guilt or innocence until the very final scene.
Kathryn Peale, the product of a New England background and a sheriff father, is the Deputy Bureau Chief in the New York State District Attorney’s office. Jimmy Brogan, born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen and a friend of Kathryn’s since their days at Yale Law School, is one of New York’s rising criminal attorney stars. Buoyed by their respective teams, these evenly matched lawyers—each with a strong streak of competitiveness, a fervent belief in their clients and an equally intense passion for the law go about creating two different stories from the same set of facts. As this up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the legal process mirrors the excitement of a championship match, it becomes evident that truth has nothing to do with innocence or guilt—at the end of every trial, the only thing that matters is what the jury believes. – ABC
Shawn: “A totally new kind of legal drama!” Really, ABC? Sorry, but not quite.
So, yeah, I admit it. Occasionally I read other reviews before I post if for no other reason than to see if the pros caught the same thing about a particular show that I did. This certainly was the “case” with The Whole Truth, because this time, I knew that I had seen this show before but I just couldn’t put my finger on where and I was hoping that someone’s review would ring the proverbial bell for me. That’s when I came across this from Paige Wiser from the The Chicago Sun and it all fell into place:
There’s no skimping on the sordid and blunt evidence, but the cases are absorbing. And unlike “Law & Order,” which had a way of leaving us hanging, we do learn the “whole truth” by the end of each episode. You can’t put a price on closure.
That’s it! The multiple perspectives AND the big reveal at the end of the episode explaining what really happened… it’s Jerry Bruckheimer’s 2006 flop, Justice! So, apparently, Jerry is just recycling old projects and hoping that no one will notice. Regardless, I was one of the folks who really did like Justice, despite it lasting only 13 episodes. Like Justice, The Whole Truth has a very strong ensemble cast and appears to be pretty compelling. That being said, I am a little irked by the main premise of this show which is going to stick in my craw every episode: are we really supposed to believe that the same defense attorney and A.D.A. are going to be adversaries EVERY week in EVERY case… in New York City ??? Seriously, are these the only two lawyers in town? Jerry Bruckheimer plus the fact that it’s Justice recycled are the only two reasons that I am in the category of “reluctantly” watching the pilot.
CBS: The Defenders – September 22, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients. Nick and Pete are the local go-to guys with an eclectic client list who are still looking to hit their own jackpot. Leading the law firm of Morelli & Kaczmarek are Nick Morelli, an earnest, hard-charging attorney who represents his clients to the best of his ability, no matter how big or small the case; and his partner, Pete Kaczmarek, whose passion for the law is matched only by his love of fast cars, beautiful women and expensive clothes. Joining them in their growing law practice is new associate Lisa Tyler, an enthusiastic young attorney looking to put her exotic dancing days behind her; and their young assistant, Zoe Waters, a spunky and sweet ingénue who is eager to please her bosses. While Lady Luck shines on their legal careers, the partners have their hands full when it comes to their personal lives. With Pete busy cruising the Vegas Strip for his latest romantic conquest, Nick is focused on repairing a fractured marriage to his estranged wife and remaining present in the life of their young son. No matter the offense, Nick and Pete aim to prove that when the stakes are high, they’re willing to bet the house on the clients they defend in Sin City. – CBS
Shawn: I have to keep reminding myself that I am sick of legal procedurals and why but then I get dragged right back in by shows like The Defenders starring Jim Belushi (According to Jim) and Jerry O’Connell (Sliders) who star as a couple of working-stiff lawyers here in my city, Las Vegas. Here’s the thing, I’m not going to be watching this show because I expect it be some fantastic weekly legal thriller, on the contrary, I expect that part of the show to be clichéd as every other legal show. No, I’m watching because I like Belushi and O’Connell and after seeing the trailers and interviews associated with this show, I think I like these characters. Again, how relatable the characters are can make or break a series. Truthfully, this show doesn’t have to be about lawyers, it could have been about cops, plumbers, copier salesmen, the Mexicans on The Strip shoving the cards in your four-year old’s face offering hookers direct to you hotel room… whatever. It doesn’t matter because this is a buddy-[insert profession here] show and nothing more and this could work with Belushi as the comedian and O’Connell as the straight man. I think I’ll need to watch the first few episodes to get a handle on whether this show is worth hanging on to, but I will say this: if they start that crap like they do on CSI of randomly mentioning streets and neighborhoods in Las Vegas without any actual resemblance to where these landmarks truly are geographically-speaking, I will shut it off.
