While broadcast is sticking to standard (boring) procedurals at 10p, FX has the most unique and compelling show on TV
There were 2 new legal procedurals on broadcast last night with different “new” hooks in each to make them seem fresh. Ultimately they’re just legal procedurals. They’ll be joined by a new LAW & ORDER next week in which I assume outside of the cast, will contain many similar things from the old LAW & ORDER, including the “doink doink”. If you’ve read any of my posts thus far you know I gravitate towards character driven shows.
TERRIERS on FX has had much critical acclaim this Fall (albeit low ratings). The episode that aired last night, “Change Partners”, written by CHEERS vet, Pheof Sutton, displayed why. This show is very hard to categorize, even its name is misleading. Essentially it’s about a private eye team of best friends played so authentically and effortlessly by Donal Logue (never better and more soulful) and Michael Raymond-James, but that description alone doesn’t nearly convey all that is covered.
The amazing thing about this show is that essentially it’s a case of the week (or procedural) (although there are ongoing serial elements) but one that is character centric and in the case of this episode, one where the case involved the characters, reflected on them, influenced their decisions. It was also an episode where every act changed the game and you really had no idea where it was gonna go. There were twists and turns in the case and in the characters. A show that confronted adultery, infidelity, loneliness, friendship. betrayal, rejection and desperation. There was a scene with Donal and guest star Olivia Williams (who was fantastic) where even though their lives are quite different, they connected and bonded on the most basic of levels. It was beautifully done.
It’s really astounding what Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin have created. The fact that the show has been on for only 3 weeks, and so many layers in these characters and their back stories have been already revealed, is masterful. Plus, the tones and genres the show juggles and juggles well, is impressive. It’s fresh and original, everything that is missing this new season on broadcast. Actually, there is one show on broadcast that is fresh and original but it’s the on the verge of cancellation – LONE STAR. It’s rather dismaying that these two unique and well executed shows are begging for viewers. It’s primarily the reason the networks appear to be going the route of 3 law procedurals at 10p.
I still maintain that thinking outta the box will pay off eventually. After all, in 04, the last time procedurals were all the rage, ABC zigged where others zagged and came up with 3 ground breaking and buzzworthy hits. I know the TV climate has changed since then but I remain ever hopeful that this will still happen again. In the meantime, watch TERRIERS.