Monday, September 22, 2014

Pilot Review: The Mysteries of Laura

The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
Premiered September 17 at 8pm

Each fall, broadcast networks make an attempt to come up with the next big cop show. The problem is that there are only so many possible iterations and combinations of premises, and it’s hard to find one that’s original. This one is going for two different concepts, one about Debra Messing’s Laura being a single mom and the other about “mysteries” since this is, after all, a police procedural, and every successive episode begins with “The Mystery of…” That formula makes it seem very hokey, but that’s far from this show’s biggest problem. Messing is an Emmy-winning actress who delighted many with her performance on “Will and Grace,” and she definitely has an appeal. That doesn’t, however, make her the right fit for this show. There have been plenty of single mom cop dramas in the past, most recently the Ally Walker starrer “The Protector,” which didn’t last long at all. Messing is impossibly grating, and seeing her eat all the time and effectively seduce a valet into doing her bidding is far from impressive. It’s sad to see decent actors like Josh Lucas, who hasn’t had a role to match “A Beautiful Mind” since then, and Janina Gavankar, late of “True Blood,” wasted in irksome supporting roles. The show even got rid of one of its best assets, the likeable Enrico Colantoni, by casting him in a plotline that’s made expressly for a memorable pilot as the captain who is also responsible for the very murder his main detective is investigating. I’m not a big fan of cop shows, and this show ranks particularly low on that already unenthusiastic list.

How will it work as a series? With Lucas’ Jake appointed to be the new captain of Laura’s precinct, there are sure to be heads butting on a regular basis at work, especially since he still tries to make out with his wife at home even though they’re no longer married. I hope we see as little of her kids as possible, but I’m not sure scrapping them could save this show.
How long will it last? It might actually be one of its network’s star shows. The pilot did pretty well in the ratings, which is saying a lot for NBC, which often underperforms. 8pm is a decent time slot, and I think NBC may be eager to endorse a show that I think many people enjoyed a whole lot more than I did.

Pilot grade: D

No comments: