Thank goodness for Hulu, I can catch up on TV when I’m working late. The new Fall season started last month and as usual there’s a whole new assortment of cop and crime shows to wade through. Some good. Some not so good. It’s kind of hard to believe that with so many shows and so many weeks of air time to fill they’re still able to write scripts which aren’t just clones of each other. I haven’t had time to see them all, but for those I have, but here’s some capsule reviews for Hawaii Five-O, Detroit 1-8-7, Blue Bloods, and Law and Order : Los Angeles.
A remake of the classic Jack Lord TV show, this one actually isn’t bad. It’s not what I’d call a “serious” cop show. The crimes and action are serious enough, but there’s a rampant buddy-cop kind of vibe which makes the show entertaining and the violence more benign. The chemistry between Alex O’Loughlin (as “McGarrett”) and Scott Caan (as “Danno”) is what drives the show. They have good timing and the script moves along well and has enough comic undertones to work. Given the heaviness of most crime shows, Hawaii Five-O is a bit of a departure – but it’s a fun watch.
Set in New York, this show portrays a family with generations in law enforcement. Tom Selleck plays the father and chief of police, Donnie Wahlberg plays a son and detective on the force, and Bridget Moynahan plays one of the daughters and (I believe) a D.A. That’s a pretty strong cast going right there and the writing is as good. This is a pretty gritty show – the crime is pretty blunt and they don’t pull a lot of punches. It’s one of the few police shows I’ve seen which really looks inside the family life as very often police work is handed down from generation to generation. Selleck does well in the role, though his voice is still a bit too “bright” at times for the heaviness of the script. Overall a good show with a good cast.
Law and Order : Los Angeles
The L&O franchise heads West and, frankly, should have kept on going. The only thing from the L&O series which seems to have stayed intact was the plot lines. The central crime and case that arrises from it are well thought out. But the script is too riddled with dramatic “moments” – too many quips and muggings for the camera. I could go through the cast but in general they just do not work. They’re either too impassioned about “doing right” or too wrapped up in being a bad-ass of one kind or another – and in either case the performances feel forced.
This is a really good show with a cast I’ve never heard of before. I mean, not one name rings a bell. The script is really well written and the characters are very well-defined and carried out. Each show has two crimes to solve by the two main teams of detectives. Sometimes the cases inter-relate, but usually not. Given that the location is the city of Detroit I’m not sure how popular this show is going to be – it’s just not what one would call a “glamor spot.” But it’s a top-rate police show and well worth watching.