Monday, June 28, 2010

Pilot Review: Rookie Blue

Rookie Blue (ABC)
Premiered June 24 at 9pm

The third of ABC’s new scripted original summer series to premiere is without a doubt the strongest, but that’s not necessarily saying much. The two Sunday night offerings, “Scoundrels” and “The Gates,” were pretty despicable, and the fact that this one stands far above them doesn’t mean it’s good, but at least it’s not as horrendous. There’s a certain possibility for this series to be seen as a guilty pleasure, and comparisons to a cop version of “Grey’s Anatomy” are not inaccurate. What this pilot offers is a whole bunch of cop clichés featuring young, bright-eyed rookies who think that their jobs will be incredibly easy paired with disgruntled, seasoned veterans whose remarks are almost entirely sarcastic and condescending. The immense familiarity of it all isn’t made up for in any way by clever writing, interesting characters, or engaging cases. Missy Peregrym, formerly of “Heroes” and “life as we know it,” is the established lead character here, Andy, who on her first day comes face to face with a loaded gun after she is sent in to search an apartment without any backup. To say that this is Peregrym’s best performance to date is just as much of a non-compliment as categorizing this show as ABC’s best scripted summer show. Andy seems like the soapy version of Ben Sherman, the lead character on “Southland” played by “The O.C.” veteran Benjamin McKenzie. While I didn’t particularly care for that show either, it was incredibly dark and hardly as distractingly comic as this one. With the exception of Andy, no characters were really established in the pilot, and it seems that alcohol and comedy are much more on the minds of the characters and the writers than actual concerns like story and plot. Launching it in the timeslot usually held by “Grey’s Anatomy” isn’t exactly subtle, but it should tell you exactly what kind of prescription you’ve ordered.

How will it work as a series? These cops can be rookies for a real long time, and there are so many things “they don’t teach you in the academy” that could knock them down and encourage them to get back up in every episode. As noted above, none of the characters with the exception of Andy have really been fleshed out, and while she’ll probably occupy the lead slot for the majority of the series, there’s still plenty of time to focus on the private and professional lives of the other new cops.
How long will it last? The numbers for the premiere were strong, and it would be beneficial for ABC to both have a show similar in tone to “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” that could air along with them on Thursday nights (as opposed to “Flash Forward” this past year and an unscripted show slated for the fall) and to have a show to bank for future summer seasons. I just don’t think this is one is that good though, and I don’t imagine it will be renewed after finishing out its debut season.

Pilot grade: C-

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