THIEF hasn’t been canceled yet, but judging by the way star Andre Braugher and everyone involved with the show is already mourning its passing today in the LA Times, the ax will be falling soon.
As soon as he glimpsed the ratings for the second episode early last
month, "I entered the grieving process," Braugher said by phone last
Despite huge promotion, only 2.5 million viewers showed up for the premiere — we’re talking STRONG MEDICINE numbers — and barely half of those viewers showed up for episode two.
What happened? Braugher and others close to the show have their own
speculations. (Was there not enough action? Were Nick’s problems with
Chinese mobsters adequately explained? Were viewers turned off by
Nick’s ambivalent morality?)
[…]"Essentially, [viewers] didn’t like it," Braugher theorized. "The
audience saw something on pilot night that let them know they didn’t
want to come back."
Count me among them. I’ve only seen two episodes — and although I’ve recorded the others, I haven’t had any desire to catch them yet. If I don’t hurry, my Tivo is going to eat them soon.
There’s no question that Braugher is a compelling performer, but the serialized storyline is so ridiculously over-the-top that everyone comes across as annoyingly intense cartoon characters. But what probably hurt the show the most was its complete lack of humor. A few laughs, or simply a smile or two, would have helped humanize the characters and make some of the more ridiculous plot moves easier to accept. One of the things that makes THE SOPRANOS so appealing is that it’s both a violent drama and a laugh-out-loud comedy. The same is true of NIP/TUCK.
The bottom line was that THIEF just wasn’t any fun. The same could be said of Braugher. I admire his intensity but it gets tiring and monotonous after awhile. At least on HOMICIDE his humorlessness was off-set by an ensemble cast of eccentric characters (the rest of the characters in THIEF either blend into the scenery or are totally unsympathetic). Braugher’s character wasn’t someone you wanted to invite into your home every week. Or even spend an hour with.
Tony Soprano and Dr. Christian Troy may be sociopaths, but at least they are entertaining ones.