Monday, September 17, 2007

When the cliches go marching in

Today's non-Emmy column starts off with a review of Fox's disappointing new drama "K-Ville":
The road to mediocre TV is paved with good intentions.

Take the new Fox cop drama "K-Ville" (9 p.m., Ch. 5). It takes place in -- and, more importantly, is filmed in -- New Orleans, a city that desperately needs the money and attention the production will provide. It stars Anthony Anderson, an actor mainly known for broad comedies ("Barbershop," "Big Momma's house") who's been in need of a dramatic leading role ever since his mesmerizing turn as drug lord Antwon Mitchell on "The Shield."

Those are two reasons to want "K-Ville" to succeed, and the show opens up by showing off both its setting and its star. It's Sept. 1, 2005, the levees have burst, and Officer Marlin Boulet (Anderson) and his partner Charlie are trying to get surviving citizens to high, safe ground. While Boulet is tending to an injured woman Charlie cracks under the strain, hops into their police cruiser and speeds away as Boulet screams after him, just another New Orleans resident abandoned in his time of greatest need.

But then we're in the present, and both Katrina and Boulet's emotional scars from it become little more than window dressing for a very average, cliche-ridden cop show.
There are also some brief thoughts on the increasingly silly doings at "Prison Break." To read the full thing, click here. Feel free to use this post to comment on both premieres tonight, as I don't think I have anything more to say about either one.

26 comments:

Matt said...

I haven't watched the K-Ville pilot and probably won't, but guessing on Hauser's character's deep dark secret:

He's actually a convict/prison escapee who used the post-Katrina chaos to create/assume a new identity. He perhaps accidentially acted heroically, and it was assumed he was a cop. One thing leads to another.

Am I anywhere close?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I can neither confirm nor deny your suspicion until end of business tonight, but if the secret isn't that, it's something equally stupid.

Homertojeebus said...

My guess: Cole Hauser turns out to be Jake Busey!
I will give Kville extra rope because of Anderson and because of New Orleans. The flaws you describe are considerable, but can be outweighed by a great character, a la Jim Rockford. Anderson, given time, might elevate the marerial.
BTW, Alan, didja get my emails?

Dan Coyle said...

"He's actually a convict/prison escapee who used the post-Katrina chaos to create/assume a new identity. He perhaps accidentially acted heroically, and it was assumed he was a cop. One thing leads to another."

Boy, that sounds like a great idea! Too bad it doesn't seem the writers are up to the task.

Dan Coyle said...

Plus, if that secret is true, it would be doubly ironic for Hauser, who was arrested 11 years ago for impersonating a cop when he was a regular on the short lived High Incident.

Jason said...

Alan, I agree 100%. I really want "K-Ville" to succeed for the people of New Orleans, but it's one of the most formulaic police shows I have ever seen.

http://www.teevee.net/archive/2007/09/aville-for-effort-dville-for-e-1.html

Anonymous said...

I figure I'll watch K-Ville tonight, but it is no big deal if I hate it....Heroes starts again next week.

As for Prison Break, it wouldn't be so annoying if it wasn't for the reason Michael is back in prison (last year's finale). Have cops after you, so the smart thing to do is jump off your boat and run into the woods where they can chase you. Because it would make no sense to take off in the boat into the ocean where they couldn't follow.

Homertojeebus said...

Everything about Prison Break last year was stupid. It went from Great Show to Drinking Game in nothing flat. Too bad, there were a lot of creative ways they could have dealt with the sophomore season to deal with the closed nature of the season 1 arc.

Anonymous said...

Does Season Four take place in Siberia? Five hundred years in the future on some intergalactic prison barge?

I would watch that.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mo Ryan e-mailed me an even better suggestion: women's prison.

Hey, my wife is convinced that if you slapped a brunette wig on Wentworth Miller, he'd look exactly like Jennifer Aniston, so why not? Prison Break: All Drag!

R.A. Porter said...

