Thursday, August 27, 2015

Morality

Great TV shows tend to have a voice from the start.  They may improve over time, but titles like The Sopranos, Mad Men and Breaking Bad let you know right away they were different and they were special.

Most shows, however, just remind you of other shows, and you only hope that they're entertaining enough to pass the time.  Even by this standard, it doesn't look like TNT's new drama Public Morals is going to make it.  Created by and starring Edward Burns, it's another show featuring cops and gangsters--where would TV be without them?

It's a period piece, set in New York in the 1960s.  The look isn't as dazzling as, say, Boardwalk Empire, or even Magic City, but that's not nearly as important as solid characters and compelling conflict.  We mostly follow the cops in the public morals division.  (This is one reason why it has to be period--a lot of what was "vice" then is legal now.) Burns is Officer Terry Muldoon and Michael Rappaport plays his partner Charlie Bullman.  We also get to know some of the other cops in the unit, as well as Muldoon's wife and kids.  The pilot also features Timothy Hutton (who's looked better) as a major hood.

The cops have a pretty good deal. Their detail isn't that hard and allows them plenty of opportunity for graft.  It also allows plenty of chances for us to see the seamy side of life--gambling, prostitution and so on--which means the guys get to show how tough they are every now and then.

What the pilot doesn't offer is anything new.  The dialogue is fairly cliched and the situations--dealing with a hooker, infiltrating the hoods, worry about a hell-raising kid--we've seen before.  Unless the show can distinguish itself in the next episode or two, I don't see much reason to stick around.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I haven't been inspired by any of the new Fall shows we've been promised. I suppose I'll give the new Heroes a look. And maybe the new Muppet Show. And Fear the Walking Dead. But these are retreads. It seems like TV Land is holding its breath, waiting for a new idea.

6:11 AM, August 27, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well there is the election. The fall of the year before the actual election is a season all to itself nowadays. Especially now we've a reality TV guy in the middle of it

6:57 AM, August 27, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Perhaps the new show don't look that great, but at least we'll be getting new episodes of shows we already like.

11:43 AM, August 27, 2015  
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9:14 PM, January 05, 2016  

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