Monday, July 12, 2010

Pilot Review: The Bridge

The Bridge (CBS)
Premiered July 10 at 8pm

This Canadian series from earlier this year gets imported to CBS for the summer just like “Flashpoint,” and I’m pleased to report that this show is considerably better, even if it’s not completely on target just yet. The pilot certainly takes its sweet time in setting up the back story of the show, flashing back a year in time and hinting at just how much corruption exists in the government while firmly establishing union leader Frank Leo as a man of conviction, principle, and resolve. I’m familiar with actor Aaron Douglas from his supporting role on “Battlestar Galactica” as Chief Tyrol, and seeing him take on a lead part is a bit strange. He did have a pivotal role to play on BSG, but he was never really front-and-center all by himself. On this show, however, it seems like it’s often him against the world, uniting the police force against corruption yet remaining just as careful not to trust anyone for fear of their involvement in the aforementioned corruption. Douglas seems decently capable of handling the task, sometimes exerting a bit too much fervor for the cause in a few of the pilot’s key scenes. The trouble with a show like this is that it hinges heavily on long-term plotlines and less on individual episode payoffs and weekly cases. That could prove interesting, but we’ll have to wait until next week to see officially who the main characters really are. The pilot was definitely intriguing and got more interesting as it went on, which is always a good thing. There are so many other shows premiering this week that this one may get tossed out if it doesn’t pick up quickly. It could certainly be engaging for a bit, though.

How will it work as a series? As mentioned above, the problem is that it’s too long-term and may not focus in enough on the short-term. Many people, however, have decried existing shows for their failure to zoom out to the big picture (like “Burn Notice”), so that strategy could work here, especially because it seems like Frank has a long, hard battle ahead of him.
How long will it last? Well, Canadian network CTV renewed the show for a second season last month. That’s certainly a good sign, although CBS doesn’t necessarily have to continue airing it, like it did with “Dexter” a couple of years ago and NBC did with CTV’s “The Listener.” Given the success of “Flashpoint,” however, CBS may be inclined to stick with this one if it catches on with American audiences.

Pilot grade: B

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