Alan, my lawyers will be contacting you shortly. I can't *believe* you so shamelessly ripped off my idea for a throwaway in your column!!! "Five hundred years in the future on some intergalactic prison barge?"

Michael Scofield in the 24th and a Half Century was definitely going to get picked up by SpikeTV once we'd worked out the licensing with Ratner.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I can't *believe* you so shamelessly ripped off my idea for a throwaway in your column!!!

That's just how I roll, baby. No idea too small to steal, no idea too good to waste as a one-liner at the tail end of a column.

Matt said...

I will note that while I am not a professional Television Writer, I'm certainly willing to whore myself out if someone has a job. Now, if I can finally get around to writing the spec "Law and Order" I've had rolling around in my head for the past couple of years.

R.A. Porter said...

Matt, is your spec the one that's ripped from the headlines? 'Cause I believe they've already done one of those.

Anonymous said...

As a New Orleans resident, I'm hoping that this show does well for the financial boon to the region. Of course, I would definitely prefer that it was a show of quality, which doesn't seem to be the case. Too bad, Anthony Anderson seemed like a decent guy at the Rebirth a few weeks back - low key and gracious with people that recognized him.

What unsettles me about this sucking, along with the reported Alan Ball Louisiana show for HBO, is that David Simon's show about New Orleans musicians post-Katrina might get pushed to the way side...That would be a giant loss.

Dan Coyle said...

I'd love to see a good show with Anderson and Hauser. I'd love to see a good show with that weird premise behind Hauser's character.

This isn't it. At all.

Matt said...

Sweet holy Moses, apparently, I guessed right. (Judging from TWOP, at least, since I'll be at the office for many hours still.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yup. Ya nailed it, Matt. And it's really, really stupid -- at least as used on this show.

dez said...

I wanted to like this show, but that "twist" blew. I liked Anthony Anderson's last comedy series better.

Another new show down the drain after one ep (I missed "Tell Me You Love Me" yesterday and...I don't care!).

Anonymous said...

I'm with anonymous: As a Louisiana resident, I hope it does well, for pouring money into the economy, for putting New Orleans at least somewhat back in the public consciousness, and for Anthony Anderson, who I've always found funny and was just fantastic on The Shield.

Sadly, I found the pilot atrocious. The attempts to seriously delve into issues facing post-Katrina New Orleans are quickly undercut by badly filmed shootouts/car chases, one-note characters, and a plot that makes an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger look like The Wire. Again, I hope it does well, but I won't be watching.

And "gumbo party". Christ.
-Lance

Homertojeebus said...

Awful show, really appealing cast. hope the writing gets sharply better.Good call on the twist, Matt. They could have sold it so much better, later in the season, and it could've been interesting.

Dan Coyle said...

I think they should have revealed it to the audience, not to Anderson's character. I have a hard time believing he wouldn't simply tell Hauser "You've got a 24 hour head start, but get out of town."

Robin said...

The twist was completely stupid, although I'm willing to give the show a couple more episodes. I have learned to try not to read too much into the pilot (I loved S60 after one episode and hated 30 Rock for instance).

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anyone care about Prison Break 3: Panamanian Fever?

dez said...

^ I did :-) Thought it was fun, especially watching Bellick get treated as poorly as he used to treat the inmates at Foxville or whatever the hell it was called.

Man, LJ and Sara just can't stay out of trouble. Wonder if they'll get the Veronica treatment at some point? Also, William Fichtner is all kinds of hot this season.

Anonymous said...

It cracks me up when people say that last season of Prison Break is when it all went off the rails. Did these people watch the first season? Michael obviously had no plan as the plan changed every episode to accompany the full 22 episodes. It seems as if people just like the first season because it was in a prison. I actually thought the second season was more in the realm of plausibility (take that with a huge grain of salt) and slightly more entertaining because of it.

The thing that gets me about last night's episode is that how in the hell is that an 8pm show? My fiance was cringing at all the violence.