Tag Archives: Prime Suspect

Fall 2011 New TV Show Predictions Reviewed, Part 2

26 Dec

A couple of months ago, I made predictions about how long new shows on CBS, NBC and The CW would last.  As all the shows have aired for a few weeks, it’s time for an evaluation of my predictions, although for some shows, the final word is not in yet.  Such an evaluation follows:

CBS

2 Broke Girls

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up with high likelihood of renewal.  I knew it was likely to get renewed, but I still tried to vote with my heart by hoping it at least wouldn’t last multiple seasons.  Now, we could be looking at the next Two and a Half Men (shivers).

How To Be A Gentleman

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  Fourth on my top five easiest cancellation decisions.  Sad, because there’s a few people I like in the show, but not really sad.

Person of Interest

Predicted:  Renewal

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, likely to be renewed.  I was worried when the show didn’t start as strong as expected, but it would be a surprise, albeit not a huge one, at this point if the show wasn’t brought back.

A Gifted Man

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for three more episodes, totally 16, leaning towards cancelled, but undecided.  Probably my best 13+ pick of the year, it meets all the middle of the road commercially and critically criteria to need an extended look but ultimately be cancelled.

Unforgettable

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season.  Along with Terra Nova, the most borderline of the borderline.  No idea which way it will go, may come down to the last minute.

NBC

Up All Night

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, still up in the air for next year.  Neither a huge success nor a bust, on ratings-strapped NBC, executives are looking to grab on to anything with a chance of success (though not Community, unfortunately).  It’s moving to Thursday, and how it fairs there will determine its fate.  I’d lean towards renewal though.

Free Agents

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  Number five in my most obvious cancellations of the year.  There wasn’t much press, and though this was likely the best of the comedies cancelled quickly this year, that’s not saying a whole lot.

The Playboy Club

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  I’m out of my five obvious cancellation choices, but this would be number six if I had one.  It never really had a chance and it shouldn’t have.

Whitney

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, awaiting ratings on a new night.  It will switch time periods with Up All Night, making much more sense for both shows.  It never belonged on Thursday night, and hopefully will be put to bed by the end of the year, but it could go either way.

Prime Suspect

Predicted:  Renewal

What happened:  Probably cancelled, but not officially yet.  I was just straight out wrong about this one.  It got generally well reviewed and with NBC as ailing as it is, I thought even with middling ratings, they’d keep it around.

Grimm

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season and leaning toward a renewal.  I went back and forth on this show as more news and previews emerged and I’m still not sure how I feel.  I think it will probably get renewed, but it’s not over yet.

CW

 

Ringer

Predicted:  Renewal

What Happened:  Picked up for full season, likely to be renewed, but not assured yet by any means.  It doesn’t take too much for the WB to renew, so I think Ringer will be in.

The Secret Circle

Predicted:  Renewal

What Happened:  Picked up for a full season and seems most likely of all the WB shows to merit a renewal.  I felt good about this choice partnered up with successful The Vampire Diaries and this just confirms it.

Hart of Dixie

Predicted:  13+

What Happened:  Picked up for a full season.  It’s likely to be renwed, though less likely right now than Ringer and definitely less likely than The Secret Circle.  Still, I feel good about my prediction even if it comes out wrong.

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Fall 2011 Review: Prime Suspect

22 Oct

Girl power isn’t just found in sitcoms (girl power sounds patronizing – woman power?) this fall TV season.  It’s also in dramas.  Prime Suspect is a police procedural but with more of an attitude than the standard CBS version.  Maria Bello plays a cop looking to move up the ranks, who has just been transferred to homicide somewhere in New York (from somewhere else in New York).  She’s a damned good cop, but apparently due to something she did (an affair with a senior officer? It wasn’t mentioned specifically in the pilot) the squad’s old boys’ club view her as an outcast who cheated her way up the ranks.

The homicide detectives in her new squad keep skipping her name when homicide calls come up, which seems pretty disrespectful to say the least, and while the boss of the unit seems to genuinely respect Bello and feels sympathetic, he doesn’t want to rock the boat and tells her she’ll just get the next case.  Only thing is, this particularly case she was skipped on was a brutal murder getting lots of press, and she thinks she has a novel theory – that it’s connected to an existing series of rapes, – which no one else believes, including the current detectives on the case.  So she’s both isolated and unable to solve anything until one of the detectives on the team, a veteran to the force, keels over and dies unexpectedly.  She makes a poorly timed request to her boss to take the detective’s place on the case, and though the boss is displeased by her timing, he gives her the shot.  She is curt and bosses her way around the investigation, getting respect from some but resentment from others, particularly the dead cop’s best friend on the force, but through it all eventually solves the case proving her theory correct.

The show has more going for it towards making it a weekly watch than an average procedural.  Maria Bello is certainly the biggest factor going for it.  She’s rough around the edges and a little bit irritable but effective, and I think it’s well played that even in the first episode, while you’re mostly on her side, you can understand why she gets under some of the detectives’ skin, aside from the one who really hates her.  She acts only as barely respectful as she needs to be and isn’t willing to cut anyone any slack, especially right after the death of the other detective.  The best parts of Maria Bello on the show though are still when she’s making things happen solving the case though.

