Sunday, November 5, 2017

Pilot Review: S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T. (CBS)
Premiered November 2 at 10pm

It’s a strange time to be premiering a new fall show given that most network already launched all their programming. I thought at first that this might be indistinguishable from the likes of “The Brave,” “Valor,” and CBS’ own “Seal Team,” which the only major difference being that it’s about the war at home rather than “over there.” Instead, this is a series that focuses very much on hot-button issues like police profiling of black people. I thought it was jarring enough that this gun-filled foot pursuit took place in a neighborhood with so many bystanders in the way, and then for an innocent black civilian to get shot by a member of the S.W.A.T. team was just unfortunate. Shemar Moore’s Hondo wasn’t blind to the fact that he got promoted over Jay Harrington’s Deacon simply because of the color of his skin, and he didn’t want to be used to bolster public relations for that purpose. Having snipers targeting just white people and then just black people made this pilot feel more than a little gimmicky, and the fact of the matter is that, above all, this is an action show most interested in featuring all the bad guys getting head shots, motorcycles flying through traffic, and hand-to-hand combat at its best. Despite Hondo’s advice that “S.W.A.T. isn’t about kicking ass, it’s about saving lives,” I don’t think this show is too aware of that. I didn’t make it to episode two of “Criminal Minds,” so I have no real opinion on Moore other than he’s relatively wooden, and Kenneth Mitchell from “The Shield” sort of fits that bill too. I’ve enjoyed Harrington in more excitable roles like in “Better Off Ted,” and I think this show doesn’t give him much to work with. There are many who will like this show because they want action, but I don’t think it offers much else despite its attempts to address current events.

How will it work as a series? Deacon is pissed that he’s not in command but he’ll get over it, and we learned that new hotshot Jim Street was actually chosen specifically by the benched team member. Hondo seems like he has a good understanding of both of the worlds he’s living in, and so it’s just a question of what action-oriented threats will present themselves for S.W.A.T. to fight.
How long will it last? As expected, reviews aren’t too terrific for this show, but CBS doesn’t tend to care about that nearly as much as the ratings. It seems like the show got a great start, and this procedural is exactly up the network’s alley. I would expect a long and monotonous run.

Pilot grade: C

2 comments:

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