Tag Archives: Vegas

Fall 2012 Review: Vegas

8 Oct


Here’s how I would describe what I think Vegas is, after one episode.  It’s a police procedural, but with a twist.  The twist is that it’s western-tinged, and set in the 1960s in a Las Vegas on the grow.

Note on “with a twist”:  My friend decided he likes straightforward classics, but “with a twist.”  While the value of that position is certainly debatable, my other friends and I eventually divined what he meant.  An example of this would be Snow White and the Huntsman, which takes on a traditional fairy tale, but with a twist.  CBS has been doing this a lot lately with the procedurals which are its bread and butter – while CSI and NCIS are about as traditional as it gets, Person of Interest’s got a twist, Elementary is modern day Sherlock Holmes procedural, and Unforgettable (hardly! ha!) was a cop procedural with an eidetic memory detective (Mentalist is kind of similar).

Back to Vegas – Dennis Quaid plays Ralph Lamb, a no-nonsense rancher with a nose for asking the right questions, a skill which he used during the war (World War II, probably, but conceivably Korea) as an MP.  He’s called in by the mayor, an old army buddy, to solve a particularly connected case (a relative of the governor!) because the regular sheriff is missing, and when that sheriff, who was corrupt, is eventually found dead, Lamb is recruited full time.

He uses the help of his ranch partners, each with his own set of complimentary skills, and fights to discover the truth while going up against the corrupt district attorney and the mob, which is looking to grow its influence around Vegas as well.  Basically, I’m guessing, there will be a new murder each week (maybe just a rape sometimes? do they have those in the ’60s?), and a new cast of possible suspects, with less complex formal serial plot than simply dealing with some of the same antagonistic characters over and over.

The only wild card that makes me a little bit confused as to what exactly the show will be is that one of these would-normally-be occasional antagonists is billed as the second main character in the show.   Vegas has been promoted as co-starring Dennis Quaid, who plays the obvious lead, Lamb, and Michael Chiklis, who plays the new head of the local mob, Vincent Savino.  Traditional procedurals don’t really have primary antagonists, at least in the appears-in-every-episode sense.  Primary villains, if they exist, appear once or twice a season as the crazy psychopath killer with potential personal ties that the protagonist can never catch.  Chiklis though, is second billed, and got a couple of scenes by himself in the first episode, showing him straightening out shoddy mob practices that were going on before he arrived.

If this was not on CBS, and was not a procedural, Quaid and Chiklis would be alternating protagonists, both rising up in the world of the new Las Vegas, one through the law, and one through crime, and it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine this show fitted for that.

It’s unclear exactly where Chiklis fits.  How much of his own story line does he get, versus how much is he just being slowly built to be relevant as an archrival to Quaid?  The fact that I don’t know exactly how this goes, and that the fit is unclear is probably more positive than negative overall; it’s actually something slightly different, or at least potentially different, which isn’t necessarily good but at least is indicative of a show that is trying.  It bears keeping an eye on (CBS pun!), because some decisions do need to be made about how the show works.

Also, I  really feel for some reason that the s in Vegas should be a dollar sign.

Will I watch it again?  Honestly, probably not.  I’ve got four new shows by last count I’m committing to for at least the next month and schedule space is tight.  That said, if I was looking for a procedural to watch, I might choose this one based on the one episode, which I mean as some reasonably but not incredibly favorite praise.

Fall 2012 Previews and Predictions: CBS

21 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)

So CBS has two shows that look out and out terrible and two shows that will probably be bad, but have at least the possibility of not being terrible.  Let’s check ‘em out.

Made in Jersey – 9/28

If I had a contest where I picked the worst sounding show of the new season, it would have to be Made in Jersey.  I hate to be judgmental (I don’t actually hate it, but I admit I shouldn’t do it), but sometimes all you really need to hear is a premise, and you know all you need to know.  Made in Jersey is about a New Jersey lawyer from a stereotypical Italian family making her way at a presumably WASP-y white shoe New York law firm.  If I had to guess what would happen, it would be that her clients and coworkers are initially skeptically of her Jersey accent and unorthodox tactics, but she wins them over by showing them tricks they didn’t learn growing up in Connecticut and going to Yale.  Worse, the actress playing the main character is English, which at least led me to hope that the premise would be based on a lawyer from actually Jersey, the English island near France.  Alas, it was not to be.

Verdict:  13-  I know, I know, it’s CBS.   It’s on Friday, which is a blessing in that ratings are expected to be lower, but a curse in that people don’t really watch TV on Friday.  So people will watch it, and CBS didn’t cancel much very fast last year.  But their standards are also higher, and it really does look terrible.

Partners – 9/24

Two close friends and coworkers must deal with the strains of each other’s relationships; that’s about all we’ve got for a premise.  Well, also that they work as architects and one of them is gay.  Numb3rs star David Krumholtz plays the straight friend, who is engaged to One Tree Hill’s Sophia Bush.  Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie plays the gay friend, and Superman himself, Brandan Routh is Urie’s significant other.  It really shouldn’t be obvious from this limited amount of information that the show is going to be terrible, but in this case it is.

Verdict:  14+ Honestly, I shouldn’t let my verdict on one show necessarily impact my verdict on another, but I figured at least one of Partners or Made in Jersey, the two terrible looking shows would get cancelled quicker than the other.  I’m torn.  Made in Jersey is on Friday nights, which means most people won’t watch, but a mediocre A Gifted Man hung around almost a full year there.  Partners will have the security blankets of How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls (shivers) around it on Mondays.

Vegas – 9/25

The first of the CBS shows that may not actually be terrible necessarily.  It’s the 1960s, and Vegas is in its wild west days, before Steve Wynn and the like.  The show is portrayed as a battle of wills between the sheriff of Clark county, where Vegas is located, Ralph Lamb, played by Dennis Quaid, and a Chicago mobster who follows Horace Greeley’s advice and goes west to set up his own base of operations, Vincent Savino, played by The Shield star Michael Chiklis, looking to rebound from the extraordinary failure of No Ordinary Family.

Verdict:  Renewal – This is the show I feel like I have the worst grasp of on this channel.  How procedural vs. how serial it is, I don’t know, and even if I did know, I don’t know how much that would matter anyway.  I don’t think it will be very good and I don’t think it will be terrible, but I have no idea where in the range of kind of bad to kind of good it will be.  This is a wild shot in the dark.

Elementary – 9/27

Like modern-day adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, but unsatisfied by the mere 3 episodes a year produced of the British Sherlock and prefer it set in New York City?  You’re in luck.  Trainspotting’s Johnny Lee Miller is Holmes in this adaptation, and Lucy Liu is his (shock!) female Watson.  As a fan of Sherlock, I was naturally inclined to believe that a CBS take would be inferior, but initial reports are that the show is actually not so bad.  One difference may be in the involvement of Watson, who seems, in Elementary to be less involved in the cases and more irritated at Holmes.  I’m still skeptical but I’ll try to give it an honest chance.

Verdict:  Renewal – I think it’s a good fit for CBS.  It’s a procedural which means it’s right up CBS’s general alley, but if early reports are accurate it’s maybe a little bit better than most.  It should appeal to core CBS audience; Holmes is a hundred-year old character, but the show attempts to make Holmes new again with a twist.  I’m not crazy confident in this prediction but I do definitely think it’s the most likely renewal on the network.