Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Unusuals, "One-Man Band": Murder, incorporated

Quick spoilers for last night's special Tuesday installment of "The Unusuals" coming up just as soon as I drink some milk...

So the tryout after "Dancing with the Stars" didn't go so well, and with tonight's episode airing after a "Lost" clip show, I can only assume the numbers will trend down further. Like "Cupid," this one seems to be living on borrowed time.

And I think I'm okay with that. There are definitely elements of "The Unusuals" that I like -- the wunza partnership between Adam Goldberg and Harold Perrineau, the nuts-and-bolts of policework stories like Casey's favor-swapping mission -- but it has yet to add up into something I'm going to be pained to lose.

I thought the mix of tones was better in this one than the second episode. The wackiness didn't feel forced for the most part. And outside of being completely bored by the story of the cop with the shady past, I like most of the characters. But, again, it hasn't yet developed that extra "it" factor. So I imagine I'll stick it out for however long ABC keeps it on -- hoping that it doesn't get the "Kings" treatment -- but barring some major leap forward in quality, I'll be cool when it's inevitably not on the fall schedule.

What did everybody else think?

24 comments:

Pale Writer said...

You're completely right about the Christian cop plot. Also, I am on edge every time I hear them repeat the word "Navan".

The murder store was a genuinely interesting set piece. That seems like a show unto itself.

Jen said...

I think I turned this off after about fifteen minutes. The Casey storyline was boring me to death. My brother's a cop with the NYPD and I'd rather listen to his stories than this. As much as I like the cast, the show itself is just not doing it for me.

Chip said...

I'm glad to have Alan watch new shows so I don't have to.

Kelly said...

This is the first episode of The Unusuals that I've watched and I actually really enjoyed it. I'll be a little sad when it's cancelled.

Although the cop being blackmailed by his former friend arc is completely blah.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking during this episode that Goldberg and Perrineau were far more interesting than the cop that is supposed to be our surrogate.

The christian cop double life guy is dull, and they need to ditch it as fast as possible.

I think this show has the potential to be quite good if they give up some of the dramatic irony (the audience knowing that the Christian cop was a bad guy, or about Joan of Arcadia being rich) and just embrace the concept of slightly quirky cops chasing very quirky crooks.

And it is just too soon for us to care about Christian Cop (god, I am bad with names...) considering killing his idiot co-conspirator, or Walsh (hey! I got one!) banging the latina cop (dang...).

Oaktown Girl said...

I like both Perrineau and Goldberg (although I hate him with that mustache), and would have enjoyed seeing them in a quality, successful series. Maybe we'll get lucky and Perrineau will be back on Lost.

But mostly I'm bummed about Kings, and angry at NBC. What a waste of talent.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, I am on edge every time I hear them repeat the word "Navan".

Why? Because it makes me think of Steve Martin in "The Jerk."

Alan Sepinwall said...

I like both Perrineau and Goldberg (although I hate him with that mustache)

Blasphemy! This is a highly pro-mustache blog, and one of the things that initially interested me in this show was the presence of multiple 'staches.

David J. Loehr said...

Now if they could get Michael Imperioli over to have a 'stache-off, that's quality tv...

Anonymous said...

Haven't you learned from "My Boys" that when you have a stache-off, even if you win, you still lose.

Between My Boys, Life on Mars and Adam Goldberg, it is a good year for the stache. I'll even throw in Brian Cranston, if only because of the thought and time that went into crafting his stache.

Anonymous said...

I had two thoughts during this episode.

First, I think Goldberg and Perrineau and the Kevlar should get their own spin-off, but they're not cops, and it's all set in the Murder Store.

Second was the music. There was one scene, I think in the murder store, but definitely with G & P, that went into commercial, but I thought that the music was part of the funny, and that it would stop, and they'd be cleverly aware of it and move on, and I'd laugh. Except that it went to commercial, and I didn't laugh.

Oaktown Girl said...

Blasphemy! This is a highly pro-mustache blogWell then I wear my blasphhemy proudly, good sir! I declare myself to be a far better and more experienced judge of what looks good on a man than you. A man with a mustache alone is decidedly not sexy. The sexiest of men with mustaches must have at least some hair under the lower lip otherwise, with very few exceptions, they look like tacky 70's throwbacks. This is sexy. And this. And even this.

Oaktown Girl said...

Oh, and in addition to the "blasphhemy", I also wear my blasphemy proudly.

Anonymous said...