It seems a little bit much in terms of the way she’s treated so poorly, particularly just because she’s a woman, in this day and age.  It’s one thing to have some minor resentment, but the cops in this episode definitely go farther than that, particularly the one cop that really, at this point, just seems like a jackass.  It’s one thing to forgive him at the beginning of the episode after the loss of his friend is so fresh, it’s another towards the end when he gets on her case for no real reason.  That said, it would only require a little tweaking to solve that problem, and move the resentment to focus on her attitude and demeanor and less solely on her identity as a woman.

Will I watch it again?  Again, probably not.  But I’m also considering it.  I could make up a middle tier of shows this season, and this would be right there.  I can see it growing up better and I think the characters could be fleshed out well.  These are all good things and it makes me think about it but it’s hard for me to really get into a show like this with at least a little bit of a more serial element.  Maybe if it was on USA.

Fall 2011 Preview and Prediction: NBC

14 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

NBC is the only other network (aside from the CW) debuting shows this week so we’ll take them on second.  Up All Night and Free Agents start tonight, everything else in coming weeks.

Up All Night – 9/14

Failed sitcom all-stars Will Arnett (Running Wilde) and Christina Applegate (Samantha Who, though I’m being harsh since it somehow ran two seasons, as did the late ‘90s Jesse) unite as a couple having possibly hilarious difficulties managing their work and professional lives.  Maya Rudolph and Nick Cannon co-star.  Going for it is a modicum of positive buzz and the claim that Will Arnett has managed to tone down his Will Arnett character which he perfected in Arrested Development and honed as a recurring guest star in 30 Rock.  Going against is it is the fact that I still don’t have a ton of confidence in Arnett as a leading man and the previews didn’t look particularly funny.

Verdict:  13+ – they’re backing it too hard for anything less – it honestly has a good shot at renewal, and if it’s actually hilarious I’ll instantly want to change my opinion, but I’m maybe unfairly having trouble seeing it succeed

Free Agents – 9/14

Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn star as public relations employees who end up in bed together and struggle to maintain professionalism at the work place.  It’s based on a British show of the same name, and carries over Anthony Head as the cocky boss character, who has apparently taken the “Stewart” out of his name since Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It also features Apatow-movie that guy and former The State member Joe Lo Truglio as a security guard.  Some people like it so far, but it’s going to need more than that to survive on what might be the wrong network for it.

Verdict:  12- – outside of The Office, I feel anecdotally at least that these British adaptations tend to struggle (Worst Week, Coupling, Life on Mars) and aside from me wanting to see Giles from Buffy back on TV, something’s got to go, and I don’t feel like the network has too much riding on this one

The Playboy Club – 9/19

One of two series set in the early ‘60s, inspired by the successful use of that time period in Mad Men, The Playboy Club seems the less interesting of the two (Pan Am on ABC being the other).  Starring Amber Heard as a new playboy bunny who enters the family, it promises as much sexploitation as you can get on network television.  That seems like about it, though.

Verdict: 12- – I’m probably being harsh, there’s enough network support to get it through midseason probably, but I just don’t have a lot of hope for it – if a series has to move on from the early ‘60s, I’m putting my money on Pan-Am

Whitney – 9/22

No series has gotten as much advertising push behind it for NBC, and no series has made a worse impression in my mind due to the constant terrible advertising.  From Whitney’s rant about how stupid we men are to wear jerseys even though we’re not on the field, we can relate to just how much Whitney doesn’t understand men, but in a comical and observational way.  Maybe I’m being harsh, but it looks bad and the buzz doesn’t sound a whole lot better.

Verdict:  13+ – Far too much press for it to fade away after only a couple of episodes, it looks to me like this year’s Outsourced – NBC will really, really try to make it work, but it just won’t – it’s a bad fit for the Thursday night block

Prime Suspect – 9/22

Mario Bello stars in this police procedural also at least loosely based on a British show of the same name which starred Helen Mirren.  I don’t really see the hook other than it’s a female cop in a bureau dominated by men and she’s full of attitude and vigor and whatnot.  Honestly, it looks pretty generic to me, but I’ve read a surprising amount of positive press and I really like Maria Bello, so I’m going to grant it some leeway, not every show need be innovative to be good.

Verdict:  Renewal – something on NBC has to get renewed before Smash comes around in February, and hey, police procedurals seem to be working out pretty well for CBS

Grimm – 10/21

As The Playboy Club is one of two new series set in the early ‘60s, Grimm is one of two new dramas dealing with fairly tales (Once Upon A Time on ABC the other).  The main character is an Oregon homicide detective who learns that he is descended from a long line of “Grimms” or hunters whose mission is to keep humanity safe from supernatural fairy tale baddies which came through stories to inhabit our world.  Wikipedia describes it as a “fantasy/mystery/crime drama.”

Verdict:  13+ – I really wanted to use the line that it’s chances for survival are Grimm, but this is probably the NBC show I have the least basis for taking a stab at, I have absolutely no idea what to expect, which leads me take the easy way out and guess in the middle