Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I'm not jumping into 'The Deep End'

Because I took off yesterday and am mostly taking off today, I didn't have the time to write a column review of ABC's "The Deep End" (which premieres tonight at 8), but even if I had the time, I wouldn't have much enthusiasm to write about it.

Basically, "The Deep End" is "Grey's Anatomy" with lawyers, and the execution is as cynical and flat as that premise sounds. There are a couple of actors I like (as a "Veronica Mars" fan, I believe I'm legally obligated to root for Tina Majorino to succeed, I always enjoy Clancy Brown and I appreciate that the producers didn't mess around and instead simply cast Billy Zane to play the Billy Zane role of the firm's amoral jerk of a managing partner), but the humor feels forced and there aren't any moments in the pilot akin to the more powerful/poetic scenes on "Grey's" (or, for that matter, on a David E. Kelley show when Kelley manages to stay out of his own way). It's just a bunch of attractive people in suits saying the same lines we've seen a thousand times before on shows like this.

One of the producers is David Hemingson, whose "Kitchen Confidential" I really enjoyed, so I may check back in on the show in a few weeks. But nothing I saw in the pilot has me wanting to make room for it on an incredibly crowded Thursday lineup. (If I want to add a show on that night, I'll start watching "Bones" or "Survivor" again.)

Feel free to discuss the pilot here tonight after it airs.

24 comments:

justine said...

You definitely should just start watching Bones again. as it moves toward its 100th episode, it has really hit its stride.

As for The Deep End... I'm not that gullible to buy into ABC's marketing of it.

christy said...

I love Tina Majorino, but a show needs much more than that to lure me in. Especially if the premise has the words lawyers, doctors, or cops in it.

There are other jobs, people.

Matt S. said...

if this show was introduced back in the fall in this timeslot it might've had a semi-decent chance--but the fact that it was placed here for now (and only thru march) screams flop.

I'm not saying it can't be a huge hit--lord knows survivor is down, community as much as i love it doesn't rake in the audiences, which leaves Bones to really rule this hour...there's no reason ABC couldn't have as strong a show at this hour as a lead in to Grey's...but the fact that they sorta rushed this one on makes me think that it won't be it.

(then again look at the original grey's--midseason replacement for Boston legal--ends up completely and consistently outrating Boston legal on Sunday nights...much to my brother in law's chagrin who was into boston legal when it started, missed it when it was displaced by Grey's and then almost completely lost interest when it came back the following fall on tuesdays.)

Chazz Goodtimes said...

Agree with Justine on Bones- I picked it up mid-season 3 and have caught up since. Very enjoyable.

The Deep End looks awful. Isn't the market for Lawyer shows saturated enough? Surely there are professions out there that don't involve Drs, Lawyers or Cops that can make for entertaining televisions. (Biker Gangs for instance?)

april said...

I'm a Bones fan. It's one of the few shows my husband and I both watch together and I can't wait for the 100th. I'll still record this one in the bedroom though. The boys are pretty. If it's horrible, I'll give it up after the obligatory shirtless scenes pilots always seem to show (or if there are no shirtless scenes, I will not watch a second episode).

Tahlia said...

Chiming in to make the case for your thoughts on the state of Bones these days. This season has been ALL about making what could have been an epic S4 disaster (babies! brain tumors! coma dreams! AMNESIA!)... into something with actual meaning, and actual characters consequences (bad... and very, very good).

Gusto said...

I imagine I am going to have an exceptionally hard time identifying with young, hotshot associates at a top law firm in a glamorous city in this economy.

Hatfield said...

I'm tempted to watch it just for Clancy Brown and Billy Zane. But I'm a huge Carnivale and Demon Knight fan, so take that for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I am SO tired of these shows about overworked, overpaid, overeager, and obnoxious big-firm lawyers. Boston Legal, Justice, Shark, The Deep End. How many of these shows are we going to endure? I don't mind a legal show, but just give me a good old bowling alley lawyer again!

Chalmers said...

I like Tina Majorino too, but I think I'll just rewatch her telling Amanda Seyfried, "Congratulations. That will be $4.68."

Katie said...

I can't help but feel that there's no way to make the work life of a young big firm lawyer both (a) interesting and (b) have even a exchange-glances-across-the-room type relationship with accuracy. "Previously The Deep End, four young lawyers sit in a conference room reviewing documents and order in Chinese food. Tune in next week, when they obsessively check legal gossip blogs as they speculate about the possibility of layoffs."

