Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pilot Review: Shots Fired

Shots Fired (FOX)
Premiered March 22 at 8pm

If there are two professions that TV doesn’t need any more of at the moment, cops and lawyers would be it. I’m all for creative series, like “Goliath,” but network procedurals tend to be very tiring these days. I was actually impressed with “APB,” which premiered earlier this midseason on the same network, and I can’t say that this show offers the same kind of novel approach. While yes, it does have the major hook of a black cop killing a white kid, beyond that, there’s nothing terribly inviting about this show. It is very racially charged, with conversations like “Do only black lives matter,” and Aisha Hinds’ Mohawk-sporting pastor is all about uniting everyone by bringing in the mother of the white victim to their black church. But the format of the show isn’t particularly inviting, and it’s not nearly as interesting or engaging as it wants to be. I was a big fan of Sanaa Lathan during season two of “Boss,” and I don’t think that this role, which finds her doing her job incredibly well but struggling considerably more to be a mother, utilizes her talents properly. A trio of familiar TV faces – Stephen Moyer, Jill Hennessy, and Helen Hunt – offer credibility but don’t add much, and this show, like so many others, is so much about sex and flashiness rather than actual content. I can understand why people would want to watch this show and why they might be drawn to it, and I’m hopeful that others found this opening “hour one” to be a more positive and memorable experience than I did.

How will it work as a series? The personal drama is going to be a mere subplot to everything else, which has to do with the racial politics of the south, complications involving both legal remedies and law enforcement, and just generally people wanting to hurt other people because they don’t like them. It’s pretty standard fare that’s sure to be sensational as much as it can.
How long will it last? Most people seem to have enjoyed this pilot more than I did given the positive reviews I’m seeing, but the ratings weren’t much to write home about. Airing after the very popular “Empire,” this show didn’t impress ratings-wise in its debut airing, and I’m not too sure that it’s going to be able to improve. I’m sure it has those who would like to see it succeed, so I wouldn’t give up hope just yet.

Pilot grade: C

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