Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'In Plain Sight' review

Today's column reviews USA's fun new drama, "In Plain Sight," which debuts on Sunday. Think a blonder "Karen Sisco," if Karen transferred to the witness protection part of the Marshal service, and you've got the idea.

15 comments:

Joe in Haddonfield said...

I saw two promos for the show and neither had a glimmer of the lighter side of the show. It was all hard boiled except for a bit of aw-shucks with a kid.

McCormack doesn't have the spark to carry a show or even hold a scene. That's why she's never broken out. Add those reworked, distracting lips and what appears to be USA's confusion about how to promote the show and you have a short lived series.

Howard Chaykin said...

IN PLAIN SIGHT has sneaked up on me, but as a big fan of BURN NOTICE--MONK and PSYCH both annoy, although I stuck with the latter longer than I should have--I'll give it a shot--despite the presence of Lesley Ann Warren. Seeing her play a drunk might be nice, though.

I never warmed to KAREN SISCO, despite being a huge Carla Gugino and Robert Forster fan.

I think McCormack is terrific, and underrated--and hasn't broken out simply because too often good things slip through the cracks.

As for SWINGTIME, I saw the pilot last Spring, and it's ghastly--despite the presence of the usually wonderful Molly Parker, who has the presence of mind to appear to be embarrassed to be appearing in such absolute hooey.

Maura said...

Alan, don't forget that McCormack was in "Murder One", that great (IMO) television show from the mid-90s. That's the first thing I saw her in.

I hope "In Plain Sight" makes her the star she deserves to be.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, don't forget that McCormack was in "Murder One", that great (IMO) television show from the mid-90s. That's the first thing I saw her in.

First thing I saw her in as well, but there's only so much room for lists (which work better in threes, anyway), and West Wing was more recent, Private Parts more popular, and I always loved that line in Deep Impact (really the only thing I felt strongly about with Deep Impact).

Alan Sepinwall said...

I saw two promos for the show and neither had a glimmer of the lighter side of the show. It was all hard boiled except for a bit of aw-shucks with a kid.

That's bad work by the promo department, then, especially considering that all of USA's hits (Monk, Psych, Burn Notice) have brought some kind of humor element to the crime procedural stuff. This isn't as goofy as something like Psych, but the humor level is much higher than it would be for its CBS equivalent.

Gapers said...

Alan,
I watch USA quite a bit (Law and Order mostly) and when they first started promoting this show they were pushing the lighter side of the show. They never showed the hard-boiled stuff. Over the last few weeks they made a complete 180. What's up with that?

Alan Sepinwall said...

What's up with that?

Two possibilities:

1)It was testing badly, and someone at USA felt they had a better chance of selling the show if they played up the serious elements (and, to be clear, there's a fair amount of each).

2)There's been a wrestling match -- either between USA and the production, or between various factions at USA -- about what kind of show this should be, and the serious side eventually won out.

I'm hoping it's the former -- and that the new ad campaign has been effective, even if it's not wholly representative -- because I like the show as it is. We'll see.

pdf said...

It's gonna be on opposite Mad Men, and I don't have a DVR. (I know, I know...) So I'm unlikely to see beyond episode 3. I'm looking forward to the premiere, though.

Andrew said...

Wow, Alan I'm suprised. You're as big of a Wire fan as anybody yet you somehow didn't mention that Paul Ben-Victor is a regular on this show. I take it that his part is insubstantial?

Looking at all of the show's on USA, I think their importation of Law & Order: CI might be the best thing that ever happened to it because now at least they have one show that is a straight drama. The channel is too obsessed with the light dramedy.

Sleepyhead said...

Until just now, I thought it was Maria Bello every time, in every promo. That could be the real reason McCormack has never broken out, she's kind of generic looking and unmemorable.

Anonymous said...

Mary's life (which also includes Lesley Ann Warren as her pickled mom) . . .

Another pickled mom, USA? Sharon Gless as Michael Westen's mom wasn't enough? ;)

I wonder if Monk's mother has any alcohol issues.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Wow, Alan I'm suprised. You're as big of a Wire fan as anybody yet you somehow didn't mention that Paul Ben-Victor is a regular on this show. I take it that his part is insubstantial?

Yup. He's playing the clueless boss -- though later episodes at least hint that he's clueless by choice (i.e. allowing his agents to do what they need to without interference from a boss who has to follow protocol) -- but it's still a throwaway role, the sort of thing Ben-Victor was doing before he played Vondas.

Dennis said...

People have to go see Mary McCormack on Broadway in Boeing Boeing. She steals the show. You would never have thought she could be so flat-out hysterical. She will definitely win a Tony.h

Vic DiGital said...

This sounds like it might be an interesting show (I dearly miss the departed Karen Sisco). However, I think I'm at the point where I'm going to just wait for new shows until they appear on DVD. I've seen too many shows that had great pilots, or jumped out the gate strongly that just ended up losing their way by the end of the season. If this show manages to sustain itself for a whole season, and gets picked up for a second, it'll become a DVD pick for me at some point.

In your opinion (if you didn't have to watch them every week as part of your job), would you wait until this was on DVD, or is this a "go ahead and watch it weekly" sort of show?

Alan Sepinwall said...

In your opinion (if you didn't have to watch them every week as part of your job), would you wait until this was on DVD, or is this a "go ahead and watch it weekly" sort of show?

As I very rarely (by circumstance of my job) wait to watch shows on DVD, I'm the wrong person to ask.

That said, the three episodes I've seen are fairly consistent in tone and quality, so it's not just the pilot that I dug.