Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pilot Review: The Glades

The Glades (A & E)
Premiered July 11 at 10pm

For the past few months in New York City, there have been advertisements for this show with an image of a knife sticking out of a bloody orange and the tagline “Sunny with a chance of homicide.” That promotional material does provide a decent preview of what the show is like, solving crimes in Florida while cordoning off a golf ball to ensure that a potential record-breaking streak doesn’t get interrupted. The other two series currently on that involve crimes and Florida are “Dexter” and “Burn Notice,” and this one is certainly lighter than the former and a bit deadlier albeit about as occasionally unserious as the latter. More than anything, there definitely doesn’t seem to be any rush to solve crimes in this area. The warm sun appears to slow down everyone’s progress and allow for a more relaxed and indefinitely postponed denouement. Lead detective Jim Longworth is most reminiscent of a more giddy version of House, who delights in pestering others, keeping a smile on his face at all times. In the same way that the characters on the show perceive it, it’s alternately endearing and irritating. Unfortunately Australian actor Matt Passmore isn’t quite as skilled as Hugh Laurie at keeping his accent in check, but it’s not much of a problem, except for the fact that he’ll likely be doing quite a lot of talking on this show over the course of even just a single episode. Supporting characters haven’t quite been ironed out yet, although Kiele Sanchez’s Callie will certainly be appearing a lot as Jim continues to pursue her and encourage her to dump her imprisoned husband. Carlos Gomes has the deadpan reaction to all of Jim’s antics down pat as the medical examiner, and their interactions should be mildly entertaining if nothing else. This first case, which reminded me a lot of the pilot episode of “The Closer,” was cool because it actually involved Jim’s partner, played by the always great John Carroll Lynch, as the killer in a twist that I totally didn’t see coming. Obviously that won’t be the case each time, but it was definitely got the show off to a more promising start than it could have. It’s decent enough, but there’s nothing terribly enticing about the show as a whole.

How will it work as a series? Someone gets murdered, and Jim pisses off a bunch of people in the course of his investigation. Not much is known about the detective himself, so there will likely be back story revealed as he continues to court Callie and piss off his co-workers. It’s a procedural with a decidedly sunny and southern twist, enhanced by a very distinctive and unforgettable lead character.
How long will it last? The report that the premiere was the “most-watched original drama series telecast in network history” pretty much guarantees it a bright future. Even the now-cancelled “The Cleaner” lasted two seasons, and I think that the defining scripted hit of the summer for this network will swiftly find itself preparing for a second season.

Pilot grade: B

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