Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pilot Review: Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon (FOX)
Premiered September 21 at 8pm

Though I know I probably should have, I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen any of the “Lethal Weapon” movies. What’s far stranger to me is why anyone was calling for a remake a full sixteen years after the fourth film was released. Most shows these days are remakes, however, and buddy cop comedies are especially popular. CBS tried “Rush Hour” earlier this year and that tanked, and now FOX, arguably a much better fit for this type of project, is investing in their own old-school reboot of a popular if not entirely well-regarded franchise. The casting of the main two roles is interesting, to be sure, and I think it’s actually a decent pairing. Damon Wayans hasn’t had a regular TV gig in over a decade since he starred in “My Wife and Kids,” and now he’s portraying a man who had a heart attack when he turned fifty and has to monitor his heart rate to make sure he doesn’t push himself too far. I recognized Clayne Crawford from his role as Teddy on “Rectify,” an equally passionate but far different character than the loose cannon he plays here. The action is ridiculous but the setup is fun, and Crawford’s Riggs walking into a hostage situation with a few pizzas in his hand and demanding a gun be put to his head has a certain appeal for the sheer boldness of it all. I imagine this show would be perfectly entertaining to tune into every once in a while, but it’s not a weekly must-see series.

How will it work as a series? Their big takedown should enable them to remain partners, but they’re going to face constant scrutiny from Murtaugh’s former partner and current boss Captain Brooks. Riggs’ death wish is going to serve them well in some cases and get them into immense trouble in others, and I think this show will be best when it’s not plot-driven, especially when its characters’ sex lives aren’t major story points.
How long will it last? Ratings were decent for the pilot but didn’t knock expectations out of the park. It’s too early to tell whether this is going to be one of the major hits of the season, and it’s airing on a very competitive night opposite other new shows. I don’t know if a renewal is in the cards, but this show isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Pilot grade: B-

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