I think the best part of this episode was the murder store. If they completely got rid of Christian cop guy and dialed up the screentime of bulletproof-vest guy and partner I'd be a lot happier with this show.

Turtle said...

I like the whole show, and am hoping for a miracle, ratings wise.

I don't even mind (Christian) Cole, though the situation needs some revving up... btw, what sort of vibe were we supposed to get with that last scene of him in the car with his gun out? Was he supposed to be tempted to kill Frank, or was he suicidal?

Damien said...

Oaktown Girl said: "A man with a mustache alone is decidedly not sexy. The sexiest of men with mustaches must have at least some hair under the lower"
What about this? :)

SteveInHouston said...

After two or three episodes of "Chuck", would people have been really sorry to see it go? I seem to recall that critical reaction to that show was along similar lines - generally like "It's kind of fun, but it really doesn't seem to have found much of a tone and it's pretty slight". And now it's one of the critics' faves and is causing people (like myself) much heartburn.

In this day and age of audience fragments and niche programming, it's really hard for me to get a bead on how and when to latch onto a show. I really like the a lot of the cast of The Unusals, and there are some interesting themes I think they can get into (and some personnel culling). But it's likely not ever going to get a chance to go anywhere.

It's frustrating, because stuff like The Mentalist (which I like) is pretty much critic-proof, whereas something like Unusuals (or Chuck, or Life, etc.) needs to have huge praise right out of the gate to even get slightly noticed. But very few shows pop out fully formed and hitting on all cylinders, which leads to critics having the reaction Alan has here - "meh ... it won't kill me if it goes".

And I totally understand that. For every Chuck, you get 3 or 4 Reapers. I can see why critics (and networks for that matter) don't see much point in investing too much in a series if it becomes clear that the show won't be doing much in terms of critical praise or audience retention. Unfortunately, it seems to me that you really can't know if it's going to do anything until 9-10 episodes in ... or even longer.

By the way: Is ABC becoming the new NBC? It feels like it's been a while since they launched anything that made much of an impact for viewers and/or critical praise.

Oaktown Girl said...

Damien:
Could you hear my anguished screams of "No!" through your computer speakers?

Karen said...

I agree that the double-life cop story needs to be wrapped up, and FAST. It is very much the weakest link.

But I'm enjoying this. I love Adam Goldberg with a white-hot passion, and I'm very much enjoying pretty much everyone else (although I could do with Eddie Alvarez as well, which would only down the 'stache quotient by one).

No, it's not a great show, and some of the plots are silly, and there are holes, but I like the characters and I like the actors--and as I've said here ad nauseam, that allows me to forgive an awful lot.

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying this show. I think it's mostly Jeremy Renner. I don't know what it is about his acting, but I really love his character. Adam Goldberg and Harold Perrineau don't hurt, either.

R.A. Porter said...

I will be sad to see it go; I think it's already starting to get a little crisper outline of the show it could become. I'm with everyone else here in wishing Cole and the "big mystery" would go away, but I like everyone else. After this episode, I even saw how Eddie Alvarez could become a really interesting character.

AuntiePam said...

I'm warming up to Eddie too. It helps that his boss (the guy from Oz, don't know his name) treats Eddie with some dignity, like there might be something worthwhile under that arrogant persona. Oz Guy recognizes Eddie's insecurities, I think.

Ditto on Cole's plot line. I just want him to coldcock his cousin and call his bluff.

FlopEJoe said...

Really liking this show! I feel for and am interested in most of the characters. Can't wait to learn more about how they got where they are, their secrets, and what happens next. And the investigations are all interesting and tied to the characters.

This is the different than:
-Fringe where the freaky factor and mysteries are high but I could care less about the people.
-Life where the crimes were convoluted and and mostly uninteresting but the characters were fulfilling.

If there is a problem it might be that there are too many interesting characters and they'll have to settle down a bit to concentrate on a few at a time. Otherwise there will be too many cuts to locations and situations.

But I agree it will probably be gone from the lineup :(

pgillan said...

Since this is the last entry for this show, it's really the only place to ask this question. At the beginning of each episode, they do a brief voice-over narration by the the dispatcher, who's detailing some sort of "wacky" crime, or something all the characters on the show need to be on the lookout for. I know this device was used on another show, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was. It was almost identical, where the show would open with a shot of the city, and there be a dispatcher saying something like "All units be advised, there's a naked man at the corner of 23rd and Broadway," or "Anyone caught leaving food in their squad car will be docked one day's pay." It bugs me a little whenever I hear it. Does this sound familiar to anyone else, or am I totally off my nut?