Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reviews - Vegas and Made in Jersey

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:

This new show starring Harrison Ford ... sorry, I mean Dennis Quaid, who was SO channeling Ford (if you watch the pilot this week, you'll see what I mean) - this is his first TV series - is based on the life of Ralph Lamb, who was a soldier-turned rodeo cowboy-turned rancher-turned sheriff in Vegas in the 60s.  Michael Chiklis (The Shield, No Ordinary Family) co-stars as mob kingpin Vincent Savino, whose dealings were thwarted by Lamb's efforts.  Vegas also stars Carrie-Anne Moss (Chuck) as Assistant D.A. Katherine O'Connell and Michael O'Neill (Necessary Roughness, Grey's Anatomy) as Mayor Ted Bennett, who knows Lamb from their military days and ultimately recruits him after the current sheriff is murdered.

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.

Now this show I went into with the lowest of expectations.  I mean, I am SO over the portrayal of my home state on TV - Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jerseylicious - just typing these titles makes me cringe.  So when I first read about this show and the description of lead character Martina Garetti (Janet Montgomery, Human Target, Entourage) - heavy accent, big, loud family, in-your-face attitude - and saw that Snooki-esque hair bump atop her head, I thought, here we go again.

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

1 comment:

  1. Carrie-Ann Moss was also in The Matrix movies, which is where I liked her best, but Chuck was pretty awesome too. Anyway, Quaid gives these pat looks throughout the show, so once I was able to ignore that, (and the fact it is another procedural) I enjoyed the show. My DISH coworker says it’s getting decent ratings too, which I figure should guarantee even more success and money to keep it a class act show. I found out about it when my Hopper PrimeTime Anytime feature I enabled, automatically recorded it. I like the fact that I find lots of new shows to watch, since every major network show records each day.