Nicole said...

The only way to do a show about corporate lawyers is to make it insanely wacky. Billable Hours, a Canadian comedy, did a good job of being wacky, but not Ally McBeal wacky. They also filmed in the former offices of the firm where I articled, so it had an extra creepy resonance for me. Deep End seems stupidly idealistic, like most lawyer shows, and wholly unrealistic of what is actually happening. Junior corporate lawyers at big firms are basically highly paid lackeys, with no real connection to clients. Those doing litigation at big firms aren't much better because they write research memos and get to carry the litigation bags. A completely cynical approach would probably be refreshing when compared to the "going to court every day to save the little guy even though we work for the corporate client so this is a pro bono file" tripe we normally see. The Good Wife is just as bad in this respect too.

Devin McCullen said...

Yeah, Tina Majorino (& Clancy Brown) is actually about what it takes to lure me in. At least for a little while. Plus, I haven't watched a lawyer show in a few years.

I've avoided Bones because I swore off Boreanaz after 8 years of Angel.

Maura said...

Alan, funny you should mention David E. Kelley. When I saw a commercial for The Deep End, I assumed it *was* a DEK show. And I'm about as over his shows as I could possibly be. And even though this isn't a DEK show, I'm not going to bother with it.

Nicole, you're absolutely right about The Good Wife, but I watch it every week. I don't know why I like it, but I do.

אורי said...

I loathe David E. Kelley.

Nick said...

The timing on this show is so bad. The legal market is in the toilet and a lot of first years are getting deferred before they even start working, not to mention all the lawyers being layed off.

Q Ball said...

Devin Mcullen,

You'll never find me defending Boreanaz's "acting" in the Buffy/Angel days, but he fits much more comfortably into the role of Seeley Booth. He gets to play the character kind as a tough guy with a silly side instead of a melodramatic vampire. I would give Bones a shot. The show might not be your style, but Boreanaz has surprisingly improved since the early aughts.

Paul said...

Is this kind of like how Dick Wolf's Conviction was so nakedly a rip-off of Grey's?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I should say, by the way, that I at the moment don't have plans to expand my already complicated Thursday viewing schedule.

Narrim said...

Kind of enjoyed it, but only when Tina Majorino or Clancy Brown were on. Don't think I'll check it out again next week, and it'll definitely be off by Survivor 20.

Didn't know Bones was doing so well again. Can't wait to check it out.

HautieTx said...

Well I must be the only person who actually liked the show.

Not bad for a pilot and I did not have a immediate dislike of any of the characters.

I had seen maybe one commercial for this show so I had no real impression for it. So I just watched it and it was enjoyable.

I do love Clancy Brown. Love Billy Zane. Tho I am still disturbed by Billy's shaved head. It is a cruel twist of mother nature for him to be balding so much, that he chooses to shave it all off.

So, yes, I will be watching next week. As I record Bones to watch later. Along with Burn Notice. Cause now I am watching the 3 hour block of ABC shows.

There is so much good TV on Thursday... and NOTHING on Saturday.

So that is my day to catch up with what I missed during the week. God forbid any network actually programmed decent shows for Saturday night.

Allison DeWitt said...

The promos, the lightweight vibe and the sight of Billy Zane put me off from trying. It's nice to feel I made the right decision.

Bones is pretty good, again..certainly way better than some of the disasters from last year.

The Good Wife is terrific. Julianna Margulies made me into an admirer for the first time, there's Christine Baranski's spark in a very good cast but mostly, it's the writing. It's quiet, subtle, and original. And Archie Panjabi ! She simmers in every scene. My choice for surprise TV show of the year. I never expected to like it this much.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a little late to the party here, but could they have possibly picked a worse title for this show?? I get that the characters are getting thrown into the deep end with their jobs, but there is nothing about "The Deep End" that gives you any indication it's a legal show and it doesn't tell you who any of the characters are. It is SO vague and generic that I can't believe ABC didn't force them to change it.

Anonymous said...

"I should say, by the way, that I at the moment don't have plans to expand my already complicated Thursday viewing schedule."
That's alright Alan-the many posts here don't mean people expect you to watch "The Deep End," they're just venting about bad legal dramas. "The Good Wife" (flaws and all) is everyone's favorite law show these days. I love "Bones" too.