Pin It
Favorite

Remote Possibilities 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Life & r & & r & (Fridays, NBC, 10pm) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hat makes a good cop drama these days? You need a montage of quick-cut crime-solving action, set to some hip, new song you can download on iTunes. You need a strong, likable lead detective, a cranky, wisecracking boss and a hot-yet-tough female partner. You need a good dose of CSI-style soft-core gore -- at the very least a trip to the morgue. And then you need a couple quirky flourishes to set your show off from all the rest of the cop dramas crowding the schedule. NBC seems to have taken this recipe, turned the blender to puree and -- voila! -- we have Life, a show just good enough to live for a second season.





I loved Damian Lewis in HBO's Band of Brothers. He played the heroic Captain Richard Winters with a serene intensity that was perfect to depict the conundrum of a Quaker warrior. And in Life, he's the show -- Charlie Crews, a cop who did 12 years' hard time for a crime he didn't commit. Now he's out, with a $50 million settlement from Los Angeles (quirky flourish No. 1) and a newfound Zen attitude (quirky flourish No. 2). His wife remarried (quirky flourish No. 3), but he did get his job back. After hours, he tries to piece together the conspiracy that framed him for the murder of his best friend's family (quirky flourish No. 4). But Lewis is just too dialed back -- he's not oddball enough to enter Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) territory, and he's not crazy/badass enough to compete with Horatio Caine (David Caruso). He's staked out a confusing middle ground between funny and menacing, and it's not working.





And his supporting cast isn't working either, with a completely extraneous Adam Arkin and Donal Logue, who brings a New York sensibility to L.A. as Crews' boss -- he's the laugh track, but he's not funny.





Which isn't his fault, which takes us back to one cop-show requirement I didn't mention: good writing. People tune in because they like to guess whodunit. After last season, Life apparently lost half its writing staff -- and it shows. The crimes solved in the first two episodes were not even remotely mysterious, and the conspiracy is just confusing. NBC seems to know it has a dead show walking here. After all, it plays at 10 pm on Friday nights, the place where TV shows go to die.





TiVo-Worthy





Life on Mars


A cop drama set in New York, circa 1973, starring Harvey Keitel -- what's not to like? Based on the BBC series of the same name, it follows the adventures of a New York cop, circa 2008, who bumps his head and winds up back on the job in the Nixon era -- with some odd similarities to a case he had been investigating. (Thursday, 10/9, 10 pm, ABC)





The Choice


If you're one of those people who still can't figure out how to vote this fall -- one of those "undecideds" we keep hearing about -- this one's for you. Frontline, perhaps television's best source of journalism, devotes two hours to understanding the truth about John McCain and Barack Obama. (Tuesday, 10/14, 9 pm, KSPS)





Saturday Night Live Weekend Update


It's neither Saturday nor the weekend, but the ratings gold that goes by the name "Sarah Palin" demands that Saturday Night Live Weekend Update move to prime time. For the next three Thursdays, the airwaves will have more fake news than just Jon Stewart's. And don't be surprised if a certain hockey mom makes a live appearance. (Thursdays, 10/9, 10/16 and 10/23, 9:30 pm, NBC)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Reunited We Stand
  • Reunited We Stand

    With major provisions of Trump's executive order put on temporary hold, 11 Iraqi refugees reunite with their families in Spokane
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Working Blue
  • Working Blue

    Spokane police officer under fire for profanity; plus, Tomi Lahren — and her opinions — are coming to town
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • 'Cautiously Optimistic'
  • 'Cautiously Optimistic'

    Spokane Public Schools has seen improvement since committing to reducing suspensions, but the hardest part is yet to come
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Manufacturing Fear
  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 7

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Comment


do something


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Manufacturing Fear
  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation