Thursday, March 15, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

"Lost" post coming in a little while, but first the morning column link, in which I try to find something interesting to say about the not very interesting "October Road" and "Raines":
Every writer has a bag of tricks they reach into when all else fails. It can be a character type, a setting, a theme, a turn of phrase, whatever. In yesterday's "Andy Barker, P.I.," I made a reference to the six episodes of "Police Squad" and how half of them were terrible -- the same point I've already made, according to our archives, three other times in the last decade.

In TV, writers usually repeat things from their successes, whether it's Steven Bochco doing another cop show he knows critics will describe as "gritty" or David E. Kelley writing shows about weird, skinny female lawyers in short skirts. Occasionally, someone gets a chance to right a past wrong -- Joss Whedon turning the lousy "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie into the awesome "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" TV show -- but usually the TV business doesn't allow people to make the same perceived mistake twice.

That's what makes this mid-season's crop of dramas so strange, because we've seen one show after another that seems to be an attempt to recreate a prior failure.

A few weeks back, NBC gave us "The Black Donnellys," with the guys from "Crash" doing a younger, slightly more accessible take on their short-lived '90s masterpiece "EZ Streets." And tonight at 10, we get a pair of do-overs: ABC's "October Road," a quasi-sequel to a Showtime drama called "Going to California" that five people watched; and NBC's "Raines," another stab at modern-day L.A. noir from the creator of "Boomtown."
To read the full thing, click here.

7 comments:

Dark Tyler said...

I saw the Raines pilot back in the summer and I had totally forgotten about its existence before I saw this. I'm wondering why I even bother with these procedurals. I'm even growing tired of House...

Alan, now that you mentioned Buffy, I was wondering whether you (or anyone else) intend to read the Season 8 series that started yesterday in comic book form written by Joss himself. (I know this is irrelevant, and I kinda do that a lot, but I was just wondering!)

Louis said...

The Black Donnellys: The story of four brothers/underwear models who are thugs, thieves and murders, but who Really Care About One Another and who, in spite of having no money, wear thousand-dollar suits and clealy engage the services of personal trainers. There's the Alcoholic/Drug Addict, the Gambling Addict, the Womanizer and the Brother Who Wants to Go Straight but Gets Pulled Back in to Protect His Family(hereinafter, "Michael Corleone Lite").

Oh, and let's not forget the Impossibly Hot Babe; she's smart, she's funny, she's nice, she's stylish, and she slaves away at a crappy lunch counter in the Donnellys' non-existent neighborhood.

And the Italians . . . ah, the Italians, they pretend to care about one another, but they don't, not really, not the way the Donnelly Brothers do. They're fat, they're dumb and they just don't have that Donnelly heart of gold. And they remind the viewer that there's a much better mob show over on HBO.

Anonymous said...

The commercials say October Road is from the creator of Beautiful Girls. I liked that movie, but it wasn't really a huge hit and was over 10 years ago. So it's strange they're attempting to use that as a draw. I did read another article on the show, though, and it said October Road was inpsired by the creator's experiences when he went home after Beautiful Girls came out. I thought that was kind of interesting. But probably not enough for a whole series.

Btw, Alan, where did you finally find the Going to California theme?

Anonymous said...

Going to California was originally pitched to the WB. The Showtime version was reworked and recast. So this is really more like a 3rd attempt.

Donlee said...

How come not one of the critics reviewing "Raines" mentions that talking to dead people inside their head element as coming from "Rescue Me"?

EzekielRawlins said...

Just watched the Raines pilot over at NBC. The partner bit was predictable, but I liked the episode overall and I loved the whole noir vibe to it.

dez said...

I gave Raines a shot last night and wound up going to bed about half-way through. Ah, well, it's not like I need to watch more TV than I already do.