At the CBS Preview Party hosted by the Paley Center for Media, I was able to see two of the network's new procedurals - I call them that not because they necessarily exactly fit that genre of show but enough so in that they look like they will be featuring a case-of-the-week format - Vegas and Made in Jersey.
I didn't love either show tremendously, but didn't dislike them either. Here's my take:
I have to be honest, while I like Quaid a lot (catch him when he's on Ellen - they have a running bit that is hysterical), I found myself tuning out and thinking about other things halfway through the pilot, which is never a good sign. The pilot episode didn't feel like a first episode, but more like a 4th or 5th. Plus I didn't get why someone would choose to tell this man's story. Not knowing anything about the real Ralph Lamb, the pilot didn't really intrigue me enough to watch more and find out. The episode did have a cool few moments - Quaid's Lamb plays a very cool game of chicken with a car - and you know his play-by-his-own-rules, do-things-his-own-rough-and-tumble-and-others-be-damned way is sure to create dramatic tension and interesting showdowns down the road, I'm gonna pass on adding this show to my DVR Season Pass lineup.
That's not to say it's a terrible show. It's not. It's just not for me. Justified is much better.
But as the pilot episode went on, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself liking it. I like that Martina is an underdog who fights with real smarts. She's intelligent and savvy and rather likeable in a grows-on-you kind of way. You want to root for her. The show co-stars Kyle MacLachlan (Desperate Housewives) as Martina's boss and Donna Murphy (Trust Me, Hack) as her mother.
To be honest, a similar show that I really like and would recommend more is USA's Fairly Legal starring Sarah Shahi. She, too, is a pistol who fights with cleverness and sass, does things her own way and is often annoying to her coworkers but endearing to us. It's a better show, but I liked the pilot for Jersey and would give it another look if it weren't in direct conflict with two other shows I love and am committed to: FOX's Fringe and the CW's Nikita. Maybe online ...
Bottom Line: Wouldn't bet on Vegas but make a plan to catch Made in Jersey.
Vegas premieres Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. on CBS
Made in Jersey premieres Friday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. on CBS