Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pilot Review: Private Eyes

Private Eyes (Ion)
Premiered February 11 at 9pm

It’s rare that a show premieres in one country and then takes almost a full two years to reach an American audience. That’s the case with this Canadian series, originally broadcast on Global beginning in May 2016 and now airing weekly on Ion, a network known for acquiring and showing popular Canadian and American series. This series is notable because it stars Jason Priestley, best known for “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Call Me Fitz.” This show is definitely one that bills itself primarily as entertainment, devoid of true stakes and seriousness and instead just set on providing audiences a good time. Priestley’s cleverly-named Matt Shade is certainly over-the-top, nearly talking his way out of being caught with another man’s wife, promising favors he can’t deliver on, and blindfolding his blind daughter for effect so that he can drop the news that she’s been accepted to her choice school. Pairing him with Cindy Sampson’s no-nonsense private investigator Angie Everett, who wouldn’t let him punch a kid in the face and then did it herself seconds later, actually worked pretty well, especially when he was less selfish and helped set her up serve the man who had been evading her for so long. This seems like an enjoyable enough series, but the hook isn’t strong enough to compel me to get into it. Priestly is charismatic and appears to have chemistry with Everett, but this doesn’t stand out enough from any other odd couple detective series to make a memorable landing and demand attention.

How will it work as a series? They don’t have an official business just yet, so they’re going to have to work to develop that and to use the fact that Matt is well-known and recognizable – which isn’t always a good thing – to their advantage. It should be a fun process if one that’s a bit too silly, and I’m sure that there’s much material to be covered in their professional and personal lives.
How long will it last? That’s the good news. This show has already aired the first season and a half, with more episodes slated for this summer and a third season ordered. I haven’t been able to find much in the way of ratings or review data for the United States for this show, but I think its strong success up north should make it worthy of enough interest for Ion to continue airing it as well.

Pilot grade: B

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