Saturday, September 25, 2010

More reviews

FADE IN:

INT. MY SISTER’S APARTMENT – DAY

Part III of the Fall Review

DETROIT 1-8-7 *1/2

A gritty documentary drama about Detectives Washington and Fitch who investigate homicides in Detroit.

+3:

· Interrogation scene: Det. Finch uses the silent treatment to crack a perp and gain a confession. Fresh and inventive.

· Det. Washington cuffs a perp to a playground swing set and takes a call from his pregnant wife expecting her to be in labor. The perp tries to make a run for it cuffed to a plastic slide.

· The honest moment in final hostage negotiation where Finch reveals more character in three minutes than he did the previous 40. His heart felt confession about knowing what the shooter is going through reeled me back in… But not for long.

-3:

· Cold and lifeless.

· The documentary/Cops style does not help enhance the story, especially when you are not fully committed to the documentary style. Without the interviews or the side bar comments (ala The Office or My Generation) this series feels incomplete.

· I found it hard to identify with any of the characters. The rookie, Det. Washington was a ploy to let us enter the world, but I was never along for the ride. I felt left out on many of the reveals.

Detroit has a high crime rate so there will be an abundance of story lines, however the question is will they be appealing… I feel the ending foreshadows what’s in store for this series.

THE DEFENDERS ***1/2

A comedic drama about two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients.

+3:

· Jim Belushi rocks as Nick Morelli, a sports loving, martini drinking showman, with marital problems. He may not have the perfect life, (he hires a PI to tail his wife because he thinks she’s cheating on him even though they are separated) but I’m willing to forgive him because he’s great at defending his clients. From his conniving nature to his coy smiles, Belushi sinks his teeth into the role and never lets go. The scene with the water cup is one of the many memorable pilot moments.

· The main case. I got to know the defendant, I cared about his situation and was rooting for the Defense to find a way to prove he was innocent.

· At one point Pete claims that they are “Dumb enough to care.” I’m not sure dumb should be used to describe this gem. Smart. Clever. And refreshing. Yes. But not dumb. It has too many elements working for it. The team’s tenacity gives up hope. Their attention to detail keep us engaged. And their humor and pizzazz keeps us craving more.

-3:

· Pete Kaczmarek – the gambler/playboy with a heart of gold. Cliché. Jerry O’Connell is the character’s saving grace. He’s not given much, but his animal magnetism and affable delivery keeps Pete from sinking into sleaze ball territory.

· The smaller cases. There were two beats and a lot of women looking for a defendant, but that storyline never came to fruition… Could have done without that.

· The flashy suits. It’s Vegas, so I’ll let it slide.

This show was a pleasant surprise. I went in with low expectations thinking it would be another run-of-the-mill lawyer drama, but the Defenders has an affable quality and an underdog appeal that both fascinates and captivates. The show has three central characters, but is peppered with colorful minor characters i.e. Zoe Waters, with her flamboyant eye shadow and post it note message technique. Defenders is a blend of flash and style with huge helping of substance. Further more, any show that concludes with a serenade by Frank Sinatra Jr. is a must see.

THE EVENT **1/2

A thriller that follows an ordinary man who unwittingly exposes the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.

+3:

· Great mystery and intrigue. “Who are these people and why should we not let them out?”

· Tension. From loaded subtext to the riveting act breaks, I refused to change the channel.

· Jason Ritter as Sean Walker. He hooked me from the start as I questioned how this average Joe went from a romantic cruise with his girlfriend to brandishing a pistol on a 747. He leaves no emotion untouched. A desperate man looking for his girlfriend, you feel for him, but still have no idea if you can trust him. Good stuff.

-3:

· Flashbacks. I am on the fence. They rehash information and provide new insight from a different POV, but they have a tendency to break up the tense moments and upon returning to the scene, lose a little momentum.

· Pacing. I was forced to digest a lot in very little time. You want to watch this show, you better drop everything and be willing to keep up.

· At the climax, a 747 careers toward the villa harboring the US President and then the strangest thing happened… And you lost me. Then it was over and now I have to wait a week for the explanation…

The Event feels like a mash up of 24 and Lost. If it can maintain momentum and mystery all blanketed inside a conspiracy this show has staying power, but might be better digested as a DVD box set.

MY GENERATION ***

A documentary style drama follows the graduates of Greenbelt High School's class of 2000 and reunites them ten years later so see how their lives have panned out.

+3:

· Documentary style. What Detroit 1-8-7 fails to do, this show captures and maintains. The flashbacks, the sidebars and the eaves dropping cameras all adds to the appeal.

· Relatable. Ten years after high school, no one’s lives turned out the way they planned. It was interesting to see how world events changed them, inspired them and even destroyed them... One woman wanted to be a scientist until the Florida ‘hanging chad’ fiasco, then she entered politics. Another was an all star basketball player and then joined the army after 9-11. Some of their dreams died, others were fulfilled, and many settled for less than they deserved, and others just grew up and move on…

· The inner woven storylines. Nine characters all tangled in a dramatic web and brought together for a second chance, maybe to recapture their dreams…

-3:

· Jerky nature of the flashbacks. I realize they are meant to represent hand held cameras, but I’d like to keep my dinner down.

· The emotions. This one is a tearjerker, so be prepared.

· The camera-person/narrator probing for answers. I’m on the fence about this technique.

Within five minutes I was determined to conclude my review with, “in the words on my generation. WHO CARES.” But by the midpoint this show had piqued my interest and by the finale, I was in the same boat. I felt for the nerd who found out he was impotent. I cheered when the Wallflower asserted herself. And I am hoping they all can be with the ones they love. We have one life to live and it’s too short to not chase what our hearts desire.

Other shows watched but not reviewed

LONESTAR *

A conman with a heart of gold… come on.

OUTSOURCED *

A comedy about the bad news bears of India’s call centers… pass.

Stay tuned… still more to come.

FADE OUT.

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