(EDIT: I completely forgot to include in ‘Terriers.’ Sorry about that. )
F/X: Terriers – September 8, 2010 (NEW SERIES)
Donal Logue plays Hank, an ex-cop who partners with his best friend to launch a P.I. business. The duo solve crimes while trying to avoid danger and responsibility.
Shawn: Terriers is a very good show and I’ve already done a full review on it, here. You can also watch full episodes of Terriers, here.
NBC: Law & Order: Los Angeles – September 29, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
The newest addition to the Law & Order brand, “Law & Order: Los Angeles” fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast.
The drama follows Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich, “Jericho”) and Tomas “TJ” Jarusalski (Corey Stoll, “Midnight in Paris”) as they pursue cases through the diverse City of Angels. As members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery Homicide Division, Winters is a straight-shooting ex-Marine with a clear-cut worldview as stubborn as he is, while TJ, who grew up the son of an Oscar-winning Polish cinematographer, knows too well the dark underside that is behind-the-scenes Hollywood.
Deputy District Attorney Morales (Alfred Molina, “En Education,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Spiderman 2”) is a sarcastic realist who believes moral righteousness is great in theory, but ineffective in a street fight. Though he knows how to manipulate both his public image and the behind-the-scenes politics, he’s still a killer in the courtroom who lives to see justice served. – NBC
Shawn: Hi, my name’s Shawn and I’m a recovering Law & Order fan. You see, one day about four years ago, I decided that the entire franchise, which I had been watching faithfully since 1990, had turned to utter crap (and that includes SVU which people still think is good for some reason). The formula was stale and the “ripped from the headlines” garbage became a convenient crutch that was about as exciting as your local theater group practicing their ad-libbing skills by randomly choosing topics from a hat (which of course, is a common theme in television production lately. see: Running Wilde in the Tuesday Preview.). Unfortunately, it took about a decade too long for this show to be cancelled. What I can’t seem to figure out is why the arrogant Dick Wolf thinks that simply taking the brand of crap that is Law & Order and moving it from one side to the country to another is actually going to produce a better product.
And before you say to yourself, “Well, this could be different,” I’m going to have to stop you right there because, no, it’s not going to be different. Do you know how I know? There are two obvious reasons. First, take a look at the first sentence of the show description by NBC:
“Law & Order: Los Angeles” fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast.
The first thing that they mention as a selling point is what made the show suck to begin with (the “ripped from the headlines” crap). It’s the reason that people stopped watching… period, you unoriginal nit-wits at Dick Wolf Productions.
The second reason that stands out is the simple fact that NBC doesn’t have a single trailer of this new series out that shows a single scene from the show. What are they hiding? After all, this cast is amazing. Skeet Ulrich, Alfred Molina and Academy Award nominated Terrence Howard star in this and NBC isn’t highlighting any of them in the promotions for this new “hit” series? It makes absolutely no sense, unless of course, they know the moment that they show five seconds of this show in a trailer, audiences are going to sing in unison, “I thought they cancelled this stupid show.”
Here’s my theory: NBC owes Dick Wolf a lot for twenty seasons of L & O, twelve seasons of SVU and amazingly, nine seasons of CI (whatever network it’s on now). That’s 41 seasons of television. To put that in perspective, that’s 50% more than all five series of the entire Star Trek franchise. So, Dick Wolf says, “You’re doing another ‘Law and Order’ series whether you like it or not and you’re going to do it in L.A., because that’s where I live now.” NBC’s response was, “How high did you say you want us to jump, Mr. Wolf?” and voila, L & O: L.A. is born. NBC knows it’s going to be crap but in order to keep it semi-profitable, they sunk a lot of money into casting and even I have to say that was a brilliant move on their part because as much as I have no interest in anything L & O, even I’m considering watching the pilot just for the cast. So, in principle, no, I would not recommend this but for curiosity’s sake I probably will watch the pilot and only make it halfway through because I’ll be so disgusted.