Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pilot Review: Game of Silence

Game of Silence (NBC)
Premiered April 12 at 10pm

There’s something about this show’s title that made me not like it long before I knew anything about it, and watching the actual series didn’t do much to help. There are some good actors in this cast, to be sure, but there’s so little about this show that’s appealing. I don’t mind dark or disturbing if it’s worth it, like “Banshee” or “Jessica Jones,” but to me there wasn’t anything that made seeing these young boys who made a mistake joyriding being tormented in prison just because the other prisoners, the guards, and the warden felt like it enticing. On many shows, I feel like I want to learn more about the characters and see where their stories go. In this case, I’d rather forget them as soon as I can. It’s hard for me not to picture star David Lyons as General Monroe on the very poor “Revolution,” though he did star in a more heroic vehicle on the equally terrible “The Cape.” I don’t find him to be a great lead, though he is a good fit for the moral ambiguity that comes with the role. Michael Raymond-James was superb on “True Blood” but I haven’t found anything he has done since then all that memorable. Larenz Tate has been great on “House of Lies” and “Rescue Me,” and he really deserves a better part. And then there’s a man from the aforementioned “Banshee,” Demetrius Grosse, stuck in one of the only inarguably fully villainous roles. I imagine these actors will all be on other shows soon, and I look forward to following some of those series rather than sticking around for this one.

How will it work as a series? There are a number of gaps between what we saw happen when the boys got sent to prison in 1988 and the present, so I imagine there’s quite a narrative to plug those holes. It’s sure to be grim and unpleasant, and there’s also the matter of Jackson needing to keep the secrets of his past from his former boss and future wife, which should up the intensity considerably.
How long will it last? The show premiered okay on Tuesday night at 10pm and then faltered considerably when it moved to its regular Thursday at 10pm slot. It doesn’t seem long for this world. NBC might not get rid of it right away, but there’s no way it’s going to live on past this season.

Pilot grade: D

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