Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pilot Review: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS)
Premiered March 16 at 10pm

I don’t watch procedurals anymore. I used to watch a number of them, and even stuck with a few for a while, but the shows I still stick with now that might be called that don’t really count (“The Good Wife” comes closest; “Person of Interest” graduated from that moniker long ago). Watching this show reminds me of exactly why I stopped watching series that weren’t even as good as the best of them, like “NCIS” and “The Closer,” because every time you tune in, you have new characters to meet and barely any time to spend with the loosely-defined personalities that you see on a regular basis. I didn’t make it past the pilot of the original “Criminal Minds” back when it premiered nearly eleven years ago, a year and a half before I started this site. I wasn’t fond of the short-lived spinoff, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” and now we have a show that barely resembles the original, with no mention of criminal profiling even coming up until more than halfway through this episode. Gary Sinise was once a great film actor in the likes of “Forrest Gump” and “Apollo 13,” and now he’s relegated to forgettable, monotone roles like this and “CSI: New York.” I remember liking Alana de la Garza in the final season of “Law and Order,” the only year I watched, and here she’s got plenty to do but not nearly as much charisma. The acting isn’t supposed to be what’s memorable here, but choosing a cultural hunter making two tourists run for their lives for the first episode hardly suggests that this show will prove terribly interesting or worthwhile.

How will it work as a series? Not every episode is going to be set in Thailand, but that also means that there will be even less grounding and consistency for this show since its characters will constantly be traveling and going to new places. That might be fun for those who miss “CSI” and more action-centric shows, but that doesn’t appeal to me one bit in this context.
How long will it last? The original series is popular enough to currently be airing its eleventh season, and though this one didn’t match those numbers, it faired pretty well, suggesting a healthy future for the series. A renewal isn’t guaranteed or even forecasted just yet, but count this one among the likelier to return given CBS’ affinity for procedurals and its desire to propel a new successful franchise.

Pilot grade: C

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