Life and Death

I saw the LIFE pilot on Tuesday. It was certainly the most interesting pilot I’ve seen so far this season, but the crime story/mystery was weak and it’s hard to connect with the lead character, a cop who was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now the cop is exonerated, rich, and back on the force. You’d think that would be a strong, emotional hook for viewers…but the hero behaves more like an alien visiting earth for the first time…which gets tiresome. I found the supporting characters, particularly his new partner, much more interesting than him. And although I liked the quasi-documentary gimmick of the people in his life being "interviewed," it tended to pull me out of the story (such as it was). Although I am tired of pilots that end with the troubled hero looking at the secret "evidence board" that he’s compiled, it’s the one new show that I might actually make an effort to watch again. It has some potential.

I gave up on THE REAPER about 30 or 40 minutes in. I was so dull and familiar. I felt like I’d already seen it before (wait a minute, I did. It was called CHUCK) and like so many shows this season about people getting superpowers, not a single character behaves remotely like a human being. I didn’t believe a second of it…or give a damn about anyone. I am so tired of seeing the slacker hero and his nerdier, slacker best friend, both of whom have dead end jobs at a big-box store. Considering that they got Kevin Smith to direct it, the show was surprisingly flat and listless. It had that dull,  made-on-the-cheap-in-Canada-for-first-run-syndication-in-1989 feel to it. The only real surprise I got out of the show was seeing Allison Hossack as the hero’s Mom. She was one of the stars of COBRA, a made-on-the-cheap-in-Canada-for-first-run-syndication series that I worked on about 12 years ago. I wondered how she could possibly be playing the mother of a 21 year old guy. I mean, she’s the same age as me and I — and then I had a horrifying realization: I am old enough to have children in their 20s. When did that happen?

As disappointing as the new fall shows are so far, it’s nice to see two actresses (Gretchen Egolf and Allison Hossack) who co-starred in two series I wrote & produced (MARTIAL LAW and COBRA) back as regulars in new series (JOURNEYMAN and REAPER). I just wish they were better shows.

3 thoughts on “Life and Death”

  1. I’m curious about your take…Do you think getting a crime show on TV today requires a hook? Monk is neurotic, Raines sees dead people, one new show has a vampire detective, Life has a former cop who spent 12 years in prison. Can’t you just have normal police officers solving crimes and maybe sharing a bit of their personal lives as in NYPD Blue (I think naked asses was the hook there) or Homicide? Is this type of show one that one get made in the current climate?

  2. Steven,
    You forgot the other Angel ripoff, New Amsterdam: cop who’s immortal.
    Don’t feel too bad. After all, Reaper is on The CW, which also has Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing the father of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki on Supernatural.
    Incidentally, when you have a minute, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Women’s Murder Club.

  3. Lee,
    I haven’t watched Reaper all the way through, but I thought the same think about Allison Hossack. We are about the same age, and I remember when she was playing a teen on Another World. While I guess technically, she could be the mother of a 21 year old, it seems a bit of a stretch. And Mark, love your observation. JDM played the 30-something love interest for a 20-something on Grey’s AND the parent of 20-somethings on Supernatural. Doncha love it?


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