2016-2017 TV Season Review: THIS IS US and LETHAL WEAPON

LETHAL WEAPON: L-R: Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford in LETHAL WEAPON coming soon to FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Richard Foreman/FOX
LETHAL WEAPON: L-R: Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford in LETHAL WEAPON coming soon to FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Richard Foreman/FOX

THIS IS US is an unbearably schmaltzy dramedy about–actually, I don’t know what the hell it’s about. The pilot showed us three cardboard characters on their 36th birthdays trying way, way, way too hard to be lovable, thoughtful, tender and sympathetic while dealing with all kinds of cutesy, cliche-ridden, TV-show problems… contrasted with a lovable, thoughtful, tender, and sympathetic couple about to give birth to triplets on the father’s 36th birthday. It’s enough to make you wish the show came with air sickness bags. The big twist at the end of the pilot was obvious from the get-go. This felt like a feature script cut down to 44 minutes, but was too long even at that length. It’s not clear to me where the series is supposed to go from here. All I know is that I won’t be going with it.

LETHAL WEAPON isn’t the worst buddy cop movie-to-TV series adaptation, but it may be one of the dumbest. It’s every bit as watered-down and unmemorable as the TV versions of FOUL PLAY, FREEBIE & THE BEAN, MIDNIGHT RUN and last season’s RUSH HOUR…and nowhere near as good as ALIEN NATION, which actually bested the movie. Clayne Crawford isn’t bad as Martin Riggs, the role originated by Mel Gibson, but he has zero chemistry with Damon Wayons, who is utterly unconvincing as Roger Murtaugh, played in the movies by Danny Glover. Wayons treats the role like he’s in a skit, giving a superficial performance that gives Crawford nothing to work with. That said, neither actor is helped by the lazy script, which does fine with the action scenes but offers a truly lame “mystery” for the cops to solve that undermines the integrity, such as it is, of both characters. Riggs and Murtaugh are presented as two very dumb cops, matched only by the stupidity of their boss and the medical examiner. Audiences today, schooled by decades of CSI and LAW & ORDER, might be willing to suspend their disbelief for a show, but this one requires a frontal lobotomy.





7 thoughts on “2016-2017 TV Season Review: THIS IS US and LETHAL WEAPON”

  1. Gerald McRainey was the best thing about This Is Us. He had me crying. Of course, he was a guest actor and has my vote in next year Emmys. I will continue to watch to see how they play out the twist. Lethal Weapon wasn’t too bad, but agree that Alien Nation series was way better than the movie. Tried to watch Designed Survivor, didn’t make it past the first commercial break. What about Bull? That didn’t impress me. The Good Place? Love Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. Still waiting to see: Timeless.

  2. Lethal Weapon won’t make it to six shows. It’s easy to recreate Mel Gibson’s character, but Danny Glover’s impossible to do, he made that movie series work and it doesn’t matter who played his character. Now they probably should have made Let’s Be Cops into a show, then had Damon Wayons paired with Jake Johnson and just start it with Damon graduating from the Police Academy, then gets paired with Jake to mentor him and you’d have a hilariously funny police show.

  3. Dear Mr. Goldberg,
    I am glad now that I did NOT respond immediately to your review of Designated Survivor. I LOVED it. After your two reviews this week we are even, with one not applicable (I haven’t watched Lethal Weapon as yet). I sat through This Is Us, having read all the hype before hand about it being the “Best new show of the past several years’ (or something like that). Afterwards, my reaction was: ‘So’? I didn’t “get it.” Actually I DID, but I couldn’t believe they were going back and forth between the 1980’s and the present day for an entire season (if it lasts that long). To think justin Hartley (Kevin) left a Soap Opera (where the fans adored him) to do this. Pity. By the way I’m a big fan of your books, especially the Fox and O’Hare series.

    Judy Powers

  4. Lee,

    Review? Yep, Yep.

    Segue Alert!

    Like Ms Powers above, I have to say that I am looking forward to putting The Pursuit on my Perfect 10 list of books come year end, making it the second year in a row that you and Janet Evanovich have made the list. Impressive since I was more than a little dismayed at the cliff-hanger add-on to The Scam which I had read only months earlier. However, I mention this only to tell you about an (hopefully) amusing result of reading the book.

    My shopper was out looking for fruit sherbet and not having much luck until she spied a tub of Lemoncello Sherbet at the back of one store’s freezer and phoned me to ask if this would do in place of the desired orange or lime varieties. Having JUST completed The Pursuit, I said yes. I don’t drink and don’t socialize all that much these days. I had never heard of Limoncello before reading the book. But I realized that this might be something I’d like. And I did. Now I have a standing order to Marilyn to keep at least three tubs of the stuff in the freezer at all times. Scrumptious beyond all belief and an actual real palate cleanser to a French Fries and Pasta kind of guy … in other words, the most unsophisticated palate on the planet.

    THANK YOU very much for my introduction to a fabulous dessert!


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