Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pilot Review: Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness (USA)
Premiered June 29 at 10pm

Summer is in full swing now that USA is airing six original series each week. “Necessary Roughness” is the latest show to premiere and join the lineup of characters that fill the schedule each week on what has become one of the most reliable broadcasters of scripted shows during the summer. Pairing it with “Royal Pains” makes sense since both deal with unconventional medical practices. Unfortunately, this pilot isn’t nearly as much of a pleasant surprise as that show was two years ago. There are a number of things that need to be sorted out before this show will be able to find its funk. Though this might be too strict a requirement for a show to have to fulfill, it doesn’t possess the same unique spark that other USA series do. Hypnotherapy, while somewhat uncommon, isn’t all that revolutionary, and the way that this show is structured isn’t all that effective or intriguing. Callie Thorne, who was and is so incredible on “Rescue Me” as the nutty Sheila, is the type of actress who is great in featured supporting parts, often stealing the spotlight from the stars. But to put her in charge isn’t as smart a move as it might seem, since she’s too prone to squeal-heavy outbursts and can’t really carry the show by herself. The ensemble supporting her is uneven at best. Marc Blucas, as her one-night stand turned work colleague Matthew Donnally, is particularly unenthusiastic, and her mother was downright irritating, not in an effectively amusing manner but rather a distracting one. Mehcad Brooks is surprisingly energetic as T.K., and if his character isn’t too ridiculous, he could be the core player on this show. The other characters, however, such as the destructive daughter and the cheating-prone son, just aren’t substantial enough for a good show to be built around them. It’s not that it’s off-putting or unappealing, it’s just not there yet.

How will it work as a series? Matthew alluded to the fact that Dani is going to potentially be working with other players besides T.K., so maybe she’ll soon have her own specialized field of medicine, hypnotherapy for footballers. Since T.K. is a series regular, however, he’ll likely be the focus, and I’m just hopeful that his story is interesting enough for the show to be able to grow around him and his relationship with Dani.
How long will it last? USA shows have an awfully good track record of staying on the air, especially recently. It helps considerably that it held on to over ninety percent of its lead-in’s audience. I’m not sure a second season is coming soon, but cable networks do like to jump the gun, so this one should find itself with a renewal sometime this summer.

Pilot grade: C+

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