Monday, January 11, 2016

Pilot Review: Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue (NBC)
Premiered January 7 at 10pm

Sometimes, it makes perfect sense to give someone their own show. Comedic talents like Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey come to mind, and casting other notable actors in dramatic series, like Michael C. Hall or Liev Schrieber, is also understandable. But find me the person who was clamoring for a cop show starring Jennifer Lopez and I’ll be truly impressed. This is Lopez’s first time on television in more than just a one-shot guest spot in over twenty years, and she’s not exactly known for her acting abilities, having been nominated for one Golden Globe and, more significantly, nine Razzie Awards for poor achievement in cinema. This show also assembles a handful of other actors, most of them familiar from television, for run-of-the-mill cop roles. Drea De Matteo, onetime Emmy winner for “The Sopranos” is one of Detective Harlee Santos’ colleagues, as is Vincent Laresca, who I immediately recognized from his role as Hector Salazar in season three of “24.” Warren Kole, who recently starred in “Common Law,” is the FBI agent handling Harlee, and a more prominent cinematic actor, Ray Liotta, gets to play the intense, intimidating lieutenant who really runs the show. This pilot earns some points for not wasting any time, having a cop kill an unarmed man playing video games in its opening moments and then watching Harlee walk right into a trap and end up in an impossible situation. The rest, however, is rather familiar, and I don’t think that NBC needed a new cop show, regardless of what celebrity singer has her face on the poster.

How will it work as a series? Promos that I saw during the Golden Globes last night confirmed (and gave away) that it is likely to go in a very predictable and tread direction, with Harlee doing her best to stay one step ahead of her lies as they catch up to her and she’s forced to implicate her colleagues. It won’t be surprising, but it could be enthralling.
How long will it last? This may actually be one that sticks around given its performance on Thursday night on NBC at a time when the network used to have high ratings with shows like “ER” and hasn’t in a while. I wouldn’t bet on it just yet, but it’s looking better than I had expected.

Pilot grade: C

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