Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pilot Review: The Rookie

The Rookie (ABC)
Premiered October 16 at 10pm

Nathan Fillion is what most would consider to be a very successful TV actor. He anchored “Firefly” before it got cancelled and became a cult classic, then spent eight seasons as a mystery author slash police consultant on “Castle,” and now he’s back just a few years after that one went off the air for the latest cop show to try to pretend that it’s doing completely new things. The twist, that he’s a forty-year-old rookie whose unique life experience makes him both the best and worst candidate for the job, only does so much to modify a very tired but evidently popular format which has been done many, many times before. To his credit, Fillion is charismatic as John Nolan, who was bold as an ordinary civilian during a bank robbery and then realized that everything he’s done up until that point has prepared him for a life of public service on the streets. I wasn’t at all impressed with the training officer testing and the very official hazing from the top, and in addition to feeling like I’ve seen the same thing plenty of times in the past, I don’t find it enjoyable or believable. There were some other faces of note who I recognized here, starting with Melissa O’Neil, of the prematurely-axed Syfy series “Dark Matter,” as another trainee whose training officer has more than a few issues he’s trying to take out on her. Afton Williamson, who plays Talia, was on “Banshee,” and Alyssa Diaz, who plays Angela, was on “Ray Donovan.” I’m also fond of Mercedes Mason, from “The Finder,” though her role as the captain is as dry as they come. I didn’t expect to find anything too original on this show, and, sure enough, it’s exactly the procedural it wants to be.

How will it work as a series? Tim in particular is never going to get tired on giving his rookie tests, and the other two actually have major things to work on that are going to affect their ability to do their jobs and be on the streets. It’s all been done before on cop shows, but that’s why people (besides me) like to watch them.
How long will it last? The reviews are decent, but don’t worry so much about that for this kind of show. Every article that I’ve read about the ratings acknowledges that this timeslot is a not a good one, and so even if the numbers weren’t a knockout, it’s a success based on the expectations. I’d expect that this one earns a renewal soon.

Pilot grade: C

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