Mourning THIEF

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.

8 thoughts on “Mourning THIEF”

  1. Actually, I love this show and I hope it stays. It’s tough and smart and has a definite edge to it, but last weeks episode, which in stepdaughter crossed the line by mentioning “color” was just effing brilliant, I think.
    All things are an acquired taste, of course. Many people love American Idol and that gives me the dry heaves. So it takes all kinds.

  2. I like Andre Braugher, but I didnt’ watch it. I was turned off by those “everyone steals” rants in the promos (and on the billboard looming over Pico Boulevard), which set Enron execs as models of morality. Nothing like whiny rationalizations to get me to watch.

  3. I’m confused. I thought Thief was always intended as a “limited series” of only six episodes. I even remember thinking that, if they were going to go that route, they should take a page from Showtime/Sleeper Cell’s book and air more than one episode per week.
    In any case, I also think Hurricane Katrina hurt the show by making it essentially impossible for them to get any local flavor. I think New Orleans could’ve added at least as much to Thief as Las Vegas adds to CSI, for example.
    But it still works for me – Mark

  4. typical! if nick had jumped tammi’s bones in the first episode, or there were 20 semi nudes
    of all three gender, the ratings might have
    viewers are supposedly upset about the morality of the theme. robin hood, a hero was none the less a robber, as are half our politicians. pick which half and i’ll agree.

  5. I loved Thief and mourn the end of it. Unlike some folks who felt the show was unrealistic, they must live in another world. There are people exactly like Nick Atwater. The show was magnificent with Andre, and so was the rest of the cast. I hope FX will not let Nick Atwater die. He’s too good a character and Andre Brougher is the only man to play him. I cried when I heard it was cancelled.


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